Want To Rank A New site? Don’t Use Keyword Anchors!

Filed in Blog, Tutorials by on November 19, 2013 8 Comments

Using Keyword Anchors was all the rage a couple of years back, but ever since Google released the famous Penguin update,

I have found that keyword Anchors are becoming less relevant, in fact they actually harm your site because they are not natural! Co-Citation is the latest trend and many top SEO’s are predicting that this is the way forward for the future of SEO

Here is what you will learn in this Tutorial

– Why Keyword Anchor links are nearly dead

– Why you shouldn’t build ANY keyword anchors for a new site

– Using raw and brand anchors is the way forward

– Surrounding your raw anchor links with keyword rich content to rank your site

– Including an authority link to boost your own link

– Use this technique to recover from an over optimisation penalty


3d Penguin cuts down a tree with his chainsawCo-Citation and raw anchor links are not new, but I have noticed that they are becoming ever more important when it comes to ranking sites. Especially new or low competitive sites. I think the reason for this is because co-citations look a lot more natural.

I mean, why would a new site suddenly have links from high pr blogs with exact keyword anchors. Surely if somebody was going to link to you then they would just include your URL within the content, or use a generic term such as ‘click here’ or ‘more info’.


Why Keyword anchors are almost dead

When i first started out I fucked up a lot. The first thing I would do is to start building links with my main keyword as the anchor, I would then throw in some generic anchors. I actually found that the more link building I did the more my sites were dropping down the SERP’s. Surly this can’t be right!

Well the only assumption I could think of was ‘unnatural link building’, although I have never had a penalty notice in my Webmaster Tools there had to be something wrong. It was clear that I was suffering from algorithm penalties rather than manual. I decided it was time to start again, except this time I would set some solid foundations:

Imagine this:

You build a new site and you start a link building campaign. You focus on Articles, web 2.0’s, directories and bookmarks. You then get some super spun articles that contain your keywords. These keywords are placed throughout the article and even formatted in Bold or underlined in some cases.

Your articles also include various outbound links to other sites in your niche that are already ranked at the top of Google for similar keywords that you are targeting.

You then slip in your URL somewhere in the article and also your brand name. Now what is Google going to think about this? You have a link from a site that contains content about your niche. It has lots of related keywords and it also links out to authority sites and other sites that are already ranked at the top!

Google will now see your site in a similar light to the sites already ranked highly.

Your site will become associated with these sites and google will give you more relevance. Your backlinks will appear clean and natural as you have obviously not tried to spam the shit out keyword anchors!

Take a look at this.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 15.42.28


Your site is number 1 and it’s linked on sites a, b, c and along with sites 2, 3 and 4 who are already established in your niche. Your site then become associated with theirs and Google will see this as a good thing and should pass relevance on to yours!

Just make sure you brand gets identified alongside well established brands in your niche.

Now I know you maybe thinking, well won’t I just be boosting my competitors rankings therefore making my job even harder?

…. Yes to a certain extent, but what I try to do is link to sites that are in my niche but are not necessarily competing for the exact same keyword. So for example, I might be trying to link for the term ‘Golf holidays in portugal’.

Now instead of finding the top ranked sites for this keyword and linking to them from our articles, I would find sites that rank for a variation of my keyword. For e.g.

Golfing holidays
Golfing holidays abroad
Portugal golf holidays

Ok, you get the picture.Just mix it up a bit and use a variation of your exact keyword.


How to set out your articles for powerful, penguin safe links!

Here is an example of the kind of thing you are looking for. I’ve just picked a random keyword and Im sticking to the ‘Golf’ niche. Take a look at this image that I have put together and after I will explain what it all means!

Click image to make it larger



Ok, It’s pretty self explanatory but I’ll go over exactly whats going on. first off I have highlighted all of the exact keywords that we are trying to rank for in Green.

I have included the keyword in the heading, the first paragraph and the last paragraph. I have also included it very close to our first link as you can see.

This is important because if the keyword is located close to your link then Google should pick up on this!

There are also a couple more instances of the keyword including one directly in an outbound link to an authority site, which brings me on to the blue links.

These are the links that are already well established authority sites in this niche. The keywords I typed into Google to find these sites are:

Free golf swing tips
Best golf swing tips
Golf tips

The 3 different sites that I found have very high Domain Authority and appear on the 1st page of Google for a number of KeyWords. As you can see, I have mixed things up by linking to one of them with a raw URL, I have linked to one using a brand and the 3rd one is an anchor that includes our main keyword.

Lastly I have included our link twice in this article. I like to place them near the top of the article and very close to our keyword. Notice how I have used a raw URL and our Brand. Obviously this is just an example so Ive not included a real URL or Brand name.


So what do you think about that? Imagine having tons of pages like this linking to your site. Not only is it providing powerful links to your site for your keyword, it also looks very natural to the search engines.

If you don’t want your new site to get slapped then this is how you should do your SEO. Start by using my SEO Blueprint and Tiered link building guide to build a solid foundation for your site.


Check out this cool video from Kontent Machine. This is basically what we have been discussing here. It also shows you how to use Kontent Machine 3 to implement this co-citation method into your link building strategy. Kontent Machine 3 is one of my favourite pieces of SEO software and it is one of the most important tools in my armoury. You can get Kontent Machine 3 here at a discounted rate








What to do once you have built a solid foundation for your new site?

Ok, so you have built a load of quality co-citation links and you have a solid foundation. Now what?

I recommend that you follow my plan ‘How to rank any site in Google‘. Firstly I would start by building manual web 2.0’s and insert a couple of exact match anchors and variations!

Important. Do not over do it,  A couple is fine to begin with. Once you have a few decent web 2.o’s I would build another campaign in Ultimate Demon. This time use different spun articles but take the same approach as I have explained in this article, but this time it’s ok to through in a couple of exact match anchor texts.

Also include a few long tail keyword anchors, but again, don’t overdue it. If your back links appear unnatural then you will get slapped.

I make a regular habit of checking my Keyword anchor density. To do this I use Ahrefs, enter the site, click search and then click Anchors. This will tell you the percentage of anchors that have you exact keyword. I like to keep this below 8% at all times. Especially during the first few months. Probably more like 2-3%.

What you will need:

approved KontentMachine3


 Ultimate Demon




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Comments (8)

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  1. Jack says:

    Is there any way to check your anchor variations if you don’t own a Pro AHREF’s account? I have a paid moz account and use the free versions of majestic and ahrefs. None of these display my 2.0 links or pbn links.

    I assumed this was because my site was only 1 month old however it seems you are checking them with new sites.


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Hi Jack

    I always use Ahrefs so not sure if there are any free tools. Do your web 2.0’s and pbn sites have links going to them? are they indexed yet?


  2. Jack says:

    Hey Jason I constantly re-read your stuff. Since that last post Ive taken my site to the first page thanks to your stuff. Although the niche itself may prove to be not very profitable. Ill be lucky if I get 100$ a month out of it.

    Anyway I wanted to clarify something with you for my new site ive just finished creating.

    1) I’ve heard mixed opinions on this from SEOs….do you not build ANY exact anchors at all anymore for a site?

    The only scenario I had planned for exact anchors was on a handful of my own PBNs. I know some SEOs will poke a niche with exact anchors from the get-go, I was planning on building 2.0s then a few exact anchors via PBN. Would you recommend against exact anchors? Or what type instead on my PBNs?

    2) My sites primary keyword is something like: “how to make money fast”. My domain is a PMD, “2makemoney(dot)com.

    In this scenario should I still be building branded anchors? And if so could you throw out a % estimate, as I am guessing it shouldnt be the typical 30-40% since its a PMD.

    Thanks mate


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Hey Jack

    That’s great to hear 🙂

    Regarding exact anchors. I would build links ‘without’ using your exact match anchor and see how it goes, later on you can then add just a small number of exact anchors to your PBN sites, this way you have control over them!

    You want to build links with anchors that look natural to begin with! i.e., generic terms, url, brand etc….

    Yes still build branded anchors. There is no correct percentage but below 40% is probably wise.


  3. Alex says:

    Hey Jason This Article is Great, Ive read it twice now.

    There is one thing that has been bugging me forever regarding anchors and kw’s that I’ve just never truly known the answer to. I was hoping I could ask an experienced SEO such as yourself.

    Say I’m making a site and its keyword is: “best shoes” = 5k search results, then I see the term “best shoes for running” gets 880 results.

    So now I decide to make my homepage SERP title “Best Shoes for Running” , to hopefully target both terms.

    When I am writing the article for my homepage, I want my keyword in there at about 1% density.

    My question is, what should my keyword be that I am stuffing into the article? If I put “best shoes for running” in there at 1%, am I likely to rank for both terms or would it favor the exact term “best shoes for running”, and someone else may rank for “best shoes”?

    I have this feeling that unless your site is super authorative (then it will rank for both) that google will algorithmically go like, “hmm, hes optimized for both keywords here, so lets just choose which one we want him to rank for”.

    I hope I am making some sense here.


  4. One of the most useful post I have read about SEO. Methods you have mentioned had been effective for me recently experienced similar things. Old style anchor text links definitely does not work much.
    Thanks for Sharing Jason. Subscribed.


    Jason Chesters

    Jason Chesters Reply:

    Thanks Sam, glad you liked the post!!


  5. Claus Rump says:

    Great post, Jason.

    I can’t seem to find out anywhere, if Kontent Machine works in Danish?



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