The last couple years Google has been dropping the hammer on disillusioned SEOs everywhere. Everyone has been scrambling to revive dead sites and reverse the damage that’s already been. This may be futile for affiliate sites who’d be better off starting over fresh and from a clean slate. If you were fortunate enough to not be affected by those big animal-named updates or better yet benefited from them, then you certainly understood a simple concept when it comes to effective SEO: Diversity.

Diversity plays a large role in a few key elements of your SEO strategy, namely anchor text, links, and keyword targeting. Let’s go over each of the 3 elements bit-by-bit, dissect why diversity is important for each, and explain exactly how you can go about ensuring more diversity in your SEO efforts.

1. Anchor Text

Anchor text falls under a few different categories:

  1. Brand anchor text – your business and/or site name.
  2. URL anchor text – your URL address linked, with or without http and www.
  3. Keyword targeted anchors.
  4. Notext anchors (images) and/or redirects

A healthy site’s top 10 most used anchors should be flooded with variations of brand anchors, url anchors, with maybe a notext anchor in there somewhere if a lot of banner or image links are used.

An unhealthy site’s anchor profile you’ll find has absolutely no brand or URL anchors and at worst will be comprised of 20 or so targeted short-tail terms and that’s it. You could at one time get by and do very well in the SERPs having a site like this and focusing your links on a handful of targeted keywords….not so much anymore.

You may argue, “but how then will Google know to rank me forif I’m focusing on brand/url anchors?” Google is getting smarter, a lot smarter. Recently on SEOmoz there was a White Board Friday about how anchor text’s importance may be overrated these days because Google is now taking into account the text surrounding the link for purposes of determining ranking influence. If this is in fact the case, then technically pointing keyword-laced links to your site may soon be a thing of the past.

Only time will tell if this concept becomes a reality for the SEO industry and in the meantime diversify those anchors… a lot!

2. Link Strategy

I remember years ago as a webmaster you could latch onto the latest super-effective link building strategy and ride it like wave right up to the front page.

These days, that kind of thinking will put you in dire straits once Google decides to devalue what you’re doing (or in a worst case scenario like the blog network fiasco, immediately start to penalize the strategy instead of making it worthless).

This is one of the reasons diversifying your link strategy is essential. Not only does it make your link profile look a lot more natural in Google’s eyes (and anything natural in SEO is the way to go) but it will also help shield your site from any adverse affects if any particular strategy suffers as result of an update.

I highly recommend looking at the latest high-quality link building methods and implementing ALL of them as part of your overall link strategy. Consider guest posting (time consuming and hard to scale, but worth the work), relevant manual blog comments, niche and/or high-quality web directories with some kind of manual approval process, social signals/links, and others…

3. Keyword Targeting

Even though keywords and anchor text goes together like 2 peas in a pod, I want to touch on keyword targeting here in a different context. More importantly, I want to talk about keywords and how they fit in to your overall keyword strategy.

More specifically, I want to talk about often overlooked long-tail terms. These are the keywords that get looked over because their volume is low, but there’s a few notable benefits to targeting these kinds of terms.

  1. There’s a whole ton of them. Long-tail terms actually drive 80% or more of the web’s traffic, so it’s certainly worth paying attention to these terms when it comes to volume.
  2. You’ll find more longevity in SEO with long-tail keyword targeting. In stark contrast to their more volatile counterparts, long-tail terms are easy and certain to rank for. If a major update affects how keywords are ranked, chances are you’ll be less affected than others and you’ll keep your long-tail rankings.
  3. It’s more natural to target a boat-load of long-tail terms rather just a select few of short-tails. This ties in with the diverse anchor-text strategy I mentioned about above…you’ll implement a diverse anchor strategy without even thinking about anchors much anymore.
  4. Don’t forget about conversion! Generally speaking, targeted long-tails have a much higher chance of converting a visitor than a general short-tail term.

The real fun part about focusing on targeted long-tails is they’re going to be a strong foundation for when you need to rank for more competitive terms later. Once your site ranks front page for hundreds of long-tails, all of a sudden it has become an authority in your niche and you’ll find ranking for more competitive terms a much easier process.

If this seems like a daunting process with a lot of intricate details, well it is. SEO is getting more and more complicated as the days go by. Talk to us and see if we can help.