loader image

Anchor Text

Rank Higher With a Solid Anchor Text Strategy

Table of Contents

Anchor text, or the text of a link that leads to a webpage, plays a crucial role in how Google ranks pages. As stated in the original paper on which the Google algorithm is based, Google uses a variety of techniques, including page rank, anchor text, and proximity information, to improve search quality.


Anchor Text


Effective Use of Anchor Text

When a link to a page is made with specific anchor text, like “dog biscuits,” it signals to Google that the linked page is likely related to that topic. If multiple websites link to the same page with the same anchor text, it further increases Google’s confidence that the page should rank for that keyword.

In the past, Google placed heavy weight on anchor text in its ranking algorithm. However, this made it easy for people to manipulate rankings by pointing multiple links with targeted keywords to a page. In response, Google introduced the Penguin algorithm in 2012 to crack down on manipulative anchor text spam. As a result, many SEO experts now recommend using exact-match anchor text sparingly, typically between 1-5%.

To further understand the impact of anchor text on search engine rankings, two studies were conducted. The first analysed the top 20 search results for 19,840 keywords, while the second examined the top 100 search results for 1,000 keywords. The results showed that exact-match anchors still hold some influence, particularly for more competitive keywords. However, branded anchors and partial-match anchors (where only some of the words match the keyword) were also found to be important.

Here are some recommendations for using anchor text in a modern SEO strategy:


Diversify anchor text

To avoid penalties and maintain a natural backlink profile, use a mix of anchor text types, including branded, partial-match, long-tail variations, and generic (such as “click here” or “learn more”). This approach helps create a more organic link profile that is less likely to be flagged by search engine algorithms.


Prioritise relevance and user experience

When selecting anchor text, consider the context of the content and what would provide the best user experience. If an exact-match anchor text fits naturally within the content and offers value to the reader, then it’s appropriate to use it.


Monitor your anchor text distribution

Regularly analyse your website’s backlink profile to ensure that your anchor text distribution remains diverse and natural-looking. Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush can help you monitor and analyse your backlink profile, including the distribution of anchor texts.


Be mindful of anchor text ratios

While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for anchor text ratios, try to maintain a balanced distribution between exact-match, partial-match, branded, and generic anchor texts. Overusing exact-match anchor text can make your backlink profile appear unnatural and potentially lead to penalties.


Focus on high-quality backlinks

Regardless of anchor text, prioritise earning backlinks from authoritative, relevant, and high-quality websites. High-quality backlinks not only improve your website’s credibility and authority, but they also contribute to a more organic and natural backlink profile.


High competition keywords

When targeting high competition keywords, it’s generally recommended to use a more diverse anchor text distribution. While you may still use exact-match anchor texts occasionally, it’s essential to balance them with partial-match, branded, and generic anchor texts to avoid over-optimization. In highly competitive niches, having a natural and diverse backlink profile is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain stable rankings.


Low competition keywords

For low competition keywords, using exact-match anchor texts can be effective, but moderation is still key. Since these keywords typically have lower search volume and fewer competing pages, it’s easier to rank using exact-match anchor texts without raising red flags. However, it’s still crucial to maintain a diverse and natural-looking backlink profile by incorporating other anchor text types such as partial-match, branded, and generic.


Anchor text strategies can vary depending on the specific niche or market, as well as the competitive landscape. Observing the trends within top-ranking sites can provide valuable insights to tailor your anchor text strategy effectively.


Natural anchor text use by market

In different markets, what is considered “natural” anchor text usage can vary. To understand the ideal anchor text distribution that appears organic in your market, it’s essential to examine the SERPs and analyse the anchor text patterns of top-ranking websites. This will help you align your strategy with industry trends and avoid over-optimisation.


Established authority sites and exact-match anchors

Websites with established authority generally have more flexibility when using exact-match anchor texts. Their trust and credibility with search engines, earned through a diverse and robust backlink profile, allow them to employ a higher percentage of exact-match anchors. However, it’s still crucial for authority sites to maintain a balanced anchor text distribution to prevent over-optimisation and potential penalties.


Websites with exact-match domain names

Websites featuring exact-match domain names can potentially benefit from their domain choice, as long as their site offers valuable content and avoids spammy tactics. These websites naturally acquire more exact-match anchor texts due to their domain name, which can contribute to their relevance for specific keywords. However, it’s essential for these websites to focus on creating high-quality content and building a diverse backlink profile to maintain credibility and avoid potential penalties from search engines.


In summary, understanding the unique characteristics of your market, along with the behavior of top-ranking websites, can help you create an effective anchor text strategy. Remember to balance your anchor text distribution, consider the specific nuances of your niche, and prioritise building high-quality content and backlinks. By doing so, you’ll improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs and ultimately achieve better results from your SEO efforts.


Keyword Anchor Text Tools

Finding the perfect anchor text for your SEO campaign is crucial for enhancing your website’s search engine ranking. Let’s explore some of the best online tools and websites to help you identify the most relevant and high-performing keywords.


Google Keyword Planner

Google’s free tool provides valuable insights on keyword ideas, search volume, and competition data. Utilise the Keyword Planner to uncover the most suitable anchor text choices based on these key factors.



As a comprehensive SEO platform, Ahrefs offers a wealth of features such as keyword exploration, backlink analysis, and competitor research. By examining your competitors’ strategies, you can identify high-performing anchor text to incorporate into your own campaign.



Another popular choice in the SEO tool market, SEMrush provides keyword research, competitor analysis, and backlink analysis capabilities. Analyse your competitors’ backlink profiles to pinpoint the most effective anchor text options.


Moz Keyword Explorer

This powerful keyword research tool by Moz delivers keyword suggestions, search volume, and competition data to help you determine the optimal anchor text for your SEO efforts.



As a free SEO tool developed by Neil Patel, Ubersuggest offers users keyword suggestions, search volume, and competition data to guide their anchor text decisions.



This unique tool generates questions and phrases based on your target keyword, providing anchor text ideas that reflect real user searches.


By leveraging these tools, you can ensure a well-rounded strategy that will drive improved search engine rankings for your website. To maximise your SEO campaign’s effectiveness, focus on selecting relevant, natural, and diverse anchor text for your link building campaigns.



Creating an SEO Campaign

Creating an SEO Campaign

Our guide to setting up a backlink campaign, covering off-page analysis, keyword research, and setting up the campaign...
Understanding The Google Dance

Understanding The Google Dance

It’s a common misconception that search rankings consistently improve with each new backlink. The reality is that...
seo consultant

Measuring KPIs for SEO Success

To evaluate the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, it’s crucial to track specific key performance indicators...