The Danger of Exact Match Anchor Text Links

Andy Clarke Link Building, Search Engine Optimisation, Stuff

We have just about finished the review of the websites we manage in response to the recent raft of Google Penguin changes. With some sites we have had to do very little, others we have had to make major changes and these changes are nearly all around the use of ‘exact match’ anchor text in links.

Once a cornerstone of link building, the use of ‘exact match’ anchor text in links gave SEO and Link Building teams a real competitive edge. Knowing that Google liked exact match linking meant some great results and high rankings. However the landscape has changed.

Now, instead of pushing you higher in the rankings your anchor text could get you in hot water with Google. The reason? Because exact match anchor text is according to Google ‘unnatural’.

In their ongoing drive to rank relevant and natural web pages higher in their search results pages, Google have identified that when people link naturally they tend to favour terms like ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ for example. In response Miromedia now use these more natural terms for their linking and a host of others. The aim being to try and achieve as natural a link as possible.

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz puts it best; “develop your link profile to not look natural, but to be natural. If your anchor text is ‘over optimized’, you run the risk of being penalized, so make the effort and put in the time to naturalize your links. Try to replace anchor text links with naked URL’s or at the very least more natural anchor text – try to think about these links in the same sense of someone who doesn’t know you, finding your page or post and creating a link organically; most likely it won’t be your target keywords but your name, page/post title, or a more generic link text such as read more, learn more, etc.”

So there we have it, aim for more natural linking and review your internal linking for any potential problems. please leave your thoughts below, we’d like to here from you…