Quick question for ya if you got a minute. If I’m targeting a keyword or phrase, lets say dogs. I write a 500 word article about dogs. I post it on my site. I want to target my main url i.e. www.dogs.com. How many times can I create anchor text in that one article that links to the main page?
It’s really not about counting the number of keywords or links – it’s about what sounds natural to a reader and what makes the most sense in the copy. If you can read page copy aloud and it doesn’t sound stilted or repetitious, you’ve probably got the right balance of keywords. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend aiming for keyword repetition of around 2 to 3 times per page for each keyword/phrase you are targeting. More than that usually ruins the copy and/or triggers red flags in search engine filters.
When using anchor text, a good way to avoid excessive keyword repetition is to try using keyword variations and word stemming e.g. accounts, accountant, accounting etc. Also consider using your keywords in headings, sub-headings and bullet points. These have the added advantage of breaking up the copy and making it easier to read. Oh and if you decide to use “dogs” in your anchor text, for Pete’s sake make sure the page you are linking to talks about dogs! Sounds obvious but it’s amazing how often this is overlooked.
ADDED: Nick from Search Engine Optimization Journal has blogged about this post. He took from my comments above that when I said 2 or 3 instances per page, I was referring to anchor text links. But I was actually referring to keywords per page, not links per page. Nick’s right, too many links pointing to a single page using the same anchor text is dodgy and unnecessary and may trip spam filters. Just wanted to clarify this point to avoid confusion. Thanks Nick!
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