Content Marketing Blog

Google trusts your links less if they’ve been changed

Have you ever spent hours writing up the perfect article or case study for your website, countlessly going over every apostrophe and semi-colon, only to find a spelling mistake after you’ve published it?

Since content marketing is only effective if it is done on a large scale, occasionally a spelling mistake is bound to slip through the cracks when you’re focusing on the bigger picture.

But if the spelling mistake happens to take place on anchor text -that is, the text with a link to another page – and you correct the mistake,Google trusts your link less.

Former Google employee Pedro Dias recently announced on Twitter that Google “trusts” links less once you’ve made changes to the the anchor text or URL link.

“Did you know Google is less likely to trust a link once it has been changed from the 1st time it was seen?” posted Dias, who previously held a Search Quality Analyst position in Google’s search quality and search spam team.

Search Engine Roundtable editor Barry Schwartz grilled Dias on the topic, asking him if he was speaking on behalf of his time at Google, or something he had discovered recently as a SEO specialist.

Dias alluded that he was speaking from his experience working at Google, but didn’t say anything concrete in fear of ‘being sued’.

However, in later comments Dias went on to say that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

This doesn’t have a positive or negative impact on your page, explained Dias, also implying that the drop in trust isn’t that significant.

This just means Google’s algorithm is skeptical of the change, and may not depend on or index the link as much or as thoroughly as it did originally, according to Dias, who added that if the site is reputable this won’t be a problem.

In May of this year Google’s Head of Search and Spam Matt Cutts also spoke on anchor texts and links.

Cutts said that the pagerank is divided amongst each link on a page, and if two links go to the same page, then twice as much pagerank would go to that page, even if they have the same anchor text.

But before you start doing that, remember having too many of the same links on a page will most likely cause Google to trust your content less as it looks spammy.

Later on in the video Cutts went on to say that focusing too much on these details can be rather pointless, instead saying it is better to focus on more important things, such as the consumer experience.

As long as your content strategy is designed to be beneficial for your target audience, adding in links to other pages when necessary, then chances are Google will reward you with a good ranking.

Posted by Dylan Brown