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Penguin Advice



  • When you guys talk about anchor text %, would you be referring to those from domains or just pages/links?
  • Anchor text % is the percentage of external links to a page that have keywords in the anchor text. If you have 100 links to a page about blue widgets, and 20 of those links have the anchor with "blue widgets" or a variant "cheap blue widget" then your anchor text % is 20%. Google's Penguin algorithm penalizes pages and keywords that have too high of an anchor text %. The talk around the campfire is that you should keep your anchor text % under 20%. Having too high a percentage of anchor text
  • Hi @Satans_Apprentice,

    Thanks. I understand what anchor text % is. My question is whether you count the percentage from pages/links or from domain. For example, in ahrefs, this is differentiated. If you have 1000 links from one website with a particular anchor text (maybe a sidebar/wide link or something), that is going to skew your results greatly.

    I'm wondering whether you guys consider anchor text from referring pages or domains.
  • Total links. 20 links from one domain=20 links
  • edited December 2013
    "1. Do not, repeat do not, build links to your home page. Only build links to interior pages. If the home page gets penalized, the whole site gets hammered. If an interior page gets hit, only that page gets penalized. 
    2. Penguin is all about anchor text. He recommends keeping your money keyword anchors under 10%. His analysis is that the value of keyword anchors is close to zero. Google is getting its topical signals from on page seo, and on-site links.
    If you want a page to rank for multiple keywords, use them as internal anchors on your own site."

    Personally, I think these guidelines are fuzzy at best. Not trying to be a know it all but I can pull up tons of sites ranking #1 that do not follow those rules. In fact, I don't follow these rules. We need strong statistical data before it can be considered fact.

    I might consider otherwise if someone can show me a site ranking #1 for a highly competetive term with zero backlinks to the homepage.
  • goonergooner
    ^^ That's all good general advice and you are right many sites don't follow those 'rules' but still rank.
    I believe the big G has a randomness factor built into it's algorithm - So for each factor it has a +/- X% built in.

    That stops anyone completely reverse engineering the rankings and gaming the system on a massive scale. It also keeps people like us guessing and other people saying "SEO is dead let's use PPC instead" which is obviously the end goal.
  • Agree with @gooner especially the last line haha.
  • Very interesting. What would be the best way to clean up the link profile?
  • @sweeppicker I am just stating what an industry expert told me, and what I've seen happen to my site an others. 1. Every site that I know about. Including mine, that got hit by penguin had their anchor text out of whack. This shit ain't rocket science. As soon as I got my anchor text back in line, my rankings came back. This is true for everyone I know that came back from penguin. 2. Every niche is different. Different niches have different link profiles, and google knows it. 3. Do a little research on ranking factors for 2013, and you will see that people a lot smarter than I am are saying that the value of exact match anchors is almost zero. 4. I have seen penguin first hand. It shuts off the link juice for the spammy keywords to the offending page and drops in a penalty to boot. The penalty then runs downstream to your subpages that use keyword stems. If your home page gets whacked, it can take out your whole site. I have seen that too. 5. OK, you want to take me literally, fine. The real point is to be extremely careful with links to your homepage. And I am on the first page with one of my sites with 30 keywords, and only 2 are from my home page. 6. Silo architecture plays perfectly into this. If you get penalized, it only takes out a silo, not the entire site. It's like water tight doors in a ship. If you take a torpedo, you can keep the ship afloat. 7. Why in God's name do you want to roll the dice on your home page? Just because someone is getting away with it today, doesn't make it a smart strategy. In the words of Warren Buffett, if you cover your downside, the upside takes care of itself. 8. Why do you have to spam your home page? I didn't realize that the rules say that you have to blast the piss out of your home page to get ranked. 9. You can kill penguin by deleting the banned page and not doing a redirect. You can't delete your home page. If the experts are saying that anchor text isn't that valuable, and it's a wel known fact that Penguin is an overoptimization penalty that targets unnatural link profiles, why play with fire? My own strategy is to keep my exact and partial match anchors under 15% total! and to only push very high quality links to my home page.
  • @baxelu - there are 4 ways to fix a penguin penalty, 3 of which involve getting your keyword anchors down . 1. Delete links with exact match anchor text to get your anchors under 20% 2. Change the anchors to generic/naked URL. 3. Blast your site with links without keyword anchors to dilute the exact match anchors. 4. Delete the penalized page and do not redirect. You will just redirect the penalty.
  • BTW, the best part of SER is the ability to kill links thanks to the genius of @sven.
  • edited December 2013
    Thanks Satan for the tips. Much appreciated.

    It makes sens that anchor text doesn't mean as much as before. I'm sure it means a bit still. But if anchor text means very little now, it means onpage stuff probably means more. Backlinks count but Google would totally love to see your content, LSIs, etc., on your page. Don't over-optimize but have good content is probably the way to go - in addition to backlinks
  • Satans_Apprentice, I agree  about anchor text over optimization being a problem for some. However, I personally would not recommend not using powerful EM links to your homepage. These are the bread and butter of SEO. They just need to be used intelligently and conservatively. In highly fierce niches, it's downright impossible to rank #1 without using HPBLs.
  • Why not blast interior pages? It's a math game. Target an interior page the way you would your homepage. I don't understand everyone's home page addiction. On page seo is easier on interior pages. A link to an interior page counts the same as a link to the home page.
  • goonergooner
    edited December 2013
    I think there is room for both options. Blast interior pages and point high quality links in much lower doses at the homepage, i think a handful of high quality links to the homepage can only do good and the juice will flow thru to interior pages especially if the site is structured well.

    Best of both worlds.

    On a lot of client sites i was using the homepage as the SEO page, really only to save my lazy ass creating another page of content. But i think that will be off the menu from now on.

  • My main keyword just got out of 300 SERPs due to that idiot doing negative SEO. Lol, I guess I lost the battle. No matter how hard I try, he is able to build more links fast. Oh well, I've also different niches going under treatment currently and hopefully those will have less annoying morons like him.
  • Thanks @Satans_Apprentice.  Hoy sound You exactly use SER to kill those Anchor text links for you?  Or how would you change those already created anchor links into generic words?
  • edited December 2013
    Right click on project- status - remove links Problem is it tries to remove all the links it finds on the engines you have selected. I'm hoping Sven will be able tto add some filters so it will only remove the links we want so this is more useful. Like remove only links with "specific anchor text"', obl greater than x, pr below x, etc
  • I am helping a friend try and get the penalty lifted. She got stupid with her links, and her whole site tanked. She had all of her links pointed at the home page. We got penalized for exact match anchors on footer links. We do web design work for .govs, very desirable PR6 sites. They let us put footer links on the site. We put some exact match anchors on a site we built with 100 pages. The problem is, the site has a calendar function that generated 15000 pages in 6 months. So that's 15,000 exact match footer links. Fortunately, they were pointed at an interior page. We lost some major keywords and stems, but it wasn't a site wide catastrophe. We got hit hard on October 3, and it took us a week to figure it out. It never dawned on us that the website exploded to so many pages. It threw our anchor text ratio into the 80% range. Since we host the site,we went in and changed the anchors, did a fetch, and our rankings came back in about a week.
  • Tim89Tim89
    edited December 2013
    @Satans_Apprentice Two of my sites which passed all google updates this year had anchor text ratios of 40% EM and 60% generic/longtails..

    How did I remain on those top spots after the update? actually some keywords shot straight to rank 1 after the updates, and all of those sites as I said have around 40% exact match links.

    There are many, many factors involved, both you and I will never get all of those factors but I personally think there are other things to look out for than simple anchor text ratios.

    Who are google to distinguise, what's right and wrong, what's natural? A site could have 90% exact match anchors and still rank top 3 for every keyword it's targetting, I've seen sites that have 40% - 60% exact match anchors that rank.. I'm talking quite big brands, What.. has google given them immunity? don't be silly, all this talk about big brands taking over, google favouring big brands.. it's a joke, these big brands have a ton of pages, a ton of authority and this is how they react against the google algo, simple.

    You build a site as large as these brands and see where you stand.

    I think it is much more to do with the current health of your site, your site needs to be a monster of authority to surpass updates and to be immune from over optimisation penalties from penguin, meaning you need to build a shedload of links to it so it can swallow anything in its path, the more links a site has the more authority/popularity it will seem to have, heck, it will even be hard to negative SEO it if it had shitload of links.

    (for smartasses): Yea I said "the more links you have" well before anyone starts pointing fingers and saying "this site has 1 link and it beats me" This is done by tier'd link building, you can have one base backlink that has 1 million links pointing to it, in reality you have 1 back link but in theory you have 1 million and 1 backlinks.

    I mean, negative SEO does exist, right? People know exactly how to break a site right? so the easiest thing to do as a webmaster to avoid any negative seo would be to build some links, a lot of links, links are your friends.

    How you build them... now that's another story, How to avoid those annoying google filters that hit you on the head and give you a -200 slap? That's SEO.

    also, building links to your homepage is a must! Links that point to your root makes inner pages rank much easier, there are websites in my niche that have over 2 million links pointing to their homepage and then 20k - 30k pointing to their inner page.. for me to beat them I would need either over 2 million links pointing to an inner page OR 2 million links pointing to the homepage with an additional 20 - 30k links pointing to the inner page I'm trying to rank.
  • @Mike should this tool get usted only on T1? Or also t2, t3, comments, etc?
  • @Satans_Apprentice How similar. I did some of the designing work in past too and got a site slightly slapped/penalized because of it. However in my case, it was in huge amount of links (20-30K+).

    Anyway, I'm thinking to try to build links to inner pages now as well. So wanted an advise from you and many others here. Let's say I'm building or creating a project in SER that will create backlinks for:

    Then would you recommend me to create tiers to it or just leave it without tiers? And what type of properties would you use? Just contextual or mix and such?

  • Always tiers. I do it like this: Tier 1: all contextual (articles, social network, wiki, Web 2.0, SerEngines, Rankwyz) PR 3+ Tier 2 Contextual: same as Tier 1, PR1+ Tier 2 junk: kitchen sink, everything except contextual Tier 3 Contextual: same as tier 2, no restrictions Tier 3 junk: same as tier 2, no restrictions I always build links to contextual properties.
  • @Satans_Apprentice That does get costly (in time and # of projects) if you have lots of blog posts and quite a number of blogs isn't it?
  • Yes. You are looking at 5 projects per page instead of 3(assuming you are doing 3 tiers) This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The more projects you have, the better your LPM, to a point. Once you hit a certain threshold, then it levels off. There are 2 problems with all-in one projects. The first is that you won't get as many contextual links. The second, is that you will be building tiers on junk. Very unnatural, and very inefficient. Junk isn't worth much. So why do I want to build links to it. You could build your projects to target multiple pages
  • @Satans_Apprentice No, I actually do 6 per each site, so it's usual for me. I was talking about rise in # of projects considering the # of posts on a blog, that's it. Thanks for the info, will take it in mind.

  • @Satans_Apprentice so for cleaning link profile I should erase links on T1 only? Or should I delete everything on all tiers?
  • @TIm89. Could not have said it better myself.
  • Controlling your tier 1 Links is the key. If you disconnect Tier 1, you are done. After you disconnect them, I would run them through an indexer.
  • ronron
    It's an interesting debate. I am playing it two different ways.

    For serious affiliate sites (multiple silo), I treat them the same as a corporate site. Ton of branding and URL links. In fact, I'm at zero for a straight up exact match anchor as I have branding wrapped in there. My ultimate goal in all of this is to take it extra, extra slow, where I can always get more aggressive down the road. Also using high PR sparingly as exact match at the silos. I am seeing very positive results (but slow), and that is ok with me. In this environment, rushing to make revenue can be a rush to get smacked.

    On the small affiliate sites, I am trying all sorts of degrees of aggressiveness. I know there are plenty of sites ranking with high anchor least until the next update. That's the perverted part about it. It can look like a total winning strategy, and then the hammer comes. So I have a mindset that it will be almost impossible to avoid the filters for a long time. So I am varying the % of anchor text with each different site. I would love to calculate the optimal method in this environment to have a shorter run with a site, and still make decent money per site. Also, just like always, a % of your sites will never rank for no good reason.

    I would like to know if anybody has actually tried the link removal tool?????

    I would be very, very careful mentioning this as a solution to a T1 that is infected. If it does remove them, then that solves the problem. But for some reason I have my doubts that this really works. So until somebody can definitively say that they tried it and it works, I would not be counting on that as an escape hatch.
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