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Vary Your Link Text (and eat your vegetables or else!)

Vary Your LINK TEXT (and eat your vegetables or else!)

Text links are a great way to help boost your search engine rankings – especially when they have YOUR keywords in the LINKS!

Search engines love this stuff… ummm… in moderation… 

Just like in the real world where you need to be careful NOT to over do some things… such as overeating that funky chunk sweet fatty ice cream stuff which may taste good… so good it’s hard to stop eating it once you get started… but don’t eat too much of that sugar filled crap because you might just get a tummy ache… at the very least you’ll gain some weight and a zit or two (a real world penalty by the way!) 

Just like in the real world – there are penalties for excessive behavior in SEO! The days of hammering a SPECIFIC KEYWORD PHRASE in the link text for a page are long gone.

Read on Garth – the good stuff is coming >>>

I just got a question (a cry for help actually) about ‘varying link text”.

I’ll share some of the background info and the question so you guys can benefit as well.

The poor guy just outsourced a job on elance to get backlinks and he had them use 3 articles in the hopes of gaining 400 backlinks.

He is now concerned because the outsourcer used the same exact single keyword in all of the link text. Apparently it was a one word phrase. He now wanted to know if this would trigger a penalty for having a lot of links in a short period show up with the same link text.

Uhhhhh…. let me think about this….

The short answer is YES.

400 backlinks in a couple of weeks with the same SINGLE WORD is a pattern they will notice. I’m sure there is more to what the outsourcer did than simply the SAME LINK TEXT.

Now, what they’ll do is unkonwn. It may be a simple penalty where the links don’t count or count for very little.

Unfortunately, people that work FOR US tend to want to do things quiicly and as painlessly as possible. Outsourcers are notorious for not doing much thinking about the work they do for us – they just do it – and as fast as they can! This is not a ood thing!

Too fast and without thought is what gets us in trouble. Maybe not every time but eventually the man catches up with us! And so do the calories! So make sure you you eat your vegetables too! Sorry… could not resist.

In general – you want all of your backlinks to work for you. Not against you.

The idea is to vary the link text and make sure that the links pointing at your web pages have some unique characteristics, just like in the “real world”.

In the world of SEO – TOO MUCH of a good thing usually turns into trouble… especially when it comes to backlinks.

When people link to you in the real world, they don’t always link to your page the right way or with the best words. The links are NEVER PERFECT! A lot of them are crap! HAve you ever noticed that???

So when YOU or your outsourced workers do linking campaigns for you make sure that the links pointing at your pages are NOT ALL PERFECT!

There are a few ways to look at this “Vary Your Link Text” mantra I have… and it’s not science by the way – it’s all opinion based theory since search engines do not tell us what triggers their ALGORHYTMS or how they decide to penalize a page or site :’>

BUT that said – it’s very obvious that TARGETED LINK TEXT has a huge impact on geting a web page top rankings… It works! UNTIL you start to shoot yourself in the foot by doing the same good things too often.

VARY your LINK TEXT – it’s the law!

Each URL that you link to should have more than 2 or 3 VARIATIONS in the LINK TEXT if you want it to look like a normal web page linked by real people out there in the real world – more variation is better and more natural – 5 or more variations is ideal – beacuse in the real world a popular web page may have 100’s or more different keyword phrases used in the LINK TEXT pointing at the URL. Some of them are pure crap!

Have you ever seen someone link to you with “Click Here” as the link text???

YOU should be thanking them instead of trying to get them to change it!

It’s the variations in link text that will help make your linking campaigns satisfy the search engines!

But what about other PATTERNS and EXCESES???

Now, we need to considermore than just the LINK TEXT itself – you also need to be concerned with the surrounding words on the web pages that link to you.

If a LARGE percentage of the web pages that link to you share the SAME or SIMILAR QUALITIES – ie same link text – the same exact surrounding words – the same identical titles – same file names etc. it will tell Google your page is linked by a robot…. or at the very least by someone working like a robot. They don’t like this! In fact, if Google had their way you would NVERE link to your own web pages. They’d prefer you did not have that power or capability – because that is what they believe is MANIPULATION.

Right or wrong – what they think is not negotiable. They don’t want us to link to our own pages and they’ll do what they can to make sure that the LINKS they rank us on are NOT from automation or manipulation.

Does that mean we should roll over and NOT be concerned about backlinks??? Hell no!

But we need to be sensible about how we do it. We need to be smarter than all the other guys out there trying to cut corners and get the job done as soon as possible without considering the tracks they are leaving.

We simply need to throw in a few monkey wrenches and back off a hair. That alone will help you get past the big brother censors who want to BAN your sites and penalize you for linking.

All we need to do is employ simple variation and do some things in a slower more sensible way.

Otherwise if you blast 3 articles out over 400 different web sites and they all have the same link text – the same page titles – the same keyword density n the pages – the same bio boxes etc… it’ll bite you in the booty!

That is why ARTICLE SUBMISSION can kill you if you go about it in the worng way.

It’s not good for 100 or 200 or 300 or 400 article directories to link to you with the SAME IDENTICAL WORDS on the PAGES. Too many patterns can be revealed that will set off red flags.

So – back to the question and the fact that one keyword was used in the text of 400 backlinks…

As for one word being linked too much…. You can still vary it by adding other words to links pointing at the same page.

While it is NOT possible to VARY a single word – by nature it is not a phrase –  too many that are simply a ONE WORD link – will be noticeable

You can still help that URL look more natural by having more links than that single word – try using different keywords and keyword phrases that point at the same URL. I’d hurry up and get more links pointing at that URL you are linking and make sure the text is different with lots of variations!

Sometimes when you MIX IN a bunch of variations it may be enough to STOP the filters from flagging you or removing the penalty when they see things equalize over time.

In the future make sure you don’t go nuts wit one keyword phrase hammered too may times in the same way.

The biggest RED FLAG is when some OVER ZEALOUS and ANXIOUS people in a hurry try to MANIPULATE RANKINGS by showing Google a web page that gets MANY TARGETED TEXT LINKS that are ALL the same or very similar – it tells Google something UN-NATURAL is happening and they catch it pretty easy.

The simple solution is to not over do it on one or two phrases – add VARIETY – make sure each of your web page URLS have at least 2 or 3 primary phrases and ideally more. Also have a few secondary phrases. Get some links with those too! Make sure the words are actually on your page though!  Also have some wildcards thorwn in – change the word order – add an extra word to a phrase etc.

Those things should help prevent a URL from getting hit with a massive penalty.

Just try to be real! Don’t do things like a machine! Machines and automation can lack the nuances that reality provides.

Automation can be a great thing, but if you do things reptitively just like robots, it may hurt you more than help you.

Just be sensible and you’ll be fine. So make sure you eat your vegetables, ok???

How to use PLR Articles creatively

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  1. Hey Mike,
    Everything you say here seems to match with how some pundits are praising the benefits of LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, that helps Google maintain search relevancy by distinguishing between polynyms, words with multiple meanings.

    In other words, if you vary your anchor text to include related words, latent semantic indexing adds weight to rankings, because related words in the backlinks to your site are better matched to a natural, organic linking patterns.

    For example, a page about ‘music’ will fair better if it includes words like radio, records, CD, video, download, listen, and MP3 — and, from what you are saying here, the same benefit holds true when the anchor text is varied in the hyperlinks pointing to your page…

    Do you have a systematic way of selecting the related phases to use in your anchor text?



    Comment by internetguruwatch — August 10, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  2. You are dead on, but I’ve been telling this to people for years and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Not only is is important for LSI, but for Hilltop as well, where if you only have one keyterm linking to a page you’ll show up on the radar as a tree, as a spike, and not as a hill, and your spike will be disregarded as an inadvertence.
    The worst of the worst of people who do this are into reputation management, where they get totally focused on moving multiple pages down in the SERPs to get the bad reviews off and get other pages to rank higher than the bad reviews. The clients won’t even pay for a link that is not the exact term they want removed, and I mean I’ve seen this from multiple reputation management clients.
    Also, this variation in anchor text also semi-subscribes to the “half-drunken SEO” methodology. You don’t want things to be “perfect”.
    The SEs are against “the machine”, that is, computer generated content and links. Even if it comes from a person, if they are working like a robot, how do you tell it’s not a computer doing it. The SE’s love the human touch. To err is human. The SE’s love it.

    Comment by neuron — August 14, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  3. Hi Mike,

    Yea i think its really a dumb idea to try to show many target text links to Google. I’ve seen many people doing it, and off they go into that Google slap ha.

    I think that the best way to play it safe with Google is to think logically and not rush. Patience reaps its rewards!

    Anyway, informative site you have here and also with article underground! thanks for all these helpful info on your blog.

    All the best!

    John Leow

    Comment by leow_john — August 17, 2008 @ 5:18 am

  4. By the way, my blog link is The Jobless Blog. Would be very kind of you to drop by!

    Comment by leow_john — August 17, 2008 @ 5:21 am

  5. Hey guys,

    really informative. Even once you know this stuff it is great to read an article again that refocuses your efforts. The way that I take this problem out of the equation is to target 7 or 8 keywords at once. It take a little bit longer to hit the search tops, but you end up with more traffic anyways since most people come through unique searches. fx trading online

    Comment by david wolf — January 10, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  6. Hi thanks for clearing that up for me i am slowly getting backlinks for my site at this stage….

    Is it good to link to my home page with back links? or linking to other pages on my site? and is it possible to do a backlink to certain sections of my site?

    Thanks for informative information concerning this suject.

    Comment by gd2knw — June 10, 2009 @ 7:19 am

  7. Hi again one more question if you don’t mind….

    Is it good to have too many or too few backlinks from the same site?

    Thanks again

    Comment by gd2knw — June 10, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  8. Let me summarize this:
    If your anchors from a hundred different sites is the same, you may raise some flags with the search engines. If you vary your anchor terms you can improve your ranking for a variety of keywords.
    For example: Shop for printer ink at InkCloners.com

    I am optimizing for “printer ink”

    Comment by Ink In New Jersey — July 31, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  9. Nice Article, Thank for your Sharing.
    Dofollow Social Bookmarking

    Comment by Susy Shin — August 2, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  10. Thank for your post.

    Comment by Kenny Wong — August 12, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  11. Mike,

    This was good. You and the others helped to clear up some more suspicions that I had.

    I understand a bit about SEO. But, it’s always good to get just a little more clarity about back links and anchor text. Thank you for writing this.

    Comment by Fred Lemons — October 4, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  12. Mike,

    As a newbie to internet marketing I want to make sure I understand you article on varying text links for backlinking. I have a site based on the keyword “golf fitness training.”

    So you are saying when I make post to Article Underground Blogs pointing to my web page I should use different keywords in my URL link on different AU blogs.

    For example I would post a URL link with the keyword “golf Fitness training” on AU blog 1, then post a URL link with keyword “golf fitness” on AU blog 2, then post URL link keyword “Fitness training program for golf” on AU blog 3, etc, etc.

    I understand each article posted and its title would be different for AU blog 1, AU blog 2, AU blog 3, etc.

    All the AU blog posts would link back to the same web page on my Golf Fitness Training Site.

    Comments welcomed on my understanding.

    Comment by Larry Romeo @ Golf Fitness Training — October 30, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  13. The rule of thumb is to be natural. Vary the anchor text and it goes a long way.

    Comment by Dand — October 30, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  14. Hi Larry

    You have the correct understanding, and it wouldnt hurt you if you once in a while even linked with click here, or even without a text link, but just the websites name.

    Like this http://www.hypnose1.dk, and perhaps you could bookmark some of your pages at nofollow sites.

    The coaching teacher at the coachuddannelse i took a couple of years ago used to say “the more you coach the more you coach”, which sounds stupid, but what she meant was that the more we coached different people, the better we became at coaching.
    The same could be said about linking, the more varied you link, the better at linking you will get.

    Comment by Janno — October 30, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

  15. Mike,

    If you are right then I could just build, say, a thousand backlinks to my COMPETITORS with the same ANCHOR TEXT in a day and they are BANNED by Google? That should be very easy to do.
    If you are right then many people will just be doing this.


    Comment by John — October 30, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  16. Janno,

    Thanks for your positive response and information on coaching.

    Comment by Larry Romeo @ Golf Fitness Training — October 30, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

  17. Hi Mike,

    great insight on building links, as I have had the same happen. I must say that you do learn from these mistakes and you are so right, be real.

    Kind regards & good health,

    Darren C.

    Comment by Darren C — October 30, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  18. Hi Mike,

    I appreciate your no nonsense informative article about SEO and how important it is to do things the right way.

    I just read a post elsewhere which was parroting some apparently fairly recognized experts or so called gurus, saying that Google doesn’t care about duplicate content, the quality of content and other nonsense.

    Unfortunately many people will believe anything that promises to make their life easier even if it doesn’t make any logical sense.

    Thanks for providing true information, for telling it like it is.


    Comment by Vance Sova — October 30, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

  19. Hi,
    Very appreciate that you are willing to share your knowledge in this article. it is really useful.

    Tas Online

    Comment by Tas Online — October 31, 2009 @ 2:00 am

  20. Mike,
    thank for sharing this tips. I am newbie and I found many info in mikeliebner dot com.

    Jasa SEO

    Comment by Jasa SEO — October 31, 2009 @ 2:02 am

  21. HI Mike!

    I have noticed with many article directories is that they have a default bio box. What happens if you add articles to the same directories all the time? Would it be better if you add to other lesser known article directories as well?
    Great information as always Mike, only dude got a spell checker handy? 😉

    Comment by Kim — October 31, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  22. I have listen to ur webinar it is really interesting

    Comment by lanreoj — October 31, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  23. I have listen to your webinar it is really interesting

    Comment by lanreoj — October 31, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  24. Hi Mike
    I find all this about backlinks very interesting?
    Why – because I’ve got pages in the search engines, some at no1 and 1 & 2, a lot in top 20, and according to Google – I’ve got no backlinks at all!
    My new site is only a few months old, and I have unique content.
    Work that one out then?
    Isn’t SEO wonderful!!
    Mike I follow your stuff because it’s very helpful and makes sense.
    Graham in UK

    Comment by Graham in UK — October 31, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  25. I wonder how bad using a submission service like Unique Articles Wizard actually is, I mean they have you write three versions of the same article and they they claim they submit a unique article to up to 700 to 800 other sites.

    How bad do you think a service like that would be for your linking efforts?

    Comment by Forex Trading Robots — October 31, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  26. Sheesh, I’ll certainly be glad when people figure out that google does NOT use LSI. LSI is not a model for a search engine, never has been, NEVER WILL BE as it doesn’t work that way.

    What people mistakenly call LSI is not true LSI it’s themeing. Using a theme for you website and for your links is what works, not LSI.

    Comment by Mind Power — November 1, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  27. Finally, someone willing to give no BS answers to important and pertinent questions.. Kudos to you brother!

    Comment by jhenry — November 2, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  28. What? You mean you have to work at setting creatively worded links? Oh man… what is the world coming to.

    But seriously… appreciate the warning about article submission.. that makes good sense.

    Thanks for this!

    Comment by MAS — November 3, 2009 @ 10:18 am

  29. Hey,
    What I got out of this, is slow linking. Well, that should be the mantra by now. But, what about what to link? Well, Mike spells it out in the triple play, or if you are a hockey fan the trifecta.
    1. Url in the title of the blog.
    2. A reference of the key word title in the blog as a unique keyword phrase that will link to your page.
    3. Outsource link is a subjective phrase that is linked to your keyword page.
    Hope that helps

    Comment by markd16 — November 6, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  30. Dude,
    What is this? Jasa SEO
    Looks very cool, however,….

    Comment by markd16 — November 6, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

  31. I should have just stuck to builden Corvettes ! The forever newbie . How can a man read so much and learn so little . Brent

    Comment by Brent G Swisher — November 17, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  32. thanks i can link mike liebner.com

    Comment by I Putu Suandra — February 25, 2010 @ 3:06 am

  33. Very informative and effective post.Really you have done a good job.Keep it up..

    Comment by Amtico — March 10, 2010 @ 4:57 am

  34. really informative. Even once you know this stuff it is great to read an article again that refocuses your efforts. The way that I take this problem out of the equation is to target 7 or 8 keywords at once. It take a little bit longer to hit the search tops, but you end up with more traffic anyways since most people come through unique searches

    Comment by Jogos Gratis — May 26, 2010 @ 9:57 am

  35. thanks for the article, this is very useful for me

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    Comment by Henry Peise — December 23, 2010 @ 1:51 am

  37. Thanks for the very worthy post. I will do SEO better 😀

    Comment by mrlonely — February 12, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  38. Hi mike,
    thank for sharing vary link. it is very useful for newbie as myself

    Comment by tmj — April 14, 2011 @ 3:44 am

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