Today, I was doing some research for an upcoming post and found myself on Google’s search blog. After browsing around for a few minutes, I thought it would be kinda fun to pay attention to the anchor texts that they add to their links. I figured it would be pretty insightful to show some examples of the links behavior in their posts and get a bead on what they clearly view as natural link behavior since Penguin rolled out.
Scott Huffman, Engineering Director
In This excerpt from a post by Scott Huffman, we can see 3 different URLs that point to 3 different pages. As you can see below, each of those URLs point to events that happened in May during various years. That’s a pretty interesting use of anchor texts that I didn’t even notice until the image was already in the post. I was just looking for posts by people who seem important and would probably know the algorithm well. These anchors are completely unrelated to the topics of their targets but, completely related to the topic of the sentence they’re contained in. Here are the links and their anchor text, in case you want to explore those pages.
Link 1 – anchor text=often
Link 2 – anchor text=big month
Link3 – anchor text=us in Search
Amit Singhal, SVP, Engineering
This excerpt written by Amit Singhal is significantly different that the first. Notice how all the anchor texts in these links are highly relevant to the pages that they link to, unlike the first excerpt I showed where all the anchor texts were irrelevant.
Link 1 – anchor text=valid copyright removal notices
Link 2 – anchor text=NPR’s music website
Link 3- anchor text=Hulu
Link 4 – anchor text=Spotify
Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer
Last but certainly not least is Matt Cutts. Cutts is the head of Google’s spam team (last I checked). Every one of these links are followed and the anchor texts are highly relevant to their targets. Interestingly, I’ve always been told that Google considers relevance when determining a links power. I wonder how the algorithm really looks at a bunch of sports stuff that’s in a tech article. One things for sure, If Cutts is doing it, it must good. Unless this is a really sneaky way to try and trick SEOs.
I’m a little tempted to nofollow most of those links because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, to pass any PR to serps. Is Google actually showing serps within serps? I don’t think so and I certainly hope not. It is worth noting that the PR would flow to the links to their other products like Gmail and YouTube. So I guess I’ll leave them followed.
Here are the links from that excerpt if you want to explore them.
Link 1 – anchor text=sf giants score
Link 2 – anchor text=mlb scores
Link 3 – anchor text=barcelona fc
Link 4 – anchor text=la liga
Link 5 – anchor text=formula 1
Link 6 – anchor text=mark webber
Link 7 – anchor text=nhl scores
Link 8 – anchor text=capitals score
Link 9 – anchor text=keyword stuffing
Google says that you should focus on creating websites that people will want to bookmark and visit again if you want plenty of search traffic. I only wrote this post because I’m a bit of a search enthusiast and am really fascinated with their algorithm. I also think that knowing this stuff can help avoid accidental search penalties even if I am only doing White-hat SEO.
What’s got me slightly amused about this post is that I just wrote a post about how good Google is at attracting links and now I find myself linking to pages of Google websites 18 times in one post. Google PR isn’t sitting at 9 right now for nothing.