Anchor Text Best Practices for Google

Ever since Google became the dominant search engine, delivering five times as much traffic as its closest rival, website owners have obsessed over ranking well. The search engine’s algorithm changes constantly, to get better results for searchers and to thwart those who try to game the system in their own favor.

According to googles own documentation, around 200 factors can affect rankings. The judicious use of anchor text has been very beneficial for many websites. John Mueller of Google says good anchor text for internal links is essential. Mueller says the links offer additional context via the anchor text.

Many website owners say one major concern they have is how to create anchor text. Experts say that there is a certain way to create anchor text.

It is to be noted that anchor text is the text that is placed in the links that point to the target page on a website. Links with relevant keywords inserted in the anchor text help the search engine and that helps get better ranking. The best use of anchor cannot be easily defined as there is no set standard. However, it is known that some websites have received penalties for inappropriate anchor text link ratios.

To work out the anchor text ratio, a tool is needed to locate and extract all of the links, and the associated link text. Then the tool, which could be a spreadsheet, is sorted to show the text ratios.

Anchor text ratios can be derived from the search engine result pages. A set percentage of anchor text that defines the word normal can be figured out with the study incorporating the backlinks of several websites with the help of Correlation Study. For every niche, there is a set percentage of anchor text that can be stated as normal. It is noteworthy that the Google rankings of certain pages do not necessarily depends on the links. The factors like user experience, popularity of the website, geographic locations, etc also affect the rankings.

Furthermore, the Modification Engine helps in re-ranking the search engine result pages with the help of factors other than anchor text and number of links. This means that the traditional ranking factors stop to control the ranking mechanism. The Ranking Engine uses different criteria to rank the SERPs.

This raises a big question, “what exactly are the factors that affect page rankings?”

Google and other search experts say there are more than two hundred such factors. Only the search engines know the best anchor text ratios, or the ones that cause problems. In addition, it is unknown which links Google uses to rank a page, which links pass ranking equity, and which links pass no equity. All these things come together to make the task more difficult for website owners.

According to Julie Joyce, a link building expert at LinkFishMedia, anchor text used to be more important than it is today. That is because it can be manipulated easily, so google modified their algorithm, and link text has lost some of its importance. Nevertheless, it is not completely unimportant.

Bill Slawski of GoFishDigital says that search-related patents granted in 2014 offer a lot of information about using related words that help the search engine to understand the context of the pages and to re-rank them.

According to Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing, anchor text is still very important. He also points out that using many off-topic anchor texts on a page can hinder rankings.

With all these discussions, a question remains in everyone’s mind and that is: What is the perfect use of anchor text?

Well, the experts say that there is no set standard on the best use of anchor text. Every expert has an opinion and their own definition of the best use of anchor text. Bill Slawski hints about using the surrounding text as a supplementary anchor text, Julie Joyce agrees. She also points out to the use of anchor text plus the surrounding text.

The experts find themselves in a tight spot when asked about the best approach but they agree the safest approach is to trust branded anchor text. Branded text is the name of the website, the name of the company or the URL. They believe in using the surrounding text, as well as the landing pages, to define the meaning of the link. There are some risks attached to it and hence, the best thing is to let the publishers decide the use of anchor text.

With years of study, personal experimenting, and research, the experts generate their own formulas that help their client companies keep their site ranking on top of the search engines. The distribution of anchor text is the key, they say.

These experts say they roughly divide the anchor text as 60 percent branded anchors, 20 percent generic anchors, 10 percent naked anchors, 5 percent brand plus keyword, 2 percent LSI anchors, 2 percent partial match, and 1 percent long-tail keyword anchors.

The experts consider it this the best practice to using anchor text to rank well in Google.

Shruti Gupta
Shruti Gupta is a writer and digital marketing consultant at She has a passion for technology, startups and other business topics. She lives and breathes digital marketing, and has contributed to a number of famous websites. Her aim is to spread her thought-provoking ideas to all generations.