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Gareth Goddard

Anchor Links VS Brand Links

Theres been some debate recently about how Google prefers brand links now to keyworded anchor text links, and to be honest this makes sense to me

Keyworded anchor text links always seems a tad unnatural to me. If I was linking to a friend about some nike shoes I would go “hey heres some great nike *link*shoes*link*” I would probably link with “nike” or “nike shoes” or even a basic “click here” or a link with the URL but in all honesty most of the time ‘shoes’ on its own would not be the keyword I linked with.

In directories or listing websites people might link with “flower shop” or “flowers in london” but you’re probably more likely to get a natural linking pattern of “Mandy’s Flowers” or *link*mandy’s flowers*link – we sell flowers in london.

Googles preference for links within text context makes a better sense with this linking structure but still doesn’t help people rank for their keywords, and anchor text is still a big factor in ranking well.

Now this is where the big Google change is trying to fix the gap between the linking methods, or at least how I believe it is trying to fix these issues.

Take who “nike” who are going to get linked to as “nike” a lot, but in reality they sell shoes and clothing. You’re going to get a lot of “nike shoes” links and URL links, but the page context itself is where Google will see that nike sell shoes.

Google has to find a way to balance “the brand is nike, and lots of people link to it as with that brand name, but their main business focus is shoes”, and as such the new thinking is

“Build a strong brand with Google links, get links on relevant on topic sites and make sure your on page SEO is spot on and Google knows whatever it is your trying to sell”

Obviously you still need your keyworded links, but in theory on topic links should help you convey that message – “nike is getting lots of links with just the anchor text ‘nike’ but the links are coming from shoe and sports related websites and their on page content suggests they sell shoes, therefore if 1000 shoe sites are linking back to nike (however they decide to link) nike must be an important website in the niche of shoes”

The problem/benefit to keyworded domains as brand names is that you need to balance building a strong brand with over doing keywords for a product or niche. If your company was called “shoes” and you have shoes.com having 100,000 links that all say “shoes” makes sense both to your brand and to what you are selling, but it also looks like you’re trying to get 100,000 links to rank for the keyword “shoes” and that’s where some degree of brand recognition or human moderation may be needed on certain topics.