At BlogStorm, Patrick Altoft has come up with an interesting post, according to which, Google it seems, is in the process of changing its algorithms, thereby drastically reducing the importance it used to give to anchor text. Yesterday, we had reported about issues with rapid title changes and Google rankings.
According to Patrick, "Quite a number of the queries we track have altered recently and websites that previously ranked have dropped down by a number of places. This doesn't appear to be a penalty – just an alteration in the algorithm. The common characteristic all the sites have is that their rankings were based very heavily on anchor text rather than on-site optimization. The changes don't seem to have affected major commercial queries yet but they are visible when you search for particular peoples names."
A thread at the Spihnn has been discussing this situation and here are some excerpts from the same:
"I've noticed this change with one of my keyword-rich domain name sites. Because of its domain name it receives a lot of keyword-rich anchor text links but has dropped down in the rankings for a couple of the keyword phrases. This possible algorithm change could well be the reason why."
"Considering I've been playing around with repurposing some sites, this is great news for me. Perhaps it also explains why things like kim-and-bills-kiddie-horse-ranch.com are ranking on things like 'car insurance rates' ."
"Anchor text is the biggest flaw in the Google algorithm. I agree completely. Now, who is playing down the importance of plain old basic SEO copywriting on Sphinn? When I search on Google, I actually want to find what I am looking for on what Google returns in their SERPs for my searches. Simly amazing, isn't it? It is about time that Google finally figured it out."
"It is more likely that Google would reduce value of backlinks with the same anchor text that come from the same domain, ie having 1000 backlinks from one domain using same anchor text could be worse than having 2-3 backlinks from the same site.
But lets look at the actual figures: in our case the query contains "patrick" keyword – – if you look at actual anchor text known for his blog site on this analysis screenshot – notice that anchor text "patrick" and "patrick altoft" are present but they are certainly not determining for his domain – particularly single word "patrick" – there is no title match.
Looking at actual backlinks for this anchor text it seems that a fair few of those backlinks were subsequently removed later, so these backlinks are actually even weaker than they appear – but it needs to be said that the pattern for this "deletion" is that there was a link on some top blog homepage and then it moved down to deeper pages with smaller PageRank – I think perhaps this fact was reflected in the algorithm naturally.
So I think what we have here is fairly weak single word anchor text that does not have good match (like title) on target site, though to be sure anchor text for top ranking matches should have been checked too but looking at them I think word "Patrick" seems to be more likely to dominate in their anchor text. Perhaps
(and it's just a thought) making title match "Search engine optimization & Internet marketing blog by Patrick Altoft" would result in a healthy increase in rankings."