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Here’s How Learning SEO Changed My Life

Hey,

Nathan Gotch here.

I founded Gotch SEO back in 2013 within one mission: to help as many businesses as I can achieve SEO success.

I then pursued that goal by packing my stuff up and driving from California to St. Louis.

Drive

I had no clients, no prospects, and no money (except for a credit card with $500 limit).

I was also $40,000 in debt because of student and car loans.

I’ll be honest with you:

I was scared and I had every possible limiting belief enter my mind during that 27 hour drive…

“What if I fail?”… “What will people think about me?”

I could have crumbled from a case of “what ifs”, but I pushed through it.

As I result… I landed my first several SEO clients within 30 days of moving to St. Louis. I even took a picture of the first “big” check I ever received:

Check

I then grew Gotch SEO to six figures (profit) in less than 6 months and my life was never the same:

IMG_1834-1

(1st full year of running Gotch SEO)

I also eradicated my debt and exploded my net worth:

Net Worth

Bought my wife her dream engagement ring:

Ring

And a new mom ride:

Car

Also went on my first ever official vacation to St. Thomas:

Ritz Carlton St Thomas

And then to Mexico:

El Dorado Maroma Mexico

We even moved into my dream house (with my own office and dream basement).

House

I’m not telling you this stuff to brag.

In fact:

I’m a very introverted and private person (ask my wife). I literally had knots in my stomach deciding whether or not to show you the stuff above.

Here’s the truth:

I wanted to show you these things because I’m no different than you are. I was raised by a single mother in a low-income household. We actually lived in a trailer park at one point, here’s an aerial look:

trailer

I also got horrible grades in school…

GPA

…and nearly got kicked out of college for my poor writing skills.

I sometimes go through funks and question everything I’m doing.

And I still, to this day, make TONS of mistakes in my business.

Why the hell am I telling you this?

Because if I can learn SEO, get real results, and grow hundreds of companies, then there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same.

There’s one other thing I want to tell you:

I’m not motivated by material stuff.

What motivates me is FREEDOM.

Learning SEO helped me reach that goal.

I went from stressing out about paying bills…

…to never even thinking about them.

I went from feeling trapped at a job I hated…

…to jumping out of bed to work on a business that I love.

I went from never being able to do anything I wanted…

…to always being able to do what I want, when I want.

I went from a life of scarcity and fear…

…to a life of abundance and unlimited opportunity.

The truth is that learning how to drive consistent SEO results made it all possible.

If you’de like to learn how to drive consistent SEO results, then check out Gotch SEO Academy.

Over 700 other entrepreneurs have already joined and I hope you do the same.

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How to Work Remotely Without Going Crazy

A woman shaking her head so that her long hair covers her face. Looks a bit crazy.

This is a contribution by Ronald Wolf. Ron got most of his experience from consulting web design and SEO companies like GWM.

I added line breaks, text formatting and clarified some points, especially the last paragraph. Ron approved the changes.

Many of us regard 9 to 5 office jobs as pure hell and dream of working remotely. It seems like a dream come true –

  • you can establish your own working hours
  • you can design your own working surroundings
  • and – most importantly – you can work from everywhere in the world.

But is it really that simple? Working without the strains of office cubicles and the need to punch the clock requires self-discipline, and we all know that this isn’t the most common characteristic.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you don’t have a boss anymore and there are some challenges you’ll have to face along the way.

Taking this path also has its rules. They seem quite simple, but they are not that easy to accomplish as they seem.

When you are someone who is used to having a boss breading down your neck, getting the work done remotely could make you crazy.

 

Whenever

This is the number one common mistake: the fact that you were productive in the office doesn’t mean you’re gonna stay productive at home.

Now that you don’t have strict working hours it may seem that you can work whenever you want. This is where the problem starts – when do we actually want to work?

This is how your productivity decreases, and in the end, you’ll be forcing yourself to get the job done which will make the task even harder.

It will seem to you that you have even less time for yourself than you had it while working in the office.

It’s a contradiction that will certainly make you crazy after some time. To avoid that, you need to make your own working schedule, and you need to stick to it.

At the beginning, it’s good to keep the same working hours you had in the office and then to slowly adapt them to your own needs. Contrary to the popular belief, this is not an easy transition!

You will need time to make it function. You need to find the time of the day when you feel most productive and make the most of it.

Only after you establish your own individual schedule you will be able to make exceptions and enjoy fully deserved freedom.

 

Wherever

This second most common mistake affects your productivity through the lack of concentration. Even when you’re alone it can be hard to focus.

Everybody is trying to escape from depressing office cubicles, but working from your comfortable couch at home is going to make it hard for you to focus on the tasks at hand.

There are various distractions inside everybody’s home – family obligations (especially when you have kids), pets, the temptation to turn on the TV, etc.

The constant lure of distractions is why you need to set up a working space in your home that will become your new office.

You need a place where you can shut the door behind you to fully dedicate yourself to the work that needs to be done.

You should carefully consider which part of your home is most suitable to become an office.

Soft furniture in which you can ‛sink in’ is not the best solution because you don’t want to fall asleep in the middle of your work. Also your back will hurt after a few hours.

You need an organized desk and a firm chair (which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a comfortable one). Get rid of all distraction along with a TV set (unless your line of work requires it).

Having a broad window and a lot of natural light is always a plus, but a view can sometimes be distracting as well.

In case you happen to work in a seaside town during the peak of the summer, it would be a smart move to pull the shades down.

And the last thing – dress up for the occasion. You’re not in an office so you don’t need a suit and a tie, but you’re not supposed to spend an entire day in your pajamas, either.

Get up and get dressed properly. This way you won’t fall into a temptation to remain in your bed with a laptop in your lap.

 

Whatever

This is not even a mistake, this is a pure delusion. There are some jobs that are impossible to be done by working remotely. Trying to get them done this way can only drive you completely crazy.

It’s understandable that everyone would like to travel the world and work while doing it, but first, you need to make sure you’ve got the right job for that.

The second thing is that you can’t just sit at home (or a beach) and do everything that falls into your hands. Even when you’re working in the office you need to ‛fight’ for your assignments.

It’s not a secret that there is a competition between co-workers, especially today when no job position is safe and it’s becoming more difficult to stand out.

When you’re working remotely you have no insight into the activities of your colleagues and you’re practically left in the dark in many cases.

The further you are from the office, the more your professional visibility decreases. People might even completely forget about you and your skills.

Every established company is advised to highlight personal strengths of every employee on their website and frequently update them.

Potential customers may not be able to meet you in the office so they need to be able to meet you online – out of sight is out of mind.

 

Thank you to Chris King, Bill Marshal and Andrew Akesson for helping me with the crazy headline!

 

The post How to Work Remotely Without Going Crazy appeared first on SEO 2.0.

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The Complete Anchor Text Guide for 2019 (NEW)

What is anchor text and how do you optimize it for maximum SEO performance?

That’s what this guide is all about.

You’re going to learn:

  1. How to optimize your anchor text so you get SEO better results with less backlinks
  2. Why modeling your competitors anchor text is dangerous
  3. My advanced anchor text optimization strategy

Ready to become an anchor text optimization pro?

Let’s jump in.

Need more backlinks? Get access to 7 untapped link building techniques.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link.

Here’s how it looks in HTML:

<a href=”http://www.mywebsite.com/”>my cool website</a>

The phrase “anchor text” applies to all hyperlinks including internal and external links.

This guide you’re going to read is about external anchor text.

Why?

Because it alone can make or break your SEO performance.

But before you can learn how to optimize anchor text, you need to know the history.

A Short History of Anchor Text

Let’s rewind the clock back to 2011.

In those days, keyword-rich anchor text was all the rage.

anchor text in 2011

All you had to do was build links with keyword-rich anchor text and you would rank fast.

Then Google decided to launch the first Penguin update on April 24, 2012.

In short:

Your rankings got wrecked if you were using keyword-rich anchor text.

Google Penguin Penalty

When I say “your”, I mean “my” rankings.

Many of my sites got wrecked with the first Penguin update. That’s because I was nothing more than an algorithm manipulator back then.

But in hindsight:

I’m grateful for that update because it forced me to actually learn SEO.

It also motivated me to figure out how to optimize anchor text in a safe and effective way.

But before I can show you the methods, you need to know the basics.

The first thing you need to know are the different types of anchor text you can use.

9 Different Types of Anchor Text

Here are nine different types of anchor text you can use from the safest to least safe:

1. Branded Anchors

“Branded” anchors are any anchor that uses your brand name. Here are some examples:

  • Gotch SEO
  • Nathan Gotch
  • Nathan Gotch SEO

Sentence sample: “You can learn search engine optimization at Gotch SEO.”

Branded anchors are the safest type of anchor text if you’re using a branded domain.

If you have an exact or partial match domain, you need to be careful.

More on this in a later section.

To see the power of “branded” anchors, look at any big brand’s link profile.

Here are some examples for you:

Nordstrom Anchor Text

Best Buy Anchor Text

WebMd anchor text

2. Generic Anchors

“Generic” anchors are often calls-to-action (CTAs) like:

  • click here
  • go here
  • this website

In a sentence: “Go here if you are looking for SEO information.” – “Go here” is the generic anchor text.

3. Naked Link Anchors

Any anchor that uses a raw URL is considered a “naked” link.

Here are some examples:

  • https://www.gotchseo.com
  • www.gotchseo.com
  • gotchseo.com

4. No Anchor Trick

This is a tricky little strategy I see big brands doing.

Whether purposefully or not, it’s a good idea. Here’s what it looks like:

no text anchor text

The easiest way to build “noText” anchors is through images. You can also “forget” to include an anchor within an article.

5. Image Anchors

Google uses an image’s ALT text as the anchor text for a linked image.

6. Brand + Keyword Anchor

You can diversify your anchor tex profile by combining your brand name and your target keyword.

For example:

  • Gotch SEO Ahrefs
  • anchor text by Gotch SEO
  • Gotch SEO link building tactics

7. Keyword Variations

Keyword variations are perfect for diversifying your anchor text profile. They can also help drive more topical relevance to your page.

Here are some examples of my target keyword is “backlinks“:

  • what are backlinks
  • where to get backlinks
  • how do you build backlinks

8. Partial Match Anchors

Partial match anchors are similar to keyword variations. The key difference is that you’re adding generic words around the primary keyword phrase.

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text”:

  • this anchor text guide
  • cool anchor text article
  • read this anchor text post

9. Exact Match Anchors

Exact match anchors are the king of all anchor text.

They have the power to increase your rankings, but also have the power to get your site penalized.

An exact match anchor is an exact match of whatever your target keyword is for the target page.

Example: if “buy backlinks” is my target keyword, then my exact match anchor would be “buy backlinks“.

Those are all the anchor text variations I recommend using.

Now let’s talk about something that will make your anchor text even more powerful.

How to Build Relevance Without Exact Match Anchors

Google recently filed a patent about: “anchor tag indexing in a web crawler system”.

Google Anchor Text Patent

Don’t worry:

I’m not going to bore you to death.

Once you get past all the technical language, there’s one big idea in this patent:

Google uses the text around your link (“annotation text“) to assign its topical relevance. It will also use the anchor text of the link to accomplish that goal as well.

So what does that mean for you?

The good news is that it’s simple and makes perfect sense.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find relevant websites in your industry
  2. Get backlinks within content that’s relevant to your target page
  3. Try to place your primary keyword close to your link
  4. Use intelligent anchor text
  5. Understand that relevance is the key to link building success

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text” (link placement in red):

“If you are looking for more information about anchor text go here right away.”

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link. For more in-depth information you should read this article from Gotch SEO.”

“For more in-depth information about anchor text I highly recommend this article: http://www.gotchseo.com/anchor-text/.”

Here’s the big takeaway:

Place your links in relevant content and place your primary keyword close to your link.

Now the question is:

What anchor text should you use?

The Right Anchor Text to Use

There’s a common trend among the hundreds of penalized websites I’ve audited.

They almost always have aggressive anchor text percentages.

Over-Optimized Anchor Text

In fact:

It’s the first place I look when someone needs help with a penalized website.

You can analyze your anchor text distribution right now with Ahrefs.

Open up their Site Explorer tool and enter your domain.

Ahrefs site explorer

Then click on “Anchors”.

Ahrefs Anchor Text Section

Now before I go any further, I need to cover an important question:

Should You Copy Your Competitors Anchor Text?

My friend and fellow SEO, Matt Diggity recommends this strategy.

Matt Diggity Anchor Text

In short:

You should look at the anchor text percentages of the ranking competitors and model them.

I agree with the philosophy, but there are some issues.

1. Modeling the anchor text percentages of an authoritative website is risky.

Authoritative websites have built a lot of trust. Therefore, it’s more “acceptable” for them to have high percentages of keyword-rich anchors.

If you copy them, you’ll likely get wrecked.

Why?

Because your site doesn’t have the authority and trust to do so.

2. It doesn’t take into account site-wide anchor text percentages.

How do some websites get away with aggressive exact match anchor text?

It’s because they:

  1. Have the authority and trust to do so
  2. Have a high percentage of unoptimized anchors in their site-wide profile

That’s why you can’t model them on a page-by-page level.

You have to model their entire anchor text profile.

Let’s take Moz.com for example.

If you examine their site-wide anchor text, you’ll see that most of it is branded or generic.

Moz Anchor Text

This gives them the leeway they need to be more aggressive on the page level.

Here’s their anchor text for their “anchor text” page:

Moz anchor text percentage

One could argue that this is “aggressive”. But it’s acceptable because they have authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across the site as a whole.

59% is huge on its own, but it’s small relative to their entire site:

example

So what’s the big takeaway?

You shouldn’t model your competitor’s anchor text if you don’t have authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across your site.

Then what should you do?

Follow these percentages and you’ll never need to worry about penalties and you’ll still get awesome results.

Safe Anchor Text Percentages That Work

These percentages are not a law. Do what’s best for your situation. However, these ratios have helped me A) avoid getting penalized and B) still drive huge results (without being risky).

  • 70% = Branded Anchors
  • 20% = Naked Link Anchors
  • 5% = Generic Anchors
  • < 5% = Partial Match Anchors
  • < 1% = Exact Match Anchors

Now let me introduce you to a strategy I developing for building a natural anchor text profile.

How to Rank With Less Backlinks

My strategy is “Anchor Text Cycling” and it works like this:

Step 1: Hit your target page with an exact match anchor

You might be wondering:

“Isn’t it dangerous to hit a brand new website with an exact match anchor?”

Nope.

Sites get penalized for their link profiles as a whole.

Not one or two links.

It’s like saying eating McDonalds one time is the reason why someone is overweight.

We know that it’s the combined effect of a bad diet over a period of time that leads to obesity.

The same goes for your link profile!

Now that I got the weird analogy out of the way…

Why do I use an exact match anchor for my first backlink?

A) I want to see how the site reacts

B) I want to establish what my site or the target page is about right away

The next step is to:

Step 2: Hit your site with unoptimized anchor text variations

Use branded, naked link, generic, and keyword variations at this stage.

Step 3: Track your rankings and watch the progress

You can get a decent read on your performance within 1-3 months. If your page isn’t moving, then you need to reassess. The answer is rarely to use more exact match anchor text.

Often times pages aren’t performing well because:

  • The site isn’t strong enough
  • The page doesn’t have enough backlinks
  • The backlinks you do have are low-quality
  • The page is poorly built

If you feel you have a 10/10 on those three facets, then:

Step 4: Hit your site with another exact match anchor (if necessary)

Repeat this process over-and-over until you rank.

The entire point of using anchor cycling is to build a diverse and natural anchor profile.

Do you want to know the secret to a having a “natural” anchor profile?

The key is to be random and avoid patterns.

Take a look at these two examples:

Site #1 is the typical link profile you’ll see when someone is spamming anchor text.

Google’s algorithm can easily conclude that this site is building artificial links. A manual reviewer wouldn’t even be necessary.

Site #2 has a natural and diverse anchor profile.

It will outrank Site #1 with fewer backlinks and less keyword-rich anchor text.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing black, grey, or white hat SEO, this concept still applies to you.

Now that you understand how to cycle your anchors, let me show you WHERE to place your anchors.

Where to Place Your Anchor Text

Every link opportunity requires a unique anchor text strategy.

This is by far the biggest misstep I see people make.

They apply anchor text ratios and use cycling, but they place their anchor text the wrong way.

I would argue that this section is the most important part for you to understand.

Here is a list of every link type and exact anchor text you should use:

Exact & Partial Match Anchors

Concentrate your exact and partial match anchor text on your best link opportunities. “Best” link opportunities are often those that are difficult and expensive to get.

Here are some examples:

1. Niche Relevant Guest Posts

If you can score a link in the body of the content, then use a keyword-rich anchor. But if you can only get an author bio link, then use a branded (or unoptimized) anchor text.

guest posting dead

Google cracked down on spammy guest posting practices a long-time ago. One consistent footprint is when people jam keyword-rich anchors in author bios. Don’t do this.

2. Resource Pages

Resource pages are great opportunities to place exact or partial match anchors.

resource page

Using the title of your resource is an effective (and safe) route as well.

3. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

I don’t mess around with PBNs anymore, but you should use exact and partial match anchors. You invested money to buy the expired domain, so you should try to get the most out of it.

Go here to get 7 of my favorite untapped link building techniques.

Where to Place Unoptimized Anchors

All foundational (non-editorial) links should unoptimized anchor text.

Some examples include:

  • Paid Directories
  • Traditional Directories
  • Business Citations
  • Press Releases
  • Niche Relevant Blog Comments
  • Web 2.0s
  • Forum Signatures
  • Site-Wide Sidebar or Footer Links
  • Profile Links
  • Social Bookmarks
  • Donations/Sponsorships

Only use branded, naked, or generic anchor text on these link types.

Now let me show you how to handle anchor text whenever you’re using 301 redirects.

How to Handle Anchor Text from a 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is permanent redirect. All of the anchor text from the page or website being redirected gets transferred to the new page.

Why does this matter?

It matters because spammy links and aggressive anchor text will transfer to your new page or domain.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Avoid redirecting any garbage to your website
  2. Build unoptimized anchors to the new website

This will help combat anchor text over-optimization issues when you redirect.

How to Optimize Tier Two and Tier Three Anchor Text

You can be more liberal with your keyword-rich anchors on tier two and three.

Just don’t go crazy.

Here are tier two ratios that I stick to:

  • Naked links: 40%
  • Generic: 30%
  • LSI, Partial-Match: 25%
  • Exact Match: 5%

The same principles explained above apply here.

Concentrate your keyword-rich anchors on your best opportunities.

Here are my tier three ratios:

  • Naked links: 10%
  • Generic: 10%
  • LSI, Partial-Match: 50%
  • Exact Match: 30%

How to Optimize Anchor Text for Exact & Partial Match Domains

I always tell beginners to avoid exact or partial match domains. Why? Because they are super easy to over-optimize.

But if you already have one, let me show you how to optimize your anchor text the right way.

Here are the ratios I aim for with an exact match domain:

  • Naked Links: 70%
  • Generic: 20%
  • LSI: 5%
  • Partial Match: 1-5%
  • Branded / Exact Match Anchors: 1-5%

You’ll notice a few different things here.

First, I reduce the “Branded” anchor text percentages.

Why?

Because EMDs aren’t actually branded. They’re just keywords in a domain.

I also increase the amount of naked and generic anchor text. This helps combat over-optimization.

But there’s one thing you can do to make your life a lot easier.

Even if your domain is “exactmatchanchortext.com”, you can still create a brand name. So although your domain is “exactmatchanchortext.com”, your brand name could be “Growth Crew”.

Then you can build branded anchor text (“Growth Crew”) without getting any worries.

How to Fix Over-Optimized Anchor Text

Websites rarely get penalized for just having over-optimized anchor text.

That’s because aggressive anchor text strategies are often accompanied by other poor practices. The truth is that websites get penalized because they’re doing a lot of stuff wrong.

Google doesn’t have “Penguin” or “Panda” updates anymore.

However, these concepts still apply. You could theoretically have over-optimized anchor text and not get penalized if you’re doing everything else right.

But like I said:

This is rare.

Most websites with over-optimized anchors also have low-quality links, low-quality content, poor UX, and will often be too aggressive with on-page SEO.

You’ll need to run an SEO audit to tackle these issues.

But let’s just focus on over-optimized anchor text.

The first question is:

Should You Disavow?

I wanted to clear the air before I explain the strategies:

Disavowing is an absolute LAST resort.

There are two situations when it’s warranted:

  1. Your site is getting hit with negative SEO or its been hacked
  2. It’s impossible to remove of the links you built

That said:

You can recover from ALL algorithmic penalties without ever needing to use this tool.

If you have a manual penalty, then it may be necessary (I’ll be addressing manual penalties after this section).

Here are 3 ways to fix over-optimized anchor text without disavowing:

3 Ways to Fix Over-Optimized Anchor Text

1. Remove Links With Commercial Anchor Text (From Spammy Sites)

Before you go buck-wild removing links, listen carefully:

If you remove any link from your profile, your site’s authority will decrease.

EVEN IF THE LINK SUCKS.

You must replace the low-quality links you removed with high-quality links.

Just removing links won’t recover your rankings.

In fact:

It may hurt even more because you’re decreasing your site’s authority.

As I discussed in the section about anchor text placement, you should only use commercial / keyword-rich anchor text on “power” link sources.

If you made the unfortunate mistake of building backlinks on low-quality sources with keyword-rich anchors, then you have two options:

  1. Go back and delete the links.
  2. If you can’t delete the links, then disavow.

After you’ve done all you can do to remove keyword-rich anchors from spammy sources, then it’s time to jump into anchor text dilution.

Please notice that I said “spammy” sources.

Don’t go on a link-deleting spree because you will end up deleting links that are actually helping you.

2. Dilute Your Anchor Text

This is the most common technique and it does work in many cases.

All you are going to do is build unoptimized backlinks to your website with nothing but branded, generic, and naked link anchors.

Absolutely no keyword-rich anchors!

Use the “foundational” links I explained in the previous section to dilute your anchor text profile.

Before Penguin 3.0, you could counter over-optimized anchors by using the dilution technique.

Diluting works, but you need to consider this:

Websites aren’t just penalized because of the existence of low-quality links.

They’re penalized because the ratio of low-quality to high-quality links in their profile is off.

In other words:

You need more quality links to offset the low-quality links. That’s why some websites can “get away” with low-quality links in their profile.

Here are some link types to help you dilute your anchor text profile:

1.) Strong, Relevant Backlinks

These are the most costly, but are also the best for improving your overall link profile. Get as many as you can. Relevancy is king with or without a penalty.

2.) Business Directories / Local Citations

Take the time to create business listings because it’s a perfect way to send quality link unoptimized anchors to your site. Just make sure your NAP-W information is consistent.

3.) LEGIT Social Profiles

Go out and build REAL social profiles for your website. Populate the profiles with your information, content, etc.

Only use the best sites: Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Tumblr, etc.

These sites will give you a nice mix of NoFollow and Follow unoptimized anchors and will build trust for your website.

4.) High-Quality Press Release Distribution

Create a quality press release and distribute it through a quality channel. Press releases are great for quickly getting unoptimized anchors from many different IPs. You will also build diversity in your link profile because of the NoFollow / Follow mix.

3. Use the 301 Penalty Recovery Trick

Remember in an earlier section when I said that anchor text travels through a 301 to the new website?

You are going to use this to your advantage to recover from an algorithmic penalty.

There are two variations of the 301 penalty recovery trick.

Variation #1: Expired Domain > Penalized Domain

For the first variation, you will need to find quality expired domains through a service like Freshdrop. Make sure the anchor profile is clean and has very little keyword-rich anchors.

Look for a domain with branded, generic, and naked link anchors or what some people may refer to as a “natural” anchor profile.

Although you are not necessary using this expired domain for ranking purposes, it’s not a bad idea to find one with solid metrics.

Preferably DR 20 +, DA 20 +, and a Trust Flow of 10 +.

If you can find a domain that is relevant to yours, it will work even better.

Then just 301 redirect the expired domain to your penalized site and track the results.

Variation #2: Links > Penalized Site > New Website

For variation two, you are going to start fresh with a new website, but you are going to piggyback off the authority of your penalized domain (hopefully it has some).

Step 1: Buy a new BRANDED website (avoid EMD, PMD)

Step 2: Build high-quality branded backlinks to your new website
Use business directories, quality paid directories, niche relevant blog comments, press releases, etc. Only use branded anchor text.

Step 3: Build unoptimized backlinks to your penalized domain
The goal is to decrease the percentage of keyword-rich anchors. The percentage all depends on the severity your particular situation.

If you have 70% keyword-rich anchor text, then you will need to get that down to at least 30% or less. If you have 30% keyword-rich anchors, then you will want to get it down to 10% or less.

Step 4: Check your anchor profile with Ahrefs, Majestic, or Open Site Explorer.

Step 5: If you have cut your keyword-rich anchors in half, then it’s time to redirect your penalized site to the new domain.

This works because, A) you are using a new branded website with an established branded text anchor profile, B) you have improved the anchor profile of the penalized website, and C) you have transferred authority to a new domain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anchor Text

What About Manual Penalties?

It’s less of a headache and much more cost-effective to just start a new website, than to try to get out of a manual penalty.

Like I always tell my clients, getting a manual penalty is like going to prison for a felony.

Although you may get out of prison one day, you are still always going to have the felony on your record.

Do you really think Google wipes the slate clean for a website that was previously given a manual penalty?

Even if you do get the penalty lifted, ranking your site will never be easy and it’s always going to feel like “something is holding you back”.

Changing Anchor Text: Red Flag?

I’ve heard this question a lot and I’ve actually done this many times.

The answer is: sometimes.

I know it’s an annoying answer.

If you want to raise a red flag, then change a non-keyword-rich anchor to a keyword-rich anchor. Google may or may not devalue a link when this happens, but it’s definitely not worth it.

Just leave the link how it is, and go acquire a link somewhere else.

Situations that won’t throw up a red flag:

1. Changing a keyword-rich anchor to a non-optimized anchor – going back and decreasing your amount of commercial anchor text can often increase your rankings. If your exact match anchors or keyword-rich anchors are above 25%, then you may want to consider unoptimizing some of those.

2. Deleting an anchor and placing it within a different part of the article – if you decide to change an anchor, you should always place the new one in a different part of the article. When you do this, it makes the anchor / link “new” in Google’s eyes.

You will be losing an aged link, but in theory, starting with a fresh link.

IMPORTANT: You should only change anchor text under extreme circumstances.

Most over-optimized anchor text issues can be solved with the techniques I listed in the penalty recovery section.

Anchor Text Tracking: Don’t Shoot Blindly at the Target

Tracking your anchor text is absolutely critical if you are building backlinks.

If you aren’t, you are basically shooting at a target blindfolded.

There are two ways to track:

1. Manually input every anchor text into a Google Sheet or Excel file

2. Use a tool like Linkio to streamline your anchor text monitoring and optimization.

I used to track my anchor text manually, but Linkio streamlines the entire process.

They pull anchor text from Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Search Console, which makes life a lot easier.

Regardless:

You need to be tracking your anchor text and optimizing throughout the entire link building process.

Last Word About Anchor Text

Anchor text is one very small piece of the SEO puzzle. Most websites are littered with on-site SEO, SEO content, and backlink quality issues.

These areas need to be tackled first. Once you’ve optimize those well, then dive into anchor text optimization. It can give you the edge you need to dominate your competitors.

Now to you:

Do you feel like an anchor text pro now?

Let me know your thoughts and questions below.

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How to Write Product Descriptions That Convert

Looking for actionable information about how to write effective product descriptions?

You’ve come to the right place.

In this 4,000+ word product description guide, we’ll take a look at:

What Is A Product Description?

A product description is the most important, high-touch marketing copy that helps your website visitors understand whether a product is for them and will influence the outcome of their purchasing decision. This is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase who the product is for and who it isn’t by not only presenting features but also the benefits, in such a way that it will compel your ideal customers to make a purchase.

Sadly, product descriptions are often overlooked and kept very simple or stuffed with generic blocks of text that just describe a product and not only harm your reputation but also affect your website’s ability to rank for a particular keyword.

The great thing is you can do something about it.

While we can’t promise that this guide will help you write the perfect product description for your eCommerce website every single time or your clients’ eCommerce websites, it certainly the best place to start. The truth is that you’ll only learn by actually putting everything in this guide into practice – so make sure all your reading doesn’t go to waste.

The Step-by-Step Process of Writing A Great Product Description

Before we dive into some examples, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned by taking a look at some of the most successful eCommerce stores in the world.

1. Put Yourself in Your Ideal Buyer’s Position

If you would be on the fence, what would you want from a product description?

The best advice that anyone will be able to give you without knowing your situation or saying “it depends”, is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself the following what would I want to know if I’ve never heard of [BRAND] and [PRODUCT]?

2. Focus on Benefits Not Features

Describing your product to your website visitors as if they’re already 100% sold and just want to know more about your product will not result in an effective product description.

Most, if not all, won’t be certain that they need your product once they land on a sales page so you need to make use of the product description as an opportunity to showcase why people need your products, by presenting benefits, not features.

Features:

  • Noise Removal
  • Chatbot integration
  • Built-in pockets

Benefits:

  • Speak without the noise – be heard by call participants. Remove all background noise.
  • Automatically responds to your customers’ questions (and actually sounds like a real human)
  • Safely stores your phone, keys, and credit cards while you run

Notice the difference? Not only does talking about the benefits of a product make it easier for potential customers to see the value, but it’s also far less generic and boring than just listing everything that’s included with your product. Although being fully transparent about what’s included should always be a priority, so sacrificing that is not an option.

3. Use Social Proof to Your Advantage

If you were about to purchase a product, wouldn’t know that you’re in the good company put you at ease?

Never fake social proof. 

Not only is this highly unethical, but it’s also extremely unprofessional. If you don’t have people happily using your products, don’t mislead people into purchasing them by making it look like you do.

If people haven’t given you direct feedback in the form of testimonials there are still alternative ways to improve the credibility of your product pages. One of which is the popular “as seen on” or “already with us” section that is common on a lot of websites.

You’ve seen it before, almost every website has it.

Knowing you’re in good hands makes you comfortable.

rank-math-homepage-social-proof

The use of social proof on the Rank Math homepage

No surprises here, the lemlist homepage also has it.

lemlist-homepage-social-proof

The use of social proof on the Lemlist homepage

And so do thousands of other successful, highly-converting websites.

kali-forms-social-proof

The use of social proof on the Kali Forms pricing page.

contentking-social-proof

And one final example of social proof on the ContentKing pricing page.

Another slightly different approach is case studies. No, I’m not talking about the kind of SEO case studies you’ll find here on Gotch SEO. To support and add to your product descriptions being able to showcase how you’ve been able to help current customers, just like Servebolt does is another great, and perhaps even more effective, way of incorporating social proof on your website.

servebolt-mythemeshop-case-study

As for how this ties into product descriptions, I would personally recommend writing a small outtake that includes all of the most important information for each case study. This will allow you to link to the full case study for those who want to learn a lot more about exactly what you did and how it was helpful.

4. Make Your Product Description Easy-to-Follow

Don’t make it hard for your customers to find what really matters to them and make it easier for them to see what you really want them to.

While the content of your product description is important, on its own, it can’t make a huge impact if your page layout makes information hard to read and hard to find.

Poor product pages that likely can’t be considered helpful will have blocks of text, no images and information that hasn’t been arranged in any logical way. Of course, ensuring that your product description’s content is fairly good, but ensuring that it’s structured and organized well is equally important.

5. Leverage Product Data To Acquire Rich Snippets

amazon-review-rich-snippet

As we’ll look at later on in this post. Amazon makes use of structured data –often referred to as Schema markup – to display additional information in search. This can be extremely effective in some cases because it helps your website stand out among the others – increasing the chances that a searcher will click on your result.

rank-math-schema-markup

The Rank Math WordPress SEO plugin is the perfect way to do this. The good news is that whether you’re using their full suite of SEO tools for your WordPress websites or not, you can still leverage their WooCommerce SEO functionality in combination with any other SEO plugin.

If your eCommerce website uses WooCommerce, which is a highly flexible platform for creating complex stores and have installed Rank Math, just head to your product page.

woocommerce-product-page

And then click edit on the specific product that you’d like to edit and scroll down to the meta box and click Rich Snippet. This will then let you enable the Product Rich Snippet to show searchers additional information without them clicking through to your website.

woocommerce-seo-product-snippet-rank-math

Disclosure: I do work with Rank Math but am an avid user of their plugin – and recommended their tools – long before doing anything together.

6. Use Language That Sells: Power Words Not Keywords

While keyword stuffing used to work well on Google back in 2011, (thankfully) those days are over. Google has gotten a lot better at understanding what users actually want (search intent) and catching out people who are trying to game the system.

Here’s what you should focus on instead.

dollar-shave-club-copy-example

Nope, it’s not time to go and shave. This is a screenshot of one of the examples that we’re going to be taking a look at later. They use power words to evoke emotions and develop a connection between their potential customers and their product.

This is the time to let your product shine, don’t just paint the picture by telling a descriptive story, use powerful, convincing and specific words so your customers will understand exactly how good your product is.

7. Use Great Product Images

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t easy to do for physical products especially if you’re on a budget. The good news is that if you’re selling digital products and courses, producing aesthetic and appealing images isn’t actually that difficult. There are so many pieces of photo editing software to choose from and the key is keeping designs simple.

Physical products, on the other hand, are a completely different story. The example of Dollar Shave Club that we’re going to look at later on is a great example.

You want your images to be true to life and realistic but you also want them to look good enough to be on your website. 

product-images-example

How difficult producing images like this really depends on what the product actually is. In any case, images should:

  • Be visually appealing (in terms of color and angle)
  • Be realistic (set reasonable expectations)
  • Be high-resolution – this not only looks more professional but also makes it easier for potential customers to zoom in and see minor details before purchasing
  • Capture the important aspects of your product (effectively portray sizes)

One creative example of this for a clothing brand would be to have the model try all various sizes of a t-shirt or hoodie so that the customers can see how the fit varies as this will help them make a better choice for themselves.

  • Bonus: Templates To Help You Write Better Product Descriptions

Obviously, I must preface the examples below with the fact that they’ve been written for a very general and non-specific course and follow the templates almost exactly. The truth is that you shouldn’t need a template to follow word-for-word, but these are great guidelines when you have no idea where to start and what to include.

Template #1: The “Ideal You” Template

Have you ___________________________? (struggle)

Learn to _______________ (key takeaway to overcome struggle)

without _______________ (pain and/or challenge).

(Product name) ______________

is ______________ (product benefits).

Example:

Have you struggled to grow your SEO agency? Learn how to turn complicated processes into easy, repeatable tasks that you can outsource and scale. Make agency life enjoyable.

Template #2: The “Perfect For” Template

Perfect for ___________________________ (ideal situation),

these _______________ (product name)

can be/will _______________ (tell a quick story).

(Product name) ______________

are ______________ (top features)

to _______________ (product benefits).

No more _____________________ (pain and/or challenge).

Example:

Perfect for stressed-out agency owners, these SOPs will make processes repetitive and easy to outsource. Our in-depth SEO training was built for people just like you with the potential to scale their agency beyond just themselves.

No more selling yourself short or just charging an hourly rate for your expertise.

Template 3: The “I’ve Been In Your Shoes” Template

I created _________________ (your product)

when I was ________________ (describe yourself before you created a solution)

and ______________________ (pain or frustration).

I wanted _____________________ (best case scenario).

That’s why I created _____________________ (product name)

with ___________________ (top features).

Now I _______________________ (product solution)

Example:

I created this in-depth SEO training course for people in the position I was two years ago. Not knowing what to outsource and where to begin. I wanted the ability to take days off without knowing that I’d be falling behind on client work. That’s why I created this set of SOPs to streamline and take the guesswork out of growing your agency. Now you never have to worry about creating your own SOPs for VAs and employees to follow and keeping everyone up-to-date anymore!

Product Description Examples

1. AppSumo

appsumo-product-description-example

AppSumo – originally founded back in March of 2010 by Noah Kagan – is a deals marketplace for digital products and online services. They are extremely well-known for offering lifetime deals on SaaS products or subscription products that you would typically have to pay for every month.

As you might’ve seen if you follow Nathan Gotch on Twitter (@nathangotch) which I highly recommend you do, you’ll know he isn’t a fan of fake scarcity and urgency.

 

The truth is, however, that AppSumo’s model doesn’t rely on fake scarcity because once a deal disappears, it really is gone unless the company decides that they’d like to resurface the deal for a second time. As you’d expect, this use of scarcity is effective. Just like Snapchat, where messages and images are ephemeral the concept just psychologically encourages action and faster purchases.

Urgency and scarcity are now widely used across marketing campaigns to increase engagement and boost conversions simply because it works. I personally (and I’m sure Nathan himself would agree) don’t like the general concept of overusing it and would carefully consider doing something with a client or on my own site that uses scarcity.

That being said, AppSumo is a different case, their business model of negotiating exclusive deals is successful and their website is also a great place to look for inspiration when writing your own product descriptions.

For the purposes of this breakdown, we’ll be taking a look at Krisp – a noise-canceling application that aims to make calling easier and more productive by removing background noise.

appsumo-krisp-example-product-description

In case this is the first time you’ve stumbled across AppSumo – their deal pages are always very conversational. They make use of creative headlines and tell stories that help customers understand when and why you’d need the product.

AppSumo’s Product Description Model:

  1. Set the scene, introduce (or re-introduce) the problem.
  2. Enter [PRODUCT NAME]

Sounds simple enough to replicate, right? Yes, but don’t forget that you still need to give customers all the information that they’re looking for.

So, as you scroll down, the page transitions into an easier-to-digest section that breaks down exactly what you get. This is the section that most people skip to and read.

appsumo-overview-skim-reading-section

And towards the end of the page it again reminds people what they’ll get when they purchase the product and how it helps them as well as diving deeper with a demo video and screenshots showcasing the interface.

2. Apple

apple-homepage

Apple obviously speaks for itself and needs no introduction.

They can also truly be considered a gold standard when it comes to eCommerce websites. Though keep in mind, Apple’s market share and authority in the industry also means that they don’t really need to go through a lot of the effort that your business and eCommerce website will need when it comes to building trust with potential buyers.

Just keep this in mind as we analyze the way that Apple’s product descriptions work – I really don’t want to say the infamous “it depends”, but I suppose it really does when it comes to looking at situations like Apple’s MacBook Pro line-up. Most people already know that they want to purchase the computer once they make it to the product page so it simply becomes a matter of comparing the different models and specifications with their respective prices to make a decision based on the buyer’s specific requirements.

This also contributes to the logic of having a reverse product description, where instead of being taken to a landing page, a user will see the information that is most important to them – also one of the easier decisions to make – the size of the computer you’d like to buy.

macbook-product-page-example

And only then further down on the page are you able to start comparing the base model that you’d like to purchase as is or then customize even further before buying.

product-page-customization-options

This makes sense for Apple, but in most cases won’t for you. Why? Well, easy:

  • Apple doesn’t need to convince you that their products are very well built. Everybody already knows this.
  • Apple doesn’t need to reassure people that their site is secure and people can enter their financial information.
  • Apple also doesn’t need social proof to encourage people to purchase their products.

 

3. Dollar Shave Club

dollar-shave-club-homepage

Dollar Shave Club is an American company based in Venice, California that sells razors and a sorted array of personal grooming products.

Simply put, they’ve got everything you need to look, feel and smell your best.

They’ve not only managed to build an incredibly successful business but also a website that now generates over 450,000 monthly visitors from search per month – with their brand keywords having search volumes that are far past the half a million mark.

ahrefs-dsc-search-volume

I’m sure you get it by now – enough with the introduction already, right?

The product pages and their respective descriptions on the Dollar Shave Club eCommerce website also serve as a great example of how to present a large amount of information in a way that is not only easily digestible but is also laid out in a way that is easy-to-remember and read quickly. All while still making the product interesting and not confusing or making information hard to find for website visitors so they stay on the page instead of bouncing elsewhere to find the information they’re looking for.

dollar-shave-club-website-personalization

So, without further ado – let’s break them down.

dsc-product-page-breakdown

  • Images Galore

The images on the Dollar Shave Club do a great job of showcasing their products in an extremely visually appealing way. As I mentioned earlier in the article, this isn’t easy to do if you are on a budget, however for some products you may be able to avoid the need to produce “real” images and can stick to using mockups as long as they are true to life and portray your product in an appropriate way.

product-description-page-important-elements

  • Just give me the price already

Don’t try to hide any crucial information (such as your product’s price) from people. Show this in an area that is above the fold or give them an easy way to jump further down on a page to the section that shows the breakdown of the price.

Price is inevitably going to be one of the main factors in someone’s decision to buy or not to buy your product so removing it or representing it in a way that makes it difficult for the user and results in bad user experience.

  • Evoke Emotion and Convey Quality with Power Words

Most SEOs writing product descriptions for eCommerce websites aren’t marketers or copywriters which often results in copy that doesn’t do your product justice. Here, I’m referring to the section in the image above labelled with the #3.

Butter up for an effortlessly gentle, delightfully smooth shave. 

Now, be honest with yourself – how does this to compare to:

Buy Our Shave Butter Now For A Better Shaving Experience

While the second one certainly isn’t the worst we’ve seen on the internet, it doesn’t actually describe your product, evoke emotion and help paint a picture in the potential customer’s mind.

*This is not an endorsement of Dollar Shave Club, I have not used their products and do not currently work with them so I cannot comment on the quality. However, given that they have formed a large part of this post, that might change soon 😉

  • Don’t just shove reasons people should get your product in their face – make them want it.

Here, I’m referring to the section in the image above labelled with the #4. Just underneath the introduction to the product that rolls of the tongue and develops an initial connection/interest with the product – people not only see what the product does on its own.

They see what the product can do for them as well as why and how.

Example #1: Helps reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs

While this isn’t a particularly glamorous thing to talk about in this post, ingrown hairs are an apparent problem. The inclusion of this short bullet point perfectly portrays how the product can benefit people.

Example #2: Helps to fight razor bumps by providing a smoother shave

As for example #1, use your product description as an opportunity to present your product as a solution to your customers’ problem(s).

4. Amazon

amazon-dyson-product-page-example

What is Amazon? If only that question were easy to answer.

Amazon Inc. is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with, Apple (which we looked at earlier), Facebook and Google. They have multiple business models spanning across eCommerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, artificial intelligence and more.

amazon-serp-preview

There are a few things we notice solely from looking at this search result – mainly the fact that they use the review snippet to enhance their search results.

This has been proven to result in higher click-through rates, simply because it is more visually appealing and stands out from regular/standard search results. Since this is something really easy to configure for your product pages, I highly recommend trying it out using a plugin like Rank Math (the option I recommend) or another plugin dedicated to solely adding structured data like WP Schema which is another popular option.

In describing their product, Amazon also takes this opportunity to showcase other similar products. This can be really useful if you have a number of similar products but each may only be suitable for specific use cases or have certain extra benefits.

amazon-product-page-comparisons

It can also be one of your best opportunities to upsell people to a more expensive product or even order bump them to other products and extra add-ons that they may be interested in.

Aside from all of the profit-driven decisions, there are also other reasons to do this though which makes the entire experience more enjoyable for your customers. Seeing the product that someone is about to purchase compared to another similar product not only gives them the opportunity to make alternative choices but it also helps them reaffirm their decision.

Are you really leading them to make the best decision possible?

For the sake of your own product descriptions, this doesn’t only need to be in the form of a comparison to other similar products or that you offer, it may also be a great opportunity to show people how you stack up against your competitors. After all, for most companies and their products, the decision won’t always come down to choosing from one of their products. More often than not, people will be taking your competition into consideration so use this opportunity (since you already have the attention) to close the deal.

When doing these comparisons there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Do not hate on your competitors, give them the praise they deserve for the features that their product does have
  • Don’t lie – I sure know a few examples of people who flat-out use this as an opportunity to mislead people which they know aren’t going to do their research anyway.
  • Don’t go into so much detail that you lose people’s attention.

Although this is no easy feat, the key is to strike the right balance of SEO and UX. This means you shouldn’t making compromises that sacrifice the user’s experience.

5. Chain Reaction Cycles

chain-reaction-cycle-homepage

For our next example, we’ll be taking a look at Chain Reaction Cycles – an online retailer of cycling goods based in Northern Ireland.

The reason I chose this site is because it is a little bit of a different industry because the products they’re selling are just so different and certain information needs to be presented before cycling enthusiasts or professionals could even consider purchasing from them.

crc-product-description-example

While their website’s design is by no means the most modern out there, they do a great job of presenting technical information in a way that everything is still easy to find.

product-description-important-elements-chain-reaction-cycle

In the second, smaller box (above) labelled with the number two, you’ll see another easy way of incorporating social proof. While displaying reviews on your own site and adding logos in an “as seen on” section is also popular, it’s also easy to fake. Using the Trustpilot review badge makes their exceptional reputation even clearer to customers.

product-description-tabbed-section

Beyond this they also make it easy for customers to jump to other information to answer any questions and doubt they may have before purchasing the product right away.

While, the option to get in touch with support to ask questions should always remain in place, making useful information as easy as possible to access to remove as much friction as possible from the buying experience

Summary: Is Writing Effective Product Descriptions Difficult?

If you’ve been in the SEO industry long enough, you’ll agree that most SEO questions can be answered by really thinking through what it is that the user actually wants.

That’s exactly why this guide has been written to not only help you write better product descriptions for search engines, but also for potential customers. If you’re about to launch an eCommerce store and feel overwhelmed with the amount of small yet important things you need to remember and keep track of, you should read this eCommerce SEO checklist from ContentKing next.

What tips & advice would you share with someone looking to write more effective product descriptions?

Tweet @alexjpanagis or leave a comment below to join the conversation!!

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