Post-Penguin Backlinking Guide

Post-Penguin Backlinking Guide

Since Google introduced the Penguin update, ranking algorithms based on backlinks has changed significantly. To avoid link spam and keyword over-optimization in the anchor text, Google now follows a completely new approach in anchor text evaluation.

For further explanation and demonstration purposes we will use the fictitious website which we want to rank for the three keywords “auto repair”,
“auto repair service” and “auto repair shops”.

Please click here to see the full results in a separate window.

Old Algorithm:

The old way of link building simply was trying to get as many exact match anchor text backlinks as possible that contained your targeted keyword. For example, if you wanted to rank your website for “auto repair” then you would try to get as many backlinks¬† as possible with the anchor text “auto repair”, like this one:

Check out our web site for a summary of the factors to consider before choosing an auto repair service provider.

New Algorithm:

Since Google’s Panda update, this old way of linking has become quite dangerous as the new algorithm is now looking for this exact kind of anchor text optimization and even penalizes it, which you will notice as a drastic drop of your search engine rankings. The key therefore, is to stay below the radar and avoid over-optimization of anchor text backlinks.

It’s still okay to get backlinks with your main keyword as anchor text, but you must make sure this is not the only type of backlink you get.

How much anchor text is too much?

They key question to answer is: How many backlinks with a certain anchor text keyword can your site or page receive before it gets dangerous and on Penguin’s radar? Google doesn’t reveal the exact numbers, of course, but extensive testing and tweaking of the world’s top SEO experts over the past months give us a good picture.

Rule #1: Exact-match anchor text should be just between 1-5% of your overall inbound link profile

Let’s say your page receives a total of 100 backlinks. Then ideally, only a maximum of 5% or 5 backlinks should be “auto repair” backlinks. The more exact-match anchor texts you have, the higher the risk to get on the radar.

How high can you go? As high as necessary to outrank your competition and to stay below Penguin’s radar. To best way to find out is to analyze the top 10 rankings in Google for your targeted keyword, in our example “auto repair”. How many anchor text backlinks does your competitor have and how high is their percentage? It’s pretty safe to say that these are the numbers you can aim for without raising a red flag. We have listed tools to check that out below in the resources section.

Rule #2: 30% anchor text variations (LSI keywords, Qualifiers, Long-Tail)

A big part of your overall linking profile should be made of anchor text variations. The best rule to follow: The more variation the better.

So, instead of just using “auto repair” as the keyword each time, you could also research for other keywords that fit your niche and use these, for example “auto repair service” and “auto repair shops”. Variations of your main keyword are called keyword qualifiers:

For a summary of the factors to consider before choosing an auto repair service provider click here.
Find a list of reputable auto repair shops at now.


The longer your keyword phrase becomes (the more words it contains) the more we talk about a long-tail keyword:

Check out which reputable auto repair service in New York received a 5 star rating recently.


Another important variation comes from LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing). These are semantically related terms. For example, people could not just say (link) “auto repair” but also “car repair” or “automobile repair”. LSI is incredibly important, not only for backlinks but also on-page for your website content:

For a summary of important factors to consider before choosing an automobile repair provider, please click here.


Every niche has literally hundreds of possible keywords. You can find them with keyword research tools (see resource section at the end of this page).

Rule #3: 40% Brand Links

This may surprise you, yes 40%. This is where most old-style link builders fail and get caught as they don’t think about it. Beside your company name and possible product brands you have, the most important brand links are so called naked URLs, anchor text that is comprised of variations of your website URL. They must make up a big part of your backlink profile. For example:

Check out for a brief summary of important factors to consider before choosing an auto repair service provider, now.
You will also get more info about reputable auto repair shops on today.
Check out for a summary of the factors to consider before choosing an auto repair service provider.


This is how many people are linking to a site and therefore it naturally makes up a huge part of a natural link profile.

Rule #4: 25% Universal Generic Anchor Text Backlinks

Another big part of your backlinks should contain universal anchor text, commonly used words or phrases like “click here” or “learn more”. Generic backlinks are very common and natural to have. People just link that way if they recommend or mention a site and Google knows that. Such links are therefore a natural part of any site’s linking profile:

You can also get more info about reputable auto repair shops on this website at today.
Click here for details about important factors to consider before choosing an auto repair service provider, now.
You can also find here more information about reputable auto repair shops at today.
You can also get more info about reputable auto repair shops on this website at today.


Tip: When you order resource boxes, can automatically create such generic anchor text for you so you don’t have to think about it!

Next Action Steps

The first step is to find out the status quo of your existing link profile and what the anchor text distribution looks like. We have listed three tools for doing that below in the resources section.

Compare your link profile with the suggestions of this page. The more your link profile deviates from these suggestions, the higher your risk to get on Google’s radar.

Also, if you haven’t already, set up a ranking checker for every keyword you are targeting (see resources section below). You should always know how your keywords perform so you get a notice right away when big changes occur (which can indicate a penalty) .

What if you have been hit by Penguin already?

If you have been hit by a Penguin penalty already, which you notice by a sharp drop in website traffic and loss of rankings, then you can take the following actions.

If your existing link profile shows significant deviation from the suggestions, then you have two choices. Delete or dilute.

Let’s say your site has 100 backlinks and 40% or 40 of your backlinks are made up by exact match anchor text like “auto repair”. That’s a quite high percentage and it’s quite clear that this is one, if not the biggest reason, why you got hit by a penalty.

The goal should now be to get from 40% down to less than 5%; quite a task. How can you achieve that? There are two ways, you can reduce the number of exact match anchor text links by simply deleting them one by one until you got the percentage you are looking for. Or you just leave all links alive and build more links from the other link types instead, means you build more brand links, more universal links, and/or more links with qualifiers. The more other link types you have, the lower your percentage for the exact match anchor text will be.

I think it’s pretty much common sense that the second option is the better one. Still though, there is a big ongoing discussion of and for deleting links for various reasons, so we just want to give our opinion on this, as well.

We have always been against deleting links for many reasons. First, it’s simply not natural that people go out there trying to delete their links. What people also seem to forget is that deleting links hurts your (damaged) rankings even further. It’s a matter of fact that links are required to rank in the search engines. Penguin hasn’t changed that. More links are better rankings, fewer links are lower rankings. Now guess what happens if you delete links? You will fall behind your competitors and even if you get over the penalty one day, your rankings will still suck because you don’t have enough links any more to rank!

There is only one good reason to delete links: If Google tells (forces) you to delete specific links from specific sites because they are bad for some reason. These reasons may include links from known spam sites, for example. However, this still goes against how the internet works. Everyone can link to any site he wants and you as a website owner can’t be responsible for how other people link to you.

Just think about this for a moment: If there is really a bad link, do you think Google doesn’t know about it, and ignored or discounted it already? If so, what then is the benefit of deleting a link that has already been ignored or discounted? Will it change anything? No. Finally, do you (or anybody) know Google’s definition of a bad link anyway?

Now this is a big ongoing discussion in the SEO industry (just search for ‘Negative SEO’ for further information) and we don’t want to get caught up in it right now. At the end of the day, it’s your own decision and responsibility if you delete links or not.

Warning: Whatever you do, either delete or dilute, we strongly suggest doing that gradually, rather than with one big change in your link profile. First, any harsh changes in your link profile will raise other red flags. Second, you can monitor changes better when you apply changes slowly. You should do as few as necessary. Make a few changes, wait for results, then decide to proceed or stop.

How long will it take to see changes?

It doesn’t matter if you build links to improve your ranking or to recover from a penalty. You should not expect sudden changes. Ranking updates can take weeks to take effect, not because Google is so slow but because Google delays this on purpose. Google doesn’t want to provide website owners immediate feedback, especially when it comes to link building.

How Can Help?

We are a bulk article writing and submission service. This means we specialize in article marketing, on a large scale.

We write original content, add your link to it and publish it on third party sites. This usually works by adding a so-called resource box to every published article which contains one or two promotional sentences about your website together with one or two backlinks to it.

We have introduced a new, unique and special way of doing that, called the random keyword method which supports all types of backlinks mentioned in this guide. We can create backlinks with money keywords, keyword qualifiers, long tail keywords, LSI keywords, brand links and naked URLs – all from one single order. Our system can automatically add and create generic universal anchor text as well! We have a database of hundreds of generic keywords that our system uses randomly.

The random keyword method for backlinks works for our following services: UAW, AMA, DYA, SYA, ADS and Web 2.0. However, you can order articles with resource boxes, or just resource boxes alone, and use them for whatever other purpose.

If you have questions please contact us!


The random keyword method for creating backlinks with money keywords, LSI, long-tail, qualifiers, generic universal anchor text, naked URLs.

Keyword Research Tool: Wordtracker or Google Keyword Tool

Checking and analyzing your link profile: Majestic or Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs or LinkDensity

Ranking Checker: MicroSiteMasters (free for 10 keywords) and Search Ranking Checker (5 keywords free)

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