Home » SEO Case Study: Link Building – natural anchor text – PR0 vs. PR4 strength
Do you want 20 PageRank 0 links or 20 PageRank 4 links? The following contribution will help you to answer this question. Today’s topic is a case study on one of our big clients from the real estate market. It is about the variation of anchor texts, natural anchor texts and the value of PageRank 0 links. It makes clear that PageRank 0 links could be more potent than PageRank 4 links. Due to this we assume, that PageRank cannot be used to evaluate the quality of the links.
The following case study is about a long term client from the real estate market in Germany. This specific client is in Germany very big and has a ten year old domain with over 100.000 links to it. The Backlinks were organically developed over the last 10 years and they are doing really good. Last year we started a new project for a niche topic on their site related to their business.
Should be no problem,or?
We started the project with 10 links a month. In order to kick-start it very softly we developed persona links. Those were 10 links from relevant pages, in-content links and all of them showing PageRank 0. All backlinks were follow, which bequests PageRank and counts for Google.
These few links should be okay – or?
We noticed after 2 months, which was 20 links, we tripped the automatic filter for that keyword for that single page. The client explicitly wanted us to link with one generic keyword to the specific page. We did it because we thought due to the fact that 10 links are few, this should be no problem (after this experience we dissuade from doing so). Before we started the project the page already ranked in Google thanks to the trust of the domain. After the 2 months we hit a +30 filter for that certain keyword and for that page. It got a penalty of plus 30 in the search results of Google, although the links were PageRank 0 – why? The links were relevant but the problem was the anchor text.
We took a closer look at the 20 links which were PageRank 0 but juicy, our Linkjuice tool identified them as juicy. They were counted by Google and tripped and automatic filter for that keyword. It was definitely over optimization. The solution for this problem was to:
Yes, nofollow links are good because they are natural! The normal Internet User does not know the difference between follow and nofollow links. In order to see NOFOLLOW links a specific plug-in for the browser is needed and only SEOs have installed it. The probability that a page only gets FOLLOW links, with the same anchor text, on top of that with such an expensive keyword, equals zero. Nevertheless if this happens it is not natural.
If you take a look at the distribution between follow and nofollow forums in the web you can see that half of them have NOFOLLOW activated. In order to blur the tracks we placed NOFOLLOW links and varied with the anchor texts. What happened was that after 60 days the penalty or actually the automatic filter was lifted. The page went back to the search page number one in Google. It was even better than the day before it tripped the filter because it went up one position. The lesson learned is that Google obviously counts those PageRank 0 links if they are relevant, if they are in-content and if they are on relevant pages, which we find with our Serp Research tool regardless of the PageRank.
We did other tests and took 20 PageRank 4 links and gained nothing. It had neither a positive nor a negative effect. It was just a waste of time and money. If you think about it makes sense because PageRank 0 Backlinks came from relevant pages, they were developed over time and they looked natural and the other links did not, although they show PageRank. We recommend to vary your anchor text and don’t be greedy about PageRank because simply PageRank doesn’t matter anymore in link building. It is not an indicator for the quality of a link because it doesn’t say anything about topical relevance and if the link is counted.
Now you know that varying with the anchor texts is very important and besides this you know that PageRank is not an indicator for placing a link there. Of course this topic could be scientifically evaluted further but this is not our aspiration. All we want is to share our experience with you and to care for our clients.
We are aware of that some agencies, SEOs and “experts” assign essentially more value to the Google PageRank. We simply cannot agree to that and warn of a unilateral use of the Google Pagerank.
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