It’s a pretty well-known fact in the ocean of SEO that link building helps increase a website’s buoyancy (ranking). What’s really interesting is…offpage SEO makes up 80% of the entire process, with link building being a huge part of it. And because the process provided such great results in the past, a number of people engaged in dodgy link building practices, such as over-using anchor text, so the Google Penguin update was unleashed to combat them. Did the Penguin attack your anchor text? If so, how do you get back on your feet and build links without getting on that flightless bird’s nerves again?

Anchors Away! A Little Refresher Course

Before we go any further, let’s get on the same page about what ‘anchor text’ actually is.

Anchor text is the visible, clickable word (or words) which display as a hyperlink. When you go to a website, like Wikipedia for example, the hyperlink will usually display as underlined in blue, rather than the usual black font. The underlined blue word or phrase is referred to as the “anchor text”, of which when clicked, redirects you to the URL attached to it.

More often than not, people will naturally use optimised keywords as anchor text. If the goal is to get your website to rank for the keywords ‘mobile app’ and ‘mobile developer,’ these words should be used as anchor text in the content of other websites. Keep in mind though, that Penguin’s lurking about, so don’t over optimise. Let’s find out why…

Quality Over Quantity

The truth is, you don’t want excessive inbound links attached to your target keywords for two reasons: 1) it doesn’t look natural and 2) you really only want high quality pointing to your site. While it’s definitely a good idea to optimise your anchor text, you probably only need to optimise about 10% to 20% of the links, and just make sure they’re the best ones. This is enough to tell Google which keywords you want to rank for. Keep in mind, 10 links from authoritative, well-reputed sources are more valuable than 30 low quality links. Now let’s talk about what brand related links are and how to use them.

Using Brand Terms

The power behind ‘known’ product names can really help, so focus on getting brand-related back links to your website. If a fan of your products or brand chooses to talk about it on their blog, it will be natural for that person to link to you with either the URL or name of your business as the anchor text. This ‘organic’ linking of strong terms can be very effective, but you can’t use them all the time, can you?

Anchor Text Variation

As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t always use keywords or brand terms as anchor text. You need to mix them up to create a natural variation in the terms used. Aside from brand terms and optimised keywords, use other phrases like “Click here” or “Find out more” because there are times when they fit into the content more naturally. When choosing your anchor text, keep it real… and that usually invovles not overdoing it.

Don’t Overdo It

Because your site’s floating out in the vast ocean of the internet, your biggest challenge is probably trying to keep yourself from thinking too much about ranking by building links. I’m sure at the back of your mind, you’re constantly mulling over how to get to the number one spot on Google with your optimised keyword anchor text. But let me kindly remind you about that Penguin swimming around, looking for sites that “over do” their anchor text.

With all that said, don’t just focus on building links with only one type of anchor text. Build authority by putting great content on your website, which will eventually convince your visitors that you’re the name they can trust. Before you know it, customers will naturally link back to your site.

So yes, go ahead and fire a few signals off to Google by optimising here and there, using brand terms, and mixing up your anchor text, but don’t overdo anything. Doing the latter will surely affect your SEO by the Google Penguin update.

Even after all this talk of anchors, Penguins and vast internet oceans, it’s still not easy to determine when too much optimisation has happened or if you’re using the right kind of anchor text. The good news is, we can help make your website Penguin-attack proof! Have a chat with one of our experts on how we can get your site into ship-shape! Click here.

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