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Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
Aside from PageRank and the use of anchor text, Google has several other features... Google keeps track of some visual presentation details such as font size of words. Words in a larger or bolder font are weighted higher than other words.
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:46 pm (utc) on Feb 28, 2012]
[edited by: martinibuster at 12:38 am (utc) on Mar 6, 2012]
Might be nit picking here but this was not part of the Panda update, but part of 40 other changes in the early March update.
At the same time, it seems that a lot more sites lost rankings (in a penalty-style fashion) for too much matching anchor text. It's like a new wave of "over optimization penalties."
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:01 pm (utc) on Mar 7, 2012]
[edit reason] Fixed typo. [/edit]
Big drops on sites in the serps (short and long tail) using only the keyword rich anchor text links from blogs and spammy directories.
I'm also seeing big drops on sites with a link profile full of blog comments with anchor targeted keywords...
...so anchor text says merely "this page" or (shudder) "click here"
That page started getting a LOT of referral traffic from the linking page right away... the link is irrelevant to the keyword or the topic of my page
It's not actually necessary for Google to keep track of these old domains for 301s to work. Theoretically, the redirection is all done by the server and browser/user-agent.
We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page.
So I decided to have some fun and get some cheap anchor text specific links....lots of them....junk links....on off topic pages....