The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

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The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.

We have noticed that one of the most common (and extremely harmful) SEO mistakes many people make is ignoring natural anchor text distribution formula.

Our own research, as well as SEOmoz’s research, has shown that people who follow the anchor text distribution formula (shown below) have successfully got in the Top 10 on Google and were progressing in the SERPs even after the Penguin update. Others who ignored this rule failed to get high rankings.

Google is constantly working on improving its algorithms and, at the end of March 2012, Google launched the critical Penguin update. After this update, a great number of websites throughout the entire Internet lost their rankings.

The most important reason why rankings dropped after this update was unnatural keyword (anchor text) distribution in the backlinks. We have conducted deep research, trying to find out what was the most natural keyword distribution formula that SEOs must follow to have high rankings on Google

We took websites with high and low rankings on Google and compared their anchor text distribution.

Based on this research, we suggest you build backlinks to your website with the following breakdown of your anchor texts in order to get high rankings on Google:

For example: if your domain name is and your main targeted keyword for which you want to rank #1 on Google is blue widgets, then:

Exact Match – 12% of your backlinks should have the exact match anchor text (i.e. look like this – blue widgets)

Phrase – 13% of your anchors should include your exact keyword, plus some other words (for example, buy best blue widgets, blue widgets online, blue widgets in New York, etc.)

Brand Name – 17% of your backlinks should include only your brand name/domain name (i.e. look like this – bwidgets)

Branded – 6% of your backlinks should include your brand name, plus some other words, but not your keywords (for example, this great website bwidgets, bwidgets is a cool company)

KW Branded – 12% of your anchors should include your brand name, plus your keywords (for example, buy blue widgets at bwidgets, best widgets at bwidgets)

Other – 15% of your anchor texts should include some random text and/or some other keywords, but not your main keyword (i.e. they should look like this: beautiful widgets, see black widgets here, this website sells widgets, check out cool widgets here). And if you want to make your backlink profile look even more natural, then at least 1% of your links should include only such words as click here, more info, view more, read more, check here, learn more, see details, i.e. consist from words that people usually use to link to a website – and NOT include your keywords at all (i.e. look like this click here, check here, more info).

Having backlinks with such anchor texts will make your backlink profile look even more natural to Google as well as other search engines.

URL – 25% of your anchors should include your website URL (i.e. look like this:,, or with some keywords – beautiful widgets at, black widgets New York –

We also believe that, for your backlink profile to look even more natural, at least 5-7% of your links should be ‘nofollow’ and at least 10% of your links should be site-wide. Such strategy in anchor text link building will help to generate maximally efficient backlink profile.

Note: natural anchor text distribution is not a “may follow,” but is a “MUST FOLLOW” SEO rule to get high rankings on Google. If your current anchor text distribution doesn’t coincide with the aforementioned, don’t remove your existing backlinks (this can significantly harm your site’s rankings) – just build new links with those anchors you don’t currently have enough of.

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