In the post-Penguin world of link building for SEO, it is crucial to maintain a diversified anchor text profile. Gone are the days where you could build hundreds of exact match anchor text links and achieve high search engine rankings for those terms. In today’s world of SEO, we need to take a cautious approach with the anchor text we choose and “naturally optimise” the backlink profile of our sites.
In order to begin to “naturally optimise” and manage your anchor text profile, you must first perform a backlink anchor text analysis of your site. Alternatively, if you are starting with a fresh site you need to take a cautious approach to avoid over-optimisation penalties.
There are no set in stone guidelines for diversifying your anchor text profile, but there are three main types of anchor text variations to consider:
- Branded Terms
- Targeted Terms
- Junk Terms
Branded Anchor Text Terms
Search engines view branded terms as a natural way for someone to link your site. Any good SEO would agree that the majority of links coming into your site should be branded or targeted variations of branded terms. That is, using variants such as these:
The brand name itself:
Targeted brand terms
*services offered* by YOUR BRAND
YOUR BRAND *services*
YOUR BRAND *location*
Targeted and Exact Match Terms
Targeted and exact match anchor text variations still help establish search engine rankings as long as you are not seen to be over-optimising for such terms. To avoid over-optimising your site and pages, you must diversify your anchor text profile and create several variations using the keywords you hope to rank for.
For example, if your highest traffic/converting search term was ‘Brisbane igloo hire’ you would not build all of your links using this exact anchor text – doing so will quickly draw the attention of Google’s Penguin. You must “naturally optimise” for the term by using a range of anchor text variations such as these:
Brisbane igloo hire
Brisbane igloo rent
igloo hire in Brisbane
hire igloo’s in Brisbane
ice house hire Brisbane
Igloo rentals in Brisbane
‘Junk’ or ‘Call to Action’ Terms
Search engines also see junk terms as a completely natural way for someone to link to your site. Junk or ‘call to action’ terms refer to using anchor text such as “click here”, “read more” or “find out more”. If people are naturally talking about your company/brand on their own website or blog, this is a natural way for them to link to your site – therefore, it can be a good idea to actively seek these types of links to ensure diversity in your backlink profile and make it appear as “natural”as possible.
There you have it; three ways to establish a search engine friendly anchor text profile and optimise for keywords “naturally”. However, we need to remember that anchor text isn’t everything when it comes to link building and rankings. Next week I will be talking about why you simply must use high quality, relevant content and the importance of where you publish that content to get maximum SEO value.