We’ve just added a free Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool to the site for our Remove’em bad backlink removal tool. This tool will quickly tell you if you have over-optimized links pointing at your site that could cause you to get a Google penalty.
What Is Anchor Text Over-Optimization?
Anchor text is the text that appears to a reader in a link to another web site. So in the first paragraph of this post, the phrase “Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool” is the anchor text for that link. Anchor text is important to search engines, as it is one factor they use in determining the relevance of a link in relation to search queries people might make for the page to which the link points.
Having anchor text links to your pages from authoritative web sites that help reinforce major keyword terms for which you want to rank can be an effective part of SEO. However, search engines have come to realize that anchor text can be too-easily gamed in order to manipulate search results. The realization of the power of “exact match anchor text” (anchor text that exactly matches a valuable keyword) has incentivized some site owners to seek to have such links placed deliberately on other sites, sometimes even paying the site owners to create such links.
What Is an Anchor Text Over-Optimization Penalty?
With the introduction of the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates over the past couple of years, Google has begun an attempt to crack down on those manipulative practices. So they now watch the anchor text of links pointing to a particular site, and evaluate it based on how many links there are for a particular anchor text, on what types of sites those links occur, how natural those links seem in the context of the content in which they are placed, and perhaps the level of commercial intent of those keywords.
Google and other search engines want links to occur “naturally” or “organically.” That means links that are in content because they make sense there, and help the reader to find more information or get to a valuable resource. Intentionally manipulated links often look forced or contrived in their context (“so you may want to look into learning more about downtown Chicago payday loans as you evaluate your finances”). They simply aren’t the kinds of links that real content writers would naturally produce.
If Google detects a pattern of too many such links pointing to a site, they may take it as evidence that the site owner intentionally placed or paid for those links. As this violates Google’s webmaster guidelines, Google may place a manual penalty on the site. As a result, the site’s rankings for many or all of its main keywords may drop drastically (or in extreme cases, disappear entirely).
Are You in Danger of an Over-Optimization Penalty?
So how can you as a site owner or webmaster know if you might be in danger of a penalty from Google for too much over-optimized anchor text in backlinks pointing to your site?
Our FREE Anchor Text Over Optimization tool will tell you! Using it couldn’t be simpler. Just go to the tool’s page and enter the URL of the site you want to check:
Click submit and you’ll be taken to a results page (may take a few minutes to process).
The tool provides values for root domains, total links, and mozRank percentages. Items highlighted in pink are moderately over optimized and those in red are strongly over optimized. Bear in mind that if you are highly optimized for your own brand terms, it is a good thing. You should be most concerned if valuable keywords are over optimized.
What Should You Do If You’re Over Optimized?
If the tool reveals that you have a lot of over-optimized links for important keywords, you should be concerned that you may be in danger of receiving a Google penalty. You should get to work immediately to try to get as many of the suspicious-looking links removed as possible. If you’ve already been penalized, then you absolutely need to get those taken down, no-followed, or disavowed before you can ask Google to reinstate your rankings.
Doing that can be an arduous, time-consuming process. It’s not atypical for webmasters to spend months trying to get enough bad links removed or disavowed to satisfy Google. In the meantime, they are not visible to their potential customers for their important keywords, and business and money is lost.
A bad backlinks removal tool like Remove’em can be a real lifesaver in such situations. Whether you just need to proactively remove links before you suffer a penalty, or you need to recover from an existing penalty, Remove’em automates and simplifies many aspects of the process, from identifying suspicious links, to finding contact info for webmasters, to keeping track of outreach attempts and removal success, to finally generating the report Google requires with your reconsideration request.