How Linkbuilding Can Damage Your Content

As Google’s Penguin update has shown, your inbound link profile can seriously damage the viability of your website or blog. And there is more to come with a ‘serious’ reiteration of Penguin in the pipeline.

There’s no point in generating content if you’re going to pour all your efforts down the drain by sticking with what Google considers an ‘unnatural’ link profile.


One of Google’s more fundamental algorithm changes was brought in with Penguin. Penguin is designed to analyse the pattern of your inbound links.

It’s believed to be basically looking at two things:

    the source profile of your links – where they come from
    the anchor text on the links themselves

If a large % of your inbound links have exact match anchor text or the same anchor text you could be in trouble.

Pre Penguin the received wisdom was that exact match anchor text was the way to go, even if as much as 70-80% of your links had exact match anchor text or perhaps only had 4 variations. By contrast, universal anchors – words like ‘here’ were frowned upon. Prior to Penguin this worked very well. But now, in the post Penguin world we live in, it’s a big signal to Google of link manipulation. Confused? Anchor text that doesn’t vary isn’t what Google thinks of ‘natural’. As long as your persist in developing this type of link profile the chances are you will get penalised.

Going Forward

So what’s the alternative? Going forward anchor text has to be more varied. You can choose from:

Plain Urls

This means using the actual url in some form or another as the anchor text. Examples for this site would include or This form of anchor text is believed to offer the strongest signal of a ‘natural’ link.

Branded Anchor Text

This involves using the brand name of the site as the anchor text. For example, SEOWritingExpert seo writing expert.

Hybrid Anchors

As the name suggests these are a hybrid of the brand name and an exact match keyword. For example, SEO Writing Expert – seo writer, SEO Copywriter SEO Writing Blog.


These consist of generic words like ‘click this’ or ‘here’. In the past, although these anchors were used they were not encouraged because they confer no meaning to the site being linked to.

Is This End Of The Story?

Webmasters and SEOs report that there are still plenty of sites linking with what are now regarded as bad link profiles i.e have lots of exact match anchor text. It’s possible that Google simply hasn’t got round to the other sites – after all the web is a big place even for Google. Or that other factors are being taken into consideration.

If your blog or site wasn’t penalised doesn’t mean it won’t be. You can use Open Site Explorer to check your own link profile.

Previous post:

Next post: