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I have a site structure and it kind of looks like this:

Home
    Fruit Flavors
        Apple Flavors
        Banana Flavors
        Pear Flavors
        Plum Flavors
        Grape Flavors
    Vegetable Flavors
        Cucumber Flavors
        Lettuce Flavors
        Olive Flavors
        Carrot Flavors
        Cabbage Flavors

On the pages Fruit Flavors and Vegetable Flavors, I have a list of links leading to all of the flavor pages in that category. For example:

The page Fruit Flavors has links in a list to the following pages: Apple, Banana, Pear, Plum, and Grape Flavors pages.

The page Vegetable Flavors has links in a list to the following pages: Cucumber, Lettuce, Olive, Carrot, and Cabbage Flavors pages.

However, the anchor text in all of the links are what you could consider rich anchor text. For example, if I want to rank for the phrase "Apple Flavors," I link to the page Apple Flavors with the anchor text "Apple Flavors" from the Fruit Flavors page.

This pattern repeats for all of the pages under the Fruit Flavors and Vegetable Flavors category.

Would this be bad for SEO? From what I've read it seems like it is, so what alternatives should I take?

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it may not hurt but certainly won't help. The word flavors will probably not contribute at all and that may be an important element of search for your site. And also if your page content and title and meta all use flavors it will hurt. Try to be more creative. Leave flavors at the high level but use other terms like wonderful apple or banana like no other. –  Michael Thamm Jul 29 '13 at 12:09

1 Answer 1

Internal links with exact match keyword anchor text should not hurt your rankings with Google, providing it's within reason (i.e., not hundreds/thousands of links), and not over-optimized.

Since you're only repeating the word "flavors" in conjunction with one type of flavor as a keyword (e.g., "Apple Flavors"), and you're not repeating or stuffing the same keywords in the other links too (e.g., "Apple Flavors are great among all our other Fruit Flavors: Banana Flavors, Pear Flavors, Plum Flavors…"), you should be fine as this can occur naturally in site navigation.

For more on this, see: Matt Cutts - Will multiple internal links with the same anchor text hurt a site's ranking

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