How to Avoid Getting Sandboxed With These Fail Safe Anchor Texts

Posted by on 24 January 2014

A couple of months ago, Google launched Penguin 1.0 resulting to thousands of blogs and websites getting de-indexed in the search engine database. The algorithm adjustment challenges many SEO techniques as well as internet marketers. The fear of backlash and recovery period also seems to discourage plenty of internet marketers. However, some have taken up the challenge and research was made on how the new algorithm affects SEO and how one can work with the changes. Although there were no particular data where a new SEO technique can survive the onslaught, one thing though seems to standout – anchor text diversity.


How the Penguin Works

The primary reason Google rolled out Penguin 1.0 and the updated 2.0 version is to weed out abuses made by excessive use of anchor text links that manipulate the search engine algorithm. Many of the sites that are notoriously using this technique were de-indexed and placed in the sandbox. With that said, anchor text link is still vital and not yet dead; in fact it only changed its main form. Many researches were conducted and although a clear “what works” is still blurred, one thing is certain – anchor text still works, but one needs a little diversification strategy to make it work.


Anchor Text Diversification

In the searches conducted by several SEO marketers, most sites that do experience a great drop from the rankings are those that have over optimized their anchor text links instead of mixing up their money keywords with a more natural mix of anchor texts. With that said, in terms of diversification, what works is that one should not use their primary keywords 100% or all the time when making links. The study also revealed what anchor type works. These include (1) brand names, (2) exact match type, (3) broad or partial match, (4) URLs, (5) non-descriptive text, (6) anchor text in different language and long tail keywords.


Exact Match/Brand Name Domains

Most websites that were not affected with the algorithm change are those sites that make use of exact match domain names where the brand is synonymous with the money keyword that they are targeting. This makes it harder for the search engine or the Penguin to determine if the text is an anchor text or a brand name of the site.  Almost 60-70% of websites that do implement this strategy have not experienced any ranking drop as opposed to those with non-exact match domains.

The use of brand names or a variation of the brand can also help SEO marketers in getting inbound traffic without being penalized by search engines. One example of keyword variation using brand name is “Aspire Designs Web Design Services”, “Aspire Designs - Web Design Company”, or “Best Web Design Company in Singapore – Aspire Designs”.


Long Tail Keywords/URLs/Partial Match Keywords

Aside from exact match anchor keywords, long tail keywords and the use of naked URLs can also help one from being sandboxed. Using these anchor text types allows for a successful diversification strategy. Others have also made use of synonyms as their anchor text. Although the number of inbound links is rather small, it can help with the diversification process.

One thing that we love doing and is in fact a great way to diversify is the use of partial match keywords which can really be helpful in targeting about 50% of the exact keywords that the website is eying for. Do consider combining two or more keywords and use as titles for articles or even pages of the website.


Non-Descriptive/Foreign Language Anchor Texts

Although generic anchor texts such as “websites”, “visit here”, “click here”, and “go to” are somewhat generic, non-descriptive anchor texts account for 1 to 5% of most companies’ diversification strategy. Although the SEO strategy is somewhat rare and not widely practiced, it can help one get links without being penalized by Google.

Another diversification strategy that would work is the use of foreign language as one’s anchor text especially if one has a multi-language website. This allows one to be able to get added inbound links without appearing to be spamming or optimizing money keywords as it is only natural for a multi-lingual site to make use of different languages for users to understand what the site is all about.


Image Anchor Texts

Many marketers know the importance of optimizing images with the anchor text links as search engines do not see the image but index the image based on the anchor text in the image. Although this SEO strategy has also been abused by some, one can also make use of this strategy to diversify their anchor texts. One can opt to use the site’s URL, anchor text or leave the alt + text empty to make it appear natural to the search engines.

These strategies are just some ways to diversify your anchor text links and can help one avoid being sandboxed by Google. Aside from these strategies, it is important to be constantly updated and always remember to keep the links diverse and add some organic links by keeping the site updated with relevant and high quality content which search engines and Google love. 


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