co Is SEO Really That Easy? |

A recent article at SEO News is very misleading. And it’s surprising because this website has been around a long time and the webmasters should know better. But here’s my reaction to the misinformation in the article:

But don’t worry. Linking is a whole lot easier today than it was a few years ago. Experience has taught us a lot and with the information in this article you won’t need to worry about endless trial and error. We have a repeatable process that anyone can do, as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Linking is not easier. It’s harder. Google has refined its algorithms so much that it discounts many links it used to accept. Google also doesn’t report every link it gives credit to, making it difficult sometimes to judge just what makes a good link.

You probably already know that anchor text is the clickable word or words that make up a hyperlink. But what you may not yet fully realize is just how powerful anchor text is. Want to see for yourself? Try a simple experiment…

Go to Google.com and search for “click here” (without quotes.) Did you get a link for Adobe Acrobat Reader at number 1? Why is that? Check out the page. They have no mention of “click here” anywhere on the page or in the META tags.

So why does it rank number 1 on Google for “click here”? It’s all thanks to anchor text. More specifically, it’s because of the countless pages that have “click here” as anchor text that links to Adobe’s Acrobat Reader download page.

Yes, anchor text is powerful and it’s very important, but don’t be taken in by the silly math. For example:

A.) Use your three most important keywords for your anchor text. Specifically, your most important word 60% of the time; your second most important keyword 25% and your third keyword 15%. And that is for every page you link to (each page should focus on two to three keywords.)

In other words, if I use this formula then I’m guaranteed success? No. You’re never guaranteed success. There are a lot of factors that go into play with linking and sometimes you have no control over links that point to your blog or website. If people link to you then they do; if they don’t, they don’t. You can’t control that in every case.

That said, yes, you should make every attempt to choose the right anchor text for those links that you can control. But don’t go to too much effort to ensure that 60% of your links use a certain phrase as anchor text. You aren’t building a rocket ship. And you’re not backing a cake either, Betty Crocker.

C.) If your anchor text is part of a paragraph, like a signature block, make certain the surrounding text is optimized for the keyword you want or close variations. And make sure that text is varied. You want to have plenty of versions of the surrounding text block so Google doesn’t ding it as duplicate content.

This is odd advice. Why would you alter your signature block? Yes, you do want to alter paragraph text surrounding your in-text links, but not in your signature block.

Reciprocal links just aren’t enough any more. Google now discounts the importance of simple link swaps so reciprocal links alone will not do the trick like they used to. But don’t worry, with a little time or money or both, you can have the best links imaginable.

Linking isn’t just about SEO. It’s also about driving traffic. And reciprocal links still have value in that regard. But choose your link partners carefully. Don’t just look at their PageRank. Look at their relevancy and authority. Do they have a lot of traffic? If so then they could make a good link partner.

Here’s how it works… Site “A” links to site “B”. Site “B” links to site “C”. And then site “C” links to site “A”. So each is a true one way link. This also gives the system more options regarding which sites form a team. With reciprocal links, if both sites use the same hosting provider, there is a very high chance you will be linked within the same IP range. With three way linking this problem is eliminated.

Here’s the worst advice I’ve seen in a long time. A while back Google announced that it would not give the same level of value to reciprocal links that they used to. SEOs responded by developing a three-way link scheme and that worked for awhile. Now Google treats these links like reciprocal links. If you belong to a link network then you won’t get any credit for three-way links. You might even get penalized if Google thinks you are up to something.

My advice: Just stick to solid business principles. No need to try to fool the search engines.

Learn more about SEO for small business at Small Business Mavericks.