Anchor Text Ratio Guide: Don’t Over Optimize & Hit By Google Penalties

How to use anchor texts properly to maximize SEO results? Don’t worry. Through this anchor text ratio guide, you will explore more information about anchor texts optimization. The practice of perfect anchor text distribution can make (otherwise break) you in SERP results.

By the way, what is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the text in the links that is visible and clickable.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor Text in HTML

Anchor Text in HTML

When you get enough links with the keywords in the anchor texts, then the SERP results will be noticeable for those keywords.

Meanwhile, few websites will get hold of penalties in lieu of anchor texts over optimization.

Anchor Text Ratio Guide

So, what’s the standard anchor text ratio to follow? What’s the best practice to use anchor texts optimally?

Before getting into the anchor text optimization tactics, let me give you a brief idea about the anchor text types.

Types of Anchor Texts

There are wide varieties of anchor texts you can have. A better understanding of anchor text types can help you have a natural anchor link profile. Here are the basic types of anchor texts.

Exact Match Anchor Texts

When the target keyword and anchor text are exactly the same, then it refers to exact match anchor texts.

Say an example, the keyword is ‘daycare center’ and the anchor text be exactly ‘daycare center’.

Partial Match Anchor Texts

When you include your keyword along with other words in the anchor texts, then it is the partial match anchor texts.

Example: Keyword is ‘daycare center’ and the anchor texts be ‘best daycare’, ‘daycare service’, etc.

Branded Anchor Texts

Branded anchors texts are such using the brand names in it. It’s safe and effective to use, having a branded domain.

Example: Brand name is ‘Nike’ or ‘Hershey’s’ and the anchor texts be the same as ‘Nike’ & ‘Hershey’s’ respectively.

Naked Anchor Texts

If using raw URL as an anchor text, then we call it as naked anchor texts. In between the content, inserting such naked anchors would be disruptive. You may avoid this type of anchors.

Example: https://www.canon-europe.com/cameras/

Generic Anchor Texts

Mostly, the generic anchor texts are prompting CTA’s like click here, read now, this website, tap here to go, etc. In the flow of content writing, generic anchor text suits well. But, it does not help Google to know anything about the linked URL. Don’t use this more often.

For example, ‘click here’, ‘read more’, ‘this article’, etc.

LSI Anchors

Using multiple variations of your target keyword in the anchor text refers to LSI anchors.

Say an example, the keyword is daycare center and the anchors be ‘creche centers’, ‘kids daycare’, etc. seems similar to partial match anchors.

Image Anchors

Basically, the alt text you are attributing to the image is the image link’s anchor text. If not giving any alt text, then it will have ‘no-text’ anchor.

Understanding Google Penguin Update

Before getting in-depth into this anchor text ratio guide to create or strategize your anchor text strategy, understand Google Penguin update.

On top of all Google ranking algorithms, Google Penguin sits to capture sites that are practicing unnatural or spam link building. Basically, this is to induce webmasters to publish valuable content that attracts natural backlinks.

Before Penguin update, you are likely to use exact keywords in anchor texts. No offense.

But now, anchor texts are effective to tell Google about the relevancy between the linked sites or pages.

Consider your keyword as ‘Day Care Centre’. And 100% of your backlinks have the same as anchor texts. How Google Penguin identifies that you have anchor texts over optimized.

Google will index your link profile and store it in its database. The real game starts then. It compares your link profile with the on-page keyword optimization.

So, it’s simple to identify that your anchor texts are highly intentional matching the target keywords (daycare center) exactly. With that, it becomes crystal clear that you are building artificial links. You will catch a penalty now.

Literally, Google Penguin deals with low-quality links and over-optimized anchor texts. Say ‘No’ to bad backlinks.

Anchor Text Co-occurrence we might Use

You may be placing keywords somewhere around link anchors, especially as much as close to the anchor texts.

Anchor Text Co-occurrence

SEO experts refer to this as co-occurrence. Here are some of the examples for your better understanding.

Examples

#1 Generic anchor texts

Target keyword: ‘internal linking’
Anchor text: ‘refer to this page’
“Want to know more about internal linking strategy, refer to this page”.

#2 Branded anchor texts

Target keyword: ‘content marketing’
Anchor text: ‘Neil Patel’
“To be a master in content marketing, you must follow Neil Patel and his strategies.

#3 Naked anchor texts

Target keyword: ‘LSI keywords’
Anchor text: ‘https://trafficcrow.com/lsi-keywords/’
“For more in-depth information about how to fetch & use LSI keywords, you suggest you read this article: https://trafficcrow.com/lsi-keywords/

Armed with this information, you will be slightly fuzzy about when and how to use keywords in the anchor texts.

Should I not leverage the power of anchor texts for the SEO benefits?

You deserve it, but with clear understanding and strategic inputs.

Anchor Text Ratio in Percentage What Experts Suggest

There is no industry standard guidance for anchor texts. I am going to share what experts follow, and recommend others to stay out of every Google Penguin update. Let me share the anchor text ratio for the most commonly used anchor texts.

Anchor Text Ratio Percentage for Brands

The below anchor text ratio are subject to popular brands. Google loves you to build branding. And, this is the ratio, popular SEO’s like Nathan Gotch and others use.

• Branded anchor text – 70%

Depending on the number of branded backlinks, Google determines the brand influence and authority.

• Naked anchors – 20%

It is highly safe and effective to use naked links. You could notice these naked links in the blog commenting areas often.

• Generic anchor texts – 5%

Generic anchors are appearing to be more natural and webmasters are likely to use frequently. But using it over and over again might make the content to feel bored. Limit the number of generic anchors to use.

• LSI & partial match anchors – 1 to 5%

LSI or partial match anchors are the intermediate type to leverage the power of anchor texts favoring keywords. Also, letting you stay away from the penalties. So, have it optimally.

• Exact match anchor texts – less than 1%

The less exact anchor texts we use, safer aside. But don’t over think and have extreme irrelevant anchors.

For small or medium websites having 1,000 backlinks with 2% of exact anchor text i.e., 20 is reasonable.

Otherwise, for big-league websites that has 10K backlinks, it’s 2% comes to 200 links with exact anchors. This is pretty unlikely.

So, make sure to have as much as the minimal number of exact anchors text links.

Keep in mind that this is not a hard rule to follow. This anchor text ratio works well in the majority. Refer to these anchor text percentages; combine and test it with your SEO techniques.

What is the Anchor Text Ratio for New Websites?

Are there possibilities for start-up websites to hit by Google Penguin? Let’s consider the new site that has got a fresh link with the exact same keyword in the anchor text.

For any reason, Google does not penalize you for one or two links. It happens only if you overdo. In the case of repeating the same, you will get caught.

Then, What’s the Best Practice of Using Anchor Texts?

Neil Patel suggests not to over think anchor texts. Don’t have your anchor texts optimized. Let it be no-optimized and hence, natural. Here are some of the ideas to have your anchor texts strategic.

#1 Adhere to the topic

Relevancy comes first in link building what Google looks for. That means the anchor text word or phrase must be closely matching the topic of the embedded URL. Say for example you are into SEO services to business, then you must drive audiences to land on your blog posts content on “Importance of SEO for business”, “SEO strategies for small businesses”, etc.

In such links, you must have your anchor text words or phrase related to SEO content on your blog. Otherwise, Google will treat it as a manipulative link and punish you.

Relevant Anchor Text

Refer to the above image. While clicking on the link, it will take to a blog post that’s an exact match.

Anchor Text Relevancy

If I didn’t redirect you to the relevant page, then you won’t believe in me. Further, you won’t visit my blog again.

Hence, having the right anchor texts also helps to build trust among the readers.

By doing so, the links will be natural and versatile.

#2 Don’t Over-Optimize

Try to have your anchor texts be natural by having it non-optimized. Let it be innate as the content flows. Don’t over think to anchor the exact keywords or commercial keywords to hit by Google penalties. You can avoid anchor text over optimization by keeping its content relevant.

Considering your keyword as ‘daycare center’, placing most of your links with anchor texts like ‘best daycare center’, ‘child day care center’, etc. almost close to the exact keywords won’t be appreciable.

#3 Strategic Link Building

We all know that Google pays more attention to the quality of the links. It’s safer to stay out of linking to and from low-quality spammy sites. Hence, strictly say ‘No’ to spam links. In case of buying links, there are higher possibilities to have unnatural or irrelevant anchor texts.

Guest Blogging Will Do – Guest blogging is not meant for link building though. Niche relevant guest article submissions can get you valid links with appropriate anchor texts. Only then, you tend to reap the entire benefits of guest blogging. With right anchor text and relevant destination page, you can drive the audience to land on your desired page.

#4 Proper Anchor Text Distributions

You must incorporate variations in using the anchor texts. If you always want to have branded anchors, it seems manipulative. Otherwise, often having exact keyword anchor texts will also have the same effect and get a hit by Google.

Hence, while creating anchor texts strategy to help SEO, go with unique and varied anchor text distribution.

Considering a website (branded one), here is a sample flow of generating backlinks (bad & good practice).

Not-To-Have Anchor Text Distribution

Wrong Anchor Text Distribution

Good-To-Have Anchor Text Distribution

Right Anchor Text Distribution

For a website (not a popular brand), you may try this flow of anchor texts for your subsequent links.

Perfect Anchor Text Distribution

#5 Finally, Test & Track Anchor Texts

Get to know how you use anchor texts in your site. You must do so to know how it impacts your link profile and hence, SEO. There are smart tools like SEOBook, Anchor Text Categorizer, etc., out there to track your anchor texts.

With the data you feel like the brand name, target keywords of your content, anchor texts used, page URL, etc., the tool can make wonders. It fetches you the varied anchor types you used and its percentage. As long as the SEO-friendly anchor text ratio you follow, then you are on the right track. Otherwise, optimize your anchor text strategy, not the anchor texts.

Anchor Text Placement Ideas

Your link building success relies on where you place your anchor texts. Let’s explore some of the hacks to strategically place different types of anchors in certain link occurrences. Keep this anchor text ratio guide aside while executing your link building campaigns.

# Contextual or Editorial Links

Links that surrounds with quality & relevant content are hard to earn. It claims your enough time and efforts. Why waste it? Get the utmost benefits from such power links having ‘exact anchor texts’ or at least the ‘partial match anchors’.

# Guest Post Links

Basically, the site that accepts guest posts provides you a link in the author bio section. That is not much valuable.

Hence it is reasonable to use un-optimized or brand anchors. In case of offering a link in the body of the content, then have it close to your keyword.

# Resource Pages or Communities

Resource pages allow you to feed your branded anchors or simply the page title of the page. In case of linking it to your website page, then have the title attributed with partial match anchors. Hence, to convince search engines as well as to compel visitors to click through your link.

# PBN Links

You are investing money in buying multiple expired domains. So, keep exact match or partial match anchor texts to get most out of it. But, don’t encourage PBN’s links often or anymore.

# Tiered Links

Keeping your tier one link SEO-friendly is safer, having exact anchors around 1% (or even less). But, it is not necessary in case of tier two or tier three. Don’t be much aggressive. You can have 5% exact match anchor texts, not to hit by Google penalties.

Anchor Text Strategy for EDM & PDM Sites

Hope you do have a basic idea about Exact Domain Match (EDM) and Partial Domain Match (PDM).

Here is a sample. EDM is if the target keyword is ‘daycare center’ and domain name be daycarecentre.com.

Otherwise, PDM is if the domain name is yourchildcare.com, childcaringcentre.com.

Those days are gone that EMD’s are a considerable powerful ranking signal. Now, it is susceptible. PMD’s are safer.

So, have your exact anchor texts around 1 to 5% in EMD’s & around 5% in PMD’s.

Final Take Away: Anchor Text Ratio Guide

Anchor texts are more common and familiar. Because of that, don’t underestimate it. Keep this anchor text ratio guide for reference, implement your own anchor text strategy and monitor the SEO results.

As far as you have your anchor texts contextual or topic relevant, it’s an authority signal to search engines.

Surround your link with the most relevant content to increase the link value. Don’t be more aggressive to have frequent exact anchor texts. Meanwhile, don’t be too crazy to have irrelevant anchor texts to hit by search engine penalties. Be strategic in placing links with appropriate anchor texts in right places.

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