Most advertisers are aware that link building is one of the numerous crucial factors for improving search engine rankings in the eyes of the Google Gods.

However, the terms you use to navigate out of and onto your site do matter – and a lot! These words are known as anchor text and Google values them more than most novices comprehend.

You could cheat the Google system in the early days by keyword-stuffing anchors. Google has noted and now monitors carefully not just the terms to which you wish to refer, but also the number of times you use them.

The technical aspects are complex, but the fundamentals are simple enough for everyone to grasp and apply.

You can adjust your SEO and see your ranking increase by optimizing (but not over-optimizing) your anchor words. It’s vital to learn the anchor text best practices because if you breach the regulations, Google may penalize your site.

Why Is Link Building Important?

The answer is simple: Links are needed since they are one of the most efficient ways of boosting your website and ranking above the competition.

The linking process enables search engines to locate your website and compute the ranking of your website. In fact, it was by using links as a leading feature that Google was able to take over the search engine market in the late 1990s.

Links are like pins for search engines – the website you link to is considered a vote of trust and support. So a link to your website is, in theory, a wonderful resource.

Why Is Anchor Text Important?

SEO is a complicated subject with thousands of minor details. One of these is anchor text.

An anchor is a piece of text that you click to navigate from one internet destination to another; it essentially connects two separate places on the internet.

Websites normally have anchors; however, downloads and documents such as pdfs or Google Drive files can also be linked to using anchor text. 

Anchor text for link building is difficult to master and a hotly discussed subject among SEO experts. You’ve probably heard all the differing opinions before. But unfortunately, few sentiments are particularly useful.

Is anchor text essential for link building and ranking improvement? How would you avoid possible sanctions? 

Here are a few points you should know about anchor text when it comes to link building.

Google Prefers Exact Match

You’ll be surprised at what I’m going to say: Exact matches should not be as feared as they are.

Don’t believe me? First, let’s discuss Google’s official position.

Google says the following about successfully using anchor text for both readers and search engines: When it comes to link text, use a word that explains what the reader will see. In other words, links should be meaningful even without the surrounding material, and anchor text should explain what the reader gets when they click on a given connection.

According to Google, a healthy link text comprises “the precise title or heading language you refer to” or “the destination page round-down.”

However, this doesn’t imply you can use the tactic to improve your SEO. You should not be a guest-post author on 200 different sites, for example, and insert matching anchors in each post. The text you use should not be the same for every anchor because Google classifies this as a system of direct relations, which can be penalized.

The moral of the story? If you’re getting a lot of natural backlinks with actual- or similar-match anchors, that’s great – otherwise, there are many ways to earn backlinks.

Don’t panic or give up precise-match anchors.

Rather, just discontinue any large-scale systems you’re leveraging, or risk facing fines. Exact matching can be utilized on some occasions, but you should find other ways of crafting anchor text.

Remember: Using hundreds of keywords is a proven method to raise red flags and get Google’s attention – and not in a good way. 

If you notice that hundreds of pages connect the same anchor to your piece of content, just contact the publishers and ask them to modify the anchor. Check the original anchor and the backlink and request a redirect to a more appropriate anchor.

Even if you just have 10 out of 100 modified, it’s a good approach to start reducing the overall amount of precise matches.

Note: You can see a range of current and related text anchors, such as domains reference, tracked or untracked links and more with Ahrefs.

Smooth Anchors Are Great Anchors

Google favors precise matches (and variants), provided that link building techniques do not contravene any standards.

Having said this, precise-matching anchors don’t create a complete backlink profile. Most owners and publishers will not always employ accurate keyword anchors. While Google claims to favor exact-match anchors, the notion nevertheless raises questions.

Recent studies show that the top Alexa sites have a natural text profile of the anchor, which comprises a mixture of:

  • Anchors that are a perfect fit
  • Anchors that are both general and randomized
  • Anchors for image sources

If your keyword anchors are abundant, consider the use of a branded or hyper-specific anchor in the content. Try to find a natural combination of these anchor texts.

Internal Links Shouldn’t Have Keyword-Rich Anchors

The usage of identical matching anchors for internal links is a no-no. Google acknowledges that you may not control what other sites do, but it realizes that your own internal links can be controlled.

Google will assume you are trying to game the system and punish you if you employ exact-match anchors for internal links. For internal connections, use related anchors, long-duty anchors or generic anchors instead.

Exercise Caution When Distributing Various Types of Anchor Text

When it comes to anchor text, randomness is beneficial. Here’s an idea of the distribution you can aim for:

  • Branded anchors should account for 30-40 percent of all anchors
  • Anchors with a partial match should account for 30-40 percent
  • Generic, connected, nude, random, exact match and other anchors should account for 20-40 percent

Of course, no rule is set in stone. Examine some of your favorite websites and those of your competitors. Take a look at your anchors and see what other sites do. 


Anchor text can be a personal, compelling topic for SEO specialists and bloggers alike.

It is difficult to determine where and how to link to suitable content. Google often provides ambiguous signals has trouble describing gray situations.

With the latest techniques, we can be sure that Google – and readers – benefit from accurate matching anchors, as long as no connection schemes are broken.

Test your current anchor to find out if you have a full profile and iterate based on your results, then reap the benefits.

SEO is vital for diversity and moderation. As a marketer, it is your job to be very careful about the anchor text that you use, the terms that you employ and also the text surrounding it. Avoid keyword stuffing, diversify your anchor tag types and connect to valuable and reliable sites for an effective strategy.

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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