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Tiered Link Building/Penguin Question For Everyone

Has anyone gotten penalized by penguin when following "Best Practices" for link building? My belief is that penguin strictly targets anchor text. Best practices, IMHO:

1. Keep Target Keyword Anchor text under 20% (10% is the new 20%)
2. Slowly grow your link velocity
3. Mix your anchor keywords
4. Heavy use of branded/generic/naked URL
5. PR1 and above at money site


  • ronron
    I'm at 0% anchor text for my keyword (on the sites I really care about). I have all important keywords surrounded by branding. The on-page and linking structure/terms completely take care of what that page is about.
  • I got slapped vrey painfully from last Penguin update and i followed best practices, and i never spammed T1 site or T2 site so hardly, T3 that is hell. 
    I was 4th on 1 page for very competitive kwd  and now im on 4th page, and i'm falling...

    I agree that anchor text have big touch with Penguin 2.1 and link velocity also, and for anchor texts i dont know any more what anchor to use as money anchor or should i even use them anymore.

    I'm paying big attention on link building speed specially from last P update i set pause SER on 15 submission /one day for T1 and 25 submission T2 i think that it is very natural.

    I have some thoughts that PR of site where i leaving link for money site shouldn't be lower than PR of money site.

    I thigtened my PR filters, bad words, country filter etc, now i have low LPM, but i think that it should be like that cos i'm targeting slow link building velocity and to be honest i'm afraid to relax my filters and pump up LPM, everything would be fine that i still don't  falling  :((

    And from last update my competitor just popup from nowhere, when i was checking his site , there is no backlinks no nothing special, on page is nothing different than mine, i don't know what is happening [-O<
  • edited November 2013
    Found a very interesting case study of 2.1:

    Worth a read.

    Tldr; Anchor text overdo's still plays a big part in getting slapped. Keeping around 10% or less is highly advisable.

    Btw, their DETOX tool seems cool as well in analyzing the bad links.
  • kajzer your competitors are building backlinks or redirecting to moneysite from their own properties. On your own site you can block ahrefs, majestic and all the other bots from spying. Try to take a look at most profitable niches and look what top 10 guys are doing and just replicate it.
  • So.. how do we actually limit anchor text % in GSA, it gives you option for everything else %, branding %, generic %, etc, but now how much % to have as anchor text.
  • @tsaimllc

    I was confused at first too in beginning and that is how I have my both no 1 page sites slapped with anchor text penalty lol, learned the hard way.

    Basically, let's say you want to have 10% of anchor text waitage for your main keyword, then you enter it in the main anchor text box and put other keywords in the remaining anchor text fields like LSI, Secondary, branding, generic, etc in such a way that the remaining portion of those makes 90%, so automatically 10% waitage is allotted to your main anchor text. And when it gets a little old, check your site stats for anchor text waitage on stats site like ahrefs and see what's the proportion and based on that %, keep adjusting.

    Hope it helps!
  • @tsaimllc - I write my main anchor text in "partial match anchor text" line and give it the percentage i want. I use other lines for secondary anchor texts etc. But I imagine that you could fill all the lines, specify percentage and whats left will be for your main anchor text.
  • Hmm, what I just tried were these settings, maybe they will do me good:
    branding - 35%
    domain - 25%
    generic - 30%

    that should leave 10% as actual anchors. HOpefully not too high for branding.
  • @tsaimllc

    I'd still consider 25% as domain to be high. Perhaps lower it a bit.

    And also branding having 35% doesn't change anything if you just have one or two keywords in it (which still means each having close to 17% waitage for it). I'd be scraping good 7-8 long tail keywords for those just to have a good variety to make it look less artificial in eyes of Google.
  • I am talking about keeping any keyword related anchors under 20% total. That is the sum of Anchors, partial match and LSI. If your keyword based anchors are over 20%, you are playing with fire. 80% should be generic, branded, and naked URLs. Google has massively devalued anchors for ranking purposes. You could probably set your keyword anchor% to zero! and it probably wouldn't hurt you. A strategy might be to make a handful of your best links (ex: Web 2.0s) using your keywords, and eliminate them from the rest.
  • ^^ totally agree. I went throught, and won, a reconsideration request... It sucked, but we found out what to fix.
  • @satans_apprentice - in which niches do you work  ? In my field all of the top players still have much more higher keyword related anchors.
  • Satans_ApprenticeSatans_Apprentice
    edited December 2013
    @rayban One thing that I wrote on another thread is that every niche has different link profiles, and Google knows it, and accounts for it. The single best thing you could probably do is to look for an authority site in your niche, and download their links from AHRefs, etc, and look at their link profile - and imitate it, but more conservatively on keyword anchors. Just because a site is #1 doesn't meant it is going to stay there after the next Penguin update, so choose wisely whom you imitate.

    In any case, well known authorities on SEO, who are a lot smarter than I am have run tests and case studies (, and have found that anchor text with keywords does not score the big points with Google any more. Google is assigning far less weight to it as a ranking signal. If exact match anchors were worth a hypothetical 10 points in 2012, now they are worth probably a hypothetical 2. 

    If you are obsessing over the upper limit of how high you should go with your anchors, you are living in 2012. Penguin changed everything!!!!! The question isn't how high, but how low.

    There are people on this forum that are still ranking with 40% or more, but it is related to their niche. 

    The point is:
    1. If Google isn't giving many bonus points for keywords in anchor text any more, and
    2. Excessive keyword anchors triggers a Penguin Penalty

    Why in the name of Matt Cutts would you want to play with fire, and jam your website full of links with exact match anchors? I just don't understand the argument.
  • Tim89Tim89
    Theories and visible proof are two different things.
  • RayBan
    Thanks on your advice...but i have done that long time ago.....and and thanks oon that i was  on first page for very competitive niche when i stared to do SEO for that site of mine.....but now there is nothing to see on ahref,majestic, scrapebox links are very low....
    first three sites there have small amount of backlinks......and they are always on top......and i'm not considered about two sites from those site making me really
    curious .... and i'm 99% sure that he is doing only manuall link building and mostly guest posting on language related sites only
    Thanks once more
  • edited January 2014
    @ Satans_Apprentice. " You could probably set your keyword anchor% to zero! and it probably wouldn't hurt you."

    Keeping your EM percentage low is a good idea but to completely get rid of it is something I would strongly disagree with. My exact match anchor text percentage sits comfortably at 5% and my phrase match is around 35% and I have a #2 ranking in my niche thanks to GSA.

    I don't consider myself an expert at all. I have been doing SEO since 2008. I have all my link building metrics saved in BackLinkMonitor which gives me a clear snapshot of all the relevant factors that can be correlated to why I am ranking or not ranking. One thing I do diligently is test to see what works and does not.  As far as I'm concerned, building very, very powerful exact match T1s is crucial to top listings.  This is the foundation of my strategy and has worked regardless of Penguin, Panda, or whatever black and white fuzzy animal you want to call it.
  • @sweeppicker: I think I may have gone a little too far saying that you don't need keyword matches. Yes, a limited amount of exact match keyword links are helpful. I've said it repeatedly, though - download your top ranking competitors' links on AHrefs and see what their profile looks like, and try and imitate it, but more conservatively on anchor text. I am working on a corporate site, so I need to be conservative.
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