SEO

Post-Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth

If your rankings haven’t recovered from Google Penguin yet, you’re looking for answers. By now, you’ve cleaned up onsite keyword spam, you’ve stopped participating in blog networks, and you’ve read a ton of articles about how to recover from Penguin, but nothing is working. The fortunate reality is that Penguin is simply an algorithm; a mathematical calculation that factors in different data sets to result in a “score” which is used to rank every Website you see in the search results. The first step to beating this algorithm is to understand it.

Understanding Google Penguin

The primary method by which Penguin operates is by examining your inbound link profile metrics to detect what it deems to be “unnatural” activity, and the main signal of unnatural activity appears to revolve around anchor text. As such, if you’ve been hit by Penguin, then it’s likely due to an over-optimized inbound link profile, as determined by the distribution ratio of the anchor text in your inbound link profile.

So, what does a Penguin-affected site’s inbound link profile anchor text distribution look like?

Penguin affected site%E2%80%99s inbound link profile Post Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth

Can you guess what anchors are represented by the big pieces of this pie? Exact-match keyword anchor text for money keywords. This is the type of link profile that would have performed extremely well prior to Google Penguin, but it’s deadly post-Penguin since it lacks diversity, as over 75% of its inbound links are divided into 4 separate anchor texts. This is a big signal to Google of link profile manipulation.

Here’s what a healthy inbound link profile looks like:

healthy inbound link profile Post Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth

This anchor text distribution is much more diversified, but there are still some big pieces to this pie. So, what are those? There are 4 main anchor types that typically comprise the largest portion of an inbound link profile anchor text distribution ratio:

  • Naked URLs consist of some variation of the actual URL of the link destination. This can be an internal page or, more commonly, the home page. Naked URLs are the strongest signal to Google of a “natural” inbound link profile and typically comprise the majority percentage of anchor text distribution in healthy websites. Examples include searchenginejournal.com, http://www.searchenginejournal.com, www.searchenginejournal.com, and http://searchenginejournal.com.
  • Brand Anchors consist of some variation of the brand name of the destination website. Even small variations such as differences in capitalization are noted by search engines. Examples include Search Engine Journal, SearchEngineJournal, Search engine journal, and SEJ.
  • Brand-keyword hybrid anchors consist of some variation of the brand name of the destination website mixed with a relevant exact-match or LSI (latent semantic indexing, which is just a fancy term for “related”) keyword. Examples include SEO blog Search Engine Journal, Search Blog Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Journal, a search blog.
  • Universal/junk anchors consist of words that can apply to any destination website, or are universal in nature, such as “click here,”  “visit this website,” and “here.” They are commonly known as “junk” anchors because, prior to Google Penguin, SEOs and webmasters used to try to avoid these types of anchors since they passed no signals of relevance to the destination website. Oh, how the tables have turned.

Most of the healthy pie slices you see above consist of variations of these four types of anchor texts. As you move forward with your inbound link building strategy, resist the urge to rack up keyword-rich links (which was pre-Penguin best practice) and instead pick one of the four anchor types above.

Your first step, however, should be to audit your inbound link profile using a tool like Majestic SEO or Open Site Explorer, with the goal of determining your existing inbound link profile anchor text distribution. Once you know your current anchor text distribution, you have two options for adjusting it: Delete or dilute. Essentially, you can engage in a link removal campaign, and/or build new links to dilute your overall inbound link profile, which will bring down the ratio of all offending anchor texts. I recommend a two-pronged approach for maximum benefit, in which you execute both strategies simultaneously.

Once you realize that you’re up against a mathematical algorithm, it stands to reason that gathering intelligence and engaging in some strategic addition and subtraction is all you really need to recover from Google Penguin. If the penguin hasn’t released you from its clutches yet, don’t give up; positive energy in will yield positive results. Good luck!

 Post Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.
 Post Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth

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96 thoughts on “Post-Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth

  1. Which of the two parameters is best to consider? Which of the two must be “diluted”?

    Linking Root Domains
    Containing Anchor Text

    OR

    Links Containing
    This Anchor Text

    Thanks.

  2. Absolutely true. First impression is that’s very simple to have this keyword diversification done, but somehow people avoid to do that and I think thats because they use to do that using different software to speed up the work, when for a better result it should be done manually.

  3. The latter — Links containing this anchor text. Many links with the same anchor text from the same domain aren’t as bad as many links from different domains containing the same anchor text, but it can still hurt you.

    Regards,

    -Jayson

  4. i was wondering if nofollow links are taken into consideration for the “penguin ratio” ? Or does google only consider dofollow links ?
    Because nofollow links are counted but don’t give any juice, the might still be valid for the “penguin %” rule ?

    Thanks

    1. For a long time I could not understand why a site I own in a very small and specific niche was hit by Penguin. It had a diverse link profile with different link types and low exact match keyword anchors. In fact about 70% of the anchors used naked URLs.

      yet, I was seeing sites that used exact match anchors way more than my site ranking high (my site went from position 1 to no man’s land).

      After a lot of research looking at other markets I have come to the conclusion that Penguin does not count nofollow links. When I ignored the nofollow links in my site’s backlink profile and only counted the dofollow the site’s link profile looked completely different!

      Almost all of the URL links were nofollow but every one of the exact match anchor links were dofollow. When I looked at the high ranking sites that had a heavy use of exact match anchors I found the opposite – almost all of them were nofollow.

      Although this is no conclusive (As you would really need to run a test on many hundreds of sites across multiple markets rather than the dozen or so I looked at) it is a strong indication that the Penguin ignores nofollow as far as anchor text goes.

      Anyone any thoughts on this or research they would like to share?

  5. I appreciate your analysis but I think blogs like this really just serve to oversimplify the problem. For example, it’s been speculated that anchor text over optimization was the cause of a Penguin penalty since just over a week after the first update was rolled out:

    http://www.micrositemasters.com/blog/penguin-analysis-seo-isnt-dead-but-you-need-to-act-smarter-and-5-easy-ways-to-do-so/

    Yet, I still see sites ranking highly with a higher percentage of exact match anchor text than certain people are saying is ‘natural’. After the next Penguin refresh, some Webmasters who had diversified their anchor text to meet certain targeted percentages that had been recommended in certain SEO blogs they’ve read failed to see their rankings return.

    I just don’t think we should be identifying casual trends from relatively miniscule data sets (compared to what Google have) and implying that these trends are causing a reaction. It may well be the case that anchor text over optimisation is the one of the main factors Penguin looks at, but there are potentially hundreds of other factors being analysed to determine the quality of a link profile that we don’t know about – these other factors may be more or less important that anchor text over optimisation. I’m certainly confident enough to say that diversifying or diluting anchor text won’t necessarily guarantee your site will recover.

    Also, let me just say thanks for not speculating at figures in the article. I have read numerous blogs that say you need ‘X’ number of brand anchors to recover from Penguin or ‘X’ number of naked URLs to recover, and that is pretty terrible advice. Every SERP is different.

    Anyway, I guess I’m just playing devil’s advocate a bit here, I really do appreciate the blog and the fact that you’ve shown some real world evidence :)

    1. Hi Rory,

      Thanks for your comment! I wrote this post based on a trend that I have seen many, many times over the course of many link profile audits. So while correlation doesn’t equal causation, I do think this trend is significantly related to Penguinization. However, I agree with you that this is definitely not the only factor. Time will tell what all the factors are, but for now I hope this analysis sheds some light on at least one of them =)

      Cheers,

      -Jayson

  6. Nice approach Jason, I have always been under the impression that search engines are looking to see a large amount of both “brand match” and “naked URL” anchor text.

    When you look at completely natural anchor text, 80% of the time this is what’s going to be used.

    1. Thanks Ben! Yeah, brand match and naked URL anchors are by far the most heavily used anchors in “natural” inbound link profiles.

      -Jayson

  7. Nice rundown. I just recently got into to this game called SEO, and I have to say that I feel a bit lucky because this Penguin thingy sure seems like messing up a lot of rankings. Diversified link profile it is then.

    1. Yeah, you should consider yourself lucky that you got into SEO post-Penguin. It really changed the rules of the game!

      -Jayson

  8. My rule of thumb is that if you are allowed two links somewhere make one of them the naked URL or your brand. This will help keep things balanced and stop exact match anchor text from becoming the majority of your link profile. And keep switching up your anchor text!

    1. Hi Nick,

      Yeah, it’s good to mix it up and include naked URLs when you can. However, I’m not so sure about the value of including two links to the same destination URL on one page. I think in order to get value from the second link, it needs to point to a different destination URL. So, one should go to the homepage (probably your naked URL) and the other to an internal page with appropriate anchor text which may be an LSI term.

      -Jayson

      1. This is correct. If two links exist on the same page to the same URL Google will favour the first of these links. As Jayson said, the second link should ideally point to a second URL to maximise the potential link equity.

        Great post by the way Jayson!

        -Chris

      2. It is true that Google will only favour the first of these links.

        However, if you append an anchor to the end of the url of the second link the search engine spider will follow both and you will gain some juice for both links. For example:

        First Link – a href=”www.example.com”…
        Second Link -a href=”www.example.com#text”…

        By using anchors duplicate content is avoided despite the two different urls and it is possibly to gain points for two links to the one url.

        I’ll try and find the original article which explains it if I can find it again…

        Great post Jayson!

  9. “Naked URLs are the strongest signal to Google of a “natural” inbound link profile”

    Do you have evidence (other than correlation) to show that naked url links are the single strongest factor Google looks at to determine whether a link profile is natural or not? I agree that it is A factor, but would be interested in hearing your sources/logic for the above statement. :-)

    1. Sorry to butt in on this conversation (I’m sure the author of the post will have a much more valid point to make than mine!) but I think looking for incontrovertible evidence or ‘proof’ is pretty redundant on a matter like this. As far as I’m concerned (and I could be wrong), it is practically impossible to create a vacuum that can’t be affected by external factors across a big enough data set to prove to what extent a certain factor affects the algorithm or contributes to the triggering/recovering of a penalty.

      Unless Google explicitly state something (and even that doesn’t necessarily prove it) all we really have to work on as SEOs is correlation. The author said in response to my post above that he recognises correlation doesn’t equal causation, but in his data set he identified this trend that indicated naked URLs were an important part of what qualifies as a ‘natural’ link profile. All we can do, in my eyes, is test that theory across the data that we have access to and draw our own conclusions. But as Adam said, it would be a bit better to know about the size and quantity of sites the author used to draw these conclusions!

      Again, sorry to butt in the conversation, but discussions like this fascinate me! Will be interesting to hear what the author says :)

      1. Rory and Adam,

        Since Penguin was released on April 24th, I have done around 50 inbound link profile audits for my own properties as well as my clients’. During those audits I would compare the inbound link profile anchor text distribution to those of healthy sites that were sitting at #1 for their keywords. That’s when I noticed the “naked URL” trend. Healthy sites had tons of them, and Penguinized sites had nearly none.

        I can’t prove that it’s the single strongest factor that Google looks at, but it was the strongest correlation I found during my link profile audits.

        Hope that helps!

        -Jayson

      2. Jayson, thanks – did you also compare non-url branded anchor texts?

        Example for walmart’s website
        non-url branded anchor text: “Walmart” or “Wal mart, llc”
        Naked url anchor text: “walmart.com” or “www.walmart.com”

  10. Very nice post Jayson !! I believed my site was hit unnecessarily since I had only 7-8% contribution of money keywords, but looking at the pie chart, I saw the full picture. I started the “dilute campaign” as I call it, and I am witnessing a small but significant change in my page impressions daily. Thumbs up for “delete or dilute” !!!

  11. Hi Jayson,
    I am exactly following the same method that you have given on a website which is under penalty by Google penguin.
    Can you tell me the how Google will take it as inbound non follow links and do follow links? and what happens if no-follow links are more than do follow links? which this ll affect the site?

    1. Hi Rohan,

      You should aim for 5-15% nofollow links, and the rest dofollow. That appears to be the proper ratio, from what I’ve seen. However, I’ve seen a lot of contradiction to that theory by other sources. For example, one source claimed that sites with below 20% nofollow links were much more likely to be penalized by Penguin. However, a close friend of mine pointed out that only about 2% of all the links on the internet are nofollow, and therefore you should also have around 2% nofollow links in your inbound link profile.

      I just try not to worry about it; there is so much contradictory data out there that I think you’re better off not counting your nofollow ratio, and rather dedicate that time to building more links, regardless of whether they are follow or nofollow.

      1. Thank you for the explanation,
        I have another question, As you said in the article, that small variations can be done for anchor text as ‘capitalization’ so is this mean search engine is case sensitive towards keyword? or it is only for the links in search engines? and ll it affects the keyword rankings in Google?

      2. Hi Rohan,

        Yes, search engines pay attention to capitalization in order to detect variation in anchor text. This variation is a key signal of natural-ness.

  12. It’s kind of sad to think of all the billions of URL’s that will be deliberately built with Universal/Junk anchors in the months and years ahead through automation. I’ve seen mile-long Spintax strings of {this site|that thing|anything|everything|nothing|here|there|anywhere}… being offered up as a ‘Dilution-Solution’. Just cut and paste and SLAM away. Ugh!

    I never was one to think there was ONE magic keyword – always targeted a broad-range from the get-go to see what sticks. But it still didn’t save my bacon – definitely other factors at work _besides just_ Naked and Branding.

    Oh, who knew Pengin’s had such SHARP TEETH!?!

    1. Agreed — Google has necessitated more unnatural link building to recover from previous unnatural link building. In all honesty, that’s just the way it is in the SEO industry. SEOs vs. search engine algorithms. Always has been that way, and always will be.

      -Jayson

  13. Do you know where I can find an excel formula I can drop in to use to get percentages from Open Site Explorer?

  14. Actually, if you have installed the Google Webmaster Tools in your website, you can easily download all of the backlinks pointing to your website and it is much easier as well compared to other tools.. Thanks for the information!

    1. Hi Greg,

      Yes, I’ve found this method to beunreliable, though. It works well sometimes, and other times it doesn’t. Your best bet is to combine the data you get from WMT with data from OSE or Majestic.

      -Jayson

  15. Hi Jason,

    Can you you please tell me exactly which tool did you use to create that link profile diagram? I believe it is either OSE or SeoMoz but which exact tool within either of these did you use. That would be really helpful.

  16. The question is if we can not delete these links, or do not know if we have them, creating new links will also serve to invalidate the old ones?

    1. In theory, yes. That’s because new links carry more weight than old links. Fresher, newer votes carry more weight than stale votes (links).

      -Jayson

      1. Hi Jayson,

        Are you sure of that point ? I definitely came to the opposite conclusion when analysing datas of hundreds of websites we’re following (since 2002 for the oldest ones).

        I’m also very surprised no one talked about relevancy.

        – Francky

      2. hi all,
        great post, i am doing a link audit and this article is pretty useful, but i am concern about relevancy.

        I think is the second important key point to analyze link, i mean if i get a link from a blog about geek & technology but i am a travel site..I think is clearly unnatural.

        What you think?,

        Especially if the blog is a microsite from a web agency that accept any article or like in Italy is full ( a blog when people fill the content anf the owner get cash from adsense).

        I would combine both anchor link analysis & relevancy of the link/blog

        Thanks.

        damiano

  17. Hi there,

    Great post!

    I have recently been approached by a company looking to do some SEO work for them, having had a look at their link profile, they had being using a lot of exact match anchor and have seen a drop in the rankings, no surprise there.

    I was thinking of asking the website where they have placed these links and changing them, so there is a mixture of exact, phrase, brand etc, they have links on good websites, what do you think? would this be best practice? or just leave these as they are and start building fresh links?

    Kind Regards

    1. I’d try to get the anchor text changed to a mixture of anchors, as you suggested. I’ve seen that tactic have great results for some of my clients.

      -Jayson

  18. Hi Jayson. Longtime no hear! Update for you. We began the removal of sitewides and exact match from sites who would let us, or responded to our e mails. So we diluted and deleted since the last Penguin and Panda updates. Deletion was by use of press releases and other law sites who liked some of our articles and linked out to us. They used partial branding and nakeds primarily. We also improved our LSI onsite and started the removal of keyword stuffing on site. Then over the last few days, we got clobbered for the terms “Los Angeles personal injury attorneys” over the last few days, and came up for some national keywords we did not do SEO on. We also came up for “accident” related terms we had done LSI on, as our site was and still is, in many respects, onsite overoptimized. I did an a hrefs and noticed that I have an unusually high number of internal exact match for that term “Los Angeles personal injury attorneys”. So it appears that onsite is a big factor too. I am also seeing child pages of other sites beating many home pages of other sites for money words.

    1. Hi Michael! Thanks for the update. Right around June 19th there was an unannounced update by Google that’s come to being known as “Bigfoot.” This update apparently made a significant change to the way the algorithm calculates rankings due to correlation of onsite signals and inbound links. It’s now imperative that inbound link content matches the signals of the destination page, or else the link is essentially disqualified.

      So it makes sense that you’re seeing onsite SEO as a big factor now.

      1. Ok. Yeah I heard about that. But from est August 6-9, my site’s home page tanked for all the “personal injury” local “los angeles” terms to page 3, right after it partially corrected itself for the local and general “accident/los angeles terms” I had been doing LSI adding and KW stuffing removal and replacement for a few months. BTW, I noticed a typo above. We accomplished, and still are working on it, by “diluting” with press releases. The deletion was/is much harder. Sitewides are the main issue. One case in point, was a British site that sold us a CSS template years ago, who was nice enough to throw up anchor text of “personal injury attorney” along with contextual text pointing out who we are, what we do, etc.. So that gave us about 100,000 SW backlinks, and made us a competitor spam report away from obliteration. Get it? So after multiple e-mails, tracing his blog network and use of who is data, for each domain, I was able to trace the site owner all the way to his new job. He was not managing or updating this old, crusty, PR6 HIGH traffic template site. He finally removed my data. Weeks later, we noticed that we lost all that great traffic. (This guy was so pissed at all my calls and e mails to everyone in the world connected to him, for over a month, he was not willing to ad no follow. He wanted me gone. Moral of the story is, you can delete, but you should immediately start to dilute both on and off site. Come and join us as a guest speaker on G+ at the Circle of Legal Trust Jayson. Many many attorneys there who were effected by this would love to hear what you have to say in a live hangout.

  19. wow! i am feeling proud because even before penguin i never did such thing, and in fact i always hated these type of junk anchors. it looks spammy. thanks Jayson for explaining in such details,

  20. @Jayson: Posts like Hasan’s are exactly why we have the no follow attribute. Anyways, I lost your e mail, but the Places Page is: https://plus.google.com/b/117024902550080659048/117024902550080659048/about

    The Blog is: http://circleoflegaltrust.com/

    We already have a guest speaker this week. But I would love it if you would attend and add to the conversation on attorney search on Friday at 8:00 am pacific. Just add the trust circle and we will update you as to the post we will hang out on and invite you.

    1. Thanks Michael! I’m now following the circle of trust. Feel free to let me know if you’d like me to come on as a speaker.

      -Jayson

  21. would it be fine if i diversify the % of my anchor text?
    for example,
    25% brand name,
    25% brand url,
    25% brand keyword,
    15% exact keyword,
    10% junk keyword

    1. I think that looks just fine, though 15% exact match keyword might be too high. Still hard to know what a good ratio is, but to play it safe I’d probably not do more than 5%.

  22. I have a selection of sites, the strange thing is, the natural site got hit with panda, whereas my other site that has high anchor ratios seems to rank well. But I understand that anchor text distribution is important.

  23. Hi Jason,
    Hope you are doing good…! Your article has good information. This information is new for me i never used keywords like this. Now i have totally changed my strategy according to your article. Here is my strategy, Can you tell me about my following strategy will work or not?

    30% brand name———–The Example Website
    30% brand url—————theexamplewebsite.com
    25% brand keyword——-SEO Solutions, Cheap SEO Solutions
    05% exact keyword ——–Cheap SEO
    10% junk keyword———click here, more info, visit website etc

    i placed all above links in directories, bookmarking, forums posting and article submissions. i placed one article per article directory and guest posting as well.

    which things i will do and which will not do ???

    Thanks Abdullah

    1. Hi Abdullah,

      Thanks for your comment! I think you’ve got a good anchor ratio list there, but I would stay away from directories, forum posting, and article submissions. In my experience, those things just don’t work anymore. Instead, go for guest blog posts.

      -Jayson

  24. Stay away from directories, forum posting and article submissions???

    Dude, are you serious?

    Some of the best traffic, (and backlinks) you can get are from forums. Take a look at any natural link profile, they’re FULL of forum links. As for article submissions, I get a decent portion of my traffic from article directories. And lastly, I’ve experienced excellent results from submitting to directories such as Yahoo, Joe Ant, and Goguides. (As well as a bunch of others)

    This isn’t based off “theory” . I track and measure EVERYTHING, so I know what works, and what doesn’t.

    1. Forum posting can be worthwhile from a referral traffic perspective, but the value of the individual links is nearly worthless; most forums nofollow their links anyway.

      If you’re getting referral traffic from article directories, that’s awesome; according to my data, the value of their links has been vastly reduced post-penguin and many of them were hit by Panda/Penguin, meaning referral traffic took a huge hit as well.

      Regarding directory submissions, there’s a big difference between Yahoo vs. the kind of spammy directory submissions that most folks do on a mass scale. Just depends on how you define and execute it.

      1. “…the value of the individual links is nearly worthless”

        I disagree. While I can understand your point strictly from an SEO point of view ….at what point do we shift our mindset away from ‘just building links’ to getting REAL people to our sites? This is the problem that has led to such dramatic updates by Google. To me a link placed on a live forum where REAL people are interacting and actively involved is far from worthless regardless of whether or not its dofollow or nofollow.

        Not arguing the point, just voicing my thoughts.

  25. Big Thanks Jaysan, But only Guest blogging is very difficult and its never get google first page results . Its very hard to do this. How much we get dofollow and nofollow links what % tage between them.

  26. Hi Jayson DeMers ,

    My three websites are hit by penguin. I just want to know here you are saying naked URL is truth. But it’s just for penguin hit website or normal website. like my another website is not hit by penguin then if do promote them can i use naked URL.?? or just use naked URL with penguin hit websites..

  27. File this article under the keyword “duh”! I’ve seen this same near exact article on several SEO sites. Way to jump on the band wagon there gus.

    It ultimately fails because it only covers a fraction of what the root cause of a penalty could be post penguin. I wouldnt expect you to know anything about that though…writing for a blog and owning an “seo agency” are just fancy ways of saying “i dont know enough about seo to make money for myself…if i did, i’d keep my mouth shut about what I know”.

  28. I like your article but i have a question regarding exact match anchor text.
    suppose i want to get top 10 ranking for keyword”seo services india” . if i have included this keyword in title , meta description and Home page contents. and i get backlinks for this keyword using same “seo services india” anchor ,then it will be exect match ???

    If i dont use “seo services india” in title, description and home page contents. In this case will it be exact match anchor ?

  29. Hello Everyone ,

    Nice post by Jayson and the comments by other are also very helpful.

    I would like to know about placing the same URL with different Keyword in one article.

    Like how many same URL i can put in one article with the different Keyword.

    Example:
    Keyword : Internet Marketing
    Keyword: Digital Marketing
    Keyword : Online Marketing

    Can anyone tell me the above Example is valid in article.

  30. This is the most comprehensive list of ideas I have seen yet related to Penguin. Thank you so much. I am passing it on in my linkedin SEO group.

  31. This is possibly the best description of how the penguin algorithm targeted websites. I wrote a post about this a few days after the penguin update http://www.seo-services.com/the-google-over-optimization-penalty/general/ and people thought I was crazy.
    The biggest problem is that most successful websites organized their link profiles like the first example (with the majority of link text as the targeted keywords) because it worked.
    Now you have great websites that find themselves deep in the serps now. The main issue I have with penguin is that this algorithm discounts the authority of legitimate links because the whole site was flagged as over optimizing. You may have great links from prweb, prnewswire, ehow, nytimes, wsj, huffington post, etc… and they don’t seem to help anymore due to penguin.
    I have no doubt penguin needs serious adjustments still. Worst of all, I still see spammers are able to game the system just as easy as before, as long as they build natural looking anchor text distributions.
    Props on the pie charts to illustrate penguin’s aim.

  32. On thing you have not touched on is location or geo optimizing. So lets say the main website is about gutter guards. But you serve 20 towns and cites in your state. How would you SEO in this case. Based on your above strategy. Would you do everything as you explained but then have a page for each location? Say a contact page for each town or city?

    Also wondering if you can talk a bit more about internal link structure and anchor text setup.

  33. Any advice for curated contents? What’s the best links to put? I’m putting the whole article title, and linking it back to the original source for details.

  34. There’s really no such thing as anchor text per say. Simply there are two anchors that help make the core of all web links. According to them, all links start with a “source” anchor and then point to a “destination” anchor which is typically a web page of some sort..The quality and authority of links pointing to a particular page are the determinants of best ranking sites

  35. thanks Jayson , i have already read many articles on this to know the best tips or tactics to implement and run accordingly our off page marketing campaign!

  36. Really insightful post Jason.

    Many of us are in the industry beginning to get a better understanding of this dreadful Penguin because of guys like you.

    Keep up the good work.

  37. Hi Jaysan,

    What would you think of simply removing the over optimised content from the affected site?

    I have a site with a penguin penalty that I identified from reading this article and then analysing the anchor text spread in majestic. In this instance, this was my first ever experiment with SEO. I identified nine pages within a site containing tens of thousands of pages, that I decided I wanted to rank. My idea at the time was that if I placed celebrity news content within the site and SEO’d it I’d get a galactic amount of traffic. The SEO company I used at the time used a blog network, and now I have nine terms that make up 82% of the anchor text spread in the site, but which link to just nine pages that are now entirely redundant to the remainder of the site (and have been for some time). Simply put, its old content that can no longer be found except through search.

    So my question is, can I kill the over optimization simply by removing those nine pages? If the pages are not important to the site and I simply unpublish them, they become dead links.

    Could approach rather than dilution reverse a penalty?

  38. Many who used onpage and meta keyword spam have really gone scrambling for answers. I’ve had several clients that used keyword mixing software to generate content, keywords and other automated based link building techniques that have backfired and need major cleanup. My take on the issue is for people to just be honest with themselves. Spamming is a major issue and will cost a business lots of traffic, time and money. Get a professional that does manual work and stop using junk software to clutter search results with no real relevant data.

    LB

  39. I have discovered something ( i think it is actually a bug of the penguin algorythm ) , google has gone so mad on the spam fight, that they totally forgot the non spam sites :d ( i call them reversed-spam sites since they use the flaw of penguin to their advantage )
    I have discovered that if you have a site with only 2 anchors texts ( the link profile cheese would have 2 colors only ) , then you show up on page 1. Because actually your site hasn’t been flooded by backlinks galore :
    here’s one example ( the guy is first with “mac solitaire” , the funny thing is that he originally bought tons of links in sponsored reviews etc..

    https://www.majesticseo.com/reports/site-explorer?folder=&q=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fapp%2Ffull-deck-solitaire%2Fid412980789%3Fmt%3D12&IndexDataSource=F
    (i have found a boatload of examples like this one, so it is not a unique case )

    Enjoy the tip :)

  40. Hi,

    I here a lot of talk about brand name, if you have an EMD, is that seen as your brand name, for example I buy the domain whiteleathershoes.com is my brand name “White Leather Shoes” so therefore I can use that keyword legimately as an anchor? Could I also legimately use “Leather Shoes” or even “Shoes Leather”??

    I understand EMD have got devalued, but I would have thought they still carry value as they can trick the search engines into seeing a keyword as a company’s “Brand”

  41. Are there any software(s) you could recommend to someone starting out in SEO for a small business? I’m confused with the vast amounts of software for link building, keyword searching, on-site SEO optimization and others.

    That’s super a lot of tools. What do you use and are there any non-recurring ones? Am currently on Scribe SEO v4, but in terms of link building, it’s lacking. =)

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Leo,

      I don’t really recommend using software for link building; unfortunately, those days are over. It’s all about quality, hard work, and expertise now.

      Cheers,

      -Jayson

  42. ah, but how about for link analysis? I mean, software like LinkDex , Raven & CognitiveSEO among others? =)

    Also, for keyword, would you stick to Google Keyword tool, or some software? =) Appreciate the feedback

  43. I have recovered and advanced from Penguin, but still find it hard to gain links. I’m hoping since joining SEOMoz I will start gaining traction on gaining links. Since we started late in the game compared to our competition, even though our company was established long before, no one ever did anything with our website. I just hope the changes slow down so that all of us in SEO can keep up.

  44. Hi Jayson,
    Thanks for all these detailed information….really helps a lot. Is there a way to get a complete list of all inbound links to a site and the anchor text used? I tried SEOMoz but only got around 10,000 links while i have around 20k links pointing to my site.

    Thanks,
    Krishley

  45. Great article! However, I’m waiting and waiting for someone to provide the mathematical background of Penguin upade because every exper’s pie is different but so far, only visual represenations surrounding the net. Who will be the first ? :)

  46. Excellent article. I have had good results post-Penguin by splitting my links 30% naked URL, 30% Site Name and 40% spread through various other anchor text related to the articles I write. My site name is also my domain name (article-services and article-services.com) which now helps a great deal. More so it seems from my testing than pre-Penguin!

    @Peter Nisbet

  47. Your article is disappointing. Some of our sites were slammed badly by Panda and Penguin and none used anything more than organic link building which was done by the web, not efforts of ours. What you seem to be saying is that content creation is mostly worthless (a site has to have something of course), which we have found out. It’s not about creating good content unless you’ve got a ton of people to read it and then generate links. It’s all about paying people to create artificial “natural looking” links about your content. This is because after your content which used to be read is no longer read because of Panda or Penguin, there isn’t any link building since you’re no longer seen. At least I’m glad to further confirm our suspicions why many good websites are going under and search engines for search engines like boardreader and the like are dominating results.

  48. I have been using a directory submissions service for some time now- Directory Maximizer, could anyone guide me on whether link building through them is still a good idea or do I need to be much more cautious with the links that drive traffic to my site. Please help.