Anchor Text Distribution for Top Rankings In Google
If you have ever posted an article on your website, you must know at least something about anchor texts. Good anchor texts should concisely describe what content stands behind the link. Not only your readers will appraise well-crafted anchors but Google as well. Usually anchor texts are readily recognizable by their blue color and underlining. However, you can customize the default settings and highlight your anchors in whatever color you wish. Check out the examples on the screenshots below:
What is an anchor text?
In a nutshell, anchor text is visible and clickable text in a hyperlink.
In HTML anchor text looks like that:
<a href=”https://www.linksmanagement.com/free-seo-cost-calculator/”>SEO Cost Calculator</a>
where “SEO Cost Calculator” is an anchor text, while “https://www.linksmanagement.com/free-seo-cost-calculator/” is a target link.
Anchor texts are closely connected with internal linking, a recommended best practice in website optimization. Still, there’s no need to push yourself too hard with it. Because enough is as good as a feast and the only thing you have to keep in mind when using anchor text in internal linking linking is your users’ comfort. Don’t make people sick and tired of irrelevant anchors or their abundance. One more thing: keep away from keyword-rich anchors because they are usually taken as spammy by Google.
We have noticed that one of the most common (and extremely harmful) SEO mistakes many people make is ignoring natural anchor text distribution. Our research has shown that people who followed the anchor text distribution (shown below) have successfully got in the Google’s Top 10 and were progressing in the SERPs even after the last Penguin update.
And those who ignored this rule failed to get high rankings. Google is constantly working on improving its algorithms. So after its latest update, a great number of websites throughout the Internet lost their rankings. The most important reason why rankings dropped after this update was an unnatural anchor text distribution in their backlink profiles.
We have conducted a deep research, trying to find out what was the most efficient keyword distribution that SEOs must follow to have high rankings on Google. We considered websites with high and low rankings on Google and compared their anchor text distribution. The results of the research have shown that websites with high rankings had the following keyword distribution.
What is natural anchor text distribution after the Google Search Algorithm Update in August 2018??
Download these sample reports with natural and unnatural anchor text distribution backlink profiles (none of these sites has any connection to LinksManagement or our customers). When you download and unzip this file, you’ll see 2 folders:
- One with websites that have high rankings on Google and natural anchor text distribution.
- And another one with websites that have no rankings on Google and unnatural anchor text distribution.
By comparing the .xls files, you’ll see the difference between natural and unnatural backlink profiles.
Based on this research, we encourage you to build backlinks (let our SEO Cost Calculator count how many links you need) to your website with the following breakdown of SEO-friendly anchor texts in order to get high rankings on Google.
Anchor text profile
- Naked anchor text – 45% of your anchors should include your website URL (i.e., www.linksmanagement.com, linksmanagement.com). Such naked anchors are the safest and most effective ones.
- Branded anchor text – 30% of your backlinks should include your brand name/domain name (i.e., LinksManagement). Using brand anchor texts is another efficient and safe method of building a strong backlink profile (i.e., linksmanagement on-page seo tips, linksmanagement seo tools). These are the safest anchors to use since Google likes to see brands in anchors. Still, it is valid only if your domain is no exact match.
- Generic anchor text – 14% of your backlinks should include common anchor texts like “click here”, “get more info”, “read this article”
- Keyword anchor text (6%) is an anchor with a keyword. Formerly this type of anchors was the most widespread one, but currently, you should be very careful when using keywords in your anchors because of Google penalties.
- Partial match anchor text (2%) means that anchors include your brand name, plus your keywords (i.e., on-page seo guide, on-page seo checklist, best on-page seo practices)
- Long tail anchor text (2%) are the same as partial match anchors except for their length (i.e., list of on page activities in seo)
- Exact match anchor text (1%) was a popular website optimization approach aiming at getting high rankings on search engines before 2012. Formerly it was okay and efficient to use exact match keywords for your anchors. (e.g. if you are trying to rank for “SEO services”, the exact match anchor for that keyword is “SEO services”) . Now you need to avoid exact match in anchor texts since it’s no good for your website consistent growth and rankings boost. Moreover, the overuse of exact match anchors make your link profile look unnatural which can eventually bring you to the Google’s penalties .
- LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) anchor text (1%) represent various synonyms and related terms for your target keyword. You can see LSI anchor text at the bottom of the SERP for every query.
- No anchor trick (less than 1%). This is a case when you merely “forget” to place any anchor text for the target link. This approach makes sense because even large corporations with strong SEO campaigns proceed with such anchor texts. Plus, this is just a right way to your anchor texts profile diversification.
- Image anchors (% varies). Don’t forget about “ALT” tags. Google takes them as anchor texts to your images. In case you don’t fill “ALT” tag, it counts as a no anchor text.
<a href=”http://draft.com”><imgsrc=”http://draft.com/draft-photo.jpg” alt=”alt as anchor text” /> </a>
We also believe that, for your backlink profile to look even more natural, at least 5-7% of your links should be “nofollow” and at least 10% of your links should be site-wide. Such strategy in anchor text link building will help generate the most efficient backlink profile.
You should to create a strong backlink profile with relevant and diversified anchor text. For example, promgirl.com uses the following phrase “short prom dress, prom gowns and dresses, sexy dresses- promgirl” as one long anchor text-anchor. Since promgirl.com has high positions on Google for hundreds of very competitive keywords, we can conclude that using such diversified anchors is a smart and effective strategy for getting high Google rankings.
Note: ideal anchor text distribution is not a “may follow” but a “MUST FOLLOW” SEO rule to get high rankings on Google. If your current anchor text distribution doesn’t coincide with the aforementioned, don’t remove your existing backlinks (this can significantly hurt your site’s rankings) – just build new links with the anchors you are lacking. Use our SEO Expert Tool that will select links for you automatically. Follow this formula and wait for the steady growth of your rankings.
How to optimize anchor texts?
As you have already understood, anchor texts play a crucial role in your website rankings. For this reason, many people often over-optimize their anchors and look spammy to Google. So, we have prepared some recommendations on safe optimization of your anchor texts.
- Make your target anchor text relevance. Your target keywords and anchors should be relevant to the content on your website. Basically, SEOs and link builders should pay a close attention to the target page relevance. Because Google is growing wiser year after year, and now it’s a piece of cake for the search engine crawlers to identify the relevance of a source page to the target one. Thus and so, always try to write targeted anchor texts, which means that you get your SEO efforts right and follow the relevant keywords.
- Classify anchor texts. Above we have shown the diagram of anchor texts distribution according to our research data. These numbers are niche-specific. That is why before implementing your link building strategy it is important to analyze backlink profiles of your competitors. Use SEMrush, Ahrefs, and ScanBacklinks to reveal how your competitors distribute anchors.
- Avoid linking to suspicious websites. This is a well-known fact that authoritative websites bring you more SEO benefits than spammy ones. Don’t waste your time and efforts on useless websites. Try to get links from authoritative sites that are relevant to your business scope.
- Monitor your anchor texts. If you want to avoid over-optimization, you should always keep track of anchors you’ve already used. There is a wide range of tracking tools – just choose the most convenient for you (i.e., SEMrush, Ahrefs, ScanBacklinks etc).
- Obtain backlinks from right websites. You need to get backlinks only from authoritative websites with high DA/PA. It will improve your backlink profile.
You need to be very careful with your anchor text in SEO. Pay attention to the safest and most effective anchors – naked anchor text and branded anchor text. Build your backlink profile with the help of quality content and smart anchor texts distribution to get the top spots on Google. Need help and reliable recommendations on your backlink profile and other SEO issues?
Finally, if you want to share your story on building a rewarding backlink profile, or give some more insights, you are welcome to share the blog post and leave your comments below.