What is Anchor Text Spam and How it Affects SEO Of Your Website?

Anchor text is a very important signal to search engines in determining the relevancy and intent of a webpage with regard to a users query. If you link to a website with the anchor text – “Free wifi streaming”, you are actually telling Google and other search engines that the specific website is about “Free wifi streaming”.

The keywords used in the anchor text helps search engines understand what is the main content of a target page. Good, keyword rich anchor texts are very important in search engine optimization of your website, so you should learn how to create SEO friendly anchor texts for internal links.

That said, Anchor texts are heavily spammed for getting better search rankings. This includes anchor texts within a website and anchor texts on other websites which link back to you. Let’s understand how this works and how different website owners implement anchor text spamming to inflate their search rankings.

What is Anchor text spamming?

Anchor text spamming is the practice of gaining links with a specific anchor text in mind. It’s like every other link to your website has the same words in it. There is a common pattern among all the anchor texts towards your website. This is applicable to Anchor texts outside of your website. Which means people who link to you use the same anchor texts all the time.

Which is not natural. And neither search engines not real users like to see this.

If you have 100 links pointing to your website and 95 links have the same anchor text, it is a very strong signal to search engines that this anchor text is spammy in nature. Unless of course, the anchor text is a branded anchor text which reflects the name of brand of your website.

Let’s understand this with an example.

Let’s say you have a website on broadband connection. The name is Broadbandguy.co.uk

Now let’s say you have 100 external links to your website. Out of these 100 links, 82 links have the anchor text “Broadband guy”.

This is not anchor text spamming. This is perfectly natural. Most people are linking to you with the brand name of domain name of your website, which is perfectly okay. Google and other search engines understand that most people may use the name of the brand and not use a sentence for the anchor text. This is perfectly okay.

However, in case let’s say

  1. 28 links have the anchor text – “Best broadband connection in London”,
  2. 12 links have the anchor text “Broadband company in the United Kingdom”,
  3. 10 links have the anchor text – “best broadband service provider”,

This is a clear case of anchor text spamming.

Google and other search engines have advanced systems and algorithms to detect patterns in everything, including links and anchor texts. They can figure out which link is natural and which link is not natural, and impose penalties on websites which practice unnatural link building or take money from advertisers in exchange of paid links. In addition to penalizing website owners, Google can take action on the websites which are encouraging anchor text spam.

Which means, if you have a website and you are buying links from other sites with the same anchor texts, Google will ultimately figure out what is going on and eventually, they will list you as a link spammer. The result will be catastrophic for your business, the rankings of your website will suffer and your website may even be de-listed from Google search.

Google and other search engines only count editorial links as “real endorsements”. However, if someone tries to trick the system by buying links from other sites with specific anchor texts, that is not what Google wants to see. On top of that, Google takes action on these sites by preventing people from gaming the system. Anyone who has money should not be able to make his way on top of search results, that way we will end up with low-quality sites dominating the search results because they have access to a lot of capital.

Do internal links also count towards Anchor text spamming?

Typically, No.

In the following video Google employee Matt Cutts clearly explains that Anchor texts from Internal links do not matter as much as anchor texts from external links.

The reason is this – Internal links are the links which you have placed on your website. Internal links do not pass as much pagerank as external links do. If you have a website and every page on your website links to a specific page with the same anchor text, that is perfectly okay. However, it is not perfectly okay for every other website owner to link to that specific page with the same anchor text, or similar anchor text phrases or SEO optimized keyword rich anchor texts. That is not natural and it is a strong signal that you are buying those links from external sites, which is a clear violation of Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.

Additionally, Google and other search engines do not encourage paid links at all. It does not matter if the links which you have purchased from other sites have spammy anchor texts, repetitive anchor texts or normal anchor texts. At the end of the day, a paid link is a paid link and it is not good for Search engines to see websites buying paid links to improve their search rankings.

It is the equivalent of bribing other people to get an endorsement or recommendation for something which you have not earned by merit. This is not good for anyone except the website owner and this is classified as a blackhat technique to gain search rankings.

What is a Paid Link?

In the following video, Matt Cutts clearly explains what is a “Paid link” and why Paid links are not good for the long-term success of a website.

How to avoid Anchor text spamming?

So what are the things you should not do for Anchor text spamming?

  • Don’t request other people to link to your website with a specific anchor text you prefer. Let them choose the words they want. That way, the anchor text portfolio of your website will be natural and Google and other search engines will have no problems with it.
  • Don’t email other bloggers or website owners to link to your website with a specific keyword as anchor.
  • Don’t participate in Link exchange schemes – you link to a specific website with a specific anchor text and he links to you the same way. Don’t do this – you will eventually be caught.
  • Don’t sell links.
  • Don’t buy links.
  • If you have bought links from other website owners in the past, email them to include the “Rel=nofollow” attribute in your links. Learn more about using Rel=Nofollow for SEO.
  • Don’t avail services of link pharms and people who claim that they can guarantee you better search rankings. NObody can guarantee that anyone who is claiming they can is simply lying for the money.
  • Keep producing unique content which attracts links naturally to your website. That way, you will have a natural distribution of anchor texts which is very good from SEO perspective.

If you practice Anchor text spamming, there is a high chance that your website will eventually be penalized by Google webspam team. If not by the webspam team, your website will be caught in an algorithmic penalty like Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird.

 

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