Anchor text has a huge influence on Googles SERPs; to such a degree that it is possible to get a site listed in the number one position with anchor text alone. This has lead to a practice known as Google Bombing – using anchor text to promote sites under humerous or offensive phrases. Some of the most well known examples of Google Bombing include George Bush being listed under “miserable failure” and Tony Blair appearing under “liar”.
Whilst many Google Bombing examples are meant to be humerous, they can also be damaging to people’s reputations and businesses. It is not surprising, therefore, that Google have put a stop to this practice. However, what is surprising is that they have used a fully automated process to do this, and it raises a number of questions. For example, if there is a threshold set to remove listings when anchor text occurs to frequently, it may put legitimate sites at risk. I may own a shoe shop that is ranked at number two for “shoes”. Rather than adding quality links to my site, I may find that it’s much simpler to add hundreds of cheap links to my competitor’s site with “shoes” as the anchor text. The links could push the number one site over the threshold and cause their listings to suffer, giving me the no. 1 position.
Of course, it is much more likely that Google have implemented an intelligent filter that compares on page content with anchor text and only discounts links that bear no resemblance to the sites subject. Whichever way it is done, it is clear that Google is becoming better and better at identifying the quality and relevance of links. This is an area in which Google have always been at the forefront and which people are forced to pay attention to when promoting sites. Google bombing may well be dead but this news has more pressing issues for webmasters and site owners. Ensure that you are building quality relevant links to your website or it wont be long before you fall victim to one of Google’s many algorithm updates.