Google’s Penguin algorithm evaluates, grades, rewards and punishes websites for their backlink profiles. However, many business owners and marketers may not understand what comprises their profiles and how they can clean them up.

A link profile is made up of three basic characteristics:

1. Links pointing to a website – Google analyzes the links pointing to a given website from directories, forums, news content, press releases, social media and more. It uses these to determine the volume of credible information hosted on a domain.

2. How these links were acquired – The Penguin algorithm takes the evaluation process a step further by looking at the quality and acquisition of these links. For example, if a website garnered thousands of links within an hour, Penguin will take a closer look at the sources of these votes and try to understand if they were purchased or manipulated in any way to falsify PageRank.

3. The anchor text used – Google wants web publishers to use links to provide readers with supplementary context, so anchor text is important. If a website’s keywords links to spammy sites or advertisements, the page isn’t adding to the value of the web, it’s taking away from it. Google wants all links to be placed in web content as a way to give visitors more information about interesting topics.

For example, Brafton would link a mention of “custom content” to its Content Marketing Landing Page.

Webmasters who pay attention to their linking practices will gain a clearer idea of what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. This should inspire smarter link building efforts, resulting in better PageRank over time.