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Writing for People (and Search Engines): How to improve click-through rates for organic listings

Another new year has come and many of us are still analyzing the balance of successes and failures of the previous one. It is definitely a useful chore. I am happy to count this blog as one of my successes. It was humbling to see it included in SearchEngineLand’s blogroll and nominated for Best SEO Research blog—I voted for Bill’s and I am glad he won the title :-)—among other accomplishments. Thanks to everyone for the recognition!

On the other hand, last year I had more goals that I didn’t quite reach than ones that I did, although I suppose that puts me in the big crowd. :-) I like to start each year by revisiting the unachieved goals, the uncompleted projects, the planned-but-not-executed things I call my missed opportunities. One common one (and I am sure many of my peers experienced the same) is maximizing the number of clicks I get from organic listings. The problem, as many might be asking themselves, is how to measure the organic click-through rate in the first place! Read on to learn how…. Read more

Much Ado about Anchor Text

As SEOs, I feel like we often focus too much on specific ranking factors to the detriment of other factors that might be equally important. One particular case I want to point out is the obsession with incoming link texts, also known as anchor text.

Thanks to some very successful Google bombings, it is almost general knowledge among site owners that getting enough links with the desired keyword in the link text is a surefire way to get high rankings for a site in Google. This also applies to any search engine that relies on link analysis. And while Google has devised advanced filters to reduce this vulnerability, I think that as long as link analysis plays a fundamental role in their ranking algorithms, the practice of Google bombing will always have some effect.

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John Chow fixes anchor text and pleases Google

As I reported before, John stopped showing up in Google for “make money on-line” for a few days. He is now back at #1 for the term.

What did he do? He is not telling.

I was going to use this post to explain exactly what I did to restore my number one ranking. However, after reading Kumiko’s comments in my Taipei 101 to number 1 post, I’ve decided against it. I think everyone will agree that this kind of information is extremely valuable – some “SEO Guru” tried to take me for $4,000 by saying he knew the answer (which I highly doubt since he made no guarantee).

While I won’t give the step by step I can offer this piece of advice if you lose a ranking for a desired keyword – Google webmaster tools is your friend! Get to know it really well.

This is what Kumiko said:

Comment by Kumiko

2007-06-02 18:24:47

48) { this.width = 48; this.height = 48; } ; if (this.width Reading how you got back to #1 will be a great read! Aren’t you worried about Google reading it though and simply changing the algorithm again?

 

He is hinting that he used Google webmaster tools to figure out what the problem was. I can tell you what specific section he looked at: Webmaster Tools -> Statistics -> Page analysis -> In external links to your site. That section shows the anchor text people are using when linking to your site. Read more

Why it’s good to mix your incoming link anchor text?

I’ve been reading John Chow’s blog for a while and it is very interesting how he is getting a lot of reviews with the anchor text “make money online” in exchange for a link from his blog. He is ranking #2 in Google for the phrase “make money online.”

I know a lot of SEOs read John’s blog and are not alerting him of some potential problems with this approach. I like the guy and I think he deserves to know.

It is not a good idea to have most of your incoming links with the same anchor text. Especially if most links are pointing to the home page, and the rest of the pages don’t get any links, or very few of them do. Search engines, notably Google, flag this as an attempt to manipulate their results.

Nobody knows for sure how it works but Google has proven in the past that they can detect this and act accordingly.

My advise is to request variations of the target phrase for the anchor text with each batch. For example: make money online free, making money online, make money at home online, work from home, etc… Use a keyword suggestion tool to get the variations and make sure you include synonyms too.

I would also require reviewers to include a link to their favorite post in the review. This way the rest of the pages will get links too and look more natural.

This is documented in other sites. Please check:

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/01/google-defuses-googlebombs-does-this-change-link-building-practices.html

http://www.linkbuildingblog.com/2007/04/how_not_to_buil.html

http://diagnostics.googlerankings.com/anchor-text-link.html Case #2

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/29269.htm

http://www.seobook.com/archives/000894.shtml