Is Exact Match Linking Dead? – SEO Video
Welcome to this weeks SEO video blog, today we’re talking anchor text and more importantly [exact] match back links and whether they’re still relevant in a post penguin landscape.
The recent Google algorithm changes should have removed the ability to spam the search engines with low quality thin content and aggressive exact match heavy back link profiles. And with these updates you should be clear on what a decent link profile looks like for 2013, but we wanted to look at theory verses practicality and whats still working today.
Inspired by a post on buy cialis online uk SEOMoz by Court Tuttle on Post Penguin anchor text where he managed to get a new domain to rank for a competitive phrase with only one [exact] match link, we reviewed 3 separate rankings.
We looked at the following industries, type of query and URL’s.
- National Phrase – Finance Industry – Credit Cards - http://www.moneysupermarket.com/credit-cards/ (Deep link)
- Local Phrase – Service Industry – Electrician London – http://www.theedamelectrics.com/
- National Phrase – SEO industry – SEO Company – http://www.smartrank.co.uk/
To keep things simple we just wanted to review the percentage of [exact] match links pointing to the landing pages, to do this we used opensiteexplorer.
Credit Cards Example – 22% Exact Match Linking
So lets take a look at each example and take from it what we can, firstly the ‘Credit Cards’ keyword. You can see 382 linking root domains and 85 [exact] match to the target keyword, this equates to 22% of the links to that particular page.
<screen shot 1>
No doubt that this is working well, but they do have a decent variation of other links and interestingly its a internal page ranking, not the homepage. The homepage has only a variation of branded anchor text, so maybe Google takes this into consideration and expects natural links to be more specific the deeper they are within a site.
Electrician London Example – 64% Exact Match Linking
Secondly the local phrase ‘Electrician London’, total linking root domains 56, with 32 [exact] match, this equals 64%, which in this day and age seems too high right?
<screen shot 2>
So, again working well TODAY despite the SEO world thinking it shouldn’t. A possible explanation could be that Google takes a less aggressive approach to local keywords when compared to large national campaigns?
SEO Company Example – 12% Exact Match Linking
Finally then the SEO industry keyword, ‘SEO company’ is a huge phrases offering a wealth of competition. Smart Rank currently rank position 1, they have 1301 root linking domains and 152 [exact] match links for ‘SEO company’ making their percentage 12%.
<screen shot 3>
When looking at Smart Rank’s back link profile you can immediately see they have a broad selection of industry specific synonyms which makes up there back link profile, we would say a 12% [exact] match is close to perfect and they have a good selection of branded and URL links to protect their site from over optimisation. Overall the most natural back link profile, which you would expect from an SEO agency. Well done Smart Rank!!
So, When we look at the the 3 examples there may be more to consider than just having good variation of anchor text building up your back link profile.
Does Google treat internal pages differently to root URLs? Does Google treat different industries and the competitiveness of a keyword differently when applying algorithmic penalties to sites? On face value it would seem that way.
Where do we go from here, we believe we could take this one step further an focus on a particular industry isolating the test further…. so watch this space.
Thanks for watching this week, if you have any questions or comments.. as always leave them on the supporting blog post.