Since the Google Penguin Update, much has changed in the Search Engine Optimization landscape. Looking back, one can trace the evolution of the algorithm from discouraging certain tactics, to issuing warnings about those tactics, and then finally penalizing people who use those tactics.
Years ago, there were SEO practices that were considered commonplace but frowned upon by Google (such as buying links). Soon, Google labeled those practices as negative, in order to discourage their use. Now after Penguin, sites are being penalized for utilizing such tactics with loss of ranks and other sanctions. Buying links is certainly among these practices that were never supported, but now Google’s warnings have teeth. And while buying links is an extreme example, there are other SEO tactics that were not necessarily always considered negative practices, but they can just as counter-productive to your site’s rankings now.
Density of Keywords in Anchor Text
For example, using keywords in the direct anchor text was once standard practice. But now such a strategy must be used with caution. Over-use of the keywords in anchor text is now considered to be over-SEO’ed. If such a tactic is over-used, it can spell serious trouble for a site. disavow backlinks using google console If all of the links a website has contain direct match keyword anchor texts, Google, will likely penalize the site as a result. Why? Direct-match anchor texts are less natural in terms of readability for the end internet user, and with Penguin, Google prefers to see greater diversity in words related to the keywords both in the content and the anchor texts themselves.
This way, keywords are used more naturally and they, in conjunction with other related words, paint a picture for the reader that is not driven entirely for keyword purposes. As the Google algorithm becomes smarter with evolutions like the Google Penguin Update, what is more natural and better for the reader is also better for the SEO of the content, given the use of strategic keywords, keyword phrases, and related terms?
Quality over Quantity is a Story of Domain Authority
Since the recent Penguin Update, gone are the days when the quantity of links is most important. Quantity is still important, but quantity within the context of quality is paramount. There is much more value put on having a few high quality links than having a great number of low quality ones. From an SEO-standpoint, the idea then is to increase the number of links by keeping the quality consistently high. The quality is largely based on the domain and page authority of the sites and actual pages that the links are originating from. Sites that hold more weight in their subject category because they demonstrate fresh content, quality information, and high traffic will have a greater degree of authority than others that do not have all these positive indications of worth.
The goal ultimately is to establish relationships with these sites that supply this great content and secure posts or articles in this space and be able to send that high value back through the link. This is the preferred practice of the top SEOs since the latest evolution that took place with Penguin and its subsequent refreshes. As a result, businesses should make a strong effort to establish their links considering the domain authority of the sites they are originating from and the ways they write their anchor texts. Doing so will get you on your way to building a quality SEO strategy for ranking improvements in the current state of the industry.