Anchor Text Optimization

THE LATEST

ANCHOR TEXT OPTIMIZATION STRATEGY

for Maximizing Every Link You Build

2019
By Ajay Paghdal

Founder of OutreachMama and Linkio

It’s 2019 and anchor text strategy is getting more and more sophisticated (or some might say, less and less effective).

Exact match anchors? No thanks.

Automated backlinking? Not today.

Tiered link building? So 2009.

Even some of the more recent strategies gurus have been teaching don’t work as well as they used to.

That means anchor text optimization is surely dead, right?

With Google updating their anchor text best practices with the Penguin update in 2012, and more recently Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin 4.0 updates, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so.

Yes, they have definitely made it more difficult to play in the big leagues, but look at it this way – these changes help get rid of unqualified marketers and the clear the path for you to dominate.

Yes, you beautiful.

And you know what else?

I’m here to show you the path forward.

To be the Yoda to your Luke Skywalker.

The Master Roshi to your Goku.

The…OK OK, let’s get on with it.

By the time you read this article, you’ll know how create the perfect anchor text gameplan!

Or you can also just skip ahead and automate the whole thing using our anchor text planning tool. Try it for FREE: https://www.linkio.com/

Get Anchor Text Suggestions For Your Website Based on Linker’s Intent



Your domain name matches your keyword
Your domain name does not match your keyword
Your domain name partially matches your keyword

(Psst! Have I completely gone over your head with industry jargon already? Don’t worry, I’ve covered that too with the basics – read on… )

Introducing…

THE LINKER’S INTENT – the latest strategy in anchor text optimization!

This concept formed in my mind after nerding out on 1000’s of backlink profiles and runnings hundreds of link building campaigns over the years.

It both embraces the “just be natural” crowd and gives them a major eye roll and “Bye Felicia”.

Google has explicitly said that they don’t want you building links.

They want it to just happen naturally from your brand and content being so awesome.

Yea…

That’s not what you came here to hear.

Because actively acquiring links is how you get results faster and turn a profit in a satisfying timeframe.

And as business owners and marketers – that’s the name of the game.

So…you need to be doing link building but the links need to appear like you aren’t doing link building.

What?

In other words, the links need to appear like they happened organically and without any help from you.

That may sound difficult or impossible on the surface, but stick with me.

It’ll all make sense in a minute.

Whenever some third party blogger creates a link to your page, anchor text is kind of like an afterthought.

They don’t particularly care about the decision and aren’t worried about your anchor text ratios.

Only SEO nerds like me (and maybe you?) care about stuff like that.

They just want to create a freakin’ link, finish the article and get back to browsing Insta.

So like most things in life, in a state like this, the person will just pick the simplest and most obvious choice for anchor text that pops into their head.

So what influences their choice?

The type of page they are linking to and the reason why they’re linking to you in the first place.

Aka their intent while creating the link. Or in other words, the Linker’s Intent.

If you can figure out what kind of intent a blogger would have when organically linking to a particular page on your site, then you can more confidently choose the correct type of anchors when you’re doing your link building.

All while staying in Google’s good graces.

Confused AF?

Let me break it down with an example –

Consider 3 scenarios where someone links to your website:

Case #1: In the first case, a person might link to your homepage as a resource.

Case #2: In the second case, they might be referencing your blog post.

Case #3: In the third case, someone might link to your services page.

In each of the above cases, the writer has a different mindset a.ka. a different “Linker’s Intent.”

So the person linking to your homepage as a resource will probably use a different type of anchor text than if they were linking to your blog post, which is different again from the anchor text they would use if they linked to your services page.

And THAT means, the anchor text percentages on your web pages will differ GREATLY depending on what type of page it is.

This is the cornerstone of the concept of the “Linker’s Intent.” When I first started to map out this concept, breaking it down into simple, easy-to-understand steps was difficult.

However, once my SEO link tool, Linkio had progressed enough for me to analyze large volumes of data, it allowed me to validate as well as refine the concept.

And now I’m excited to share it with you! (Be sure to re-read the above intro to get the gist of this premise.)

Here’s what it means to you – once you understand the Linker’s Intent associated with each of your most important pages, you can craft an extremely natural backlink profile that will help you rank faster while simultaneously avoiding the wrath of the “Algo Gods.”

I’m here to hold your hand, and walk you through these concepts, from beginner to expert stages, so that you’ll have the exact tools and strategies that you need to create an impeccable anchor text profile, rank your website on the first page of Google, and dodge penalties like a politician dodges questions.

So let’s get started!

NOTE: Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you can come back later for reference!

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS ANCHOR TEXT? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Anchor text is, quite simply, the word or phrase that you use to build links back to your content. So it’s the text within a post or an article that links to another piece of content (or page) on the web.

For example, in the above sentence, “OutreachMama” is the anchor and https://www.outreachmama.com is the link to which it is anchored.

As you can see, anchoring a link to your page’s text is easy. CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal have this kind of functionality cooked right into the system.

THE 5 BIG ANCHOR TEXT CATEGORIES (AND THEIR SUBTYPES)

Although anchoring a link to your page’s text is easy, what you should know is that there are several different types of anchor text, with their own specific uses and percentages with which they should be used.

1. Branded Anchors
Branded Anchors use the actual name of your brand or business. These anchors can fall into one of two subtypes.

Subtype 1: Brand Name
(eg. OutreachMama)

Subtype 2: Websitename.com
(eg. outreachmama.com)

2. Keyword Anchors
Keyword anchors contain the target keyword of a specific page or piece of content. These anchors contain three subtypes.

Subtype 1: Exact Keyword
Exact keyword anchors are the exact key phrases for which you are trying to rank your page. So if you were trying to rank for “anchor text” you would copy and paste that exact phrase for the anchor.

(eg. “how to build backlinks”)

Subtype 2: Partial Match Keyword
These anchors contain only a part of the keyword or key-phrase you want to rank for, but not the entire phrase. These anchors should be unique from any other anchors, and you should regularly rotate the key phrase used in your anchor

(eg. guide to links)

Subtype 3: Keyword + Word
Keyword + Word anchors are the exact keywords you’re trying to rank for, with additional phrases. These are highly versatile type of anchor text since they can easily be molded to fit naturally into the body of your articles, however, each “Keyword + Word” anchor needs to be unique from your other “Keyword + Word” anchors you have on your website.

Be sure to regularly rotate the key phrase you use in your anchor for maximal SEO effect..

(eg. how to build backlinks guide)

3. Hybrid Anchors
The third type of anchors are hybrid anchors which, as the name would suggest, are a hybrid between branded and keyword anchors.

The two subtypes are:

Subtype 1: Title Tag
In the case of a title tag or a blog post title, the anchor is whatever the page title is. If the link leads to a sales page, an About page, or something similar, then you can literally take the meta title or main H1 tag and make that the anchor. If you are linking to a blog post on your website, then the anchor would simply be the title of the blog post.

(eg. the title of the article… “An Introduction to Linker’s Intent | Anchor Text Optimization for 2019”)

Subtype 2: Brand + Keyword
Brand + Keyword anchors combine branded anchors with either the “exact keyword”, or “just part of the keyword” anchors.

(eg. OutreachMama’s Guide to Anchor Text)

4. URL Anchors
Possibly the simplest of the five anchor types, URL anchors do not contain any standard text. The URL is the anchor text.

There are a few common variations of this anchor type that you should know.

Subtype 1: Naked URL:
A naked URL is an anchor that doesn’t actually contain any anchor text.

(eg. https://www.outreachmama.com/case-studies/)

Subtype 2: Naked URL without Http://:
As the name implies, a naked URL without Http:// is a naked URL that uses only “www.” and excludes the “http://

(eg. www.outreachmama.com/case-studies/)

Subtype 3: Homepage URL:
Homepage URL anchors use the full URL of your homepage.
(eg. https://www.outreachmama.com/)

Now that you’ve learned the different types of Anchor Text Categories, let’s put this knowledge toward learning how to boost your SEO rankings. For that, you need to learn about two other factors – how domain related factors affect your link building strategy, and also the different page types on your website.

So on to the next step…

HOW DOMAIN FACTORS AFFECT YOUR LINK BUILDING STRATEGY

To become an effective link builder, there are a few questions you must first ask yourself related to your domain.

Question #1: Is your website National or Local?
National websites are typically informational blogs, location independent service providers (eg. SEO agencies, freelance writers, design firms, etc.), software companies, and ecommerce sites.

Local websites are tied to businesses that serve a specific geographical region, for example, a real estate agency in Phoenix, Arizona or a landscaping company in Memphis, Tennessee.

If your local brand is large enough and has multiple locations spread across a larger region, then your website would be considered a national or hybrid site and you will want to use your homepage as a branding page before creating more targeted internal pages for each of your company’s locations.

Question #2: Is your root domain EMD, PMD, or NMD?
EMD – You have an Exact Match Domain if your root domain contains the exact keyword associated with your site.

(eg. if my main keyword is “seo tools”, the exact match domain is seotools[dot]com)

PMD – You have a Partial Match Domain if your root domain contains all of the keyword along with some other words, or part of the keyword and nothing else, or part of the keyword along with some other words.

(eg. if my main keyword is still “seo tools”, a PMD would be besttools[dot]com, tools[dot]com, or myfavoriteseotools[dot]com)

NMD – You have a Non-Match Domain if the root domain does not contain any part of the keyword.

(eg. if my main keyword is “seo tools” an NMD is outreachmama[dot]com)

Although many people assume that domain categorization does not affect their anchor text profiles, they’re sorely mistaken, because the anchor text percentages of a certain page can vary greatly, based on which type of domain the page is on.

For example, the ideal anchor text percentage for the homepage of an EMD is VASTLY different than that of a homepage of an NMD, so ascertain what type of domain your website resides on before moving forward.

Question #3: What page types are on your website?
You must be able to identify all the pages on your site falling into one of the three overarching categories:

Home Page – This is the main page of your website.

(eg. the homepage for this website is https://www.outreachmama.com/)

Commercial Page – This is a page where you give more details about your products and services.

(eg. A commercial page on my site is https://www.outreachmama.com/services/ because I’m telling people about the various services we offer, such as link building, content creation, and blogger outreach services. If you have an ecommerce site, the page that sells your products would be your commercial page. Or if you are a lawyer, the page where you talk about the services you offer in different locations around your city would be your commercial page)

Content Page – This is a page that includes any type of content, like a blog post or a video, free resources or tutorials, a high-value quiz or free guides. Any page that offers helpful content, rather than selling a product or services.

(eg. I include my list of free resources at https://www.outreachmama.com/resources/ that has several free tutorials, guides and case studies that are helpful to our readers)

These are the 3 general categories pages can fall into on your site, but for our purposes, we need to go a bit more in-depth and turn these categories into 7 specific page types.

This deeper understanding of page types was critical in our breakthroughs with anchor text percentages.

Before we recognized the 7 page types and the weighting of their anchor text percentages, the percentages of various pages across the internet were so random that we couldn’t make sense of it.

… Until we developed our page-type-specific Anchor Text Percentages concept!

Reanalyzing the Anchor Text Percentages with this new classification was the key to putting the last piece of the puzzle in place – we discovered that Anchor Text profiles were incredibly similar when grouped by page types.

These were the page types we were able to come up with after combining the various types and subtypes we talked about so far – local vs. national, EMD vs. PMD vs. NMD, and then homepages vs. commercial pages vs. content pages.

Here are the 7 Page Types (including their subtypes):
Page Type 1:
National Homepage
– Subtype A: National Homepage – No Keyword in Domain
– Subtype B: National Homepage – Partial Match Domain
– Subtype C: National Homepage – Exact Match Domain
Page Type 2: Ecommerce Product Page
Page Type 3: Features Page
Page Type 4: Content Page
Page Type 5: Service Page
Page Type 6: Local Homepage
– Subtype A: Local Homepage – No Keyword in Domain
– Subtype B: Local Homepage – Partial Match Domain
– Subtype C: Local Homepage – Exact Match Domain where Brand Name is not a – Keyword
– Subtype D: Local Homepage – Exact Match Domain where Brand Name is a – – – Keyword
Page Type 7: Local Business Service Page

I’ll break down each page type in the next section.

So far you have learned:

  • What Anchor Text is, and why you need it
  • The 5 Anchor Text Categories
  • How the domain your webpage affects your Anchor Text strategy
  • The 7 Page Types (and their Subtypes)

Now you have all the basics necessary, next let’s go on to learn the Best Practices for 2019!

Now you should have an understanding of the various page types on your site. You also know whether your site is a national or a local website. And lastly, you know what kind of root domain (EMD / PMD / NMD) you have.

That means (deep breath), you’re ready to put it all together and learn the anchor text best practices for 2019!

BEST PRACTICE #1:

USE IDEAL ANCHOR TEXT PERCENTAGES FOR EACH PAGE TYPE

Choosing the right anchor text, and the recommended anchor text percentages is THE best strategy to get ahead of the SEO game. Linkio uses insightful data to provide you the right anchor text to build on your website, AND it’s remarkably easy to use! Try it for FREE.

Page Type 1A: National Homepage – No keyword in Domain

For example, if my main keyword is “link building services” and my root domain is outreachmama.com.

My homepage is https://www.outreachmama.com/
Therefore we can categorize this homepage as a “National Homepage – No Keyword in Domain.”

NOTE: Top ranking pages of this type tend to have the highest percentage of branded anchor text of all the other page types. It is also associated with the lowest keyword-anchor based text.

Here’s the general anchor text percentage breakdown to target for:

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name51.81%69.31%
Websitename.com17.50%
KeywordExact Keyword0.53%1.06%
Only Part of Keyword0.53%
Keyword Plus Word0%
HybridTitle Tag6.05%8.68%
Brand + Keyword2.63%
URLNaked URL8.68%10.26%
Naked URL without http://1.58%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural8.58%10.69%
No Text2.11%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 1B: National Homepage – Partial Match Domain

In this case, if my main keyword is “link building services” and my root domain outreachlinks[dot]com, or outreachlinkbuilding[dot]com, then the home page of this website would be considered a “National Homepage – Partial Match Domain” page type because the root domain contains all or part of my keyword plus additional words.

If the additional words are things like “the” or “a”, it would still be an EMD and not a PMD.

NOTE: The branded anchor text percentages on this page type are pretty high, however it helps to increase the number of keyword specific anchors.

Here’s the anchor text percentage breakdown to keep in mind:

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name43.28%59.02%
Websitename.com15.74%
KeywordExact Keyword1.25%6.71%
Only Part of Keyword2.82%
Keyword Plus Word3%
HybridTitle Tag1.05%2.37%
Brand + Keyword1.32%
URLNaked URL11.54%19.55%
Naked URL without http://8.01%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural7.97%12.36%
No Text4.39%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 1C: National Homepage – Exact Match Domain

If you take an example where my main keyword is “link building services” and my root domain is linkbuildingservices[dot]com, or linkbuilding[dot]com, then my homepage is categorized as a “National Homepage – Exact Match Domain” because the keywords I’m targeting matches my domain name exactly.

There was a time when EMDs were extremely popular, because if you had an exact match domain, then you could easily expect to be on the first page of Google search results, with just a little bit of effort. But precisely for this reason, EMD were heavily used and abused so much that Google came down hard on them. Regardless of the domain name, it became more important to Google that the websites it displayed are high quality content.

However, with our Anchor Text Optimization strategy, you can actually rank your site pretty high on search results.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name0.00%39.02%
Websitename.com39.04%
KeywordExact Keyword11.80%22.01%
Only Part of Keyword5.62%
Keyword Plus Word5%
HybridTitle Tag1.32%1.32%
Brand + Keyword0.00%
URLNaked URL8.81%17.91%
Naked URL without http://9.10%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural14.98%19.73%
No Text4.75%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 2: Ecommerce Product Page

If you run an ecommerce website, you (or your webmaster) should know that the best practices associated with these types of pages have evolved dramatically, thanks to them being popular link building targets for those who want to increase visibility of their product pages. So if you are still following old practices, you might not be aware that your old-school key-word centric strategy might even be damaging your organic ranking!

NOTE: An effective ecommerce product page link building strategy can work great if weighted towards branded and natural anchors.

Here’s an effective Anchor Text Percentage breakdown to aim for:

NOTE: Because the exact keyword is technically the brand name in this type, the keyword and websitename.com anchors having both text increases substantially.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name47.54%48.14%
Websitename.com0.61%
KeywordExact Keyword2.73%11.92%
Only Part of Keyword5.52%
Keyword Plus Word5.66%
HybridTitle Tag0.00%11.67%
Brand + Keyword11.67%
URLNaked URL5.29%5.29%
Naked URL without http://0.00%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural19.26%20.98%
No Text1.72%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 3: Features Page

Features pages are typically used for websites that sell software solutions. They’re also becoming popular with product-driven and service-driven websites lately. If you have this kind of a page on your website, by increasing organic search visibility on your features pages, you can bring high converting BOFU (bottom of funnel) traffic directly to your site, and thereby increase revenue.

NOTE: Unfortunately, most marketers screw these pages up big time! But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Here are the recommended percentages to help you rank these pages better:

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name28.29%28.29%
Websitename.com0.00%
KeywordExact Keyword9.21%40.75%
Only Part of Keyword16.24%
Keyword Plus Word15.30%
HybridTitle Tag5.38%7.02%
Brand + Keyword1.65%
URLNaked URL8.67%10.32%
Naked URL without http://0.00%
Homepage URL1.65%
NaturalJust Natural12.51%13.62%
No Text1.11%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 4: Content Page

When you have a definitive guide, or a blog post you want to make more visible, or an ultimate listicle, you will want higher anchor text percentages on your content pages.

NOTE: Focus on building keyword, hybrid, and natural anchors.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name6.42%7.45%
Websitename.com1.03%
KeywordExact Keyword14.83%43.37%
Only Part of Keyword11.44%
Keyword Plus Word17.44%
HybridTitle Tag17.86%24.92%
Brand + Keyword7.06%
URLNaked URL6.10%6.81%
Naked URL without http://0.09%
Homepage URL0.62%
NaturalJust Natural13.31%17.45%
No Text3.31%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 5: Service Page

If you have a specific service that you offer through your website, then you probably have a prominent page (or pages) describing your service(s).

For OutreachMama, this would be our link building services page: https://www.outreachmama.com/link-building-services/

NOTE: In order to rank each of your service pages as quickly and highly as possible, you’ll want to focus the majority of your link building efforts on branded and keyword anchors with a smattering of natural, hybrid, and url anchors.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name28.29%28.29%
Websitename.com0.00%
KeywordExact Keyword9.21%40.75%
Only Part of Keyword16.24%
Keyword Plus Word15.30%
HybridTitle Tag5.38%7.02%
Brand + Keyword1.65%
URLNaked URL8.67%10.32%
Naked URL without http://0.00%
Homepage URL1.65%
NaturalJust Natural12.51%13.62%
No Text1.11%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 6A: Local Homepage – No Keyword in Domain

Many local businesses purchase less targeted domain names that contain no keywords in the root domain, because they are less expensive.

For example, if a plumbers website is johncarters[dot]com or a plastic surgeons website is dromarsantangelo[dot]com – we’d consider there to be no keyword in the domain.

NOTE: This page type has the highest percentage of branded anchors and one of the lowest for keyword anchors.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name38.35%46.00%
Websitename.com7.65%
KeywordExact Keyword0.00%6.95%
Only Part of Keyword6.95%
Keyword Plus Word0.00%
HybridTitle Tag3.02%9.30%
Brand + Keyword6.28%
URLNaked URL14.96%26.32%
Naked URL without http://11.36%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural9.57%11.44%
No Text1.86%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 6B: Local Homepage – Partial Match Domain

If you are the owner of a local small business, then you will most likely find that you have a website where the root domain includes only part of the keyword for the product or service you offer.

For example, Joesplumbing[dot]com or Plasticsurgerycenter[dot]com.

NOTE: With this page type, the branded percentages are markedly lower compared to local businesses with no keywords in their domain and the keyword anchor percentages are slightly higher.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name27.62%36.21%
Websitename.com8.59%
KeywordExact Keyword1.76%8.48%
Only Part of Keyword3.56%
Keyword Plus Word3.17%
HybridTitle Tag2.73%6.02%
Brand + Keyword3.29%
URLNaked URL19.65%29.65%
Naked URL without http://10.20%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural12.39%19.65%
No Text7.26%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 6C: Local Homepage – Exact Match Domain where Brand Name is not a Keyword

Some local business websites have a root domain that doubles as one of the target keywords for their business.

For example, plumberinnj[dot]com or miamibreastaugmentation[dot]com both contain an obvious keyword and nothing else. Even if the domain contained a filler word like “the”, I’d consider it an exact match domain.

NOTE: The most notable difference regarding the percentages for these pages is that they have the highest percentage of “Natural” anchors (e.g. “click here”).

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name17.59%20.15%
Websitename.com2.56%
KeywordExact Keyword5.50%12.15%
Only Part of Keyword4.83%
Keyword Plus Word1.82%
HybridTitle Tag0.00%3.55%
Brand + Keyword3.55%
URLNaked URL28.54%39.50%
Naked URL without http://10.96%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural21.64%24.64%
No Text3.17%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 6D: Local Homepage – Exact Match Domain where Brand Name is a Keyword

This is a case where you might run a local business where the root domain is an exact match domain, and the brand name is also the keyword.

For example, the brand name for miamibreastaugmentation[dot]com is Miami Breast Augmentation.

You might notice that my percentage suggestions in this case are very different from the other suggestions. This is because the percentage suggestion for the anchor sub-type “Branded” is dialed all the way down to zero.

NOTE: For the local business page types, this one has the highest percentages associated with the keyword anchor type and the lowest branded anchor type.

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name0.00%5.70%
Websitename.com5.70%
KeywordExact Keyword24.76%49.60%
Only Part of Keyword17.04%
Keyword Plus Word7.81%
HybridTitle Tag1.35%1.35%
Brand + Keyword0.00%
URLNaked URL14.28%21.59%
Naked URL without http://7.32%
Homepage URL0.00%
NaturalJust Natural16.84%21.76%
No Text4.92%
Totally Random0.00%

Page Type 7: Local Business Service Page

Lastly, for a local business website, it is common practice for internal pages to target additional keyword+location combinations.

For example, Joesplumbing[dot]/houston or drstevenropopo[dot]com/miami-breast-augmentation.

NOTE: This page type is characterized by a fairly even distribution of the various anchor types, including a near even split between branded and keyword based anchors.

Here are some anchor text percentage suggestions for this page type:

Anchor Text CategoryCategory Sub-TypeIdeal Sub-Type PercentageIdeal Percentage
BrandedBrand Name16.68%16.68%
Websitename.com0.00%
KeywordExact Keyword0.00%16.66%
Only Part of Keyword8.33%
Keyword Plus Word8.33%
HybridTitle Tag0.00%8.33%
Brand + Keyword8.33%
URLNaked URL8.33%33.33%
Naked URL without http://16.67%
Homepage URL8.33%
NaturalJust Natural25.00%25.00%
No Text0.00%
Totally Random0.00%

BEST PRACTICE #2:

LINK YOUR WEBSITE FROM THE RIGHT SOURCES

I’ve mentioned this in passing earlier in the article, but this is a very important practice to consider – it is absolutely critical that you link your website to high quality websites. Many beginner SEOs seem to think that any backlink is beneficial to your website’s search engine ranking, but with the recent updates, this is not true anymore.\

In fact, if you have too many links sourced from low authority, low quality websites, Google will assume that you are purchasing links or practicing spamming, instead of growing a natural profile organically.

Worse, not only does this affect your ranking, but can also result in sizable penalties.

Focusing on earning high quality links from authoritative websites is the way to go.

According to an SEMrush article by Shane Barker, “You need to focus on getting links from sites with high authority and traffic. Go for sites with Domain Authority (DA) above 30 and Page Authority (PA) over 35. Also look for sites with the Trust Flow of 10 and above. Make sure that the ratio of trust flow to citation flow is around 1:2.”

In the long run, you are better off having 1 – 3 links from high authority websites than 20 – 30 links from low authority websites.

BEST PRACTICE #3:

KEEP YOUR ANCHOR TEXT SUCCINCT

Although there is no specific limit for anchor text length, it is still a good practice to keep your link text as concise and succinct as possible.

Moz recommends that you take two main factors into consideration when deciding which terms to include in your anchor text.

a) What is the most concise and accurate way to describe the page you are linking to?
If you are linking to a page on “Anchor Text Best Practices” what is the best way that you can describe that page while avoiding exact match anchor text?

For example, you could use the anchor “how to optimize anchor text” or something similar.

This keeps the anchor short but still tells readers exactly what they are clicking on.

b) What words or phrases would make users want to click on a link?
Just because you are accurately describing the page does not mean that readers will actually care enough to click on your link.

This is especially relevant whenever you are trying to get traffic from guest posts.

Whenever you are building an anchor, always try and figure out how you can entice readers with your text to ensure that they click on the link.

Beyond the link anchor itself, the actual placement of important links in guest posts and even your own blog, is just as critical.

Sean Si of Seo Hacker recommends suggests that you place all pertinent links in the introduction of your article

“Because people don’t really read anymore – the attention span is shorter, and the readership is dropping off after the introduction so the chances for your links to be noticed and clicked when you placed them on the middle, or end note are little.”

BEST PRACTICE #4:

CONSIDER ANCHOR TEXT RELEVANCE

The next key factor to consider whenever you are creating your anchor text protocols is the relevance of the anchor text.

Relevance is a simple factor that poses the question, “How related is the topic of the page you are writing about to the topic of the page you are linking to?”

So for example, if you are writing an article on “SEO Best Practices” and you link to an article on “SEO Tools” the anchor text would have a moderate level of relevance.

If instead, you decided to link out to an article on Organic Dog Food, the anchor text would have a low level of relevance.

Search engines have begun to crack down on irrelevant anchor text to help reduce spam links and unethical link building practices.

For example, Pre-Penguin, many SEOs, and marketers would pay writers and other bloggers to include a link to their website regardless of whether or not the link in question had anything to do with the topic of the article.

Now, in 2019, it is essential that you keep anchor text relevant and limit outbound links to unrelated sources.

BEST PRACTICE #5:

FOCUS ANCHORS ON “DEEP” LINKS

One common mistake that many beginning marketers and entrepreneurs make is that they build a link profile that relies heavily on top level pages.

For example, when writing a guest post, they use their anchors to link to shallow pages such as the homepage, contact, and product page.

This creates a highly unnatural link profile and does very little to advance your website’s ranking.

Instead, whenever you are linking to your website, internally or externally, focus on deep links that will build a more natural profile.

As Tom Schmitz puts it in his article for SEL, “It always seems to come back to creating link-worthy content and having a strong link building and social media program to get off-site links, mentions and shares. The last thing you want is for all your off-site links to point to your homepage.”

Focus on linking to relevant content in your archives or other pages that are deep within your website’s infrastructure.

If you follow this rule of thumb, you will be able to quickly improve your ranking and can use your new content to grow your online presence and influence.

BEST PRACTICE #6:

AVOID OVERLY RICH ANCHOR TEXT

Another common mistake that many beginners make is that they focus all of their inbound link anchor text on one specific keyword.

This is a huge mistake that will create a very unnatural link profile and likely incur the anger of Google’s algorithms.

Why?

Simply put because it would be extremely rare for all of your links to contain keyword rich anchors all of the time!

According to Sujan Patel’s article on Search Engine Journal, “As a general rule, people rarely create natural backlinks using exact match or long-tail keywords in the anchor text. When left to their own devices, webmasters generally form natural links using branded keywords.”

Instead, try and spread your anchor text out in a healthy and natural way across all inbound links.

For example instead of using the anchor text “Link Building Tools” in your next guest post, try using something like “the best tools to automate link building.”

This principle is applicable to internal linking as well.

Even though the links are on your own website, if you are constantly using uniform anchors for your internal linking, Google will begin to get suspicious about your website’s integrity.

BEST PRACTICE #7:

BE SELECTIVE ABOUT WHO YOU LINK TO

While it is common knowledge that the authority of the websites linking to your content plays a pivotal role in determining your search engine rank, Google also takes into account the websites that you link out to.

This is a relatively new principle known as Co-citation.

According to Andrea Fryrear at Marketing Gizmo “Co-citation occurs when a website mentions two different online sources, thereby creating an algorithmic relationship between those two sources.”

Since the release of the Hummingbird update, Google has begun to include the websites that you mention and link to when determining your rank.

As such, it is crucial that you avoid linking to spammy or toxic websites just for the sake of compensation.

Instead, focus on naturally building niche-relevant, high authority backlinks over time. Linkio can help you with that!

If you can stay disciplined and steer away from low quality outbound links, the Google Gods will reward you handsomely.

Be sure that your none of your anchor text links to spammy or toxic websites.

Even if they are offering to pay for the link or provide some sort of reciprocal link deal, it is not worth it in the long run and will severely damage your website’s authority and rank.

BEST PRACTICE #8:

UNDERSTAND AND USE NATURAL LINKS

Your goal here is not to trick Google by making your link profile and anchor text appear natural.

Your goal is to create a healthy link profile that actually is natural.

Let’s be clear, though.

A natural link profile doesn’t mean that you just sit back and let the world wide web take care of you.

As Barrie Smith at Search Engine People put it, “The word natural means: “existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.” Therefore, incredibly few websites, and even fewer websites that are ranking well, ever have a natural link profile.”

What I mean when I use the phrase “natural link profile” is that your link profile is derived from white hat, Google-approved methods.

This is the only method for true sustained SEO success.

As Google continues to update and enhance its algorithm, you will find that building your online presence by providing real value and actually earning your links is the only path to success.

End of story.

HOW TO APPLY THIS KNOWLEDGE TO YOUR OWN WEBSITE

APPLY THIS TO: A BRAND NEW WEBSITE

If you are looking to optimize anchor text on a brand new website, then you are in luck.

Unlike site owners who have been in the fray for years, you will not have to do any work to recover from penalties or resolve previous optimization errors.

And while this certainly puts you ahead of the game, it’s important to realize that, at this point, patience is pivotal.

I know that you want to rank your site as quickly as possible, and I don’t blame you!

However, it is crucial to use a strategy that will stand the test of time and keep your content on the first page of Google for years to come.

That being said, optimizing your anchor text for a new website is pretty simple.

It all boils down to weighting your anchors in favor of your brand, not specific keywords.

The first few months should be devoted almost entirely to building branded anchor text, naked URLs, just natural anchors, and websitename.com anchors (with the rare inclusion of brand-centric title tags).

I would recommend that you do not build a single exact match anchor for at least 60-90 days after launching your website.

Once you have spent several months optimizing your anchor text for your brand, then you can start to branch out and start to focus your anchor text more on specific keywords.

Just be sure to keep your anchor profile in line with the recommended percentages and you should start to see your website’s rankings grow.

APPLY THIS TO: A BRAND NEW WEBSITE

If your website has been stuck in the rankings for a specific keyword, your first inclination might be to focus on your exact match anchors.

Don’t!

Typically, your website’s ranking will plateau when you focus too heavily on exact match anchors, and not enough on branding.

This sends a red flag to the folks over at Google who assume you are trying to “game” their algorithm instead of growing your authority and brand naturally.

Luckily, the solution is pretty simple.

When you notice a flatline in your rankings, double down on brand based anchors and ease up on keyword focused anchors.

After a few months (possibly sooner) you should see your rankings start to climb.

APPLY THIS TO: A PENALIZED WEBSITE

When you notice that your website has been hit by a penalty, the very first step should be to hire an expert and conduct a thorough link detox.

Period.

Don’t worry about anchor text optimization until you have disavowed and eradicated all the backlinks that led to your penalty.

However, once this is complete and your disavow file has been uploaded, it’s time to reassess your anchor text percentages based on the results of the link detox.

This will be different for every website, so just stick to the percentages we laid out earlier in this guide and you will be well on your way to recovery.

APPLY THIS TO: A PARTICULAR INNER PAGE

The final way that you can apply the knowledge laid out in this guide is to rank one of your websites internal pages for a certain keyword.

In order to accomplish this goal, you simply need to use the inner page anchor text percentage guidelines we outlined above.

To illustrate this strategy in action, let’s take a look at a recent example from our own site with the article “51 Best Link Building Tools and Software in 2018”.

Calculating the exact anchor text percentage and type we were supposed to use was crucial.

To plan the anchor text, we used our free Linkio software:

Over the span of only a few weeks, we were able to rank the article on the first page of Google for several competitive keywords, including “Link building tools.”

Since our website had already built some authority and trust with Google, getting this article ranked was a pretty straightforward process.

We focused the majority of our efforts on title tag, partial keywords, and keyword + word anchors, not exact match anchors.

Here’s how the percentages broke down:

Type of AnchorTextPercentage
Title Tag 26.47%
Partial Keyword26.47%
Exact Keyword05.88%
Just Natural 11.76%
Naked URL 05.88%
Keyword + Word17.65%
Branded 05.88%

Unlike building links to your homepage, ranking internal pages requires very little focus on branded anchor text, and instead centers on partial, keyword + word, and title tags.

So simply put, if you want to rank a specific internal page, focus on keyword anchors, just not exact keyword anchors.

CONCLUSION

In these days of competitive SEO rankings, under the constant watch of the “Algo Gods,” Anchor Text has become an increasingly important and difficult facet of SEO to master.

However, with our latest Anchor Text Optimization strategies and examples, if you focus heavily on branded anchor text, and avoid outdated spam tactics, you can quickly get ahead of the league in the search engine race.

  • Build homepage links to grow your brand’s authority
  • Build content links to rank for competitive keywords
  • And build links to low competition keywords to get quick wins now, and also achieve higher rankings in the longer term.

Check out all the features that Linkio offers to help you do just that. Yes, you can do it!!

Good Luck and Anchors away!

(Couldn’t resist…)

Do you have questions about optimizing the anchor text on your own website? Do you have wisdom to share that I might have left out of this guide? Be sure to share in the comments below!

  • Thanks for the guide.

    One question: What do you mean with Natural/Just Natural anchors? Can you be more specific?

    Thanks!