Today’s post is all about anchor text.
Anchor text is one of those things that seems simple until you break it down.
Because of that, I want to go deep on anchor text once-and-for-all and dispel any bad myths out there. There’ll also be a breakdown of my favourite strategy for auditing and finding the best anchor text – so keep reading if you want to see that in action.
This post will cover the following:
– How to find and choose anchor text.
– Strategies for using different anchor text.
– How to effectively deoptimize with ‘safe’ anchors.
– Anchor practices that work in Google’s eyes.
Personally, before I even start thinking of anchors, I always go in and follow the same three-step process. It’s important to outline a framework and set it in motion based on some solid research.
You can do this by asking three important questions:
1. What anchor text do I have?
2. What anchors do I want to have?
3. And, how do I put this into a working plan?
One thing to understand is that if your niche doesn’t need a lot of links, it’s okay to be pushier and use more partial or exact-match keywords in the anchors. If the niche requires a lot of links (and anchors), it might be best to be safer with your anchors.
Start by Googling the topic or keyword that you’re wanting to rank 🔎
For this example, I’ll be using the keyword ‘best dog toys for teething’.
Find a site that’s in the same niche that’s similar in relevance – but, has more page links.
So, this site here has 40 links. This is going to be my benchmark for comparison.
I’ll start by looking at this site from a website level and a page level. If the domain authority and relevance are similar to my site, I might want to start by building 45 links to that page to beat it. Remember, that’s not as simple as I make it sound, and there are a lot of factors at play here.
Let’s imagine three-similar scenarios to explain this example fully.
Imagine a situation where we will need to build two, five, and ten links to a page:
With the two links, it’s okay to be aggressive and use keyword anchors because there are so few links.
With the five links, it will help to be a bit more flexible and use URL anchors and generic anchors – but, also use some keyword anchors to get a bit of relevancy.
With the ten links, it’s best to play this the safest. Include variants of URL anchors, some generic anchors, an off-keyword anchor and even do a branded anchor. Don’t use all your good anchors first, and don’t overdo anything but going to hard on the anchors or link-building all at once.
Say there’s an existing page that has anchors already, it’s important to audit those anchors and decide what the next anchors to build are. If they’re all keyword-heavy, add a few URL or generic anchors to dilute the ratios a bit.
If they’re all URL anchors, don’t play it too safe and add some keyword-specific or generic anchors for a little diversity. It’s important to weave anchors in as if they were natural.
With that being said, here’s a list of the different types of anchors that are best to use:
1. Non-pushy, generic anchors: click here, this site, read more etc.
2. URL (Or, Naked): Website URL, either with or trailing slash (/) or without.
3. Branded: The website’s brand
4. Partial-match keyword: toys for dogs with teething issues
5. Exact-match keyword: dog toys for teething
One last, valuable thing to mention is to work out how pushy to be with anchors.
The easiest way to do this is to audit the competition and research what type of anchor text these top sites are using. If it’s a spammier niche like payday loans, there are likely to be more pushier anchors – therefore, you should use that strategy too so you don’t fall behind.
With a niche like gardening, for instance, it’s okay to play it a bit safe using more generic, URL, or partial-match anchors – if this is what the competition is doing.
The goal here is to blend in with the competition – these top sites will provide a good mark for how anchor text should be structured and used. At the same time, it’s crucial to have a safe layer of relevant links pointing to these pages to increase the site’s credibility and relevance.
Once the site starts to rank naturally and do well, then it’s time to be a bit more aggressive with exact-match keyword anchors and see what difference that makes in your rankings. At this point, you’ll also want to double-down on your link-building efforts, aiming for relevance, high authority, and a lot of power to keep those hard-earned rankings in place.
If you’re struggling, just reach out to the team at Get Me Links and we’ll be happy to jump in and check those anchors out, as well as help you with a custom link building campaign to skyrocket those keywords 👍🏼