Penguin update kills the anchor text boostIt seems like many in the world of search engine optimization have been worried about the now less-than-recent Penguin update to Google. If you need a refresher on Penguin, it’s the April 12, 2012 update to the popular search engine that made it harder for black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing to succeed at rising in the search rankings. One of the side effects of the Penguin Update was that anchor text ceased to be as useful as it had been. But anchor text isn’t dead; it’s just a little different now.

Dropping the Anchor Text

It’s no big reveal that Penguin affected the efficacy of anchor text, knocking down many sites in the search ratings as a result. Many have found that their search traffic has declined, generally around April 24th, 2012 – the date Penguin was implemented into the Google search engine.

The change to Google’s reaction to SEO techniques like anchor text was a shift of huge proportions to SEO experts who’d been using anchor text for years. This change in policy basically led to a bit of a mad scramble in the SEO community, with some even calling it the death of anchor text, but it’s not anywhere near that radical.

Post-Penguin Strategy

The main way to build effective anchor text in the world of post-Penguin search can be simply stated: play fair. Over-stuffing or other keyword cheats are less loved by Google now, so don’t follow these strategies, don’t cheat, and be honest with your anchor text.

So far, Search Engine Journal has summed up the strategy best with:

  • “Having a strong authority will help you rank for your keywords regardless of how often you use them as anchor text.
  • Don’t want to tip off Google by using the exact keyword phrase you want to rank for in your anchor text? Mix it in with your brand name or other long-tail keywords. Also target single and plural forms as needed.
  • Make sure your brand / business name gets a good majority of your anchor text.
  • Exact match domains are still okay if the content on them is quality.
  • Some industries and related keywords can be completely unpredictable when it comes to the number of links needed to rank at the top of search results.”

Along with anchor text, there are other methods to building Penguin-friendly SEO, including the concept of link citations that Ross discussed in another CEM blog. Co-citation has been well received as the SEO method of the future when it comes to links, so you’ll want to make it a part of your strategy in the present and get in ahead of the curve.

Following these simple rules will help your anchor text function properly in a post-Penguin search world.

How are you prepared for the world of post-Penguin search?