When it comes to SEO success, very few things are as important as off-page optimization – and this mostly means building quality backlinks to your website.
However, something that cannot be overlooked is the importance of anchor text – because this tells the search engine what the link is all about. Of course, optimizing your anchor text by placing your keywords into the text has long been one of the most effective ways to boost your rankings.
But as soon as the Google Penguin algorithm update came along this all changed. Nowadays, it’s still true to say that anchor text is crucial – but you have to be very careful about how you use it to avoid tripping penalties.
These days, it’s wise to plan carefully your anchor text usage to look as natural as possible, as this will ultimately avoid tripping the disastrous penalties which can quickly destroy your search engine rankings.
So what kind of specific anchor text should you use if you want to rank your website for a particular keyword term?
Perhaps one of the best strategies to employ is to use your primary keyword anywhere from 10% to 20% of the time. Next, anywhere from 30% to 50% of your anchor text should be the ‘brand’ of your website. For example, if your company website was called ‘blue widgets dot com,’ then your branded anchor text would be the words ‘Blue Widgets’ and similar variations. With the remaining anchor text, it’s wise to use a variety of generic terms, such as ‘click here to read more’, ‘this website’, ‘a recommended link’, ‘here is a fantastic article’ and similar generic terms which are often used when people are linking to you freely, without being part of an overall SEO campaign.
While taking these steps to vary your anchor text in this way can seem quite cumbersome and convoluted, there’s no denying how important it is to avoid over-optimizing your anchor text – because Google is very sensitive to over optimization. So, with the generic links built, you can now move on to specific anchors. Let’s say you’re trying to rank for the term “Abbotsford car accident lawyer“. Now that you’ve built up “normal” anchor texts, this term will slide right in without problems.
Of course, many years ago it was possible to rank for virtually any keyword simply by building a lot of high-quality links to your website with your primary keyword as the anchor text. In fact, many websites were ranking simply by using 100% of their keywords in their anchor text! But unfortunately, those glory days are long gone, and to rank in 2016 and beyond, you will need to ensure you have a natural variation.
On a positive note, this often means you will need far fewer backlinks to make a positive impression on your search engine rankings – and you’ll also rank for a variety of other search terms that you weren’t even optimizing for as well. So while it may be harder to rank for specific keyword terms without avoiding a penalty, you’ll often find your overall traffic from the search engines will rise once Google trusts your website and sees you have a variety of high-quality backlinks which aren’t using over optimizing text.
Now that you’ve read this guide, you should have a far better understanding of how to use specific anchor text to rank your website without triggering a penalty.