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Best Practices for Optimizing Anchor Text in 2018

Best Anchor Text Practices 2019

Best practices for optimizing anchor text in 2018

Doing SEO for any client is intimately associated with making the most of each link.

Anchor text is an important element that "unblocks" the potential of each link - as Google rolled out its first Penguin update in 2012, proven anchor text optimization methods were removed. Over the last five years, anchoring text optimization best practices have evolved considerably. It's time to learn how anchor text best practices can help you get the most out of links in 2018.

Anchor Text and Google Penguin

The release of Penguin 1.0 in April 2012 rocked the SERPs, affecting around 3% of all search queries in English, German, Chinese, Arabic and other popular languages. Since then, there have been at least five major Google Penguin updates:

Penguin 1.1 - May 2012 Penguin 1.2 - October 2012 Penguin 2.0 - May 2013 Penguin 2.1 - October 2013 Penguin 3.0 - October 2014 Penguin 4.0 - September, 2016

Since Google releases its Penguin updates periodically, some SEO and marketing professionals are taking advantage of shortcomings, pushing up SERPs with gray anchor text practices (e.: Targeted anchor text, building lower quality links ), and then be penalized for it.

Regarding the relationship between anchor texts and Google Penguin updates, the rule is simple. : Avoid trying to hack into the system by using aggressive anchor text practices. Sooner or later, Google will offer a new update, which will negatively affect the SERPs.

Main categories of anchor text

Before giving specific tips on optimizing anchor text, let's review the main categories of anchor text. :

  1. Brand - your brand name with a link placed on it (eg Search Engine Watch)

  2. Naked URL - the URL of your site with the link to which it points (eg

  3. Website Name - the URL of your site with anchor text written as ""

  4. Page / Blog Post Title - the page title of an anchor text with a link (eg How to prepare your SEO for 2018

  5. Exact Keywords - a targeted keyword with a link (eg, Tips for "Digital Agency")

  6. Partial keywords - a targeted keyword plus another text with a link (eg tips for "Digital Marketing Agency")

  7. LSI Keywords - a keyword anchor text rd associated with a targeted keyword (eg. No text - an image with a link on it

  8. Generic - (eg Click this link, Learn more, See this)

Best practices for optimizing anchor text

Stay Natural ... and Versatile

According to Google, every part of any website, including links and their associated anchor text, must provide real value to users. Links should be placed only where users expect to see them so that they can learn about the items that interest them.

As Google's algorithms become smarter every year, you must avoid repetitive and keyword-based anchors in the word cloud. Failure to do so will certainly result in a penalty.

Of course, you must create links to relevant and high quality pages. , irrelevant web pages. Obtaining links from sites with high domain authority, page authority, and trust flow is also required.

Avoid Over-Optimization

Google does not like anchor texts that are too rich. An anchor text cloud based on a spam keyword is a big red flag for Google. It indicates a brutal manipulation with backlinks, which obviously leads to penalties.

Instead, try to keep your anchor text natural by spreading it over your inbound links in the right proportions (more on this below). For example, instead of placing "Software Development Company" in each publication, try to use something like "companies that develop software" or "the most reliable software development companies", and so on.

Keep Relevant Anchors with Content

Over time, Google will only improve its algorithms to understand the real meaning of the content of a web page. Since 2015, he has been testing “Deep Mind”, a natural language processing technology that allows artificial intelligence to learn like humans.

If Google knows what is put on a concrete web page, it will have no problem determining if a specific anchor text or link is relevant to the content of a web page.

If you place an internal link with irrelevant anchor text on your own website, it may be detrimental to your search rank. This is true for backlinks with irrelevant anchor text.

Google is obsessed with improving user experiences. It does its best to provide the relevant content in the most convenient way. Obviously, irrelevant anchors with irrelevant links behind them drive users to irrelevant content, which Google does not appreciate.

Engage in Relevant Guest Blogs

The relevance of anchor text is one of the key factors an effective and profitable guest blogging campaign, or any healthy anchor text cloud for that matter.

What does it boil down to? : If you are displaying guests with the intention of pushing your keyword "Digital marketing tips", place links to pages containing information about digital marketing, with exact keywords, partial matches and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) presenting the subject of the discussion. Obviously, your anchor text "Digital marketing tips", with an associated link, should not be put on websites that have nothing to do with digital marketing.

Do your best-match anchors in your guest post. That way, you'll get a more natural anchor text cloud and satisfy Google.

Avoid links to Spammed Sites

While the first part is descriptive (you should never create links from poor quality websites), Google pays attention to websites that you access too. In fact, since the release of Google's Hummingbird update, this type of co-citation can play a key role in calculating the SERP placement of your site.

Check your outbound links to make sure you avoid bad sites. Even if you can get paid or rewarded with a couple of reciprocal links, connecting to a toxic website has the potential to ruin the authority and ranking of your site in the long run.

Distribute anchors in the right proportions

While the "good proportions" part is still under debate, it is virtually indisputable that you should:

· Avoid stuffing your anchor word cloud with exact and partial keywords by any means.

· Rely on brand anchor and website name texts (as they are allowed by Google and other search engines)

· Generally use Title / Blog Post Title anchors

So What are the Good Proportions ?

Although the answer is: "It depends", some recommendations do exist. According to at least some case studies of anchor text, the golden formula is. :

· 50% - Tagged anchor texts

· 15% -

· 10-20% - nude URL

· 10- 15% - Page Title / Blog Title

· 1-5% - Generic Anchor Texts

· 1-5% - Accurate and partial keywords

But, again, make sure you do a thorough analysis of your niche and your competitors. Your first priority is to reverse-engineer the anchor text cloud of top-ranked websites, and only then can you start adjusting the anchor text cloud for your website.

Focus on the Anchors of the Pages at a Deeper Level

One of the most common mistakes that novice SEO professionals make is to focus on the links they build on the top-level pages, primarily placing links to a home page, landing pages, or even pages of concrete products.

An anchored text cloud does not seem natural to Google and other search engines, simply because people do not naturally place links this way. Typically, they link to worthy content, such as blog posts.

What you need to do is focus your anchors on relevant and in-depth pages. Not only will you create a natural and versatile anchor text cloud, but you will also allow visitors to navigate to higher-level pages.

Place Anchors Where Users Pay the most Attention

Since users often do not read, but rather skim pages, the first paragraphs of a page, its headers, subtitles and images become focal points - people pay more attention to them. So, it makes sense to put your anchor texts next to these "hot" parts of a page to increase click-through rates and engagement.

Do not be too obsessed with this one, though. If users find a descriptive and potentially meaningful anchor text, they will click on the link to see what's inside, in one way or another.


Scalable text optimization practices evolve over time. Since most of them are adjusted based on Penguin updates, be careful to keep your cloud of text anchor natural and versatile, which is the first point of interest for Google.

Distribution of "organic" anchor text influenced by averages. The targeted niche, and specifically for the websites of your competitors, plays a huge role, but keep in mind the low-quality links. If your anchor texts are up to scratch, do a thorough check of incoming links to sort and disown those coming from unreliable and irrelevant websites.

To summarize, you have to stay on the right side of Google, one way or another. In particular, do not try to play with the system - it will not work in the long run. Instead, make sure your anchor text is natural (avoid over-optimization, use relevant anchors, do not link to poor-quality websites), and use keyword-rich links from time to time.

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