Just in case you ever doubt the long-term benefits of publishing high quality, authoritative content, here’s a new piece of data to remind you that quality always wins.

In a great blog post on SEOmoz today, James Agate described an experiment he conducted to learn what type of link anchor text is the most effective in terms of getting a site ranked for a specific keyword phrase. James admits that his test was very small, but it did yield some interesting results.

First, he settled on an uncommon keyword phrase and purchased three distinct domains where he set up three mini-sites and 10 links to each from 10 link sources that index quickly. For each domain, he used a different anchor text link strategy. One site included irrelevant anchor text (e.g., “click here”). A second used keyword-rich anchor text, and the third used a mixture of irrelevant and keyword-rich anchor text.

James analyzed the results of his experiment and found that the best strategy for long-term success is using a mixture of irrelevant and keyword-rich anchor text links. He explains:

“Google perhaps isn’t quite there yet with their assessment of link context – the results of this experiment seem to suggest that Google still needs a hint and places a high degree of trust in the relevance of the anchor text (whether partial match or exact match). … Partial match linkbuilding in practice is the safest in terms of long term stability and potentially also the more effective now and in the future.

“In practice, a link profile consisting entirely of exact match links doesn’t look natural and is easy for Google in the future to de-value a huge proportion of your link profile in one fell swoop. Assess link opportunities also as promotional, brand awareness and traffic opportunities and look at ways to build a presence online that will survive a future that is likely to be less about links.”

Follow the link earlier in this article to read the full story about James’ link anchor text experiment. It’s worth a read.

At the end of the day, quality always beats short-term tricks to boost traffic to your blog. Keep publishing authoritative content, and your blog will be positioned for long-term success while the bloggers who paid more attention to link anchor text than quality of content will be scrambling to catch back up.

Image: Yuman