After doing my usual SEO reading over the weekend (like a good SEO consultant should) I stumbled across a few things that a) I don’t agree with and b) provoked thought. So I apologise in advance as this post will jump around a little bit but I will attempt to put it down as logically as possible.
If you are up to date in the ‘SEO World’ you will no doubt know that Rand at SEOmoz outed a site ranking at number one for “seo company” using pretty much directory submissions. Rand admitted that this was not blackhat but had a particular problem with the amount of anchor text manipulation going on, the fact the links were from low quality sources just added to his frustration. Anyway the site was reported to Google around a month ago and guess what…. It still ranks No.2 for “SEO Company”.
Using Anchor text in backlinks is something all SEO’s use to there advantage, even the biggest companies online use this method to rank highly. Using anchor text is one of the main factors Google uses to determine the theme of your site, so if they use it they must also expect us as webmasters to use it also. This story and the basis it was formed on (directories, anchor text, low quality links) caused me to think and also become a little irritated.
So just to recap, the site http://www.nationalpositions.com , ranked at the top of Google for “seo company” using anchor text links from low quality sources, directories and article marketing. (There is nothing illegal about this, not at all, “Seo Company” is a mega competitive term and Rand thought more quality link building should be performed in order to rank)
It is worth noting as well that, national positions did not use any on page optimisation aimed at the term “seo company” and simply anchored the keyword and had it in their title tag.
OK… I hope your following this one. I have a few issues with the general attitude towards some of the above mentioned SEO elements and would like to clarify and hopefully justify my position.
When I started my blog I did a little research into competition namely consisting of other SEO companies. Part of this research was examining their link building strategies. I may have mentioned this before on here but out of 4 companies all used directories to build links. Most of the listings were anchored with text and made up around 30% of links on average.
So the experts, those that are selling their expertise are using directory submissions to strengthen their campaigns. There is a good reason for this and that is because they work, directory submissions are still an effective way of getting backlinks that Google and other search engines recognise and count. I use them and would advise any of my clients to use them.
The only proviso I use when it comes to directory submissions, is that I submit gradually, usually around 50 per month. I don’t know if this makes any difference I simply don’t want my link building to look spammy. The main point is that directory links still count.
Using anchor text to link back to your pages is something you “must” do in order to rank high on Google. The problem here comes into play when you are manipulating that anchor text (remember manipulating it is not simply using it). Manipulating anchor text for me happens in 2 ways.
1) When you anchor text that has no relevance to your on page optimisation.
2) When you consistently anchor an identical text link hundreds and thousands of times and there is no variation.
What we have to remember is that Google wants these text links to be as natural as possible. No one is going to link to your site using the words “make money blogging” if your site does not implement these keywords. By the same token not every webmaster that links to your site is going to use an identical linking text.
For me this is where you have to play smart and really think about your whole SEO strategy. If your looking for links with the anchor text “make money blogging” then this word should appear in your title tag and variations need to appear in your site content and H tags. This way it is quite conceivable that a webmaster would link back to you using these terms.
The next thing you should do is try and make your links as varied as possible. I chose 60 keywords when I started this blog and try to use a different anchor text every time I article market, submit to directories etc…. This way I am not creating identical links, yet each keyword I use is a variation and backs the other up.
A quick example, if I was optimising for “search engine optimisation” (hint hint) I would use some of the following anchor text:-
“search engine optimisation, on page optimisation, search engine specialist, google search optimisatin, organic search engine optimisation.”
If these were my only five links my text link count would look like this:-
Search = 4
engine = 3
Optimisation = 4
page = 1
on = 1
specialist = 1
google = 1
organic = 1
As you can see there is a strong emphasis on the top 3 which increases my sites relevancy. Keep doing this with different “search engine optimisation” variations and you will build solid authority.
In my opinion if Google did not want you to use it, why would they weigh it so heavily.
Low Quality Links
When were talking about low quality links what we mean is back links from pages with little or no PageRank and little or no relevance. Typically directories, forum and blog comments are considered to be low quality with article submissions only slightly better due to high relevancy.
These type of links pass on very little in the way of PageRank alone, however they give you an ideal opportunity to build your keyword theme by anchoring the text. Notice I said they carry very little PageRank “alone” and I did this on purpose as a lot of these kind of links can and will build your PageRank. You see even a PR 0 page carries some PR when linked from.
Again when I started this blog and researched my competition, I found out that on average 95% of links pointing to the top sites were from low PR pages, however they had
20,000 of them and had a personal PageRank of 5.
So to sum up this whole post, directories work and help build your keyword theme and PR, low quality links make up a vital part of any SEO campaign and anchor text is a must to rank highly but must be used correctly.
I hope this has been a worthwhile post as I was conscious that the national positions story has been written about loads of times and that’s why I wanted to focus this post on the important SEO implications rather than the dirt that has been chucked around.
Anyway until next time,
PS, I gained 10 new readers last week, so welcome aboard and I hope your enjoying the siteLine Break
Author: Tim (293 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.