Since Google’s implementation of Panda & Penguin, inbound links (backlinks) are more heavily scrutinized based on 2 primary factors: 1) Linking Text & 2) Relevance.
1) Linking Text
Also known as anchor text, websites that have an overwhelmingly high ratio of high-traffic keywords (‘money’ keywords) will be left behind in the dust. Google is seeking to reward websites with a ‘natural’ backlink profile.
What is natural? Well, there’s no exact formula; however, the majority of your ‘anchor texts’ should be raw URLs (so instead of having your backlinks point to your site saying ‘SEO service‘, it should predominately say ‘http://rankedresults.com/‘. Branded keywords (such as ‘RankedResults’, ‘RankedResults SEO’, etc..) should also be a high priority of anchors in your link building strategy.
Of course, to rank for competitive keywords, they have to be included as part of your backlink profile as well. This is where common sense comes to play:
What type of websites would link to you using keyword-rich anchors? Unlike the old days, where every link you’d build would contain a high-volume ‘money’ keyword, it’s not that simple anymore. Social bookmarking is meant to do exactly what it’s called – ‘bookmark’ or add a link (anchor text should be a raw URL or your company name) to your website. Directories (don’t get me started on a rant about directories, but for the sake of this post & any future reference I make of web directories, please understand I’m talking about high-quality, niche relevant, authority sites) should be treated like phone book directories. Your company name, and brief description about your product and/or services. Press Releases? Not so much. PRs should promote your company using branded (your company name) keywords.
It’s the bloggers that will (and should) link to you using keyword-rich anchors. From guest blog posts on related sites to mentions of your site from colleagues, friends, or coworkers’ blogs, this is where your ‘money’ keywords can be linked from to your website. STOP KEYWORD SPAMMING other (aforementioned) sources! That’s an order!
Relevance is one of the most (if not the most) important factors search engines, specifically Google, take into account when evaluating your website – from your on-page and off-page SEO efforts. Aside from some high quality bookmarks and profile links from social networks like Facebook, Twitter & Google+, EVERY link should be from content relevant to that of your website. But, the ‘buck doesn’t stop there‘. All content (both on-page and off-page) must be unique, and be read-worthy — compelling content that should encourage social sharing.
The days of poorly written, spun, or at worst – duplicate content are long gone. And you know what I say? Good riddance! We’ve all been thrust forward into the era of web 2.0: where traditional SEO & social media collide with an epic battle of quality over quantity.