Keyword stuffing and overuse of keywords are just two of the penalties in Google’s recent Penguin update. One of the ways to avoid that penalty is to vary the use of the keywords in anchor links that go to other places on your site, especially those that are your money words. Here are some tips on how to vary your anchor text, including a tactic that used to be taboo.
What are Anchor Links?
Anchor links are clickable text, like the one that goes to the BlogAid Resources page.
The term anchor is broadly used these days, but used to refer to links that would take the viewer to a specific place on a page.
For example, clicking this link http://www.blogaid.net/resources#backup will take you to the section on the Resources page where the BackupBuddy plugin is listed. It anchors the link to a specific place on a page.
Keywords and Anchor Links
For the last several years, it has been customary to use keywords for anchor links, especially the ones you want to rank high for on your site. For example, I typically use the text “WordPress Classes” with the link http://www.blogaid.net/wordpress-training because that is one of my main offerings.
Search engines index the text and the URL, or permalink. Because the slug of the link is wordpress-training, I would get a little extra SEO juice. (I used the word Classes in the text and the word training in the link.)
The term WordPress is highly competitive, so it is difficult to rank for that alone. However, the keyword phrases of “WordPress classes” and “WordPress training” are less competitive and I do all that I can to have BlogAid rank high for them. These are two of my “money phrases” because they are directly related to my main offerings.
The Penguin Says Varity Counts
Google decided that one of the ways to determine if a site was spammy or low quality was to check for keyword overuse in anchor links. To avoid that penalty, you’ll want to start diversifying the text you use.
Now, that’s tricky. You don’t want to completely stop using your money words. You just want to throw in some variety now and then, especially if you want to use that link several times on the same page.
Variety is the spice of life and the Penguin likes spicy foods.
How to Vary Your Anchor Text
- Plurals – Believe it or not, class and classes are two different words to Google. Sure, when you do keyword research they come up in the list as related, but Google counts each one separately.
- Synonyms – Dust off your thesaurus. Great synonyms for class are session, course, and tutorial, which would all work equally well for viewers and Google.
- Descriptive phrases – These are also known as “long-tail keywords” and actually convert better. So, on BlogAid, you’ll find links for “video tutorial on anchor text” to learn how to create intra-page bookmarks.
No Longer Taboo
There was a time when every SEO guru insisted that using “click here” for your anchor text was a cardinal sin. In fact, that was the phrase they showed stats on to demonstrate how not to create links.
Guess what? The phrase “click here” is no longer taboo. In fact, it’s in vogue.
The point is that it’s okay to use non-keywords for your links to make your content appear natural instead of keyword stuffed. And that’s what the Penguin likes, plus your readers will enjoy it too.