Link building is where the SEO game is won or lost. Unfortunately, having your links over-optimized is easier than you’d think, which can result in an over-optimization penalty.
Here are the common bad signs, and how not to let the over-optimization happen:
1. Too Many Exact Match Anchor Texts
A good backlink profile can’t have too many exact match anchor texts because it looks very unnatural.
For instance, if your main keyword is “online gaming advice for beginners” then having even half of all your links with this exact anchor is a serious overkill.
A general rule of thumb is that the longer the anchor is, the fewer times you need to use it.
2. Too Many Partial Match Anchor Texts
Using the example above – “online gaming advice for beginners” – a partial match of such a keyword would be “gaming advice for beginners.” Partial match anchors should play a role in your backlink profile, but you need to be careful with them too.
Quite frankly, there isn’t such a huge difference in a way Google interprets partial match vs. exact match.
3. Too Many Deep Links
Depending on your specific campaign, you might aim at ranking your homepage (the main domain) or some subpages. If it’s the latter, you need to be careful when building links to those deep pages. Having too many of them, in comparison to the number of links pointing to the main domain, is very unnatural.
4. Too Many Do-Follow Links
Do-follow links are what matters in SEO…for the most part. However, a natural backlink profile also needs to contain a fair share of nofollow links.
For many successful sites, the best distribution is to make nofollow links at least 10% of the backlink profile.
5. Too Few Linking Domains
In short, having 10 different sites to give you one link each is way better than having one site to give you 10 links.
6. Traffic Coming From Too Few Keywords
Go to your Google Analytics profile and check which keywords are bringing you the most traffic. In a natural profile, you should have a big number of keywords working for you.
7. Too Few Brand Name and Random Anchor Texts
Brand name anchor texts are those that include your domain name (or site name). Random anchors are things like “click here.”
You should have a significant number of those types of anchors in your profile. Going as high as even 70% is a good threshold to aim for.
8. Only Keyword Anchors From Comment Links
Comments are a great source of nofollow links. But be careful not to go overboard with optimizing the anchors. In most cases, using your actual name as the anchor text is enough.
9. Too Few IPs Linking
For example, if you build 50 links from different domains that are all hosted on the same shared hosting platform and have the same IP, it’s basically the same as building all those links from the same domain.
10. Too Few C-Block IPs Linking
Every IP address consists of four parts: AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD. The c-block is the third part of the address.
Now, IPs such as 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 are the same c-block IPs.
In short, getting too many links from the same c-blocks is also considered an SEO issue.