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    Penguin: Sitewide Keyword Anchor Text Links


    Realistically If you're a business site and you have a sitewide link from another site, you either paid for it and it's an advert or it's a site in your control, so if you have a sitewide keyword anchor text link it is an obvious attempt to manipulate rankings.

    I believe sidewide keyword anchor text links were the reason I got an unnatural links warning in december, the sites themselves linking to me were decent quality, just the type of link was the problem.

    Here is an interesting article at seomoz about WMPU.org recovering from penguin.

    Their recovery was via removing (kind of) keyword anchor text links, though it was on a massive scale.

    So, just in my opinion, I would avoid sitewide links if possible & I would definitely avoid keyword anchor text sitewide links.

    If I had a site slapped by penguin I would remove any sitewide links and ask them to be replaced by a single one that looks a lot more natural.

    This is all just my opinion, apart from the seomoz case, so I'm interested to hear other peoples thoughts.
    Last edited by DarrenHaye; Jul 25th, 2012 at 06:07 PM.
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    I was sure using sitewides was a technique of the past... I guess I was wrong...
    Disclaimer : My posts on SEO are just from my observations and I do not say it is a true fact... A real fact of life is that, I'm often wrong...
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    Yeah, I Also hit by this. I think Free Directory links are even worse though.

    A few sitewide links not using main anchor text wont hurt (Because Google will look at it as some wacko linking to you on all pages).

    Its when you go overboard and have quite a few sitewide links from different sites.

    Then the buzzard rings to Google Algorithm and you get THE BIG BOOM HIT!!!

    Also stay away from reciprocals. I link to you, you link back to me from the same site I am linking to. A big NO NO now.
    Last edited by czoom; Jul 25th, 2012 at 11:14 PM.
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    EGOL
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    Realistically If you're a business site and you have a sitewide link from another site, you either paid for it and it's an advert or it's a site in your control, so if you have a sitewide keyword anchor text link it is an obvious attempt to manipulate rankings.
    If you have useful information on your site it is possible to get sitewides without asking for them. Think resources like: industry calendar, special calculators, industry news, first-thing-a-person-should-read articles, reference documents, free stuff... and these can have very specific keywords rather than your domain as anchor. I have lots of these with no problems.

    I believe that who is doing the linking and what that link is hitting are very important here.

    Put up a site-wide anchor-texted link on a second class blog to a product page and see what happens.... but if the Pope's site is linking to your free printable prayers you got gold.

    If you have a biz site and are not making this kind of content you better get off of yourlazyass.

    Comments on this post

    • DarrenHaye agrees
    • Test-ok agrees
    • eddyf agrees : Great tip EGOL. I'll see if the Vatican will give me a link :)
    • prasunsen agrees
    Last edited by EGOL; Jul 25th, 2012 at 11:33 PM.
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    Originally Posted by DarrenHaye
    I believe sidewide keyword anchor text links were the reason I got an unnatural links warning in december, the sites themselves linking to me were decent quality, just the type of link was the problem.

    Here is an interesting article at seomoz about WMPU.org recovering from penguin.

    Their recovery was via removing (kind of) keyword anchor text links, though it was on a massive scale.

    So, just in my opinion, I would avoid sitewide links if possible & I would definitely avoid keyword anchor text sitewide links.
    I came to a similar conclusion based on my recent warning. I'm curious about site wide links that are branded and not search related anchor text. Any thoughts there? What about signature links like the ones here in the forum? They appear on many, many posts.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : Lots of stinky links to stinky sites going out of this place. I'd rather link to my competitor in my sig.
    Last edited by europa; Jul 25th, 2012 at 11:34 PM.
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    Google penguin is really hitting to the ranking because of the aggressive use of the anchor text in the links.
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    I think it depends on the site it's coming from, I've got a couple of site wide links and haven't had a note or ranking drop issue with either of them.
    Well not yet I haven't, but I won't get a note either, I have no tool account for any of my sites.
    So maybe it's just affects people who have webmaster tools.
    that being said...Does anyone recall anyone coming in here complaining about dropped ranking that doesn't have a WMT account? Now that I think about it...I haven't, but I have CRS
    I've heard many say they have an account but never got a notice or they did and it dropped.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    I think it depends on the site it's coming from, I've got a couple of site wide links and haven't had a note or ranking drop issue with either of them.
    Well not yet I haven't, but I won't get a note either, I have no tool account for any of my sites.
    So maybe it's just affects people who have webmaster tools.
    that being said...Does anyone recall anyone coming in here complaining about dropped ranking that doesn't have a WMT account? Now that I think about it...I haven't, but I have CRS
    I've heard many say they have an account but never got a notice or they did and it dropped.
    Things that make ya go humm.
    I bet you have a decent enough link profile to handle those links though.
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  17. Traffic drop sleuth. :)
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    I think the whole issue with sitewide links is not as black and white as we think. Who knows how Google calculates whether sitewides are genuine or simply created to improve SERPS? But I bet it's way more complicated than just saying, "sitewide=spam".

    To go along with what EGOL said, I have a calculator on one of my sites that is very useful. I have several sites that have linked to that calculator via a sidebar widget and as such I end up with a sitewide link. As such, I have a whack of links to that page using the anchor text of "[keyword] calculator". And, I rank #1 for [keyword] calculator. The key thing here is that I *should* rank #1 for that term as it is a very good calculator and helpful to others.

    I'm not going to get penalized for having that anchor present as several sitewides because it was not a manipulative move at all.

    Now, for my real estate site, if I have reciprocals with a bunch of other realtors and all of their sitewides to me say, "[city] real estate" then that's more obvious that that's a trick to try to manipulate rankings.

    This is what I think Google does: I think they get a bunch of people to look at hundreds of thousands of sites and determine which types of anchor texted links are manipulative and which ones are genuine. And then, their engineers make algorithm changes that would work to (hopefully) catch the spam and allow the natural links to pass rank. They're not going to be right 100% of the time, but they should be right more often than not.

    The goal of Google is to stop people from being able to get or place links for the purpose of manipulating the SERPS. Ultimately, if you get a link it's got to be an earned link in order to help your site.
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    If this theory was true, every site linked on a half popular WordPress blogroll site would be hit. I think you're on to something, but I don't believe it's that black and white.

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    " ... I bet it's way more complicated than just saying, "sitewide=spam".

    I agree. With a campus full of PhD statisticians, it's a safe bet nothing is black or white.

    IMHO everything is based on probabilities, associations, and scores. I believe G rules are modified on a case-by case basis depending on other quality and spam signals associated with your site. And even the type of "business" you are in.

    So perhaps a single given factor like a sitewide link won't affect one site, but the same sitewide along with other minor suspicious signals would trigger a response from G. In other words, minor "infractions" could get multiplied, and thus their collective negative impact becomes far greater than the individual components.

    Also explains why it's so difficult to compare notes and reverse engineer the algo. Just my speculation, but if I were designing an algo, it would much more complex (like Dr. Marie states) than a series of "sitewide=spam" types of rules.

    So what we have to work with are a generalized list of SEO practices that are generally considered "bad" and a list of things that are considered "good practice". I think drilling down beyond that to evaluate or troubleshoot a particular site really has to take into account many, many related factors. I guess that's why you SEO's make the big bucks

    Ed

    Comments on this post

    • Dr.Marie agrees
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    I have advised against using site wides for a long time.

    I agree Dr. Marie that it is not black and white as has been eluded to in previous posts here.

    The age old mantra of produce content that is of value and link worthy is as valid as it has ever been.
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    If non-relevant sitewides automatically caused a penalty then gazillions of web design companies would no longer be ranking as 90% place a footer link to themselves after they've built the site. Many SEO companies do the same thing including my closest competitor in my market.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : When I see designers do this I roll my eyes... but when I see SEOs doing it I think that it is a really really sleezy thing to do. SEOs should be building the client up, not sucking their blood.
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  27. Traffic drop sleuth. :)
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    If non-relevant sitewides automatically caused a penalty then gazillions of web design companies would no longer be ranking as 90% place a footer link to themselves after they've built the site. Many SEO companies do the same thing including my closest competitor in my market.
    So that brings up an interesting point. If you had a Web Design company, would you link to yourself in the footer of your client's websites? If so, would you nofollow it? I'm thinking I would link with my url and still follow the link.
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    Is it just as simple as bought 'sitewide' links are a common characteristic of spammy sites who also use over optimised anchor text?

    People get stung for over optimised anchor text, but we often notice the other characteristic and think that 'sitewide' in itself is something to do with it?
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