3 Ways to Target Keywords Without Over Optimizing Anchor Text

In the fall out from Penguin, the question of how do you build links and rank for targeted keywords while still having a balance link profile is on a lot SEOs minds. Penguin hit sites hard that had over optimized anchor text, meaning too many links to the phrase in their exact match domain or other highly targeted keywords. Focusing primarily on targeting keyword anchor text links is no longer a viable SEO strategy.

With the changes Penguin has brought about, Google has completed changed the dynamics of SEO for many. So, with the fear of the Penguin looming, how do you target keywords without over optimizing?

Below are 3 things you can do to avoid being a victim of the evil Penguin:

#1. Vary Your Anchor Texts.

There have been a number of excellent posts detailing post-Penguin link strategies such as
this one from Kaiser the Sage and this stellar post from Microsite Masters. You want to keep your link profile balanced and not too heavily weight too specifically targeted terms.

Consider partial match anchors (check out Cyrus Shepard’s excellent Whiteboard Friday on this topic), links to your brand, and links directly to the URL, as detailed in this post. Linking to “this post” is a very natural anchor text link, even if you aren’t targeting a keyword.

Link Bartering is the New Link Buying

#2. Go for “NoFollow” Links Too.

Again, it is all about keeping things natural. It is not natural for a website to have nearly all it’s inbound links be “dofollow”. It’s true that nofollow links don’t really help your search engine rankings but they can make your link profile look more natural and also send referral traffic. For example, if you make a comment on an industry blog, the link to your site in the comment is likely to be nofollow, but you can get referral traffic from your link.

#3. Get Graphical.

The changes brought about by Penguin also show how interesting, highly sharable graphics and images should be a priority for webmasters. As quality links become more challenging to obtain, graphics are what can set you apart and get you links.

Infographics, memes, cartoons, and other illustrations can all be a great way to convey a message, make it highly sharable on social media, develop new relationships with bloggers, and get a larger more diverse link profile in the process. You can use these image links to help augment your more targeted keyword phrase link building while staying out of the Penguin danger zone.

If you are looking for more ideas to diversify anchor text, check out these link ideas we discussed in a past post.

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