Anchor Link Ratios Revisited

SEO funny

I regularly get new clients who come to me with slapped sites and are totally panicking because they don’t know what went wrong.

Many of these clients worked with bad SEO companies low quality link builders who have not bothered to keep up to date with the Penguin updates and what Google wants to see more of moving forward.

While I am not a big fan of Google, and we do not yet know their real intentions for coming up with all these updates – we do need to see what it wants or the sites you are doing SEO for will drop out of the ranks very quickly.

Tip: Make sure to read my Anchor Text Optimization guide that shows you how the SEO pros optimize their backlinks and anchor ratios from their link building activity.

One of the key criteria that started to be discussed in the forums is the over use of the primary and secondary keywords (the money keywords) for which people wanted to rank. According to Google, they believe sites with over-optimized anchor link profile will be penalized for unnatural link signals.

So, for example, if you are selling blue shoes – and if you use the keywords “buy blue shoes”, “cheap blue shoes”, “best blue shoes” … which are your money keywords… say 70% of the time in your link building – then this is a red flag and Google will penalize your site. Google believes now (after 15 years) that this is an unnatural way to build links and if this pattern occurs in someones link profile – then their profile is being artificially built for SEO and the links have not been “earned” naturally by real third party people creating the page for you.

While this does make a lot of sense, it has its drawbacks which we can discuss later. For now, its important to understand that Google wants to see a natural pattern in your anchor link ratio – even if you create this natural pattern artificially and do it yourself, rather than wait for other people to create links to your site – which can take for eternity.

OK, so what exactly does Google consider natural anchor link profile?

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First Things First – Fix Your Anchor Links, Baby

Anchor Links - How to Remove Bad backlinks

If you suspect your site got hit by the Penguin update that just rolled out, the first thing you need to do is STOP WHINING because it won’t help you.


OK 🙂

Now calm down, take a deep breath and examine your “anchor link” over-optimization (Penguin is mostly about the anchor links pointing back to your site).

This is largely responsible for majority of penalties, in addition to the penalty for low quality links… that is backlinks on pages that have thin content, low trust, low page rank, located on de-indexed sites, on poor sites etc. – and I will make a separate post explaining that later.

What happened with the Anchor text penalty – is that Google does not want you to “game” them so easily by using your main “money keywords” (primary and secondary keywords you want to rank for) in the backlinks.

They figured that people gaming the rankings and doing SEO have simply left a “pattern” of unnatural anchor links in their backlink profile – that is easily detectible because it contains mostly money keywords as the anchors and not keywords that look natural… natural being the “anchor link pattern” and ratio that the other majority sites have.

Google figured that people forcefully doing SEO would repetitively stuff and use money keywords in their anchor links – in their race to rank on top. And, this is unnatural.

This is ironical because…

The original Google algorithm and patent defined how it ranked pages in the first place… using keywords in anchor text links, as a measure to pass link juice down to pages and rank pages for specific keywords, and devise the PageRank factor for each page.

Now, fixing your anchor links profile is going to take a little more than simply changing a few of your anchor link this time.

You’re going to want to make it look as natural as possible to the search engines.

This means building a lot of links that have LSI keywords (please see note at end if you don’t know what LSI keywords are), generic keywords, raw URL links, general niche links, brand links, full sentence links, randomly looking anchors as well as image links.

For example: if you have used your main keyword as the anchor text link in over 50% of your backlinks, chances that your site got hit are very high.

Google is giving sites a negative penalty for doing this, rather than devaluing the links. This is definitely the most dreadful thing they have done. As a negative penalty is harder to recover from – and requires you to fix things and then file a Disavow Tool and a reconsideration request for your site recovery – which probably may not happen (as per survey done only 10% of sites that are hit have been able to recover). We will discuss how to do all the formalities of recovery in another document in this report as it requires detailed and careful handling and understanding.

So here is the new “rule” of ratio distribution for you to follow while you are building your anchor links.

Continue ReadingFirst Things First – Fix Your Anchor Links, Baby