Rotating Page Titles for Anchor Text Variation

I have a site with some content in the consumer finance vertical. The domain is quite authoritative in nature, and based mostly on internal authority (plus 4 decent external links), a page on the site started ranking for a "nice" query. Based on that ranking, in the first 3 months the page picked up 100s of scraper backlinks, which I believe caused the page to get filtered out of Google for having too much of an unnatural and too well aligned profile (ie: looking blatently focused and manipulative in nature).

About a week ago I changed the page title to something different. The page quickly started ranking again in Google, and now any automated spam links it picks up will have different anchor text.

Most people probably do not have to worry too much about the effects of scraper sites if they are building legitimate content that will get many legitimate inbound links, but if you are writing vanilla content that is extracting profit from a well established domain it may be worth considering a page title change if you believe the scrapers may have whacked your page.

Published: September 1, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


September 7, 2006 - 5:36pm

Rotating titles can be useful for other reasons - many sites will just grab that TITLE when adding a link. Many directories use the page title when you submit, as just one example, but people just adding links (especially if they're blogging about a page) are just grabbing the TITLE.

Rotating the title text lets you rotate the text that appears in these links over time. If you submit to a few directories each Tuesday, and change the title every Monday, you end up with a nice mix of anchor text from all those directories.

November 11, 2006 - 11:44pm

This is a great advice...Well rotating titles can let you get more anchor text from diffrent sites and even directories.

September 1, 2006 - 3:15pm

That's great advice. I was in a similar situation and when Google dropped me, I just figured there was nothing I could do.

September 1, 2006 - 3:56pm


I agree 100% i have noticed that multiple sites that i work on that rank and tank seem to always have those scrapers associated in one form or another. What irritates me is that we are told that offsite SEO can not negativley affect yor site, but when you see these blatent competitors doing things like that, you have to wonder. Do you jump on board and work them the same way, or wait it out for Google to fix it? I have tried the title change and I would like to think it works, but I have no way to verify if that is it or not. Do you know a way to confirm if that works, or is there a little speculation?

Great post.


September 1, 2006 - 4:56pm

Screw that, I changed the entire permalink structure of my blog from ending in .html to / then 301'd the links to root. Die scrapers die!!!

September 1, 2006 - 5:32pm

Hi Mike
I believe many pages get filtered out for being too focused. By changing my title to be focused on something other than what most of the links said I believe it pulled me below whatever threshold there was for filtering my page out. If I rotate the page title a few more times it may also help me rank for a wider variety of phrases.

I don't like your idea seobuzzbox, because it breaks good links pointing at your site and makes all the links point at the homepage...which is an unnatural pattern and will make people less likely to link to your site.

September 1, 2006 - 7:02pm

Yes that it true but it also breaks those who duplicate your content in a big way because most lame aggregators do not have link checking to remove broken URLs, this junkifies them nicely.

Most people who link to unknowns like myself also link to my index. Newbies should blog for a year behind the scenes and then change their permalink structure and use those who have aggregated their content to make some headway...

Note: I do not 301 the links (but I could and it would be a nice evil twist), I just send them to my "You got jacked" 404.php sitemap as a kind of HAHA thingy. :)

September 1, 2006 - 11:27pm

If you have some info about the scraper (IP/useragent/time pattern) you can always cloak them a version of your site that you want them to publish.

September 2, 2006 - 4:30am

Aaron, you may be jumping the gun a bit with this diagnosis. Check your email.

September 2, 2006 - 4:44pm

I would love to hear what you have to say about it Dan! You got me curious with your comment. :p

Aaron, I am in a similar situation as you and your idea does seem nice.

September 4, 2006 - 1:54am

I had the same thing happen - I had an article on a site that I copied out to the article distro sites, and it was picked up by a lot of spam-based sites, particularly casinos (why, I don't know, as it was an SEO article. Probably random)
My site crashed out of the rankings.
I rewrote the article on my site. Same content, just different phrase choices, and it returned within a week or so IIRC (this was over a year ago)
My conclusion was either too many duplicates in spammy sites, or too many backlinks from spammy sites, with the same link text, causes a ranking problem.

Darn, I could have just changed the title? :)

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.