How to Avoid Anchor Text Over-Optimization for Better SEO

“How can I deal with anchor text over-optimization?” is a question I hear from many clients.

What is anchor text over-optimization?

Let’s have a look at an example. Assume you’re attempting to rank a web page for “best clipless pedal,” and you’ve sent several links. You create multiple links with the exact target anchor text – “best clipless pedal,” “top clipless pedal,” “clipless pedal review” – over and over again. Using this strategy made your link building look completely unnatural.

Do you remember Google’s Penguin update? Penguin is an algorithm that was developed a long time ago. It looks for unnatural link-building patterns and over-optimization of anchor text. You’ll get caught in the SERPs if you use these types of “unnatural” patterns.

Instead, it would be best to aim for a well-balanced, realistic anchor text distribution.

Sure, you’ll have some target anchor text for “best clipless pedal” or whatever keyword you want to rank. You do, however, have some branded anchor text, possibly a URL, and a “click here” or “read more” button. Essentially, you want to create a plausible scenario.

Another reason anchor text over-optimization is so popular is because of a widespread misunderstanding. The Penguin algorithm, you see, works on a page-by-page basis. As a result, it’s better to use a mix of anchor text for each page you’re trying to rank.

Assume I used wonderful, rounded, realistic branded anchor text to establish several links to my home page. The inner page I’m trying to rank for “best clipless pedal” is unaffected in this circumstance. It’s looked at page by page.

So, what are our options for dealing with this challenge? We can choose between two distinct strategies. A dilution strategy is the first, while a remove-and-replace strategy is the second.

Let’s get into both.

You use the dilution strategy to add more links to your existing links to make your ratios look more realistic. This method works effectively if you only have a few links to the URL.

Now, assume I created three links to my “best clipless pedal” page. “Best clipless pedal,” “top clipless pedal,” and “clipless pedal review” are all incredibly targeted anchor text. It’s a touch over-optimized, to be honest. So, I’d like to construct seven more links. After that, I’d have a 30% target anchor text.

This method works well when only a few links are available. What if I already had 30 target anchor text links pointing to this URL? I’ll need to construct 70 links to reach the 30% target anchor text. No, dilution is no longer effective in this situation.

When cleaning up an anchor text profile, I almost always use the remove-and-replace technique. It’s relatively straightforward. This method entails deleting old links and replacing them with new ones with a more branded and realistic anchor text distribution.

Now I understand: You naturally created, acquired, and received these links. It’s difficult to let go of things no matter how you gain them. It’s perplexing that you’d want to get rid of them. The only thing I can say is that if you’re very over-optimized, it’s your anchor text ratio that’s holding you back. It will be much faster to lose a link here and there and get to an appropriate anchor text.

Now, everyone has spammy links going to their website. Maybe they came in naturally, or some web crawler built them automatically. You can always prune links. And those will be the first to remove to get rid of some of the target anchor text. Or maybe you did some ninja strategy back in the day, and now those once-good links aren’t up to today’s standards. You might be able to remove some of those links as well.

Finally, if you’re really concerned about not losing any links, you can try changing the anchor text. You might try contacting webmasters and asking, “Hey, could you please change this link from this to this?”

If you choose to go this way, use caution. It does appear to be spammy. After all, why should you have any say in the anchor text that other people presumably use to link to you? So, if you choose this path, take it slow. Don’t go too fast with this method. To keep things extremely safe, do it a little bit here and there.

I hope this article has helped you grasp the concept of over-optimization. If it did, keep an eye on my blog for other backlinks and SEO advice.

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About Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs, a San Antonio-based Digital Marketing Strategist, empowers local businesses with tailored AI and marketing solutions. Passionate about innovation and growth, he's your key to online success. Connect with Brian today.