Sint Smeding IM’d me tonight, pointing me to this post on his blog, which basically is the Dutch version of what Brian Clark is talking about: whether or not to use “Click here” as anchor text for links. The first thing I had to think of was a post by Jennifer Slegg about choosing the anchor text for links, which I agreed with completely back then, and still do. Having “click here”, “read more about X” or even “http://www.example.com” as anchor text every once in a while is an important part of creating a natural link profile.
Another Dutch SEO wrote a week ago that Google “can’t algorithmically detect paid links” (translation mine). Well, if you agree with him, I beg you to reconsider that. If you had 200 links on day 1 with all sorts of anchor text, and you went out and bought yourself 500 links with only 3 different anchor texts, you don’t think Google (or any other search engine) can detect that? Then I’m very glad you’re not doing my link building. (And I’m not even talking about the horrible code patterns some of these guys have, you can recognize an awful lot of TLA “blogroll” lists without any trouble if you know how their WordPress plugin works.)
You have to remember, that Google doesn’t only have the current snapshot of your domain and it’s links, it has the entire history. Your link building profile is coming along with your domain for the rest of it’s existence. Eric Ward talked about that on SearchEngineLand back in April, and we’ve had quite a few new clients at Onetomarket over the last year with the same problem: a link profile full of spammy links. And believe me: a spammy link profile is not something easily fixed.
Back to your natural link profile: it’s natural for me to have a lot of links with the anchor text “Joost de Valk”, “yoast.com”, or even “Joost de Valk’s SEO Blog”. It would not be natural for me to have twice as much links with just “SEO Blog” as with “Joost de Valk”. That would raise flags. So using “click here” as an anchor text every once in a while might be a great idea. It’s not “wasted anchor text”, it’s just a natural addition to your natural link profile. And if you’re smart, you’ll use it in places where you actually want people to click, because, as Brian pointed out, people work that way. Want to test it?
Click here to get my WordPress Google Analytics plugin, and it will automatically tag all your outbound links in posts.