Text Links

How Important Are Text Links and how should the text links be used?

There has been a big business in buying and selling text links. Obviously, this is a method to trick Google into thinking that a text link was placed on a page because of its usefulness or informational value. For many years, I refused many offers to accept payment for both text links on my websites and entire pages of content with text links because this is just asking to get into SEO trouble.

However, what about using legitimate text links. I use text links to link to other websites, even competitors’ websites and to my own content on my website or other websites. Should this be a big part of your search engine optimization plan?

I have always limited my text links (and anything else I do) to what is natural and useful. Anything more, if not currently a problem with Google, will eventually be.

Google has now announced the following change regarding anchor text links: “We turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Our experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.”

Consequently, don’t obsess either with creating a lot of text links or how you create them. Don’t choose a lot of keywords to make text links. Just use text links naturally as if you were creating a news article or informational article rather than with search engine optimization in mind.

After writing this post, I received an e-mail newsletter with SEO tips stating the following about linking:
When you link internally from one page on your website to another page on your website be consistent with your link anchor text. Use the same key phrase you are targeting within the anchor text in each link pointing to that page from other pages on your website. Also, be consistent with the URL you are using in each link. If there is more than one URL that you can use to access the same page on your website, pick one URL and stick to it. If you are consistent with your links internally, your pages will perform better in the search engines.

I completely disagree with this advice.  The type of consistency the author was suggesting for linking is unnatural. Consistency is important with regards to your brand but not for search engine optimization purposes.

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