Everything I Know About Anchor Text Optimization for Google and Why This Is Not Enough…

codrut-turcanu-1I used to overlook on-page optimization, that was at least until I got in touch with John and picked his brain on SEO and anchor text. We even talked about full blown back-linking for high rankings more recently… In fact, I was over optimizing the keywords on my page (along with titles and their description), and thus, getting poor search engine results and weak rankings.

He taught me the importance of on-page factors and how to better interpret these Google updates and algorithm changes. It’s essential you understand what on-page means, and how to do proper optimization (and distribution) of your anchor text for both internal links and external back-links. (Links that point to your website from other websites)…

If you target medium to low competitive keywords and money terms, then you will be amazed to hear that having the on-page optimization done right on your site increases your change to rank in Google on the first page –  without getting any back-links in some cases. This is not a guaranteed thing though because more competitors can always enter your niche and target the same terms, and/or – current sites improve their on-page and strengthen their back linking profile.

That means you have to keep a constant eye on both Google changes and competitors changes in the marketplace and the SERPs.

You cannot get results with SEO until you understand and deeply grasp one method against the other, what worked last month – and what works now, and based on your personal tracking and testing – make an estimate of what could work in the future, and again – what may not work, so you better prepare for the worst case scenario.

What I’ve learned so far is that linking needs to be natural whether on site or off page. Linking has always been natural from the core, (the web is like a spider web that survives on links), just that with the recent abusing of back-linking and anchor text factors, Google decided to lower the ranks of pages abusing the system (or penalizing the entire web site/domain name, in some cases), and increase the ranks of pages abiding by the natural factors (whether they do it strategically and consciously or not).

That means many sites may rank that never purposely did any SEO at all, and so in some ways – makes it more fair game. Of course, there is always a flip to the coin. Some people hate Google over the constant updates. In some cases, Google can wipe out entire businesses with one roll of an update to their program, ouch.

So when we talk about anchor text optimization we refer to the words and images on any given web page which include a hyperlink that goes to another site or page, either your own, or another blog.

Example:

Anchor Text Guide for Defeating a Hostile Penguin

Click here for more information.

Both links go to the same web site. I just made the first anchor text bold and hyperlinked the entire text, while the second anchor link is “Click here” and non bold.

Anchor text optimization is a practice which should apply both to your ‘inner page’ inter-linking – one page linking to your home page and your home page linking to another page on your blog, and vice-versa, for e.g. as well as to your back-links.

The thing is that with inner page linking you have complete control over your links, and you can decide how often to link and how to use your anchor text. With back-links pointing to your web site, you may have no control over the anchor text, unless you have access to or own those web sites or blogs linking to you. That’s why some bloggers (as John amongst others) have built their own private blog networks (PBN) to cope with the issue, and have control over their linking.

I’m not giving any details on how to build your own PBN, how costly or affordable it is, or if it’s worth the effort or not, as you can email John about that (that’s the first thing I’d do anyway), or read how others have built their own private networks (I’ve read quite a few case studies on this and my conclusion is that it’s better to rent someone else’s PBN instead of creating your own, particularly if you lack time, know-how, money or all of them).

How do these guys optimize their anchor text?

First of all, they rarely use their money terms/primary keyword as anchor text and rather link to LSI, or other relevant long tail keywords/keyword variations or at the least, make use of partial match keywords.

Instead of making your anchor text “product x”, you could use “product category” as your anchor or “best product category” (if you want to go aggressive with optimization).

Instead of linking to ‘omega xl’, I’d link to ‘fish oil supplement’ or ‘best omega xl supplement’

Secondly, SEOers insert the primary/money term in proximity of the anchor text, without over doing it, meaning they keep “keyword density” low (under 1%)  – there’s something called ‘co-occurrence’ and ‘co-citation’ (I think the terms are similar but not identical in meaning, so do your Google search just to double check) which is important to understand and reason why and how you place your anchor text. You’ll find this is key to ranking well in 2014 and can bring good or bad results if done right or wrong.

Once again, you do this for both inner pages and when linking from other properties. Others linking to you will probably never use your chosen keywords/targeted money key terms, that’s why linking is and should remain natural…

Only high quality links like premium web 2.0 properties and PBN sites should link to exact match keywords or money terms, to boost the rankings effort, although Google may notice this pattern, so you have to constantly adapt and be as natural as possible.

The big G company has its own professional WEB SPAM team (and algorithms set into place) which is constantly working (and often improving their methods) to detect unnatural linking patterns, content updates and indexes. That’s why your linking profile should be often checked against any non natural activities and then… you take action immediately as your competitors could always harm your ranks with negative SEO (hint – sending bad and spammy links to your site/page in masses).

Anchor text optimization is not enough. It’s the first step you need to handle right before you think about any form of link building like PBN, web 2.0, tiered link pyramids, blog comments, etc.

However, you need to research your competition and find out what they are doing, or have done – to rank at the top.

You also need to learn to:

1. Write good sentences

2. Create catchy and authentic headlines…

*** Everything you can to ensure you provide hot content for your audience, do it – so they crave for more and come back often. ‘Bounce rate’ and ‘visitor returning’ rate are key ‘on page’ metrics that the big G is taking into account when ranking pages, so be aware… Remember user intent? You want to give the user a good experience with your content and website.

3. Linking to authority sites (which spammers won’t do, or rarely do) within your blog posts is also a must strategy used by SEOers who know the game.

Q: Do you have other on-page and Google ranking tips to share with the HWA community? We can all learn to improve our approach and keep Google happy and relevant.

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3 thoughts on “Everything I Know About Anchor Text Optimization for Google and Why This Is Not Enough…

  1. I have read Nathan’s article on anchor text and just completed reading yours. As Nathan and you tried to convince to diversify & mix anchor texts in a more natural way, I strongly believe in that. Additionally I also agree on building links from different types of sources slowly and steadily as Nathan suggested on his articles.
    Enjoyed reading and will be looking forward of such articles more in coming days.
    Susan recently posted…6 Ways Small Businesses can Leverage Social Media Sites to Market Their Products and ServicesMy Profile

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