How ‘Co-Occurrence’ Will Influence Your (Off-Page) SEO Mindset

In a November 2012 Whiteboard Friday, SEO mastermind Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz made a very enlightening prediction regarding “co-occurrence” and the diminishing value of keyword-specific anchor text.

Based on a few compelling observations, Rand’s prediction could be considered a valid theory for those involved in the SEO profession. His prediction centers on how seemingly un-optimized webpages (containing little-to-no keywords in the page titles and Meta descriptions) are still atop the organic search results on competitive keyword queries.

A savvy SEO enthusiast would assume that these high ranking pages were receiving a wealth of backlinks with keyword-rich anchor text. The thesis to Rand’s prediction is that this not the case.

The ranking cues that Google has gathered stem from the contextual relevancy of the link source, and how the semantics of the backlinking articles correlate to the keyword value of the outbound links (regardless of anchor text.)

In a nutshell, this is what defines co-occurrence – the content of an article mentions Keyword X a number of times making any outbound links also relevant on Keyword X.

With respect to Google’s infamous Penguin update that specifically targets over-optimized anchor text, Rand’s prediction is a glorious one that should shape your mindset when executing your off-page SEO strategies.

Take a look at the Whiteboard Friday video below and let us know what you think of co-occurrence and its impact on SEO.

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky is the founder of Top of Mind, a locally-focused Traverse City SEO and social media engagement firm located in northern Michigan. Tyler offers over five years of experience in the search marketing profession and has a keen skill-set in organic SEO and paid search advertising. To learn more, connect with Tyler on Google Plus.

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