I normally hate "Things I will do differently in 2013" type posts.
As a result here are my quick tips on anchor text links for 2013:
1. No Anchors to the home page
Both Panda and Penguin are penalties that can really mess up a site, there are ways to recover, one of which is 404 the hit pages. If you over do anchors to home, you can’t easily get out of it.
If you have overdone anchor links to a home page, you want to start tipping the balance in favour of the brand.
2. No hard Anchors
Basically try and not use Exact Match KW anchors. Penguin seems to target these a lot. And are a glaring signal. I aim to use a mixture of Long Tail Link Building and blended anchor links.
Blended anchors is a term I created to reflect anchors that are mixed in with common terms such as “we, us, you, and,” etc.
So for example, for “Car Insurance” the anchor would be: Sentence: “When you are young and drive a car, your insurance would be high” Anchor: “drive a car, your insurance”.
3. Branded links to deep content
In order to mix up your signals, try and get branded or brand+anchors into deep content. The more natural the anchor looks, the less riskier it is.
4. No anchors on fresh content
In some instances, especially with new sites / pages / content, I am going to try and get no anchors, and go more for “Click Here” “see the site” “more information”.
Theoretically these links may not help rank for the target, but will strengthen the site. One test I ran, I used this strategy on a new affiliate site – threw up 10-15 links with those types of anchors - the site got onto page two, and stayed there.
I then acquired ONE exact match anchor from a good source. It popped the site to the first page and still sits there.
5. Keeping an eye on Exact match anchors vs non KW anchors
If I have built high volume exact match anchors in the past, am working hard to get in a whole mix of non KW anchors to sway the percentage mix.
Hide the target. Protect the target.
I am pretty sure that Google will target guest posting soon. As a result, am staying away from "author signature" / profile links at the end of the post as link building tactics.
If it isn’t in the main body, I don’t want it. Dont get me wrong, these are essential for authors to have, who want to build their profiles up, but from an SEO point of view, their life is now limited due to over abuse.
If a site doesn’t meet my target's context, I am going to try and stay away from it, or blend the link to fit the context.
So say there is a blog about arts and crafts. A link to car insurance from this site is a no no. On the other hand, link to a retail site, eg fashion, might just fit in “I got this idea when I looked at maxi dresses at ASOS” (where the link is “maxi dresses at ASOS”).
I hope the above thoughts are useful, most of them are built around micro experiments, speaking to people hurt in the last few rounds of penalties, and a lot from simply observation and personal experience.
Image credit: ellbrown via Flickr