Anchor Text Guide for 2017

Don’t know what anchor text is or what on earth you should be doing with it?

Don’t worry, in this guide; we’ll be going over everything to do with anchor text and how you can use it to maximize your rankings.

What is Anchor Text?

Whenever you create a link, you’ll link from a particular piece of text within your sentence. The anchor text is the text that you click to follow the link.

Why Does it Matter?

While Google is very good at deciding what a piece of content is about, any extra help you can give it will increase your chances of ranking for relevant keywords.

For example; if you write an article about the top fitness trackers you might rank for the keyword “best fitness trackers” even if you don’t mention that phrase in your article.

However, including that keyword in your content will increase the chance of you ranking for the keyword. Similarly, having backlinks with keywords in the anchor text can help you to rank for the phrase.

Anchor Text Before Penguin

The Google Penguin update happened in 2012 and before that anchor text was almost always the exact keyword that you wanted to rank for.

Pages would have 100 links, and all 100 would have the exact match keyword that you wanted. Obviously, this was extremely unnatural, but Google wasn’t actively penalizing websites for it.

It made it so that SEO’s could easily outrank the average website that was owned by someone who knew nothing about SEO, even if their website was far better.

Anchor Text After Penguin

The first Penguin update was made to target SEO’s who were hurting other website owners who were acting naturally, by outranking them with unnatural anchor texts.

Penguin specifically targeted any website that was of low-quality and was using spammy link building tactics to try and juice their rankings without deserving them.

The easiest way for Google to determine who was a spammer and wasn’t following their rules was to look at anchor text.

Every SEO guru you could find was preaching the same message, use your keyword in your anchor text. This made it incredibly easy for Google to punish SEO spammers without hurting traditional website owners.

Penguin was a straightforward update that Google made. Here’s how it worked:

  • You went out and built a backlink
  • Google indexes a page that includes your backlink
  • Google places the backlink to your website into your link profile in their database

This process is repeated over and over as you create more links. Eventually, there are enough data points that Google can find statistical significance.

All that means is that they have enough data to spot trends and to know that it’s unlikely just to be an accident or a random event.

With all the data that Google has they were able to spot red flags in your website.

They would notice that the keyword density on your pages for a particular keyword was very high and almost all your anchor texts have the same keyword. How suspicious!

They can also compare your anchor text ratios to other websites. They have indexed thousands of other sites in your industry that rank for similar keywords and they can compare your anchor text ratio to the average to see if you stick out.

So, Google Penguin introduced these tests and any website that failed the test was penalized.

This penalty meant that you lost a significant amount of traffic because your rankings would drop drastically. Your anchor text can have a huge impact and is something with which you need to be careful.

NYC SEO Authority | NYC SEO Company10 Different Types of Anchor Text

Anchor texts can come in all different forms. Any link that you’ve ever clicked has an anchor text.

To ensure that you’re keeping your anchor text ratio natural we’ll look at the types of anchors and how you can use them all.

Branded Anchor

Branded anchor text is some of the most common that you’ll find. This is when you use the name of the business as the links text.

For example: “We at NYC SEO Authority love to talk about content marketing and keyword optimization.”

Branded anchors are some of the safest types because they are so commonly used naturally by huge companies and blogger alike.

The only reason why you’d want to avoid branded anchors will be if your domain includes your keyword.

For example; if your website was BestDoggyBaskets.org and all your anchor text was “Best Doggy Baskets,” it would appear to be very spammy, and you’d over-optimize.

Generic Anchor

Generic anchor texts are the things that you use to convince people to click, for example:

  • “click here.”
  • “here.”
  • “check this out.”
  • “click this link.”

These are normally more common on smaller blogs and within sales pages.

Naked Anchor

Naked anchor texts are so-called because rather than using text as a link, people will paste the entire URL into the text itself.

Here’s what it looks like:

“Remember to check out http://www.nycseoauthority.com/ if you’re interested in SEO.”

It’s a little clunky looking but still very common, especially on websites that are run by people who aren’t as computer literate.

No Anchor

No anchors are very rare because you have to go out of your way to create them. A link with no anchor text at all needs to have a “noText” modifier to the link anchor.

This is an excellent way to diversify your anchor profile. Not only can you use a few different anchors to mix it up, but you can also use no anchor to provide more variety.

Image Anchor

A lot of website owners will insert images that have a link that will activate when you click anywhere on the picture.

Google uses whatever you selected as the “alt” tag for the image as the anchor text.

For example; if you have an image of a dog and the alt text is “big white dog,” the anchor text to wherever it’s linked will be “big white dog.”

If you don’t include an “alt” text for the image, then the anchor text will be blank and will show as a “noText” link.

Brand and Keyword Anchor

This is a great anchor text if you’re looking to include your keyword still and get that benefit but prevent over-optimization.

Here’s what this would look like in a sentence where the keyword is “best SEO.”

“NYC SEO Authority is the best SEO company.”

Where the anchor text would be that entire quote. By combining your brand name with the keyword, you can drive down the exact match anchor text ratio but still gain the SEO benefit.

LSI Anchor

LSI stands for Latent semantic indexing, which is all about variations of your keyword.

So, if you were targeting gun range then Google is smart enough to know that these keywords all mean roughly the same thing:

  • shotgun range
  • pistol range
  • rifle range
  • gun target range

Of course, they are all slightly different, and one might not also be the other, but they are similar enough for them to be considered semantically related.

To continue with our NYC SEO example, you might have the keyword “link building” but use the anchors:

  • building links
  • link building
  • creating links
  • backlink building

If you want to find some LSI keywords just Google your keyword and scroll down to the related search suggestions at the bottom.

Partial-Match Anchor

Partial-match is when you include the keyword within the anchor, but there are other words too. For example; if we were aiming to rank for “link building” then we could use the partial match anchors:

  • what is link building
  • learn more about link building
  • link building guide
  • link building for amateurs

This is a great way for you to get your keyword within your anchor text without optimizing too hard and triggering a Penguin penalty.

Extended Anchor

An extended anchor text is just a partial-match anchor that is particularly long. You’ll sometimes see this on smaller websites where they link the entire sentence. For example;

“If you’re interested in link building then you should check out this article”

The entire sentence would be the anchor text. This is arguably even more beneficial that a shorter partial-match anchor because it prioritizes the keyword even less.

Exact Match Anchor

Finally, we have the dreaded exact match anchor text. This is when your keyword is the exact anchor text that you include i.e. the anchor is just “link building”.

These have the most power to increase your rankings, but they are also the most likely to cause a Google Penguin related penalty for over-optimized anchor texts.

Co-Occurrence: Build Relevancy Without Exact Match Anchor

Co-occurrence is a fancy sounding word that just refers to the content that surrounds your link.

Googles algorithm has gotten so advanced at this point that it uses the content around a link to figure out what the link is likely to be about.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, anchor text was used by Google in the past to get an idea of what the article is about and what keywords it should rank for.

These days you don’t need to shove your keyword in the anchor text a bunch of times, Google can use the surrounding content to figure it out.

Relevancy is extremely important to SEO and with good reason.

A gardening company vouching for your astronomy company isn’t a great vote of confidence. But if a telescope company says that your astronomy company is excellent, that’s a much more reliable opinion.

Relevancy has an impact on the strength of the link

This is relevant to co-occurrence and anchor texts because the relevancy of the content surrounding the link is taken into account.

So, you want your link to ideally be within a sentence or paragraph that is directly relevant to your page rather than a general “sources” or “links” section of the page.

Example 1: Generic Anchor

Here’s an example of using a generic anchor.

  • Target keyword: “link building.”
  • Anchor text: “check it out.”
  • “If you want to know more about link building, check it out.”

Example 2: Branded Anchor

You can do the same type of thing if you’re using a branded anchor text.

  • Target keyword: “link building.”
  • Anchor text: “NYC SEO Authority.”
  • “The greatest source of information about link building is NYC SEO Authority.”

Example 3: Naked Link

  • Target keyword: “link building.”
  • Anchor text: “http://www.nycseoauthority.com/.”
  • “To learn more about link building make sure to go to http://www.nycseoauthority.com/.“

Relevant Content

To benefit from co-occurrence you want your link to be surrounded by relevant content. Google also likely takes into account how close your link is to certain keywords, the closer they are the more impact they will have.

Instead of just indexing the anchor text itself it’s likely that Google indexes the entire sentence that the link is within. This will help them to figure out the purpose of the link, whether it’s relevant and what it’s likely about.

Co-occurrence means that Google has a better understanding than ever about the theme of our links and the content. You don’t have to optimize your anchor texts with exact match keywords if you want to rank anymore. In fact, it’s more likely to harm your SEO than help it.

Anchor Text Percentages

The precise anchor text percentages that you should use is always debated by SEO’s, and in general, you should look at the average for your niche and take that into consideration.

SEO’s know at this point that different keywords have slightly customized algorithms, with some having a greater tolerance for anchor text ratios than others.

However, there are still some solid guidelines that will help you to decide what percentages are likely to work best for most websites.

Branded anchor texts: 60%

Branded anchors are some of the most natural. If a news reporter or an industry blogger were to write an article about your business the most likely anchor would be your companies name.

It’s also a good signal to Google. They want to know that you’re building a brand rather than a spammy website that only exists to rank for particular keywords.

Your entire anchor text profile should consist mostly of branded anchors.

Naked links: 20%

Naked links are another type of anchor that is very common. It’s also natural for people to use this kind of anchor is an article, and it’s clear to Google that you aren’t trying to optimize for a keyword.

If your keyword is in your domain, then you should consider naked links as a partial-match and balance out your profile as such.

Generic anchors: 15%

Generic anchors are one of the safest anchors to use because you’re actively choosing to use an anchor text that is nothing to do with your keyword.

However, you should make sure that you’re not using the same generic anchor each time. Try to mix it up and don’t use “click here” for 100% of your generic anchors.

Partial-match and LSI anchors: 4%

After you’ve created the bulk of you anchor profile with anchor texts that don’t include your keyword at all, you might add around 4% which has a partial-match or LSI keyword.

In general, you should try to keep the partial matches relatively weak. Don’t just use “best link building” for the keyword “link building”, try “this is the best link building article” instead.

Exact match anchors: 1% or less

Finally, we come to exact match anchor texts. These can be incredibly powerful, but they can also be dangerous if they are used wrong.

You should bet very careful about how you use them. When you do choose to use an exact match anchor, it’s best to point it to a page that already has plenty of other links to it.

If a single page has just one link and that link is an exact match anchor text, you might end up being penalized or at least throttled by the algorithm.

The reason why giving out percentages for exact match anchor texts is dangerous is because it becomes ridiculous as your website grows.

  • Site A: 100 backlinks and one exact match anchor
  • Site B: 1,000 backlinks and ten exact match anchors
  • Site C: 10,000 backlinks and 100 exact match anchors
  • Site D: 100,000 backlinks and 1,000 exact match anchors

You might think that this math doesn’t apply to you because your site is small right now, but 10,000 or even 100,000 backlinks isn’t impossible to get. You might get 5,000 from a single website if they put you in their footer.

Once your overall link profile begins to grow the exact match anchors can get out of hand. Therefore, as you grow, you should make an effort to use more branded anchors and little to no exact match anchor texts.

Anchor Text Cycling

Anchor text cycling is an interesting tactic that involves spreading your anchor texts out in a particular fashion so that you can track the results and only use exact match anchors where needed.

  • Step 1: Build a link to your target page with an exact match anchor
  • Step 2: Build links to your page with a variety of unoptimized anchors
  • Step 3: Monitor the results and over a period
  • Step 4: Build another exact match anchor link if you feel it is needed

The point of cycling through your anchor types is so that you can spread out the impact of the exact match anchor texts; this is far more natural.

It also prevents you using too many exact match anchors when you wouldn’t have needed them to rank.

One thing that we would recommend that might shock you is to build an exact match link to a brand new domain without any links.

You might think that it would be dangerous because in the short-term the anchor text ratio would be extremely skewed to exact match anchors.

However, Google is cautious about making sure they reach statistical significance before penalizing websites.

You won’t be penalized until you’ve got a bunch more links and they know for sure that you’re purposefully ignoring their guidelines.

The reason that you would want to use an exact match anchor on a new website is to:

  • See how the site reacts to a link
  • Let Google know the topic of the target page and website

You don’t need a huge amount of backlinks to rank, especially for lower competition keywords. Google factors in the quality of the links just as much, if not more, than the quantity.

If you’re smart about the types of links that you build and the anchor texts that you use you’ll find you can get great results with few links.

Once you’ve sent an exact match anchor link to the new website, you should begin cycling through the unoptimized varieties, making sure to balance out the link profile.

In an ideal world, all of your backlinks would be entirely natural, and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. You’d end up with the perfect backlink profile because people will naturally use a variety of anchor texts.

Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, and you have to get out there and build or earn backlinks. However, you must always keep in mind the ideal situation because that’s what you want to replicate.

You should try to make your backlink and anchor text profile appear as natural as possible. This will give you best results and also the lowest chance of being penalized by Google.

In this example, site #1 is the type of link profile that you’d expect to see from a spammy niche site or somebody who is using GSA to build links. The majority of their links are exact match anchors, and there are no brand or generic anchors.

This is incredibly apparent to the human eye, and that means it’s even easier for Googles algorithm to detect. A site with an anchor text profile like this would have been slapped HARD by Google Penguin.

Instead, you want to aim for a profile like site #2. This website has much less exact match anchors and a broader variety of anchors, including branded and generic anchors.

Not only will site #2 likely outrank #1, but they’ll also outlast them. The website won’t be penalized or punished for having an over-optimized profile, instead, they’ll be able to profit for years to come while the owner of site #1 is working to remove their penalty.

Anchor Text Placement

Knowing how to use your anchor text in different situations is crucial to becoming an experienced SEO.

It’s also a critical part of not getting penalized. A lot of the websites that have been penalized in the past were penalized because they had unnatural link profiles, that also includes have anchor texts that don’t seem natural to their origin.

In the past, we’ve seen particular link building platforms and methods be punished and devalued by Google.

Many SEO’s choose to steer clear and avoid those platforms entirely, which is a waste of a potentially useful link.

Platforms like blog comments and web directories aren’t fundamentally bad links that you should avoid. What you need to avoid is using commercial exact match anchors where they don’t fit.

When you post a blog comment, you should be using your name or a brand anchor. Similarly, a web directory would never give you an exact match anchor so don’t force it in there. Don’t get greedy!

Let’s look at some of the most common links you might pursue and what anchor text types you should use in each scenario.

Powerful Backlinks 

The most powerful backlinks you get are those that will have the largest impact on your search rankings. These link should be where you concentrate your exact match anchors because they will have the greatest effect on the websites.

Editorial Links

Getting an editorial link can take hours of work, and you might even have had to pay for the editor to accept it. These editorial links are place naturally in the content itself.

These links are very valuable, and you shouldn’t waste them by using unoptimized anchor texts. Instead, make sure that you use an exact match or partial match anchor if you can get away with it.

Guest Posts

With guest posts, you’ll either be allowed to include a link in the post or the author bio box at the bottom of the article. If you’re allowed a link in the post, then you should use an anchor with your keyword in.

However, if you only get a link in the bio box, then you should take a branded or naked link that doesn’t include your keyword.

Resource Pages 

Most resource pages will choose the anchor text for you, but if you get the choice, you should opt for a branded or naked anchor text.

Links from resource pages aren’t particularly powerful because there are many other links on the page. These links are great for diversifying your anchor text profile, adding authority to your website and for the little ranking boost they give you.

PBNs 

PBNs should be treated similarly to an editorial post. They are expensive and time-consuming to create and maintain, so, you want to get the most value from them as possible.

Before you do this, make sure that your current anchor ratios seem natural. Otherwise, you should build some other links first to balance the ratios before you build your PBN links.

301 Redirects 

301 redirects are used when you purchase a website and combine it with your existing website. However, they’ve also been used by gray hat SEO’s to redirect the huge amount of ranking power to another page or domain.

301’s are particularly powerful because you are sending everything from the previous page to the redirected page. This includes all of the anchor texts and any existing penalties.

This does mean that you need to be very careful about anchor text ratios when you 301 pages. For example:

  • Page A has 100 backlinks, and 3 are exact match anchors
  • Page B has five backlinks, and 4 are exact match anchors

Presuming you 301 Page B to Page A, now you have 105 links with seven exact match anchors. The percentage of exact match anchors on Page A has more than doubled.

The best way for you to prevent any problems is to make sure that the page receiving the 301 already has a substantial number of unoptimized anchor text links before you 301. Alternatively, you can build unoptimized links to the page you are redirecting.

Either way, the idea is to try and dilute the anchor text ratios so that there are no problems when you complete the redirect.

Foundational Links 

When you first start a website, you’ll want to take some time to build ‘foundational’ backlinks before you try and acquire any powerful links.

These foundational links are used to increase your websites trust, increase your number of referring domains and build links that any normal business would have.

For these kinds of links, you don’t want to use any of your keywords. You want to blend in with all of the other brands out there and use branded or naked anchor texts for these link types:

  • Directories
  • Citations
  • Press Releases
  • Blog Comments
  • Web 2.0 Links
  • Forum Profiles
  • Forum Signatures
  • Sidebar or Footer Links
  • Bookmarks
  • Donation Links
  • Sponsorship Links

Tier 2 and 3

So far we’ve been talking about the links that you have on your tier one. As you begin to move away from your website you can be more relaxed with the types of links that you build and the anchors that you use. This is because the impact of your site is smaller.

Here is how tiered links look:

Tier Three —> Tier Two —> Tier One —> Your Website

In the real world, you might have a guest post on your tier one that links to your site. Then, there might be a resource page that links to that guest post on tier two. Finally, on level three there could be bookmarks and directory links.

Here’s a rough example of how the anchor profile could look at level two:

  • Naked links: 35%
  • Generic anchors: 35%
  • LSI or partial-match: 25%
  • Exact match anchors: 5%

Similarly to your tier one, you’ll want to reserve your partial-match and exact match anchors for the most powerful links that will have the biggest impact.

You can then use the naked and generic anchors for the other weaker links that you’ll build on tier three.

If you do choose to create tier three links then the percentages could look like:

  • Naked links: 10%
  • Generic: 10%
  • Partial-match anchors: 50%
  • Exact match anchors: 30%

These are much higher than on your tier one or two links, but because they are multiple steps away from your website the impact will be minimal.

Anchor Text Distribution for EMDs & PMDs

An Exact Match Domain (EMD) is a domain that is exactly what your keyword is. For example; if you’re trying to rank for “best doggy biscuits” then your website would be “bestdoggybiscuits.com”

A Partial Match Domain (PMD) is a domain that has part of your keyword or your entire keyword but with other words. For example; “thedoggybiscuits.com” or “bestdoggybiscuitshq.com”

If you’re new to SEO, these are the kinds of domains that you want to avoid, despite what gurus tell you.

The reason for this is because it’s extremely easy to over-optimize your anchor text. Any branded or naked URL with also be a partial match, making it hard to diversify your profile.

Another reason was the EMD update in September 2012 that Google devalued the benefit of exact match domains.

These means that the benefit of having an EMD of PMD is much smaller than it was in the past.

When we covered the recommended anchor text percentages earlier in this guide, that was for regularly branded websites. However, if you have an EMD or PMD you should try this:

  • Naked links: 60%
  • Generic: 30%
  • LSI: 5%
  • Partial Match: 3%
  • Branded/Exact Match: 2%

How to Fix Over-Optimized Anchor Text

So far we’ve discussed what you should do if you have an existing website that doesn’t have a penalty. However, if you’ve already got a penalty because of your anchor text, don’t worry.

Over-optimized anchor texts combined with aggressive on-page SEO is a recipe that can often lead to you get hit by an algorithmic penalty.

Fortunately, there is some hope.

It is possible to remove a penalty from an existing website, but you might also sacrifice a significant portion of your existing link profile.

A lot of SEO’s believe that Google Panda and Google Penguin work side by side to figure out whether your website believes to be penalized. They rarely operate separately, and many websites often trip up and get penalized by both algorithms.

Google Penguin was an update that focussed on low-quality links and over-optimized anchor text. While Panda targeted thin content, poor user experience and over-optimized keywords on the page itself.

All of these things are within your control. In this section of the guide, we’ll look at what you can do to remove a penalty as quickly as possible and with as little negative impact.

On-Page Penalty Recovery

Keyword Density

The main problem that we see with on-page related penalties is over-optimized pages.

Keyword density is extremely important to you rankings, but there is a fine balance between the right amount and too much.

If Google thinks that you’re purposefully stuffing the keyword onto the page too many times, they’ll hand you a penalty.

It’s important for you to stick within the acceptable KW density.

When you’re trying to rank a page for a particular keyword, you don’t need to stuff it in. Instead, be smart about where you include it and make sure it’s in the most powerful places:

  • Your title
  • The first paragraph
  • Alt tag of your first image
  • First H1 tag
  • Last paragraph of the article

These are the positions where the keyword will have the greatest affect on your rankings. By being strategic about where you use your keyword, you can reap the same benefits without setting yourself up to get slapped by Google Panda.

Your overall KW density for the article should ideally be less than 1%. This means that in a 1000-word article you should use your keyword less than ten times.

Realistically, that could even be too many times and might read weird, depending on the keyword that you’re targeting.

Some SEO gurus will suggest that you go as high as 3%, but if you’re looking for a sustainable business, this is far too high. Google is fantastic at figuring out what keywords you deserve to rank for; there is no need to ram it down their throats.

Multiple Pages for Similar Keywords

NYC SEO Authority | New York City Online MarketingAnother common mistake that many local businesses make is to create different pages around almost identical keywords.

An example could be one page targeting the keyword “Las Vegas Gardener” and another targeting “Vegas Gardener.” They are essentially the same and should generate the same results.

When you create separate pages to try and rank for very similar keywords Google gets a little annoyed. It doesn’t offer the users any extra value, and it might seem to Google like you’re trying to get multiple pages in the same search results page, making for a worse user experience.

This kind of tactic is against Googles guidelines and will eventually lead to a penalty. This can be solved by using only one page to target your keywords.

If you want to rank for both keywords, then you can use them both in a single article. There is no need for two separate pages.

Penalty Recovery through Backlinks

If you’ve been pinged by a Google Penguin algorithmic penalty then you either have too many low-quality links or your anchor texts are over-optimized, or both.

Recovering from Google Penguin isn’t particularly difficult, but you need to be willing to put in the work to balance out your link profile and make it more natural.

Disavow 

The disavow tools works by telling Google to completely ignore a link in their database. This will remove the links association with your website, but this will also remove any potential benefit that it has provided.

Disavowing links is usually a last resort because it can unravel all of the hard work that you’ve put into your website so far.

However, if the following tactics don’t work, then you should try disavowing the lowest quality links and see if your website recovers.

Remove Optimized Anchor Text Links from Low-Quality Sites 

If you’ve got a Penguin Penalty, you’ll probably know if it was because of over-optimized anchors or low-quality links.

If it was from over-optimized anchors, then the first links that you should remove are the lowest-quality links that have exact or partial match anchor texts.

Examples of these links could be blog comments, directory links, bookmarks or forum profiles.

Removing these links can be done in a two-step process:

  • Try and remove the link manually
  • If you can’t delete the links, use the disavow tool to remove them

By removing these links, you’ll remove some low-quality links from your profile and also lower the amount of keyword optimized anchor texts that you have used.

If you have a significant amount of these to remove you should wait a week after they are removed and see if the penalty is still there.

If it’s gone, great. If not, you’ll need to move on to the next steps.

Dilute Anchor Text

If removing the keyword optimized anchor texts from your lowest quality links didn’t work; you need to dilute some of your anchor text.

Your goal is to build links with generic, branded and naked link anchors that will balance the ratios of your anchor text profile. Once this is done your link profile should be within the safe limits, and the penalty should be removed.

With the latest version of the Penguin update, you can no longer simply build a bunch of low-quality links with non-optimized anchors. You need to focus on creating good quality links.

These are the types of links you should be building:

Strong, contextual, relevant backlinks 

These might come in the form of guest posts, featured articles or editorial posts. Most of these links will be relatively strong, and you should get as many of these as you can. Traditional content marketing and outreach strategies are your best tactic for acquiring these links.

Directories and citations 

These aren’t the highest quality links, but if you haven’t already got them, you should pick up the basic citations. Any real business will have these citations, and they are a great way to get some easy branded anchor text links.

Social media accounts 

If Google isn’t already taking into account whether a website has social media accounts, they will soon. This is a tell-tale sign of a spammy website. Any legitimate business will have active social media profiles.

Press releases 

Just like any SEO tactic, press releases have been abused by gray hat SEOs. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful. Creating a high-quality press release and releasing it through a reliable channel that doesn’t use spammy sites will result in a large amount of branded links from a range of domains.

Manual Penalties

If you’ve got a manual penalty, then it’s probably best to simply start again.

Manual penalties are much more complicated than algorithmic penalties, and they are also more permanent. Even if you do manage to remove the penalty, it will always show up on your record. Your website will likely be throttled forever, and it’s easier to start again.

If you are attached to your website, then you might be willing to try and remove the penalty. If that’s the case, take a look at what the manual penalty was given for. Often it’s a low-quality website and a spammy backlink profile.

Changing Anchor Text

One method that gets tossed around often is changing the anchor text rather than simply removing the links altogether. This can be the right choice sometimes, but it’s not always the best option.

Google tracks all of the links in their database, and they will notice a change in anchor text and register it, but they’ll likely also store the old anchor text.

This means that while it will reduce your optimized anchor texts at present, there may be some lingering effect.

In general, it’s best to follow the basic steps that we listed above and delete the lowest quality backlinks that you have.

Tracking Anchor Text

To avoid a penalty in the future, you should be keeping track of your anchor text ratios and making a conscious effort to avoid keyword-rich anchor texts.

You can use tools like Ahrefs to track your anchor texts, but this data is only as good as their scraper. Unfortunately, they’ll never be able to track all of your links. In fact, they may only pick up half of them.

This can mean that you unknowingly have a much worse anchor profile than you think.

To solve this, you should be tracking the links that you create in an excel file. Not only does this make for an organized operation, but it also allows you to quickly reference and regularly check your ratios.

Conclusion

Your anchor text plays a huge role in your rankings and the chance of your website being penalized.

Although Google is constantly improving their algorithm to rely less and less on these factors, as long as backlinks are a ranking factor your anchor text will be important.

Keep track of the backlinks that you create and be proactive about preventing any penalties.

By | 2017-07-27T14:30:38+00:00 July 27th, 2017|SEO|0 Comments

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