How to Build the Perfect Anchor Text Ratios for SEO

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Anchor text – is an integral part of your SEO strategy. From improving organic rankings to dodging Google’s penalties, the power of properly implemented anchor text and backlink strategies cannot be overstated.

But did you know that the ratio of different anchor text types can significantly impact your site’s ranking? Too often, these ‘anchors’ are just thrown haphazardly into content without a second thought, leading to missed opportunities for improved SEO performance, or worse, penalties from Google for unnatural practices.


Why Should You Care About Anchor Text Ratios?

In the wake of Google’s Penguin update, the distribution of anchor text types is directly monitored to prevent backlink manipulation. Sites with unnatural or disproportionate anchor text ratios may face penalties.

Don’t want to waste your resources building anchor text and backlinks that can potentially harm your SEO efforts through penalties or wasted resources. Our expertise in link building boosts client rankings and traffic. Our process can do the same for you!

Our founder emphasizes, “By prioritizing your anchor text and link-building strategy, you can achieve improved rankings and substantial revenue growth for your clients.

By mastering anchor text selection, you can also build more impactful links. That means less link-building work for your sites to rank at the top!

To rank higher, optimize resources, build effective links, and avoid penalties, it’s essential to understand how to construct optimal anchor text ratios.

Below is a repeatable, proven process to determine anchor text distribution and select anchor text, as well as the types of anchor text and types of links.

First, you must understand the types of anchor text….

Types of Anchor Text

In order to maintain a natural backlink profile, you must have a healthy mix of anchor text types. As you add more backlinks, monitor the ratio of these different types of anchor text to ensure your distribution remains in line.

Exact Match Anchor Text

Matches your target keyword exactly.

Branded/URL Anchor Text

Branded anchors are unrelated to target terms. Instead, they focus on your brand and closely related phrases. URL anchors are simply different naked links.

Phrase Match Anchors

Oftentimes these are long-tail keywords or phrases that are closely related to key terms, but don’t match exactly.  

Topic Anchors

There are terms or phrases related to your industry and niche.

Generic/Miscellaneous Anchor Text

This is the most common type of anchor text. Examples include, “read more”, “visit the website”, “learn more”, and “click here”.

Then, you must know the types of backlinks you can acquire in order to match each built link to the proper type of anchor text… 

Types of Links

The best type of anchor text will depend on which type of link it is. Here are the main types of links:

  • Organic Links
  • Profile Links
  • Directories, Citations, and Signals
  • Contextual Links

Organic Links

These are the highly coveted backlinks that make up most of a link profile. Some organic links are acquired by manual outreach, while others are achieved because sites want to link to your content. Generally, these types of links will use generic or branded anchor text.

Profile Links

These are a natural link type that allow you to build branded anchor text. You can also use naked links that are simply your URL.

It’s important to note that while some profiles will allow you to choose anchor text for your link, don’t do it. You want a variation of link types, so it’s best to sprinkle in some naked URLs.

Directories, Citations, and Signals

Use this link type to build basic anchor text, including “learn more” or “visit site”. When used naturally, you can utilize this anchor text to add variation to anchor text ratios.

Contextual Links

These links are built or earned links.

Now that you know the types of anchor text and link, here’s our proven process for.

How to Choose Anchor Text for Link Building

Should anchor text match your target keyword? Should you use LSIs? Branded terms? The answer depends on the anchor text ratios.

What Should My Anchor Text Ratios Be?

In general, you always want to have about 50% of your backlink anchors to be branded anchor text. This supports a natural feel for your backlink profile as most natural linking doesn’t match your target keywords.

However, this ratio rule is not so firm. There is a more precise way to determine proper anchor text distribution

The Average of Top-Ranked Pages

We can easily tell what search engines favor by evaluating top pages. Not every niche will require the same anchor text distribution, so doing your competitor research will allow you to maximize your efforts.

The best strategy for determining the optimal anchor text ratios is analyzing the backlink distributions of top-ranking sites of your target keyword. Take note of any trends. Then, find the average ratio of toprankers. Here’s how:

  1. Analyze anchor text types of the ranking page with an SEO tool

  2. Export Data to Google Sheet

  3. Sort Anchor Types by Category

  4. Use Pie Chart to Determine Anchor Ratios

  5. Repeat Process

  6. Calculate the Average Ratio for All 5 Pages

Once you’ve determined the average distribution, you’ve successfully identified your target anchor text ratios!

Now, Build These Link Types

If the keyword you’re trying to rank for has 53% branded anchor text, you need to build links with this type of anchor text until you reach your target distribution.

Generally, you can build branded links with profiles, press releases, guest posts, and other content that features your company or executives. If you need more info on the type of backlinks to go after for different anchors, you can read How to Choose the Perfect Anchor Text. 

Continue to Monitor

Remember to note your target distribution for that page, so you can continue to monitor the ratios as you build backlinks. Anchor text ratios are different for each page of your site, so use a system like Ahrefs backlink management tool to track.

Best Practices for Anchor Text Ratios

Follow these best practices for building powerful anchor text ratios.

  • Don’t Overoptimize Anchor Text
  • Avoid Anchor Text Assumptions
  • Use Different Types of Anchor Text
  • Use Target Anchor Text Once
  • Naked or Brand Anchors for Homepage Links
  • Build Most Links to the Homepage
  • Keyword Anchors for Inner Pages

Don’t Overoptimize Anchor Text

If you have too many target keywords as anchor text, this will look unnatural. Many directories and profile sites allow you to add your own anchor text, but we recommend against this. It can lead to over-optimization and a Penguin penalty. 

Avoid Anchor Text Assumptions

It’s important to provide direction for anchor text selection and backlink profiles. You cannot choose anchor text based on assumptions you think are correct or use a guess and check approach. Thoughtful strategy is required. 

Use Different Types of Anchor Text

If you’re purchasing links, the anchor text must look natural. If the ratios of anchor text types aren’t in line with #1 ranked sites, it can be a red flag to Google.  

Use Target Anchor Text Once

Don’t use the same anchor text to the same page multiple times. It’s a red flag of unnatural link building. Mix up the types of anchor text used, as well as the anchor text itself.

Brand Anchors for Homepage Links

When you analyze the #1 ranked sites, the majority of homepage backlinks utilize branded anchor text. You want to mirror this trend in your backlinking strategy. 

Build Most Links to the Homepage

Google expects the majority of natural backlinks to point to the site’s homepage. Nearly every site ranking on page 1 has a similar backlink profile. To maintain a natural feel and build trust with your brand, you must do the same. 

Keyword Anchors for Inner Pages

When anchor text for top-ranking inner pages are analyzed, the trends show more keyword-related anchor text. Analyze the backlink profiles of #1 ranked sites, then build a similar mix of backlinks to your sites.

Bear in mind, while optimizing your ratios is crucial, it’s important not to manipulate the types of anchor text to such an extent that it disrupts the naturalness of your backlink profile. It’s a delicate balance.

You can start implementing with your team now or…

All Web 2.0 Ranker Link Building campaigns use anchor text optimization to ensure maximum results. Whether you implement anchor text ratios yourself or use SEO services, anchor text strategy is necessary…

Building links with unnatural looking anchor text can lead to lost time, penalties and manual actions, and potentially losing clients. So begin implementing now!

By thoughtfully planning the best anchor text, you will achieve maximum SEO benefits for both you and your clients! You can also learn more about Choosing the Perfect Anchor Text from our founder.

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