Link diversity can be interpreted differently, and I’ll show the 2 most common ones. One is bad for SEO and the other is good, so stick to the latter.
What is link diversity (LD)? First, the bad kind (schemes).
To explain this method more clearly, I first have to first backup a little bit and talk about backlinks, because this whole subject stems from them…
Backlinking of the “spammy sort” used to be a very common way people would manipulate their site to look good for Google. Here is an example of how this looked:
However, after years of this back door method to higher rankings working, it was finally stopped because Google literally warned people to stop doing it and today, their own webmaster blog officially states this too.
However, backlinking of this sort didn’t just die out once Google warned about it, it continued, but evolved to be more hidden. After all, the temptation to get higher rankings, faster doesn’t just fade away, there’s a huge demand for this and the answers are often illusions because they involve scheming to get there.
Anyway, this is where the whole “LD” stuff comes into the picture (again, it’s the bad sort)…
It’s basically an advanced way of backlinking that evolved after the initial way of doing it stopped working.
What happens here is that people still engage in the same sort of spammy way of doing it, but they just do a better job of hiding it, and by hiding it, I mean hiding their acts from Google spotting it.
Before you used to be able to buy this stuff in bulk and it didn’t matter where you got them from. You could literally have purchased them all from one source and it didn’t matter.
But once it did matter, the next evolution was to get these same, mostly bad types of URLs from numerous different sites, and because there is diversity in regards to where they come from, it’s believed to “hide” the original spammy look these things used to have, and thus you can “technically” still get away with doing this and still get high rankings.
If you can still get away with it, why is it bad?
This sort of question is asked very often by those who once engaged in this SEO practice and those who wish to get faster rankings today. The main problem is that Google literally says they don’t want to see this (I provided a URL to their blog that says this above).
So from that point of view, every effort you make to try and still make this work, is already bad itself. Why make the very same search engine you wish to rank higher for, hate you for trying to trick them?
But another way to look at why you don’t want to engage in this stuff is that Google doesn’t just say they don’t want to see this, they literally have an algorithm and very evolved ways to spotting this stuff going on and this is one of the reasons why these schemes, have consistently popped up and quickly died out over the years.
It is very hard to get away with this approach today and even if you do, it is very short lived and almost destined to fail.
How do I know if I am engaging in this approach?
There are many beginners who just start out with SEO and don’t even comprehend these methods of ranking, who may engage in it and not understand why their site gets penalized afterwards.
So if you are worried that you may be guilty of this or want to know what NOT to do, there’s a couple of ways I can help you identify if you’re engaging in the bad way of doing this stuff:
The underlying word behind these 3 methods is…
Scheme and that is ultimately why it’s not a good way to do SEO. Additionally if you’re not experienced enough on understanding this topic as a whole, read this article and you’ll be able to progress safely in the SEO world without worrying about this.
Now let me show you the good kind of LD practice.
There’s many different ways you can engage in backlinking and not all of them are bad. The article I just provided explains how to tell which is which, but let me give you a definition of the good way of going about this…
When it comes to LD, the good kind that is, there’s a subjective way I look at it, that frankly, I believe most white hat SEO experts would agree with me on:
It’s basically the act of diversifying the way you link within your site. Specifically, you mix up your internal and external linking methods to help your site become of better quality to both Google and readers.
Quality is huge here, read this to see why.
But the main difference is that in the past (the bad way), people tried to get outside sites to point to theirs, whereas with the good kind, you focus on your site and engage in pointing it to other parts of it or to other sites outside of it.
3 ways to make sure you are doing LD the good way:
1) On 99% of all the blog posts I write, I provide multiple internal links to other blogs I have.
This is 100% GOOD for rankings and I have listed at least 7 reasons why you should do this. In this blog post for instance, I have done this multiple times. It’s good for my readers, it’s good for Google crawling and it’s good for rankings overall.
2) Additionally, I also make sure to provide URLs externally from my site to other sites, like the one to the Google blog above.
The reason I do this is because firstly, Google does like it when sites do that, and secondly, my goal is to provide my readers with resources that can help further answer their questions, so it makes sense for me to, for example in this article point to a blog post by Google that talks about link schemes, since the subject of this article is also about that.
3) Now a third method I engage in is affiliate linking…
Now this methd is actually not good or bad for rankings on it’s own, but it should be mixed together with the other 2 methods above to make sure your rankings don’t fall, because generally speaking, a page which has nothing but affiliate URLs tend to rank worse than one which is mixed together with the other 2 methods.
Note: The third method is actually a form of pointing to external URLs, but it’s classified separately because it doesn’t carry the same value for SEO. For example, if I point to a Wikipedia page, that holds more ranking value than if I pointed to an affiliate site.
These 3 things mixed together produce healthy LD across your site that you will get positive rankings from.
Maximizing the SEO benefits from this:
If you want to have the best ranking results from these 3 strategies I just mentioned, you should stick to the first 2 throughout most of your site and try to minimize the 3rd option.
In my case, I limit my blog posts and pages which have affiliate links on them to a minimum, so maybe 5% of my overall site’s pages have affiliate links on them, while the other 95% stick to just doing the first 2 strategies and provide healthy LD.
Specifically, here’s how I break it down…
Strategy 1. I use this method 80-90% of the time, across nearly all of my website’s pages.
Strategy 2. I use this 5-10% of the time across my site. I’ll only do this when the subject of the article I write is such that I have to point to other, outside sites.
Strategy 3. Again, I do this the remaining 5% of the time across my pages. Now you may be wondering how I can still make good sales if only 5% of my site has affiliate promotions.
Well this is where I use the first strategy to point to the 5% of pages that have affiliate promotions and as a result, the majority of traffic my site gets actually flows into the pages with affiliate promotions.
And using these 3 strategies, for many years has produced a healthy LD for my sites and good rankings in the process. So now that you also know the good and bad ways of practicing LD, let me know if there’s any questions.