In the month of April 2012, google announced its major update to reward high quality site popularly known as the penguin update. Although I’ve not written about the penguin update on my blog, I’m very well aware that these updates have hit many small businesses real hard as search engine rankings have just vanished overnight after years of effort.
It was very evident that the update was aimed at targeting websites that used unethical link building techniques and focused on keyword stuffing to get the ranking boost in SERP’s. Many sites like Unique Article Wizard and Build My Rank that used to distribute spun content within their own blog network are totally finished as the sites in their network have been deindexed by google and user’s have lost their rankings.
In the midst of all these changes, the ones that caught my eye were the changes pertaining to Anchor Text. Google did mention “We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites”
Impact on Anchor Text in 2012
Google is also hitting websites for aggressive anchor text for keywords in backlinks even before Penguin. Post-Penguin, anchor text diversity becomes more critical.
So, what exactly is anchor text diversity?
Most of us have learnt somewhere along the way that the anchor text of a backlink tells Google what the site is about. So in order to get a site ranked well in Google for a specific anchor text (keyword), it only made sense to use that same anchor text for every single one of our backlinks.
However, Google appears to have finally caught on and has begun taking into account when websites have an abnormal number of identical anchor texts pointing to a site. Or in terms we are talking about, sites with very little text distribution in the links pointing to them.
So how can we effectively rank websites for specific keywords?
The first thing is we can use the idea of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) when choosing anchor text. Let’s say that your main keyword that you want to rank for is “sport watches”. LSI keywords for that would be keywords like best sport watches, outdoor sport watches, sport watches website and so on. See how these are all keywords that basically mean the same thing but are different.
However, using the idea of LSI alone is not enough. One of the biggest things Google is looking at now is natural looking SEO. So to look as natural as possible, you want to mix in some anchor texts that aren’t so keyword targeted that a normal person might use. For example, you might use “click here” or “watch comparison website”
So in summary, you want to use the idea of LSI as well as take into consideration what would look natural to Google to come up with a couple of dozen anchor texts that are all related around your main anchor text.
Anchor Text Analysis
Microsite Masters examined historical data for thousands of websites to investigate whether sites that saw their rankings drop after Penguin were also guilty of having no anchor text diversity for “optimization” or “money” keywords (i.e., whatever term you’re trying to rank No. 1 for) as opposed to more natural-looking mix of linking anchor text (e.g., Your Website’s Title, example.com, www.example.com, “click here”, “here”, “blog post”, etc.).
The results are quite interesting. According to Microsite Masters “It means that every single site we looked at which got negatively hit by the Penguin Update had a “money keyword” as its anchor text for over 60% of its incoming links. On the other hand, the sites that were not hit by the update had much more random percentages. Having over 60% of your anchor text being a money keyword did not guarantee that your site would be hit by the penalty (many of the sites not affected had numbers just as bad), but if under 50% of your anchor text for incoming links were “money keywords” it’s all but guaranteed you weren’t affected by this update.”
Therefore, keeping in mind all the above points and analysis, a useful thumb rule would be to optimize anchor texts in the following manner:
- 60% URL based or non-keyword anchor texts
- 30% broad match or partial keyword and rephrased anchor texts
- Only 10% exact match keyword anchor texts
Top 10 Search Terms
- anchor text analysis 2012
You Should Also Check Out
- SEO: The Importance of Anchor Text
- SEO: Do URL Shorteners Pass Anchor Text & PageRank
- 5 Great Ways to Anchor Your Backlinks
- Importance of Keywords in a Domain Name
- Article Marketing for Link Building
- Importance of Deep Linking in SEO
- Directory Submissions for Link Building
- Importance of Keywords in SEO
- How to Build Backlinks To Your Site
- 4 Great Methods to Deep Linking Your Blog Posts