Anchor Text for SEO: The Complete Guide for 2022 - Nummero

What is the anchor text and the way does one optimize it for max SEO performance?

That’s what this guide is all about.

Ready to become an anchor text optimization pro?

Let’s jump in.

What is Anchor Text?


Anchor text is the visible and clickable text during a link.

Here’s how it’s in HTML:

my cool website

The phrase “anchor text” applies to all or any hyperlinks including internal and external links.

This guide you’re getting to read is about external anchor text.


Because it alone can make or break your SEO performance.

But before you’ll find out how to optimize anchor text, you would like to understand the history.

A Short History of Anchor Text


Let’s rewind the clock to 2011.

In those days, keyword-rich anchor text was all the craze.

All you had to try to do was build links with keyword-rich anchor text and you’d rank fast.

Then Google decided to launch the primary Penguin update on April 24, 2012.

In short:

Your rankings got wrecked if you were using keyword-rich anchor text.

When I say “your”, I mean “my” rankings.

Many of my sites got wrecked with the primary Penguin update. That’s because I used to be nothing but an algorithm manipulator some time past.

But in hindsight:

I’m grateful for that update because it forced me to truly learn SEO.

It also motivated me to work out the way to optimize anchor text safely and effectively.

But before I can show you the methods, you would like to understand the fundamentals.

The first thing you would like to understand is the differing types of anchor text you’ll use.

Differing types of Anchor Text


Here are nine different types of anchor text you’ll use from the safest to least safe:

  • Branded Anchors


“Branded” anchors are any anchor that uses your name. Here are some examples:

Gotch SEO

Nathan Gotch

Sentence sample: “You can learn program optimization at Gotch SEO.”

Branded anchors are the safest sort of anchor text if you’re employing a branded domain.

If you’ve got a particular or partial match domain, you would like to take care of it.

More on this during a later section.

To see the facility of “branded” anchors, check out any big brand’s link profile.

  • Generic Anchors


“Generic” anchors are often calls-to-action (CTAs) like:

Click here

go here

this website

In a sentence: “Go here if you’re trying to find SEO information.” – “Go here” is the generic anchor text.

  • Naked Link Anchors


Any anchor that uses a raw URL is taken into account as a “naked” link.

  • No Anchor Trick


This is a difficult little strategy I see big brands doing.

Whether purposefully or not, it’s an honest idea. Here’s what it’s like:

no text anchor text

The easiest thanks to build “noText” anchors are thru images. you’ll also “forget” to incorporate an anchor within a piece of writing.

  • Image Anchors


Google uses an image’s ALT text as the anchor text for a linked image.

  • Brand + Keyword Anchor


You can diversify your anchor text profile by combining your name and your target keyword.

For example:


Gotch SEO Ahrefs

anchor text by Gotch SEO

Gotch SEO link building tactics

  • Keyword Variations


Keyword variations are perfect for diversifying your anchor text profile. they will also help drive more topical relevance to your page.

Here are some samples of my target keyword is “backlinks“:


what are backlinks

where to urge backlinks

how does one build backlinks

  • Partial Match Anchors


Partial match anchors are almost like keyword variations. The key difference is that you’re adding generic words around the primary keyword phrase.

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text”:


this anchor text guide

cool anchor text article

read this anchor text post

  • Exact Match Anchors


Exact match anchors are the king of all anchor text.

They have the facility to extend your rankings, but even have the facility to urge your site to be penalized.

An exact match anchor is a particular match of whatever your target keyword is for the target page.

For example: if “buy backlinks” is my target keyword, then my exact match anchor would be “buy backlinks“.

Those are all the anchor text variations I like to recommend using.

Now let’s mention something which will make your anchor text even more powerful.

How to Build Relevance Without Exact Match Anchors

Google recently filed a patent about: “anchor tag indexing during a web crawler system”.

Don’t worry:

I’m not getting to bore you to death.

Once you get past all the technical language, there’s one big idea during this patent:

Google uses the text around your link (“annotation text“) to assign its topical relevance. it’ll also use the anchor text of the link to accomplish that goal also.

So what does that mean for you?

The good news is that it’s simple and makes perfect sense.

Here’s what you would like to do:


Find relevant websites in your industry

Get backlinks within content that’s relevant to your target page

Try to place your primary keyword on the brink of your link

Use intelligent anchor text

Understand that relevance is the key to link building success

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text” (link placement in red):

“If you’re trying to find more information about anchor text go here directly .”

“Anchor text is the visible and clickable text during a link. For more in-depth information you ought to read this text from Gotch SEO.”

“For more in-depth information about anchor text, I highly recommend this article:”



Place your links in relevant content and place your primary keyword on the brink of your link.

Now the question is:

What anchor text do you have to use?

The Right Anchor Text to Use

There’s a standard trend among the many penalized websites I’ve audited.

They nearly always have aggressive anchor text percentages.

In fact:

It’s the primary place I look when someone needs help with a penalized website.

You can analyze your anchor text distribution immediately with Ahrefs.

Open up their Site Explorer tool and enter your domain.

Then click on “Anchors”.

Now before I’m going any longer, I want to hide a crucial question:

Should You Copy Your Competitors Anchor Text?

In short:

You should check out the anchor text percentages of the ranking competitors and model them.

I accept this as true with the philosophy, but there are some issues.

1. Modeling the anchor text percentages of an authoritative website is risky.


Authoritative websites have built tons of trust. Therefore, it’s more “acceptable” for them to possess high percentages of keyword-rich anchors.

If you copy them, you’ll likely get wrecked.


Because your site doesn’t have the authority and trust to try to do so.

2. It doesn’t take into consideration site-wide anchor text percentages.


How do some websites escape with aggressive exact match anchor text?

It’s because they:

Have the authority and trust to try to do so

Have a high percentage of unoptimized anchors in their site-wide profile

That’s why you can’t model them on a page-by-page level.

You have to model their entire anchor text profile.

Let’s take for instance.

If you examine their site-wide anchor text, you’ll see that the majority of it’s branded or generic.

This gives them the leeway they have to be more aggressive on the page level.

One could argue that this is often “aggressive”. But it’s acceptable because they need authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across the location as an entire.

59% is large on its own, but it’s small relative to their entire site:


So what’s the large takeaway?


You shouldn’t model your competitor’s anchor text if you don’t have authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across your site.

Then what do you have to do?

Follow these percentages and you’ll never get to worry about penalties and you’ll still get awesome results.

Safe Anchor Text Percentages that employment 

These percentages aren’t law. Do what’s best for your situation. However, these ratios have helped me A) avoid getting penalized and B) still drive huge results (without being risky).

70% = Branded Anchors

20% = Naked Link Anchors

5% = Generic Anchors

< 5% = Partial Match Anchors

< 1% = Exact Match Anchors

Now let me introduce you to a technique I developed for building a natural anchor text profile.

How to Rank With Less Backlinks

My strategy is “Anchor Text Cycling” and it works

Step 1: Hit your target page with a particular match anchor


You might be wondering:

“Isn’t it dangerous to hit a fresh website with a particular match anchor?”


Sites get penalized for her link profiles as an entire.

Not one or two links.

It’s like saying eating McDonald’s on just one occasion is the reason why someone is overweight.

We know that it’s the combined effect of a nasty diet throughout your time that results in obesity.

The same goes for your link profile!

Now that I got the weird analogy out of the way…

Why do I exploit a particular match anchor for my first backlink?

  1. A) I would like to ascertain how the location reacts
  2. B) I would like to determine what my site or the target page is about directly 

The next step is to:

Step 2: Hit your site with unoptimized anchor text variations


Use branded, naked link, generic, and keyword variations at this stage.

Step 3: Track your rankings and watch the progress


You can get an honest read on your performance within 1-3 months. If your page isn’t moving, then you would like to reassess. the solution is never to use more exact match anchor text.

Often pages aren’t performing well because:

The site isn’t strong enough

The page doesn’t have enough backlinks

The backlinks you are doing have are low-quality

The page is poorly built

If you are feeling you’ve got a 10/10 on those three facets, then:

Step 4: Hit your site with another exact match anchor (if necessary)


Repeat this process over and over until you rank.

The entire point of using anchor cycling is to create various and natural anchor profiles.

Do you want to understand the key to a “natural” anchor profile?

The key’s to be random and to avoid patterns.



Anchor text is one very small piece of the SEO puzzle. Most websites are suffering from on-site SEO, SEO content, and backlink quality issues.

These areas got to be tackled first. Once you’ve optimized those well, then dive into anchor text optimization. It can offer you the sting you would like to dominate your competitors.

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