John Lincoln

What’s the Highest Value Backlink Anchor Text for SEO

Backlink Anchor Text for SEO
What Is the Perfect Backlink Anchor Text for SEO?

Backlink anchor text is a super important part of the SEO puzzle for many reasons.

And the perfect SEO backlink anchor text is a highly debated topic!

So much that I was terrified to even consider writing this post.

Oh, you SEO community… how we love to debate! But don’t worry, I’m a brave one.

Here is my stance on the perfect backlink anchor text for SEO in 2021. Prove me wrong!

But first…

What Is Anchor Text?

The answer to the question “What is anchor text?” is surprisingly simple. It’s the text that houses your URL hyperlink.

On your own website, you may have an internal linking strategy. Your anchor text for these links should be relevant to the internal content you’re linking to.

However, backlink anchor text is different. It occurs on external websites, and it’s the anchor text that houses URL hyperlinks that links back to your own website.

Different Types of Anchor Text

Here’s a description of all your backlink anchor text options.

Let’s cover this first and then we can get into the perfect backlink anchor text at the end.

Exact Keyword Match

This is backlink anchor text that contains the exact keyword of the page you’re linking back to.

For example, the exact keyword of this page is “backlink anchor text.” If we added this URL to our backlink profile, we could use “backlink anchor text” as the, well…anchor text for the URL. (How meta!)

While it sounds like the perfect solution, exact keyword matches are an SEO anchor text strategy that tends to be overused.

That’s exactly why Google penalizes sites that use the strategy too often. It seems spammy to their trusted algorithms.

Basically, exact keyword matches are valuable in the backlink world, but there’s a fine line between too much and not enough. In my experience, when you cross 5% of the total link profile you are in the danger zone for a penalty.

What is Anchor Text Penalty
What is Anchor Text Penalty? Image source: MonitorBacklinks 

Partial Keyword Match

This is a variation of your URL’s primary keyword.

Partial keyword matches can include long-tail keywords and latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords, which basically just means a different way of saying the same thing.

Branded Backlink Anchor Text

What’s your brand or company name? Using this as anchor text is common for branded Google queries.

For organic search, branded queries are a huge boost to revenue. Online-only businesses can count on branded queries for 5% of their organic search results, while traditional offline companies may get upwards of 60% of their business from branded queries.

Branded anchor text links are great! There is little to no risk as long as they are natural links.

Branded Keyword Anchor Text SEO

Branded keyword anchor text just means the anchor text uses some combination of branded terms and keyword matches. These keyword matches can be exact or partial, too.

Image Alt Links

You know about image alt text. It’s the text behind an image that helps individuals who are visually impaired “see” the media on your page. Secondarily, it also serves as an SEO tool.

If you have a linked image on your backlink profile, Google automatically uses the image’s alt text as “anchor text.”

You can adjust your alt text to be both helpful to people who are visually impaired and useful in helping search engine algorithms connect the dots of your internal and external content.

Generic Anchor Text

It’s anchor text like “connect with us” or “check it out” or “here”.

It’s generic because it’s basic.

While many SEO professionals might not be excited about generic anchor text, it is really a good thing. It’s natural, passes on credibility, and can lead to referring site traffic. 

Naked Links

This is a URL (either clipped or full) with no frills attached.

For us, it might look like:

…or just…

It might help with referral traffic (depending on where the backlink lives) but it doesn’t have anchor text.

Get the Most Out of Your Backlinks with These Anchor Text SEO Best Practices

You’ll get the most value out of your SEO anchor text strategy if you follow these six best practices:

Don’t use spammy backlink anchor text. This can come in the form of overusing exact keyword matches or overusing the same keyword variations.

Exact matches can be a liability if you have too much of it.

Changing up your backlink anchor text is crucial. Diversity in your anchor text is key to an overall SEO anchor text strategy.

This also relates to natural language queries, which Google continues to prioritize.

Consider adding all of them in various ways to your backlink profile. Really beef up those LSI keywords and branded keyword hybrids, too.

If you feel like you’re concentrating too much on one kind of anchor text, then keep your backlink profile (and backlink anchor text ratio) in the back of your mind.

Your anchor text ratio is a measurement of your different types of anchor text.

You might have 80% branded anchor text with the rest of your backlinks distributed throughout the other types of text.

If you feel the need to switch up your ratio, keep track of yours and determine where you do best.

Don’t forget: Inter-page relevancy matters, too. How relevant are the two pages in this operation?

Backlinking involves your business (which is being linked back to) plus the website that’s doing the linking.

If the two sites in question aren’t in any way, shape, or form related to one another, there still might be a reason to link. Just be sure it’s not spammy.

If you can swing it, relevance in your guest posts and backlinks is where it’s at.

And keeping this in mind, you may even be able to develop more reciprocal links—which is super cool for SEO!

By that, what I mean is if you link out from your site to other credible people and tell them about it, there is a good chance they will want to share your content and link back to you in the future. Reciprocal linking is awesome if it’s based on people wanting to link to each other’s content because, well, they enjoy each other’s content!

Anchor Text SEO Image Source: Ahrefs
Anchor Text SEO Image Source: Ahrefs

So, in 2021, What Is the Perfect Backlink Anchor Text for SEO?

At the end of the day, and in the current state of SEO, my recommendation is to just keep the backlinks natural.

If you are earning links through great content, building a brand, using real PR, and offering up a truly amazing product or service, you will have no issues with your SEO anchor text strategy.

The perfect backlink anchor text in 2021 is created by not trying to control your anchor text.

Now, you can create content, graphics, videos, online experiences, studies, and do PR around topics you want to rank for.

In fact, I highly recommend you theme your marketing and promotion around topics you want to be known for. But the best thing to do is allow people to link to you naturally because what you put out there is just that awesome.

At the end of the day, if you are going crazy trying to exactly control your anchor text you are missing the big picture of SEO.

What you want to do is build an online brand that is so powerful, and that has so much domain authority and branded search, that you don’t even need to think about little stuff like anchor text.

Think big picture. Build an amazing brand.

Make better content than your competition.

Build real relationships.

Have a great product and website.

Do real PR.

You’ll have more awesome anchor text and links than you can handle.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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