Over-Optimization Penalty for Local Sites Internal Links?

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
I see lots of really spammy over-optimized local sites - sorry but Plumbers and Attorney sites always come to mind 1st. But the definitely aren't the only ones.

Anyway I was just reading a thread at Webmaster World and wanted to bring it up.

It's about keyword anchor links on the site, linking back to the home page. How often do you see links for Dallas Dentist, or Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney on every page of the site linking back to the home page???


Sites penalised for link on main keyword to home? Google SEO News and Discussion forum at WebmasterWorld

manage a lot of sites, and invariably when there are big changes at google, some improve, some stay the same and some get hit.

Of the 150 of so i am managing currently, 3 were hit a couple of months ago, and the only thing i can see in common is they all have a home page link on their main keyword to home.

eg

Cats - anchor text to home page.
Window cleaning - anchor text to home page.

As a result, the home page has been removed from googles results... inner pages still rank.... but the resultant removal of the home page and its PR/link juice means the inner pages have been hit hard.

Anyway else seeing something like this or got an alternate cause for a home page being removed for its main term due to internal links on an optimised anchor text?
So just wanted to mention if you had a site drop or a site you can't get to rank, it's just one more thing you should double check on the organic side of the house.

What do you think?
 
Anchor text diversity comes to mind.

At Pubcon it was mentioned MANY times how important it is to have a balanced link portfolio.

The key nowadays to avoid getting hit by the "anchor text" filter is to make sure the external links coming in are diverse with a healthy helping of branded and long tail keywords.

With internal links it seems like there shouldn't be a need to have location-specific anchor texts whatsoever, just mix it up with short tail and long tail and leave the location work to citations and title tags. Does that seem about right?

Anyway, this case with the 3 sites getting hit seems indicative of too many links coming into the homepage that target one or two exact match anchor texts.
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Speak of the devil...

Doing consulting for a consultant about an attorney listing as we speak. Trying to figure out the ranking drop. I don't think it's a G+ L problem at this point. Appears to be an organic penalty to me.

I mean yes they have a bunch of G+ probs too, but the way I eval these things, if they still rank high in organic like they always have and just drop out of blended then it normally indicates a problem on the Places side of the house. But when I investigate PURE organic ranking, I can't even find them 6 pages back, so I think it's mainly an organic penalty.

GUESS WHAT? Footer link on every page of site:

City Divorce Attorney | City Divorce Lawyer
(Both key phases strung together just like that in a single link to home)

Plus I found some funky dupe content and spammy back links with the same KWs so could be BL related.

But I found it interesting that I just posted about this yesterday and now have a client that MAY be suffering from this problem. But again it's very common for local sites to do this.
 
I'm a little confused.:confused: I have been reading through this thread, and the question keeps coming up about linking to the homepage using anchor text. I see mixed answers and am asking for clarification.

Is it still a good idea to link to the homepage using a variety of keyword rich anchor text links? For example: if your site keywords are cats, then would you link to the homepage using:

cats
cute cats
fuzzy felines,

etc.?

Thanks!
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Is it still a good idea to link to the homepage using a variety of keyword rich anchor text links?
No I personally would not. It's not natural and could be seen by G as over-optimization.
I would only link home page with the anchor text 'home'.

The internal nav links to any page of the site, should represent what that page is. The home page is the home page.

Think of it this way. If Google and search engines did not exist and this site was only for the customer, you would not do that. Your goal would simply be to show them how they could get back "home", right?

I think you may be thinking of EXTERNAL backlinks. There it IS important to diversify links the way you mentioned. I just would not do with home page links.

Internal themed pages would be fine. If you have a page all about cute cats and another about fuzzy felines, they can be named that way and the anchor text link could be listed that way.
 
Thanks Linda. I guess what I was thinking of was if you wrote an article or blog post and wanted to link within the text back to the homepage, you wouldn't want to use "home" in that situation. You would use your keywords or variations of keywords. Is that still acceptable?
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Oh ya, I think that's OK.

The original article is talking about a link ON home page that links BACK to home page but the link is KW stuffed. There is no valid reason to have a home page link keyword stuffed linking back to itself.

Then my comment sort of expanded on that and I was talking about NAVIGATION links. Meaning on every page of the site the home page would be linked to with City + KW. So then there are like 100 links on the page that all link to Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney, that all go to home. So in both cases we are talking nav links.

I think in a blog post if you are talking about saying "Click here for more info about cute cats then that's different and should be fine.
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Speak of the devil...

Doing consulting for a consultant about an attorney listing as we speak. Trying to figure out the ranking drop. I don't think it's a G+ L problem at this point. Appears to be an organic penalty to me.

I mean yes they have a bunch of G+ probs too, but the way I eval these things, if they still rank high in organic like they always have and just drop out of blended then it normally indicates a problem on the Places side of the house.

But when I investigate PURE organic ranking, I can't even find them 6 pages back, so I think it's mainly an organic penalty.

GUESS WHAT? Footer link on every page of site:

City Divorce Attorney | City Divorce Lawyer
(Both key phases strung together just like that in a single link to home)

Plus I found some funky dupe content and spammy back links with the same KWs so could be BL related.

But I found it interesting that I just posted about this yesterday and now have a client that MAY be suffering from this problem. But again it's very common for local sites to do this.
GREAT NEWS and POINT PROVEN...
Forgot to tell you guys this...

Remember, they had TOTALLY dropped out of search.

He removed that KW stuffed footer link - that’s ALL he did
And RIGHT AWAY popped back up to #3!
 
Interesting. So, I have a site with footer links to several of my sites pages, all using keywords for that particular page. And yes, I do have the keywords for the homepage in that footer also.

Should I take off the entire footer or just the homepage link? BTW, this is not a local site, so we're talking about organic seo.

Thanks!
 
Wow, that's amazing, Linda--removing one keyword-stuffed link in the footer and his rankings improved dramatically. Just goes to show you.

Laurie, I would definitely remove the footer links that are directed to your homepage. As Linda mentioned, internal links directed to the homepage really aren't natural and make no sense and they just make Google see red flags. But of course, good internal linking is important.
 
Keyword-stuffing internal anchor text (especially sitewides) is an obvious tactic to manipulate the algo and Google isn't easily fooled by this. The minor rankings benefit you could gain would be outweighed greatly by the potential rankings drop you would likely be hit with at some point in time (IMHO) - not to mention the fact that it just looks spammy.

Time spent looking for ways to game the system could be spent on:
- retrofitting hcard/schema
- making sure Authorship is setup properly and then writing quality content
- using rel=canonical and redirects to fix broken links and clean up duplicate content
- etc, etc
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Interesting. So, I have a site with footer links to several of my sites pages, all using keywords for that particular page. And yes, I do have the keywords for the homepage in that footer also.

Should I take off the entire footer or just the homepage link? BTW, this is not a local site, so we're talking about organic seo.

Thanks!
Ya we are talking ORGANIC SEO if it's on the site. Does not matter if it's local or not, the Google organic penalties are almost more prevalent than Places penalties.

Kinda hard to say without seeing the site. But NAV links in the footer are fine.
So if it was a pet site having a link to the dog section, cat section, about us, are OK.
The above nav links would also benefit the customer.
But home should go anchor link to home.

Make sense?
 

Linda Buquet

1
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks everyone. Linda - the site is at Gift Baskets for Women - Best Gifts for Women - Give Her a Gift She Will Treasure - you can see what I have in the bottom footer. So, I am assuming you're saying that I should take off the "gift baskets for women" that goes to the homepage but can keep the others?
Thanks for sharing the link Laurie.

Ya in fact you have 2 FOOTER links to home with that exact same KW anchor text. So yes to be safe I would remove one and the other change to "Home".
 
One more thing. I looked through the thread but didn't really see the explanation. Sorry in advance if I missed something.

Why is it ok to link to other internal pages on the footer of every page but not the homepage? Is it just that that page gets "overlinked" in other places too?
 
Laurie, internal linking is important, and you should include a link to the homepage in the footer. But the anchor text in the footer link for the homepage should be "Home", not "Gift Baskets for Women". Of course, you can use anchor text in the footer, but just direct the link to the appropriate corresponding page. So "Romantic Gift Baskets" should go to the Romantic Gift Baskets page, "Housewarming Gift Baskets" should be directed to its particular page, and so on. Think of your footer links as basically navigational links.

There would be nothing wrong with using anchor text directed to the homepage in your blog articles either, just try not to overdo it. And don't forget to vary the anchor text in your articles and when creating back links on other sites. Hope this answers your question.
 

Local Search Forum Info


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe



Google top contributor


Follow Us on Twitter
@LocalSearchLink

local-search-ranking-factors

MyCommBanner250

Top