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Repeated backlink anchor text.... Am I correct about the penalty?
vetofunk




msg:4371745
 3:20 am on Oct 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I am trying to help a buddy of mine. He used to rank for a very competitive term, for about 5 years. He hired some seo/link builder and eventually lost his positioning. What I am seeing is that his homepage used to rank for this keyword and he was #2, now he is on page 3 and it's an internal page showing in the results, can't find his homepage anywhere for this term, though his homepage shows up for other competitive terms.

I am thinking there is some penalty between this specific keyword and the homepage. Would this be right?

Looking at webmaster tools, he has a ton of directory links pointing to the homepage with that specific text, 100's actually, but when I look at the link report that shows what the text of the links coming into the site are, this keyword is down at 84th...which doesn't seem right. Does that make sense?

Any ideas? He is in the Christmas industry, so would be great to help him out before then if possible!

Thanks!

 

smithaa02




msg:4371880
 1:15 pm on Oct 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Could be... Lack of anchor text diversity, lack of non-home links, and low quality sites (directories) are a nasty trifecta.

Cutts made a comment a while back that spammers were actually pretty easy to find because they got so greedy. This to me suggest that link diversity and link velocity are some of the biggest flags google uses.

You might check into these 'directory sites'. Did they link to other clients of this SEO guy? Do they share whois? Share name servers? Share IP's or c-classes? Have a lot of interlinking? Share google analytic? Share WMT? Share similar domain ages? Share footer links?

What type of links were you getting? Context? Boilerplate? Was it in a list? Did these directories look spammy to a average user? Was your link near the top of these pages?

Have other clients of this seo guys been penalized?

What was his link velocity before link building? Say 5 a month...then it perhaps shot up to 50 a month during building? Google is getting good at spotting this.

vetofunk




msg:4373381
 8:48 pm on Oct 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why do you think I would see 100's of links coming into the site with "holiday widgets" by checking manually, but then when I look at the top link text being used according to Google, "holiday widgets" is actually #84 in the list.

vetofunk




msg:4373407
 9:39 pm on Oct 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

With this:

What I am seeing is that his homepage used to rank for this keyword and he was #2, now he is on page 3 and it's an internal page showing in the results, can't find his homepage anywhere for this term, though his homepage shows up for other competitive terms.

Is the best way to comb through the 100's of directory links he has pointing to the homepage with this competitive phrase and get them to remove it? Would this hopefully bounce back his homepage for the phrase?

FranticFish




msg:4373555
 8:03 am on Oct 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is the best way to comb through the 100's of directory links he has pointing to the homepage with this competitive phrase and get them to remove it? Would this hopefully bounce back his homepage for the phrase?

If it is a BLOOP (backlink over optimisation penalty) then balancing the profile until you are no longer over the line is what normally works. (Bear in mind that he may not have even stepped over the line, the line might have been moved to behind where he was standing.)

Make sure that the site is not over-optimised, and that the content, particularly on the home page, is diverse and features synonymns and related phrases.

Then go out and get high quality (i.e. not SEO directory) links on the 'brand' name (assuming this is not the top keyword).

In my experience removing SEO directory links is tricky because the mods tend to ignore emails - these sites are not exactly labours of love and they devote very little time to them. You may need to submit a paid link with a note to get their attention.

martinacastro




msg:4373880
 3:17 am on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seems that is not good.

Actually Im into a minus 50 penalization. I discover using GWT that one site was linking me with 13700 links with the same anchor. This amount of link represent the 45% of links... so I thing that is not good and you can have problems.

rannans




msg:4373919
 7:47 am on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

not that i have a penalty at all, but i always have used the same anchor text with all the free templates that i have done for the last 8 years - footer links etc

does google have a way of knowing that is legitimate repeat anchor texts ?

FranticFish




msg:4373929
 8:33 am on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

From what I can see, it's the timing that is as important as the numbers.

A sudden increase in concentrated anchor text no doubt raises a flag. Google can profile sites and determine the type of site, so if the anchor texts are from less than reputable sites then a penalty can be triggered.

Your anchor text profile sounds like it has been accumulated slowly so that could explain why you're not having problems. I've seen (used to work on) older sites with highly concentrated anchor text profiles from cruddy sites that have always done fine. It's made me wonder if the new rules are not applied across the board - almost as if there is an amnesty for older links. Or maybe these older sites naturally have enough trusted links to balance things out. Some of the older 'SEO directories' morphed into well run successful paid directories and probably have good reputation in Google.

BTW, a word of warning: don't consider what you're doing any more 'legitimate' than what the OP's buddy did. There's been plenty of posts here from people who destroyed their rankings with free templates and footer links.

Thinking that way can land you in trouble! Get into the mindset that *any* attempt to control anchor text is a manipulation in Google's eyes and should be done cautiously.

rannans




msg:4374368
 9:52 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

FranticFish, thanks for that detailed reply, it's made me think about my personal situation a lot more.

the anchor text i have used for years, is quite pathetic really, "designed by #*$!#*$!X.com" which probably doesnt even do me any favours anyway

ive thought about changing the anchor text , but never bothered. it's a hard call for me now, as i havent been affected by any panda+ updates, so if i try and mix it up, im afraid ill lose what i have

cheers
mikey

FranticFish




msg:4374382
 11:03 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

if i try and mix it up, im afraid ill lose what i have

Yes, that matches what I've seen. I'd make sure you know about the percentages of different anchor texts in play, but I wouldn't try to revisit old ones.

FWIW I don't think your anchor text (design attribution) is pathetic, in fact it's more or less branded. Some of my clients give me dev/design credits too. At first when I got these I was in the old mindset I had at my old job (factory SEO), and tried to 'optimise' these and use anchor text.

After a while I re-thought it, and changed them all to a plain "site by x" (my 'brand') and the only thing that is a link is my 'brand' name. I don't really do SEO on my site (at least not yet), but I noticed that after making this change the rankings I had (for what I do where I am) improved noticeably.

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