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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?

 

rblagahit




msg:4534248
 12:39 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

i've seen the same in a few of my sites. nway, this is the reason why i've changes a few anchor i.e. all possible searchable keywords.

ZydoSEO




msg:4534311
 2:55 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has been doing this for several years - filtering a particular URL for a particular keyword when the URL has an abnormally high percentage of backlinks with a single anchor text. But they've lowered their tolerance for keyword rich anchors since early in 2012.

nettulf




msg:4534315
 3:13 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So would it help to nofollow the links?
On my site they are for the users, not for Google...

Sand




msg:4534331
 4:04 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So would it help to nofollow the links?
On my site they are for the users, not for Google...


In the case described in this thread, there's nothing wrong with linking to the homepage. The trouble is linking to the homepage with highly optimized anchor text.

Don't nofollow your homepage links. But if your anchor text is chosen with the intent of manipulating search engines, you might want to change that.

Frost_Angel




msg:4534359
 5:07 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I want to make sure I understand this right - because I might be guilty of it and want to remedy that.
All throughout my blog -- I have links on internal pages linking back to my homepage using keyword rich anchor text.
I thought this was how you were supposed to link internally?

canuckseo




msg:4534373
 5:31 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

keyword rich anchor text is fine, you just need to vary the terms you are using - if all your links are on the word "cats" it's pretty obvious you are manipulating links. Change it up.

Frost_Angel




msg:4534375
 5:44 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I notice some of the really successful blogs use an entire sentence or almost an entire sentence sometimes to link to other articles or the homepage of their site. Is that normal? A good thing to do?

And when you say vary your anchor text to the homepage regarding keywords - should we focus on variations of one keyword phrase or several keywords in general for that niche?

Sorry to be a complete n00b.

canuckseo




msg:4534384
 6:02 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Both - I use variations of the same term (IE cat, feline, etc) as well as completely different terms (pet, family member, dog, as well as cat breeds). Try and think of the different ways people will search for cats and use those variations of the term.

as for sentences - i've used them on my blog posts but I prefer to use a mixture of anchor text as well as things like linking on the phrase "in my last article"

Frost_Angel




msg:4534389
 6:07 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@canuckseo

Thank you.

netmeg




msg:4534404
 7:10 pm on Jan 8, 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.

TheMadScientist




msg:4534407
 7:15 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

What netmeg said...

I have links on internal pages linking back to my homepage using keyword rich anchor text. I thought this was how you were supposed to link internally?

Keyword rich anchor text Was the 'right way' to link for a while, and meta keywords were important for a while too ... The rules have changed.

ZydoSEO




msg:4534423
 7:55 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

There could be a few different things at play here.

For your navigation (top navigation) I would definitely suggest you use "Home" as the link text for your home page link, not "cats".

If you are creating tons of internal contextual links on pages across your site by hyperlinking occurances of the word "cats" on a bunch of your pages and pointing them to the home page, this does not look at all natural IMO. If I built a search engine, this would be one thing that I would look for as an SEO footprint or over-optimization signal.

Contextual links make sense when they are used to point to a resource/reference where info for the post/article/content might have been obtained (this is typically an EXTERNAL contextual link, but could be internal) OR to link to some other post/ article that might explain something mentioned in the current post/article in greater detail (this could be either an internal or external contextual link).

Since your home page "should" be targeting your broadest, head terms and the deeper you click into your site, the inner pages should be targeting longer and longer tail keywords... It just doesn't make sense to me that your home page (which targets your broadest topic) would be referenced as a resource for or provide more detailed explanation for something you mention on an inner page (which should be targeting more specific, longer tail topics).

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but internal contextual links to other pages on the same site make more sense (i.e. seem more "natural") where they are inner page to inner page (typically linking to other pages deeper in the site or at least sibling pages on the same level, but not the home page).

Frost_Angel




msg:4534434
 8:20 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

This might be something I was doing wrong for sure. I was linking tons of my inner pages to my home page using keywords and keyword phrases that the site was ranking for. Not just a few times - MANY. Sure - I had about 8-10 variations --- but they were all 2-word, 3-word keyword phrases that I was ranking for or wanted to rank for or had ranked for at one time.
I have removed them all today - since it was a Wordpress plugin that I was using to make the links.
I guess this theory is somewhat the same for tons of links in your footer with all your keyword phrases. It's just something you DON'T do anymore or need to do.

netmeg




msg:4534443
 9:06 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Very true, and it might help. Were you Panda'd or Penguin'd?

Frost_Angel




msg:4534446
 9:15 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was Panda'd in April 2011 - but I was also moving my site from HTML to Wordpress at the same exact time. So it's been hard knowing what went wrong - what to change, what to do. However - everything seemed perfect and I felt a full recovery would happen and got smacked again September 28, 2012. BIG TIME. Started with 150,000 uniques a month, then after April 2011 it went to 75,000 - then after Sept. 2012 -- it's non-existent - maybe 11,000 to 30,000 uniques a month. Hard to say with the holidays.
Maybe this interlinking is part of it. I also had massive crawl errors that went from 168,000 in October to 12 as of yesterday.
And I had some tech-y issues like two robot.txt (I know!) and I had nofollowed my own pages on some links - just some stupid n00b stuff.
I am hoping the next Panda refresh will be kind.
Sorry to hijack the thread @nippi!

nippi




msg:4534447
 9:19 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

ok, pretty much reflects my thought patterns, updating the problem sits tomorrow.

Planet13




msg:4534448
 9:22 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ netmeg:


Were you Panda'd or Penguin'd?


I know you were asking ME, but since I seem to have a similar problem, I'll answer anyway

My ranking dropped in the March 2012 Panda update and further in Penguin April 2012 (First Penguin). Before that it had been steadily climbing.

It wasn't my home page so much as the second-most popular page on my site (the most popular ECOMMERCE page).

Google replied to my reconsideration requests saying that there was no MANUAL penalty, so any loss of rankings must be due to an algorithm issue.

My internal links DO carry the keyword in the anchor text.

Should I change this?

~~~

A bigger picture question:

Just so I understand: Is there agreement that links to home / other pages should NOT contain the keywords in the anchor text?

Should navigation bars (which appear on EVERY page) NOT contain keywords in the link? Or is it just "in content" links that should not contain the keywords?

Planet13




msg:4534449
 9:33 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

And one more thing...

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

How can we make the link as helpful as possible for the user without shooting ourselves in the keister?

Sand




msg:4534451
 9:37 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

How can we make the link as helpful as possible for the user without shooting ourselves in the keister?


Don't overthink this. If the link goes to the homepage, use the anchor text 'home' (or something similar). If it goes to the contact page, use the word 'contact.'

In short, the anchor text should be what the page *is*, not what you wish it was instead.

TheMadScientist




msg:4534452
 9:39 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just so I understand: Is there agreement that links to home / other pages should NOT contain the keywords in the anchor text?

I'd make them 'make sense' to users and not spammy...

Link to the 'home page' = Home
Link to the 'widgets page' = Widgets
Link to the 'contact page' = Contact

What I would Not do is:
Link to the 'home page = Home of the Best Widgets Anywhere, WidgetWorld
Link to the 'widgets page' = Fuzzy Blue, Green, Red Widgets
Link to the 'contact page' = Contact WidgetWorld

netmeg




msg:4534457
 9:53 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree with the above two posts, and another thing I would not do is mix up the anchor text on links to the same page; i.e. you have a Widgets page, and one place the anchor text says Red Widgets and another place it says Plastic Widgets. Pick your anchor text and use it everywhere on your site. Your internal navigation should be consistent (and it's just common sense - otherwise you not only flag Google, but you confuse your users)

Planet13




msg:4534467
 10:07 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

"In short, the anchor text should be what the page *is*, not what you wish it was instead."


Yeah but...

I do link consistently to the blue-widgets.html page with the anchor text "Blue Widgets" and that is the page that dropped from Page 1 to nowhere for the term blue widgets...

I'll double check for consistency though...

ZydoSEO




msg:4534484
 11:07 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

The engines can determine which links are part of the page template (top navigation, breadcrumbs,left navigation, footer, sidebar widgets, etc.) There's nothing you can do really about those links other than not blatently over optimizing things like the home link with your home page's targeted keyword phrase... use HOME. Those links are going to appear on most if not all of your pages, so those pages linked to in the template are going to have lots of inbound internal links with the same link text. The engines understand that.

However, you do have choices for other links to those pages and other pages on your site that appear in the non-templated portion of the page (generally contextual links and links from widgets that appear in a limited number of places on the site). On a typical site, you should not over use such types of links. And these links should have varied link text including "noisey" link text like "click here", "here", "learn more", etc.

If you find yourself adding a link from PAGE A to PAGE B simply because PAGE A mentions in passing some keyword phrase that is being targeted by PAGE B, DO NOT DO IT! The ONLY purpose for such links is optimization.

However, if PAGE A mentions something that PAGE B specifically addresses and provides further detail that would be useful to a reader of PAGE A's content then by all means link to PAGE B from A. That link is good for your user... AND the search engines.

This is one difference between optimized and over-optimized sites.

Use a little common sense.

Planet13




msg:4534486
 11:53 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

However, if PAGE A mentions something that PAGE B specifically addresses and provides further detail that would be useful to a reader of PAGE A's content then by all means link to PAGE B from A. That link is good for your user... AND the search engines.


Ok, let me ask you this:

There are several pages that link to my blue-widgets.html page that may not be the best fit. However, if I am running a special on blue widgets, and I am "advertising" it on my own site (in terms of mentioning it in numerous pages), is that going to hurt me?

So if I have the text:

Use the following link to save 10% off of our <link>Blue Widgets</link> for a limited time only.

Is that causing me problems?

scooterdude




msg:4534511
 1:44 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ironic this, back in the day, one of my sites was ranking for the word "home", It got quite a lot of traffic too :) completely bewildered folk who disappeared as quickly as they arrived

twas only after I started reading here that I found that i was one of the few using "home"

naturally I hastened to change,

now suddenly, its not okay , great really

ZydoSEO




msg:4534519
 2:31 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's hard to say honestly without knowing how and where you're linking to that same page elsewhere on the site. But if you're really worried about it...

Some things I've done in the past to mimimize the likelihood of triggering some type of filter in similar situations is to have many versions of that advertisement with different text and different link texts, or better yet... a single widget that randomizes the text and link in the advertisement based on some weighting.

For example, I might have multiple versions of that same sentence that can appear in the advertisement:


Sentence1: <link>Save 10%</link> on your purchase of our Blue Widgets. Offer expires XX/XX/XX.

Sentence2: To save 10% off of our Blue Widgets, <link>click here</link>. Offer good for a limited time only.

Sentence3: <link>Purchase Blue Widgets</link> today and save 10%. Offer expires soon!"


You can literally have as many different versions of the ad text as you'd like. Each version of the ad text (I simply listed 3 above) would be stored in a database with some type of weighting. For example:

"<insert sentence 1>", 10
"<insert sentence 2>", 25
"<insert sentence 3>", 3

I'll leave it to you to decide if you want your web page's scripting language to call a web service to get back the HTML to be rendered with the randomized ad text/link text or have your server side scripting code render it directly by looking at some type of collection in a cached server variable.

But the data above will be used as follows:

Since the 3 weightings above (10, 25, 3) add up to 38... whatever renders your advertising widget could pick a random number between 1 and 38 inclusively.


If the random number generated is between 1 and 10 inclusively then the widget displays Sentence1 (because its weight is 10).

If the random number generated is between 11 and 35 inclusively then the widget displays Sentence2 (because its weight is 25).

If the random number generated is between 36 and 38 inclusively then the widget displays Sentence3 (because its weight is 3).


In this example, assuming your Random Number Generator is decent...

Roughly 26% of the time (10/38) sentence 1 should be selected and shown with "Save 10%" as the link text.

Roughly 66% of the time (25/38) sentence 2 should be selected and shown with "click here" as the link text.

Roughly 8% of the time (8/38) sentence 3 should be selected and shown with "Purchase blue widgets" as the link text.


Now imagine 50 different sales pitches/ad texts with 50 different anchor text values, each with a different weighting. You can get very granular and vary you text greatly.

This is just one crude way you can vary the link text automatically across the site when you have an advertising widget like the one you're describing. Use your imagination.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4534537
 5:32 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hold up a second, we're making an assumption here that I'm not sure is correct.

The homepage may not have fallen out of serps because you included the keyword as the link to home, it may have fallen out of serps because Google decided not to allow you to pass that keyword as anchor text, thus cutting off your homepage from the rest of the site. There is a very subtle distinction between the two.

Personal experience: When my site was rather new it got a manual penalty which effectively made it impossible for my site to rank for or use the primary keyword as anchor text. I could prove this because the site also had sitelink status and Google was now removing that keyword from even the titles of pages that contained it. It made for some ODD looking titles I tell you.

I filed a reconsideration request and they did remove the penalty, my site was indeed mainly about the keyword and just because it was a newer site (9 months?) did not mean it shouldn't be on page one of results. The *snip* for that keyword was also not a manual one, the algo did it, probably because a new site was consistently getting into their top 10 results. This was in 2007 I believe, or late 2006, but I don't suspect this particular practice has changed much.

I have taken to using example.com as the home link if "home" or "index" won't do.

sbook




msg:4534553
 8:43 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Keyword rich anchor text Was the 'right way' to link for a while, and meta keywords were important for a while too ... The rules have changed.

TheMadScientist, can you be more detailed?

Couple years ago we had quite nice traffic from 3 keywords, which were the only anchors website links had. Traffic started to decrease. We started to change anchors, nothing happened. Also removed network website links with these anchors - nothing. Also changed inner pages anchor to index, now it is url. Tools still show we have thousands of backlinks with the old money anchors, but they do not drive visitors at all.
Now we started to create new backlinks in blog posts. But anchors are completely different. Money keywords are in blog post text and anchor is url or any other.

TheMadScientist




msg:4534635
 1:27 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was talking about 'main navigation' (used on every page) and it used to be using the keyword(s) repeatedly in that text was a good way to 'communicate' with search engines what the target page is about, but Google's openly stated (somewhere, I don't remember where off the top of my head) that's no longer a 'best practice'.

Basically, things have changed from 'help Google (and other search engines) figure it out any way you can' to 'do what makes the most sense for visitors and let Google figure it out'.

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

###

Your ranking drop might not even be 'link related', but if there's not a 'solid set of links' coming in, it could be ... I'm not sure blog posts are really the answer though, some of it depends on the blogs I'm sure, but I would have serious questions about the strength and quality of the links you have coming in personally.

This 48 message thread spans 2 pages: 48 ( [1] 2 > >
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