Google Penguin & Anchor Text
After every major Google algorithm update comes the inevitable question, ‘How does this affect the SEO tactics I’m using?’ With Google scattering minor algorithm updates around the major Penguin update, this question becomes more difficult to decipher. Avoiding black hat tactics is the easy part, but what about the gray hat tactics that could lead to your website to being penalized? Many webmasters don’t realize the effects of these updates on their anchor text and linking strategy. If you’ve focused most of your effort on promoting exact match anchor text (your exact keyword phrase), you need to read this article and adjust your strategy immediately.
The demise of the exact match anchor text
Microsite Masters studied thousands of websites to determine if websites that saw decreases in their rankings after the Penguin update had a high percentage of exact match anchor text (target keywords you are trying to rank for in the search results) vs. websites with more diversified and ‘natural’ anchor texts (such as branded keywords, “click here” and other non-target keywords). The results, I’m afraid, were exactly as I had feared. Penalized websites used their target keywords for more than 65% of their anchor text for their inbound links. Note, this may have been a combination of both Penguin and other minor algorithm updates, rather than just Penguin alone…..