Forget about anchor text start building trust

  • 0
  • March 3, 2008

There are two totally separate aspects to a linkbuilding campaign and a lot of people choose the wrong methods and lose out on rankings as a result.

Most inexperienced webmasters hear that they need to build links from relevant sites with their main keywords in the anchor text but using this approach can cause problems for new sites.

When you launch a new website it isn’t trusted by Google and it won’t become trusted until you get some high quality links from authority sites such as industry news sites & the mainstream press. Building unnatural links with your keywords as the anchor text isn’t going to do very much to help build your Google trust and, if you are buying links, could flag your site for manual review.

In the first 6 -12 months a site isn’t going to rank for any really competitive terms, no matter how many keyword rich links you build. The focus at this stage should purely be building huge amounts of trust so that you start ranking in the top 50 results without buying or generating keyword rich links. Once your site has a certain amount of trust then you can start ramping up your favourite linkbuilding methods and getting keyword rich links.

Of course sometimes you can get on topic natural links with the right anchor text but these are rare and not something you can base a campaign on. Next time you launch a site try to build at least 1000 natural links form authority sites before you move onto unnatural links and see how much quicker you start ranking.

One of the best ways to generate anchor text rich links naturally is by publishing news stories related to your niche, these will be linked from around the web and will help Google decide on the theme of your site even though the links are to articles rather than your homepage.

Photo credit

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Tom Beaton

    If only people would realise that generating good content is the best way, and not spamming links all over the place.

  • Adrian

    I agree. I would always prefer a link from a very trusted domain without anchor instead of ten lower trust anchored links. But one can gain natural and keyword rich links right from the start by having the exact match domain name and this will short the 6-12 months period to 3-6 months.

  • Janusz

    “In the first 6 -12 months a site isn’t going to rank for any really competitive terms, no matter how many keyword rich links you build”

    I don’t agree with this one. If you create something of real value and beat the competition by offering unique product/service to your consumers then you can get #1 position much quicker. I did it in 4 months from fresh domain.

  • simon

    i agree with Adrian, i would love a quality link from a trusted site than many small links with anchored text

  • Mark Rae is building his website…

    Totally agree. If you build great content the ranking will come.

    If you build a great web site visitors will stick around…

  • Mike Huang

    Great post. I didn’t know that anchor texts don’t affect your ranking much in the beginning, but now I know. Thanks!


  • Vertical Measures

    The only thing I might disagree with is “build at least 1000 natural links form authority sites before you move onto unnatural links”. No doubt you will rank quicker and higher with those 1000 links, but I think it sets some false expectations.

    1) If you can get 1000 natural, authority links for a new site, why would you ever do pursue ‘unnatural’ links?
    2) I have seen plenty of niche sites get some nice rankings with 1/10 that number of authority links.

    Just my two cents.

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  • Web 3 Graphics

    Being associated with a larger trusted domain also works, ie a domain you or an organisation you work for own

  • António Dias

    Must say that being a very conservative and protective blogger when it comes to anchor text and (“signature”) links in the comments I find Mark Rae’s pick for the name field totally awesome.
    Now I hope Patrick does not find my comment irrelevant :-)
    I’d soon be a very boring commenter if I keep on repeating “great post” :)

  • Internet Marketing Joy

    Tom is right, I can’t argue more. I also feels the same…content is still the king.

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  • S George

    “In the first 6 -12 months a site isn’t going to rank for any really competitive terms, no matter how many keyword rich links you build”

    I completely disagree with this. My site lets listed on Page 1 in just 2 weeks in Google. I agree with Janusz that ranking is depending on quality and uniqueness offered

  • Shaun

    I couldn’t agree more. There seems to be a strange desire in new blogs to “shoot to the top”, and think that buy getting dozens of “easy” links. There’s nothing easy about making money online. It’s hard. Damn hard. But it pays off in the end, if one plays one’s cards right.

  • Paul Anthony

    It’s difficult getting clients to adopt this trust approach.. all too often business owners want a quick fix for Google, and aren’t prepared to put the hard earned work in to get there. Especially the small business, who have yet to fully understand the web.

  • Not John chow

    I think my content is good and yet My PageRank is till non-exixtent. I think that perhaps traffic is useful too!

  • Daltonsbriefs

    I’ve worked too hard I think on anchor text links, thanks for the reminder that natural links, no matter the anchoring, is the key. As for 1,000 links, I’m no where close so I better stay focused for a while.

  • Learn SEO

    In other words “act natural” and even if you are artificially building backlinks make the anchors colorful (perhaps thats the core of this 😉


  • Ed

    Useful article. Again, it comes down to writing interesting, quality, fresh content.

  • Regan

    One of the best ways to generate anchor text rich links naturally is by publishing news stories related to your niche

    Interesting thought – going to invest some time with that in mind. My site is essentially an online business w/ an accompanying blog to aid in SEO and visibility.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Bill Hazelton

    If anything, I think trust is really the majority of the weighting. The algorithm’s (particularly Google’s) are so advanced that things like anchor text are largely impactful only as an afterthought of a link profile that has been built with substantial trust upfront. Trustworthy back link profile should be the focus. After establishing trust and some aging of those trusted link, it seems like you should be able to fine tune with anchor text.


  • Bill Hazelton

    Interesting because we’ve been pounded in the head with the whole idea that “anchor text” is everything. But it’s so easy to game anchor text, which is more than likely why it’s been deemphasized in the algorithm?

    Seems perfectly logical to me.

  • Luke

    Something that annoys me is that a lot of people on here always refer to building links via news sites and media sites.

    What about websites that are small and only want to be listed for none generic keywords, posting news articles every few days just isn’t worth it (money wise) and they will never get listed on large news/media sites.

    I understand that setting up a blog and generating good quality articles is key to pushing large sites with large budgets etc but small time clients have to focus on getting linkbacks and not spending time on getting mentioned in a news article (which will never happen).

    • Patrick Altoft

      You are right that smaller sites don’t sometimes need as many links but news marketing still has a place. Small sites could publish news for their company such as offers and industry news just for fresh content.

      Every niche has a news resource and if yours doesn’t then consider starting one.

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  • Travel Agents Wanted

    Thanks for the advice on anchoring text. It is not easy for someone to start up a new site. So many things to know and learn.

  • David (glycodoc)

    Content (value given) is of prime importance, but a few anchored links probably won’t hurt either. Variety of methods might be best.

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