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Sites penalised for link on main keyword to home?
nippi




msg:4534198
 9:00 am on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I manage a lot of sites, and invariably when there are big changes at google, some improve, some stay the same and some get hit.

Of the 150 of so i am managing currently, 3 were hit a couple of months ago, and the only thing i can see in common is they all have a home page link on their main keyword to home.

eg

Cats - anchor text to home page.
Window cleaning - anchor text to home page.

As a result, the home page has been removed from googles results... inner pages still rank.... but the resultant removal of the home page and its PR/link juice means the inner pages have been hit hard.

Anyway else seeing something like this or got an alternate cause for a home page being removed for its main term due to internal links on an optimised anchor text?

 

gouri




msg:4534747
 8:09 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am wondering if linking to the home page from the body text of an inner page using the domain name as anchor text might be considered over optimization the way that using a keyword phrase might be. The domain name is a PMD.

MikeNoLastName




msg:4534806
 10:47 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

>If you look at the nav. here it's a great example of 'what to do'. <

If you mean this current forum page, I'm not so sure. I see one link that says "homepage" (in the top-left logo graphic alt) and at least 3 other links to the home page using text "home". I thought one big no-no was to have multiple links to the same page, especially with different anchor text.
I also see a graphic "Post Reply" which has alt="add your comments" which links to the same place as the text link: "reply to this topic".

Not to mention also multiple links to: :"Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion". I totally agree these are for the benefit of the user and make for a "better user experience", but I don't know that G always rewards what they preach.


> Would it be safer to link with graphic (text graphic or photo) instead of text? <

I don't think so, considering the latest HTML validation now REQUIRES an alt= tag, which would be used as the anchor text. I guess you could use "" or " ".

Nippi: Did you, conversely, see any pages with this type of linking which were NOT affected? i.e. could it just be a coincidental 3 out of 100 others which all had that same style but 97 weren't affected?

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 11:03 pm (utc) on Jan 9, 2013]

TheMadScientist




msg:4534810
 11:01 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you mean this current forum page, I'm not so sure. I see one link that says "homepage" (in the top-left logo graphic alt) and at least 3 other links to the home page using text "home". I thought one big no-no was to have multiple links to the same page, especially with different anchor text.

LOL ... If home and homepage aren't treated the same by search engines these days they're back in the 90s and I highly doubt they're trying to rank for the keywords 'home' or 'homepage', so having it 'discounted as link text' makes no difference what-so-ever. (The link weight passes, the text doesn't = good in some situations.)

I also see a graphic "Post Reply" which has alt="add your comments" which links to the same place as the text link: "reply to this topic"

I'm fairly certain GoogleBot isn't logged in when it visits, so those aren't even present, and even if it was, I'm even more certain they're not trying to rank the 'reply' page in the SERPs so 'what makes sense to the visitors' is a fine answer.

Not to mention also multiple links to: :"Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion".

Do you mean the totally consistent header and footer links, which will easily be detected as such by search engines and weighted accordingly?

Maybe your reply is a joke and I missed it, because the nav here, is concise, makes sense, it's not spammy or 'stuffed', it's easy to use, and it's easy for anyone to 'get' (including an algo).

MikeNoLastName




msg:4534811
 11:06 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My point wasn't that they were trying to RANK for these terms so much as they were confusing (the easily confused) G. We're talking a search engine which still thinks "news" is the plural of "new" and I can prove it!

BTW, where has it been PROVEN that headers and footers are excluded? If they were then the whole topic of this thread would be null.

TheMadScientist




msg:4534819
 11:20 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

BTW, where has it been PROVEN that headers and footers are excluded?

Do you mean the totally consistent header and footer links, which will easily be detected as such by search engines and weighted accordingly?

I can't seem to find the word 'excluded' in my statement...

In a game where understanding what's being said is a key to success, misinterpretations like the preceding can easily lead people to incorrect conclusions, and it's becoming much easier to see why there are so many highly differing opinions on even the seemingly simple, straightforward things. It also makes it easier to see why so many have a tough time keeping their site in the rankings.

MikeNoLastName




msg:4534826
 11:47 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

So are you saying that having 3 links, which do not pass link juice, yet deduct outgoing link juice for the page because they are all to the same location, which according to most theories is the case, is GOOD practice? The theory goes something like if there are 10 links and 4 are the same 10% link juice goes to each of the seven links and 30% is lost. The second theory says that linking to the same location with two different anchor texts from the same page is even worse at confusing/prejudicing G as to the quality (link juice) of that link, whether you are trying to rank for the keyword or not. Or are you contradicting those theories because YOU consider them part of a header/footer, and can GUARANTEE that G sees them that way too? Are you somehow claiming that since G unquestionably recognizes them as nav links that their link juice drain will be "weighted" less? If G by chance doesn't recognize them as such, then they are no better than putting a dozen links to "widgets" all over the page. Perhaps G needs an alt=nav tag.

I agree the page is great for human consumption, but from all my recent experience I think you (as well as G) WAY overestimate G's algo abilities (in many areas)at this particular place in time.

Frost_Angel




msg:4534838
 11:59 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am so confused at this point. So we should *never* link to our homepage within content if we already of a link in the main navigation to the homepage.

For instance - I'm writing a story about working on my site when my kids were little and I reference my site by it's name and link to it -- this is a big no-no? I do it sometimes because of scrapers and I want a link to my main page in the content because scrapers are lazy #*$!s.

TheMadScientist




msg:4534846
 12:11 am on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

So are you saying that having 3 links, which do not pass link juice, yet deduct outgoing link juice for the page because they are all to the same location, which according to most theories is the case, is GOOD practice?

Please, show me where the info is from the person who has access to the actual PageRank algo to show this is the case ... Not some 'foolbar' info that's 3 months out of date and a rough estimate of some point in time in the past, but the actual real, revised edition of the PageRank calculation actually used.

The theory goes something like if there are 10 links and 4 are the same 10% link juice goes to each of the seven links and 30% is lost.

That's 'essentially' the case if you have 'nofollowed' links on the page, which has been stated by that Cutts guy, who does have access to that type of info first hand, but beyond that, please cite your source who has access to that info like Cutts does so I can review it.

The second theory says that linking to the same location with two different anchor texts from the same page is even worse at confusing/prejudicing G as to the quality (link juice) of that link, whether you are trying to rank for the keyword or not.

Please, again, cite a source who has some type of proof of this, rather than just a theory ... I can prove right here, on this site, Google doesn't seem to be overly confused, so, can you actually prove otherwise?

###

It's been tested multiple times by members here and other places and generally only the 1st link text on a page 'counts' for the target destination, so 'stuffing' other links full of keywords at best doesn't count and could actually appear spammy (not because of the text counting, but, rather due to their spam detection methods) ... Check the Phrased Based Patent Applications for More Info & More Recently, the -950 Thread Summary by Tedster (Linked in the Hot Topics Thread) ... There are exceptions to 'only the first link text on the page counting', but the case of the word 'homepage' in the alt here is not one I've seen where it would count and then the word 'home' later would be anything other than ignored.

###

Or are you contradicting those theories because YOU consider them part of a header/footer, and can GUARANTEE that G sees them that way too?

You're giving me theories without a single source citation and asking me to make a guarantee? I'm not inclined to do any more of your work for you, sorry ... I'd recommend starting with the patent applications and possibly boilerplate detection if I was wanting more info on this subject.

netmeg




msg:4535002
 1:41 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Frost Angel - there's a ton of nitpicking here over what is probably (in most cases, not all) only a very small factor in any ranking situation - no wonder you are confused.

Your situation - because you mentioned you had a large quantity of links to your home page with varying keywords - caught my eye. If I were you, I would change ALL those links (I'm only talking about the links on your own site, to your own home page) to say "Home".

And just let that percolate for a bit.

crobb305




msg:4535116
 8:34 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

TheMadScientist, I think I mentioned to you an observation a month or so ago, and you may be seeing the same thing:

In my sector, many of the established sites (5 to 10 years old) that have been penalized tended to have a sitewide navigation that linked to "money" pages using keyword anchors. This structure is highly effective for funneling traffic and increasing conversion rates, but I feel that Google is spanking it. Now, the sites that rank well do not have this structure. In fact, some of them have very poor navigation, perhaps linking to only one or two internal pages from the homepage, or only to administrative pages such as "FAQ", "Contact", etc.

TheMadScientist




msg:4535134
 10:10 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I remember that crobb305, but if we look at the Spam Detection Patent [appft1.uspto.gov] and especially the notes made by Tedster in the 950 Penalty Summary [webmasterworld.com]

"[0042] ...grammatical or format markers, for example by being in boldface, or underline, or as anchor text in a hyperlink, or in quotation marks."

"[0133] ...whether the occurrence is a title, bold, a heading, in a URL, in the body, in a sidebar, in a footer, in an advertisement, capitalized, or in some other type of HTML markup." Note that measurements are suggested here for position on the page.

I think we need to remember there's no 'one size fits all' any more, first and foremost, plus...

I think what we would probably find is many of the sites being hit went 'too far' in a number of ways, and yes, there may be sites with less 'keyword dense' links ranking better, but it appears Google's looking at 'the overall picture' or emphasis for a page and when that emphasis is 'enough to look manipulative, rather than natural and visitor oriented' it's being flagged as spam.

But, some of the 'way too conservative to be a natural way of doing things' advice for do's and do not's can easily be as 'bad' and 'unnatural' as 'overdoing' everything, because 'natural' or 'normal' is what they're looking for ... The linking here at WebmasterWorld is very 'natural' and 'normal' for a forum (it's actually some of the best linking structure I've seen), and it's well rewarded as such, which is very easy to determine if you do a search for Google SEO News and check the number 1 result.

Having someone worrying about whether they can mention their site in the text of a page about their site and link to it with the domain/site name rather than 'home' is miles from natural or normal though ... No one except someone trying to manipulate their results would even think about it, because it's 'natural' and 'normal' to just do it.

One of the biggest problems I see for people in rankings is how far they constantly move to extremes ... That's not SEO in my opinion, that's definitely an attempt to be manipulative and 5 or 10 years ago, the extremes were rewarded, so it worked and was touted as 'optimization' but it seems like people are stuck trying to optimize for Google circa 2002 or 2005 or 2007, but SEO is becoming (has become) a very subtle and nuanced game, not making you anchor text keyword stuffed, all caps, bold, strong, emphasized, italic, h1's resized to appear like text to try and 'get more points' for it than your competitors do...

TheMadScientist




msg:4535135
 10:29 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

BTW My 'mini-rant' was intended to be 'general' and 'overall' based on what I'm seeing, not directed at you (crobb305) specifically in anyway...

###

One of the best things I've noticed here is what they did Not link ... Look at the top of the main Google Forum page and you'll see: "We also now have a Google AdSense, Google Toolbar, Froogle, and Google AdWords forums." - Not Linked

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 10:45 pm (utc) on Jan 10, 2013]

karkadan




msg:4535139
 10:42 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

#1 If all your links to home have the same "phrase", then you might be penalized. How long? Google only knows.

#2 There are some cases that Google simply takes out an URL from their search results. Even for a week. Maybe you have not done anything to the URL. Then after 1 week or 4 weeks, the URL appears, starts climbing again, and stabilizes. (or sort of).

randle




msg:4535140
 10:53 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are many reasons brand based web sites are basking in the glow of high rankings these days, and certainly one of them is linking related.

Tone down the traditional "hammer and anvil" approach of key word rich "anchor text" based links and work more on links that use your company name, or brand on relevant pages and sites. (and if you dont have one, make one)

lzr0




msg:4535143
 11:34 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

When I link to the home page, my anchor text says Home or Main. Personally, I would consider almost anything else to be manipulative. I dunno if Google feels the same way, but I wouldn't be surprised.


@netmed
Two questions. What would you do if you had a subdomain, the navigation bar in the main domain includes a link to subdomain's home page and navigation bar in the subdomain includes a link to the main homepage? Has anyone noticed any drawbacks of linking from main domain to subdomain by its meaningful name other than "Home" (which is reserved for main homepage) and/or linking from a subdomain to the main homepage by a name?

Secondly, I have a search box on all pages. It has two radio buttons: to search web or just this site. The latter is actually a link to the domain name with anchor text something like "search blabla site". Does such link present a potential problem because you use anchor text other than Home? (I personlly have not noticed any problms with this yet).

mihomes




msg:4535221
 8:28 am on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is interesting as it has been one of the things on my 'list' of what 'maybe' happened to one of my sites. All of a sudden my pages drop like crazy and nowhere to be found. Mind you this is an EMD domain and there were updates with those. I read somewhere early on where a user came back from their panda drop by removing footer links to the homepage.

This is a practice that I have always done. Usually in the format of 'year-year' 'domain name' where domain name is the keywords of the emd as that is the 'title' of the site and of course links to the homepage.

I don't find anything wrong with doing this and it has been common forever and still seems to be, but maybe G doesn't see it that way. What is interesting though is in my niche I see other sites do the same thing, however, they are not an EMD yet link in the same manner with anchor text that has nothing to do with their domain name and is purely keyword based. You would think this is worse than the first case right?

TheMadScientist




msg:4535259
 12:06 pm on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

What is interesting though is in my niche I see other sites do the same thing, however, they are not an EMD yet link in the same manner with anchor text that has nothing to do with their domain name and is purely keyword based. You would think this is worse than the first case right?

Personally, what I see a bunch of posts about is 'looking at one thing', but that's not what Google's doing, so removing the footer links in one case might be enough to 'move under the threshold' ... In another it may have no effect, depending on (going by the list above) what's bold, what's capitalized, what's in quotes, etc. and even what's Missing could be a key in some cases.

I would guess the footer links aren't the issue 'directly' as much as the 'whole picture of emphasis' when put together causing an issue.

And, more often than 'fixing it', I hear about how people 'totally deoptimized' and can't figure out why they don't rank again yet ... It seems people keep going from one extreme to another, which is why I was noting above: It's not a 'game of extremes' any more.

###

One of the most interesting things about 'the algorithmic quest to find normal' is 'normal' could, theoretically change over time within a niche, so there may be cases where a site is close to 'too much' and Other people change what they're doing and lower the 'too much' line enough so another site 'triggers a filter' ... Or on the 'other side' a site with 'not enough' is not updated in line with 'normal' and that pushes it to the 'too low to be normal' side of things.

(Things are way more complicated than most seem to 'get' these days, which is why there's no 'one size fits all' advice that can be applied effectively across-the-board, except for some 'basics' and fundamentals ... Of course, this is likely news to many who listen to some of the so-called 'SEO gurus' who are all too happy to take a nice payment to tell people 'it's still all about the links' and think that 'zombie and traffic shaping' thread we have here is just plain silly, because if it's not 'all about the links' the 'gurus' might really have to think to come up with or make sense of anything rather than 'parroting' ... Of course there's no way there's anything those 'gurus' missed in that thread that led to a meaningful discussion here is there? Nah, this thread [webmasterworld.com...] and my initial comments in the update thread that 'started the ball rolling' stemmed from something completely different, really, they did ... lol)

delsoijj




msg:4537156
 4:05 pm on Jan 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with canuckseo; definitely switch up your anchor text links. If you use keyword rich links every single time you link to a web page then it is clear to Google what your intentions are. Mix it up, use "Read More" "click here" etc links in your content as well as SEO friendly links. Here is a good article on anchor text variation: [searchnewscentral.com...]

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