HubPages, Linkbuilding, and Link Diversity: Avoiding Over Optimization

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February 4, 2013 by Brian Rock

I’ve written on here before about using HubPages as a source of Tier 1 links. It’s a powerful domain, you can actually rank your tier 1 articles for low competition keywords, and you might be able to drive some referral traffic along with those links.

In terms of traffic, I’d say it’s not as good as Yahoo! Voices. But that’s a trade off given the fact that you have more freedom to edit your work and insert links to maximize the SEO value of your article.

Anchor Text Diversity: What Is It and Why?

First thing we need to understand is what we mean by anchor text diversity. Then we can talk about how to accomplish this with articles on HubPages (or other web 2.0 tier 1 articles).

When Google crawls the web and stores information about links, it’s stores the URL and the anchor text. That means the words inside the [a] tag which the user clicks on to reach the URL. If you go back two years or so, a key element of SEO was to maximize the value of this anchor text. If you want to rank for “buy widgets online,” then every link to your page about buying widgets online should be a link using that text – “buy widgets online.” You might throw in a few variations, but if it was a high traffic, competitive, money keyword, the more density you could throw in the better.

Last year, Google’s Penguin update took this into account. People who had over-optimized their sites (often through blackhat means, but to some extent through whitehat methods as well). If 95% of the links to your site used the same anchor text, this was a problem. And you’d get a penalty from Google.

I don’t want to get into specific numbers and ratios, but logically we can say that Google expects to see a variety of anchor text. Some links should be naked URLs (i.e. http://widgets-online.com), some links should be branded names (i.e. “Widgets R Us”), some links should be your keywords (and these should represent a lot of variations instead of just one dominant phrase), and some links should just be random text (i.e. “Click here,” or “this article,” or “read this”).

Setting Up a Hub with Varied Anchor Text

Now, let’s say we’re writing a hub on HubPages to link back to our site. According to HubPages rules, you can include two links to a single domain, otherwise you’ll be flagged as being overly promotional and your hub won’t go live.

So, the plan is to insert two links. What I’ve started doing is including one of those links contextually in the text. It usually includes a variation of the keyword phrase. For example, this hub on shutter speed and exposure includes a link with the anchor text “shutter speed setting” back to an article on Rockin’ Photogs about shutter speed.

HubPages encourages you to include photos in your hubs, and each photo can have a “source” URL. These URLs are live links like any other in the hub, and they count towards your two link max. So, for the second link, I take an image and put my URL in as the source (i.e. http://rockin-photogs.com). These creates a naked URL link to preserve to link diversity. I also sometimes include the site name (“Rockin’ Photogs”) as the “Source Name,” so the URL uses that as the anchor text. This hub is a good example of this (see the diagram about a page down into the text). Either way, I’m preserving anchor text diversity within my Tier 1 links.

You could do the same thing with a blog post on a web 2.0 property, like WordPress or Blogger. Write an article, include one contextual link in the post and then include an image with a caption. Indicate that the source of the image is your blog. Not only does this create anchor text diversity, it makes sense. After all, if you got the image from your blog, wouldn’t you cite it as a source and link back to it?

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