On April 24, 2012, Google unleashed yet another algorithm update. This one primarily focused on web spam and unnatural link schemes.
Old school backlinking strategies were rendered obsolete, in favour of relevance and natural linking.
Like the Panda update before it, this algorithm change has also taken the form of an adorable creature known as the “penguin update”. This algorithm change isn’t quite as cataclysmic as it’s predecessor.
Although, that’s not to say it’s harmless.
A few classic SEO practices have become not only devalued, but also entirely toxic to your traffic. However, other old school SEO strategies merely need to be altered a bit for optimum success.
While every algorithm update causes immense debate amongst marketers and webmasters, after the penguin update, one thing is painfully obvious: quality link building is hard work.
Is Exact Match Anchor Text Dead?
One of the most controversial post penguin subjects is exact match anchor text.
Many SEO experts are under the belief that spamming exact match anchor text is a main factor in why the traffic of many sites took such a plunge after the penguin update.
Sites that had under fifty percent of their inbound links using exact match anchor text remained untouched by Penguin. On the other hand, the majority of those sites that were punished had close to 100% of their backlinks containing anchor text that directly matched a money keyword.
Exact match anchor text is still a valuable SEO tool. However, it has now become essential to diversify your links’ anchor text and focus on the relevancy of the sites that link to yours.
How to Use Exact Match Anchor Text Effectively
A general rule of thumb is to use exact match anchor text for links coming from sites with content relative to your niche. As long as your links don’t seem horribly out of place, using exact match anchor text is still incredibly useful to SEO efforts. It would, however, be wise to pick two more sub keywords that are relative to the content of your page. This serves to be useful on multiple levels. Your link building appears more natural and niche relevant, all while bringing traffic from a variety of search terms.
Adaptation Is Key to SEO Success
This is not to say that it’s safe to bank your traffic on algorithm exploits. The future of SEO is crystal clear, relevance and usefulness will always beat out manipulative tactics. Watch this video by Google’s Matt Cutts for some useful tips on link building.
In a Nutshell…
Google has risen to dominance through offering a user experience far superior than any of its competitors.
To ensure continued success, Google is constantly evolving its search algorithms to avoid SERPs that are stale and cluttered with junk content. Internet marketers that fail to adapt will soon find themselves out of a job.
Have you been affected by Penguin’s exact match anchor text massacre? Share your experience below…