5 Classic Anchor Text Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Nathan Gotch
Dec 27, 2014 · 3 min read

There are a ton of mistakes DIY business owners make when trying to implement their own SEO strategy, but the biggest of all is not understanding how to strategically and SAFELY use anchor text when acquiring links.

By using anchor text in a strategic way, you will not only rank your site much easier in Google, but you will also keep it safe from any future Penguin updates.

With that being said, I wanted to explain 5 of the biggest anchor text mistakes I see with 99% of the businesses I work with.

Let’s do this:

  1. You’re not building branded anchor text

Google has a love affair with brands and puts them on a peddle-stool in the organic results. We have two options: a) cry about how unfair it is, or b) act like a brand. The quickest and easiest way to get “brand” treatment is to have the majority of your anchor text profile consistent of branded anchors.

2. You’re not being strategic with exact match anchors

Sorry, you can’t drill your site with thousands of exact match anchors (EMA’s) and get away with it anymore. With Google Penguin, you have to be extremely strategic with your EMA’s or you will face the consequences. At this stage your safest bet is to keep your EMA’s below 1% or even avoid repeating keyword-rich anchors altogether. As I proved in this case study, you don’t need more than one EMA to rank in competitive niches.

3. You’re not placing your best anchors on the best platforms

Understanding anchor text ratios is one thing, but knowing where to place your best anchors is another. The trick to getting the most out of your most powerful anchors (any anchor with a keyword) is to place them contextually within a quality article on websites that are relevant to yours and that have strong domain authority (DA 15 + at least). Avoid placing keyword-rich anchors on directories, social bookmarking websites, press releases, or any platform where it’s “easy” to acquire the link.

4. You’re not using co-occurrence

Placing your links within relevant content is the holy grail of link building, but co-occurrence takes link relevancy up another notch. It’s simple, when you’re placing a link, always try to place the main keyword somewhere around it. For example, if I wanted to rank for “anchor text” I would write something like: “to see my article about anchor text click here”. Although I used a generic anchor, Google is smart enough to analyze the text surrounding the link to determine its relevancy to whatever I’m linking to.

5. You’re not tracking your ratios

If you’re seriously involved in link building, then it IS your job to track anchor text ratios. The most critical thing to track is how many times you’ve used keyword-rich anchor. Ahrefs, Majestics, and Open Site Explorer are helpful for tracking percentages, but they don’t pick up everything. So, that’s exactly why it needs to be done on your side to avoid repeating too many keyword-rich anchors, which could eventually get your site penalized. Google continues to get stricter and stricter with EMA’s or any anchor with the intent to “manipulate” their search engine, so make sure you take the necessary precautions by tracking everything you do!

    Nathan Gotch

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