May 29, 2014

Changing Your Anchor Text Could Set Your Site Free

Right now Anchor Text is critical to ranking your law firm’s website.

I can’t emphasize it enough.

The text in backlinks pointing to your law firm’s website are the difference between ranking better, getting more traffic or being stuck somewhere on the fifth page.

I’ve been running some experiments on test sites, as usual.  This one involved changing the Anchor Text in links that I control.

Ranking Graphs Clearly Showed Hidden Obstacle

Many pages of this website simply would not break through an invisible ceiling.  I could see it in the charts.

The rankings would go up to the ceiling, bounce off – approach again, bounce off – over and over again.

I had a hunch it was because of the anchor text.

At first, the links were all using keyword-rich anchors.  Let’s say the target phrase was New York Personal Injury Lawyer.  Most of the links used variations of that phrase in the Anchor Text.

One by one, I logged into the dashboards of pages I had control over, including other pages on the same site (yes, internal link Anchor Texts also count).  I then changed every link’s Anchor Text to one of three types:

  • Brand name (XYZ Law Firm),
  • Generic (click here),
  • or URL (xyzlawfirm.com).

At the end of an hour or two, I had removed all the keyword-rich Anchor Text and replaced it with what Google seems to reward right now.

Look what happened to the rankings of multiple lawyer key phrases within one or two days of making these changes.

A Few Notes About Our Lawyer Anchor Text Experiment

These are not high volume search keywords but they are local attorney key phrases which makes them super valuable and extremely competitive.

Normal links continued to come in before, during and after this experiment.  No out-of-the-ordinary links were built so I am confident these spikes were all due to the Anchor Text changes made.

If you don’t have control over any of your links I don’t want you to go asking people to change their Anchor Text.

The other way around this problem is to build new links to dilute your current Anchor Text profile.  Depending on how many links your site currently has, this could be anywhere from easy to extremely difficult.

If you have one thousand links all saying “New York Personal Injury Lawyer,” it may take quite a while to get that down to a small percentage of your total links.

I’d like to see that percentage in the low single digits for any keyword-rich anchor.  If you have a thousand of ’em, you will need one hundred thousand anchors to get that percentage way down.  That’s a lot of links.  If you want to badly rank for that keyword, it may be easier to build a new site and start from scratch.

In Closing

I will continue to watch these keywords to see if they come back down.  I was just happy to see them finally break through to new highs.

Links continue to be a major ranking factor.  Anchor Text ratios are simply a filter.  Not done right and your site will not pass through that filter and onto the first page.

If you look at the Anchor Text profiles of many authority sites you will see them heavily weighted towards brand then generic and URL.  Yours should look similar.

Learn more about link building for your legal website here.

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