The Complete Anchor Text Guide for 2019 (NEW)

Anchor Text Featured

What is anchor text and how do you optimize it for maximum SEO performance?

That’s what this guide is all about.

You’re going to learn:

  1. How to optimize your anchor text so you get better SEO results with less backlinks
  2. Why modeling your competitors anchor text is dangerous
  3. My advanced anchor text optimization strategy

Ready to become an anchor text optimization pro?

Let’s jump in.

Don’t want to build backlinks yourself? Try our #1 rated blogger outreach service. Use coupon code “savetime” to save 10% on your first order. This is a limited time offer, so act today.

Table of Contents

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link.

Here’s how it looks in HTML:

<a href=””>my cool website</a>

The phrase “anchor text” applies to all hyperlinks including internal and external links.

This guide you’re going to read is about external anchor text.


Because it alone can make or break your SEO performance.

But before you can learn how to optimize anchor text, you need to know the history.

A Short History of Anchor Text

Let’s rewind the clock back to 2011.

In those days, keyword-rich anchor text was all the rage.

anchor text in 2011

All you had to do was build links with keyword-rich anchor text and you would rank fast.

Then Google decided to launch the first Penguin update on April 24, 2012.

In short:

Your rankings got wrecked if you were using keyword-rich anchor text.

Google Penguin Penalty

When I say “your”, I mean “my” rankings.

Many of my sites got wrecked with the first Penguin update. That’s because I was nothing more than an algorithm manipulator back then.

But in hindsight:

I’m grateful for that update because it forced me to actually learn SEO.

It also motivated me to figure out how to optimize anchor text in a safe and effective way.

But before I can show you the methods, you need to know the basics.

The first thing you need to know are the different types of anchor text you can use.

9 Different Types of Anchor Text

Here are nine different types of anchor text you can use from the safest to least safe:

1. Branded Anchors

“Branded” anchors are any anchor that uses your brand name. Here are some examples:

  • Gotch SEO
  • Nathan Gotch
  • Nathan Gotch SEO

Sentence sample: “You can learn search engine optimization at Gotch SEO.”

Branded anchors are the safest type of anchor text if you’re using a branded domain.

If you have an exact or partial match domain, you need to be careful.

More on this in a later section.

To see the power of “branded” anchors, look at any big brand’s link profile.

Here are some examples for you:

Nordstrom Anchor Text

Best Buy Anchor Text

WebMd anchor text

2. Generic Anchors

“Generic” anchors are often calls-to-action (CTAs) like:

  • click here
  • go here
  • this website

In a sentence: “Go here if you are looking for SEO information.” – “Go here” is the generic anchor text.

3. Naked Link Anchors

Any anchor that uses a raw URL is considered a “naked” link.

Here are some examples:


4. No Anchor Trick

This is a tricky little strategy I see big brands doing.

Whether purposefully or not, it’s a good idea. Here’s what it looks like:

no text anchor text

The easiest way to build “noText” anchors is through images. You can also “forget” to include an anchor within an article.

5. Image Anchors

Google uses an image’s ALT text as the anchor text for a linked image.

6. Brand + Keyword Anchor

You can diversify your anchor tex profile by combining your brand name and your target keyword.

For example:

  • Gotch SEO Ahrefs
  • anchor text by Gotch SEO
  • Gotch SEO link building tactics

7. Keyword Variations

Keyword variations are perfect for diversifying your anchor text profile. They can also help drive more topical relevance to your page.

Here are some examples of my target keyword is “backlinks“:

  • what are backlinks
  • where to get backlinks
  • how do you build backlinks

8. Partial Match Anchors

Partial match anchors are similar to keyword variations. The key difference is that you’re adding generic words around the primary keyword phrase.

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text”:

  • this anchor text guide
  • cool anchor text article
  • read this anchor text post

9. Exact Match Anchors

Exact match anchors are the king of all anchor text.

They have the power to increase your rankings, but also have the power to get your site penalized.

An exact match anchor is an exact match of whatever your target keyword is for the target page.

Example: if “buy backlinks” is my target keyword, then my exact match anchor would be “buy backlinks“.

Those are all the anchor text variations I recommend using.

Now let’s talk about something that will make your anchor text even more powerful.

How to Build Relevance Without Exact Match Anchors

Google recently filed a patent about: “anchor tag indexing in a web crawler system”.

Google Anchor Text Patent

Don’t worry:

I’m not going to bore you to death.

Once you get past all the technical language, there’s one big idea in this patent:

Google uses the text around your link (“annotation text“) to assign its topical relevance. It will also use the anchor text of the link to accomplish that goal as well.

So what does that mean for you?

The good news is that it’s simple and makes perfect sense.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find relevant websites in your industry
  2. Get backlinks within content that’s relevant to your target page
  3. Try to place your primary keyword close to your link
  4. Use intelligent anchor text
  5. Understand that relevance is the key to link building success

Here are some examples for the target keyword “anchor text” (link placement in red):

“If you are looking for more information about anchor text go here right away.”

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link. For more in-depth information you should read this article from Gotch SEO.”

“For more in-depth information about anchor text I highly recommend this article:”

Here’s the big takeaway:

Place your links in relevant content and place your primary keyword close to your link.

Now the question is:

What anchor text should you use?

The Right Anchor Text to Use

There’s a common trend among the hundreds of penalized websites I’ve audited.

They almost always have aggressive anchor text percentages.

Over-Optimized Anchor Text

In fact:

It’s the first place I look when someone needs help with a penalized website.

You can analyze your anchor text distribution right now with Ahrefs.

Open up their Site Explorer tool and enter your domain.

Ahrefs site explorer

Then click on “Anchors”.

Ahrefs Anchor Text Section

Now before I go any further, I need to cover an important question:

Should You Copy Your Competitors Anchor Text?

My friend and fellow SEO, Matt Diggity recommends this strategy.

Matt Diggity Anchor Text

In short:

You should look at the anchor text percentages of the ranking competitors and model them.

I agree with the philosophy, but there are some issues.

1. Modeling the anchor text percentages of an authoritative website is risky.

Authoritative websites have built a lot of trust. Therefore, it’s more “acceptable” for them to have high percentages of keyword-rich anchors.

If you copy them, you’ll likely get wrecked.


Because your site doesn’t have the authority and trust to do so.

2. It doesn’t take into account site-wide anchor text percentages.

How do some websites get away with aggressive exact match anchor text?

It’s because they:

  1. Have the authority and trust to do so
  2. Have a high percentage of unoptimized anchors in their site-wide profile

That’s why you can’t model them on a page-by-page level.

You have to model their entire anchor text profile.

Let’s take for example.

If you examine their site-wide anchor text, you’ll see that most of it is branded or generic.

Moz Anchor Text

This gives them the leeway they need to be more aggressive on the page level.

Here’s their anchor text for their “anchor text” page:

Moz anchor text percentage

One could argue that this is “aggressive”. But it’s acceptable because they have authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across the site as a whole.

59% is huge on its own, but it’s small relative to their entire site:


So what’s the big takeaway?

You shouldn’t model your competitor’s anchor text if you don’t have authority, trust, and unoptimized anchor text across your site.

Then what should you do?

Follow these percentages and you’ll never need to worry about penalties and you’ll still get awesome results.

Safe Anchor Text Percentages That Work

These percentages are not a law. Do what’s best for your situation. However, these ratios have helped me A) avoid getting penalized and B) still drive huge results (without being risky).

  • 70% = Branded Anchors
  • 20% = Naked Link Anchors
  • 5% = Generic Anchors
  • < 5% = Partial Match Anchors
  • < 1% = Exact Match Anchors

Now let me introduce you to a strategy I developed for building a natural anchor text profile.

How to Rank With Less Backlinks

My strategy is “Anchor Text Cycling” and it works like this:

Step 1: Hit your target page with an exact match anchor

You might be wondering:

“Isn’t it dangerous to hit a brand new website with an exact match anchor?”


Sites get penalized for their link profiles as a whole.

Not one or two links.

It’s like saying eating McDonalds one time is the reason why someone is overweight.

We know that it’s the combined effect of a bad diet over a period of time that leads to obesity.

The same goes for your link profile!

Now that I got the weird analogy out of the way…

Why do I use an exact match anchor for my first backlink?

A) I want to see how the site reacts

B) I want to establish what my site or the target page is about right away

The next step is to:

Step 2: Hit your site with unoptimized anchor text variations

Use branded, naked link, generic, and keyword variations at this stage.

Step 3: Track your rankings and watch the progress

You can get a decent read on your performance within 1-3 months. If your page isn’t moving, then you need to reassess. The answer is rarely to use more exact match anchor text.

Often times pages aren’t performing well because:

  • The site isn’t strong enough
  • The page doesn’t have enough backlinks
  • The backlinks you do have are low-quality
  • The page is poorly built

If you feel you have a 10/10 on those three facets, then:

Step 4: Hit your site with another exact match anchor (if necessary)

Repeat this process over-and-over until you rank.

The entire point of using anchor cycling is to build a diverse and natural anchor profile.

Do you want to know the secret to having a “natural” anchor profile?

The key is to be random and avoid patterns.

Take a look at these two examples:

Site #1 is the typical link profile you’ll see when someone is spamming anchor text.

Google’s algorithm can easily conclude that this site is building artificial links. A manual reviewer wouldn’t even be necessary.

Site #2 has a natural and diverse anchor profile.

It will outrank Site #1 with fewer backlinks and less keyword-rich anchor text.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing black, grey, or white hat SEO, this concept still applies to you.

Now that you understand how to cycle your anchors, let me show you WHERE to place your anchors.

Where to Place Your Anchor Text

Every link opportunity requires a unique anchor text strategy.

This is by far the biggest misstep I see people make.

They apply anchor text ratios and use cycling, but they place their anchor text the wrong way.

I would argue that this section is the most important part for you to understand.

Here is a list of every link type and exact anchor text you should use:

Exact & Partial Match Anchors

Concentrate your exact and partial match anchor text on your best link opportunities. “Best” link opportunities are often those that are difficult and expensive to get.

Here are some examples:

1. Niche Relevant Guest Posts

If you can score a link in the body of the content, then use a keyword-rich anchor. But if you can only get an author bio link, then use a branded (or unoptimized) anchor text.

guest posting dead

Google cracked down on spammy guest posting practices a long-time ago. One consistent footprint is when people jam keyword-rich anchors in author bios. Don’t do this.

2. Resource Pages

Resource pages are great opportunities to place exact or partial match anchors.

resource page

Using the title of your resource is an effective (and safe) route as well.

3. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

I don’t mess around with PBNs anymore, but you should use exact and partial match anchors. You invested money to buy the expired domain, so you should try to get the most out of it.

Go here to get 7 of my favorite untapped link building techniques.

Where to Place Unoptimized Anchors

All foundational (non-editorial) links should use unoptimized anchor text.

Some examples include:

  • Paid Directories
  • Traditional Directories
  • Business Citations
  • Press Releases
  • Niche Relevant Blog Comments
  • Web 2.0s
  • Forum Signatures
  • Site-Wide Sidebar or Footer Links
  • Profile Links
  • Social Bookmarks
  • Donations/Sponsorships

Only use branded, naked, or generic anchor text on these link types.

Now let me show you how to handle anchor text whenever you’re using 301 redirects.

How to Handle Anchor Text from a 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. All of the anchor text from the page or website being redirected gets transferred to the new page.

Why does this matter?

It matters because the spammy links and aggressive anchor text will transfer to your new page or domain.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Avoid redirecting any garbage to your website
  2. Build unoptimized anchors to the new website

This will help combat anchor text over-optimization issues when you redirect.

How to Optimize Tier Two and Tier Three Anchor Text

You can be more liberal with your keyword-rich anchors on tier two and three.

Just don’t go crazy.

Here are tier two ratios that I stick to:

  • Naked links: 40%
  • Generic: 30%
  • LSI, Partial-Match: 25%
  • Exact Match: 5%

The same principles explained above apply here.

Concentrate your keyword-rich anchors on your best opportunities.

Here are my tier three ratios:

  • Naked links: 10%
  • Generic: 10%
  • LSI, Partial-Match: 50%
  • Exact Match: 30%

How to Optimize Anchor Text for Exact & Partial Match Domains

I always tell beginners to avoid exact or partial match domains. Why? Because they are super easy to over-optimize.

But if you already have one, let me show you how to optimize your anchor text the right way.

Here are the ratios I aim for with an exact match domain:

  • Naked Links: 70%
  • Generic: 20%
  • LSI: 5%
  • Partial Match: 1-5%
  • Branded / Exact Match Anchors: 1-5%

You’ll notice a few different things here.

First, I reduce the “Branded” anchor text percentages.


Because EMDs aren’t actually branded. They’re just keywords in a domain.

I also increase the amount of naked and generic anchor text. This helps combat over-optimization.

But there’s one thing you can do to make your life a lot easier.

Even if your domain is “”, you can still create a brand name. So although your domain is “”, your brand name could be “Growth Crew”.

Then you can build branded anchor text (“Growth Crew”) without any worries.

How to Fix Over-Optimized Anchor Text

Websites rarely get penalized for just having over-optimized anchor text.

That’s because aggressive anchor text strategies are often accompanied by other poor practices. The truth is that websites get penalized because they’re doing a lot of stuff wrong.

Google doesn’t have “Penguin” or “Panda” updates anymore.

However, these concepts still apply. You could theoretically have over-optimized anchor text and not get penalized if you’re doing everything else right.

But like I said:

This is rare.

Most websites with over-optimized anchors also have low-quality links, low-quality content, poor UX, and will often be too aggressive with on-page SEO.

You’ll need to run an SEO audit to tackle these issues.

But let’s just focus on over-optimized anchor text.

The first question is:

Should You Disavow?

I wanted to clear the air before I explain the strategies:

Disavowing is an absolute LAST resort.

There are two situations when it’s warranted:

  1. Your site is getting hit with negative SEO or its been hacked
  2. It’s impossible to remove the links you built

That said:

You can recover from ALL algorithmic penalties without ever needing to use this tool.

If you have a manual penalty, then it may be necessary (I’ll be addressing manual penalties after this section).

Here are 3 ways to fix over-optimized anchor text without disavowing:

3 Ways to Fix Over-Optimized Anchor Text

1. Remove Links With Commercial Anchor Text (From Spammy Sites)

Before you go buck-wild removing links, listen carefully:

If you remove any link from your profile, your site’s authority will decrease.


You must replace the low-quality links you removed with high-quality links.

Just removing links won’t recover your rankings.

In fact:

It may hurt even more because you’re decreasing your site’s authority.

As I discussed in the section about anchor text placement, you should only use commercial / keyword-rich anchor text on “power” link sources.

If you made the unfortunate mistake of building backlinks on low-quality sources with keyword-rich anchors, then you have two options:

  1. Go back and delete the links.
  2. If you can’t delete the links, then disavow.

After you’ve done all you can do to remove keyword-rich anchors from spammy sources, then it’s time to jump into anchor text dilution.

Please notice that I said “spammy” sources.

Don’t go on a link-deleting spree because you will end up deleting links that are actually helping you.

2. Dilute Your Anchor Text

This is the most common technique and it does work in many cases.

All you are going to do is build unoptimized backlinks to your website with nothing but branded, generic, and naked link anchors.

Absolutely no keyword-rich anchors!

Use the “foundational” links I explained in the previous section to dilute your anchor text profile.

Before Penguin 3.0, you could counter over-optimized anchors by using the dilution technique.

Diluting works, but you need to consider this:

Websites aren’t just penalized because of the existence of low-quality links.

They’re penalized because the ratio of low-quality to high-quality links in their profile is off.

In other words:

You need more quality links to offset the low-quality links. That’s why some websites can “get away” with low-quality links in their profile.

Here are some link types to help you dilute your anchor text profile:

1.) Strong, Relevant Backlinks

These are the most costly, but are also the best for improving your overall link profile. Get as many as you can. Relevancy is king with or without a penalty.

2.) Business Directories / Local Citations

Take the time to create business listings because it’s a perfect way to send quality link unoptimized anchors to your site. Just make sure your NAP-W information is consistent.

3.) LEGIT Social Profiles

Go out and build REAL social profiles for your website. Populate the profiles with your information, content, etc.

Only use the best sites: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

These sites will give you a nice mix of NoFollow and Follow unoptimized anchors and will build trust for your website.

4.) High-Quality Press Release Distribution

Create a quality press release and distribute it through a quality channel. Press releases are great for quickly getting unoptimized anchors from many different IPs. You will also build diversity in your link profile because of the NoFollow / Follow mix.

3. Use the 301 Penalty Recovery Trick

Remember in an earlier section when I said that anchor text travels through a 301 to the new website?

You are going to use this to your advantage to recover from an algorithmic penalty.

There are two variations of the 301 penalty recovery trick.

Variation #1: Expired Domain > Penalized Domain

For the first variation, you will need to find quality expired domains through a service like Freshdrop. Make sure the anchor profile is clean and has very little keyword-rich anchors.

Look for a domain with branded, generic, and naked link anchors or what some people may refer to as a “natural” anchor profile.

Although you are not necessary using this expired domain for ranking purposes, it’s not a bad idea to find one with solid metrics.

Preferably DR 20 +, DA 20 +, and a Trust Flow of 10 +.

If you can find a domain that is relevant to yours, it will work even better.

Then just 301 redirect the expired domain to your penalized site and track the results.

Variation #2: Links > Penalized Site > New Website

For variation two, you are going to start fresh with a new website, but you are going to piggyback off the authority of your penalized domain (hopefully it has some).

Step 1: Buy a new BRANDED website (avoid EMD, PMD)

Step 2: Build high-quality branded backlinks to your new website
Use business directories, quality paid directories, niche relevant blog comments, press releases, etc. Only use branded anchor text.

Step 3: Build unoptimized backlinks to your penalized domain
The goal is to decrease the percentage of keyword-rich anchors. The percentage all depends on the severity your particular situation.

If you have 70% keyword-rich anchor text, then you will need to get that down to at least 30% or less. If you have 30% keyword-rich anchors, then you will want to get it down to 10% or less.

Step 4: Check your anchor profile with Ahrefs, Majestic, or Open Site Explorer.

Step 5: If you have cut your keyword-rich anchors in half, then it’s time to redirect your penalized site to the new domain.

This works because, A) you are using a new branded website with an established branded text anchor profile, B) you have improved the anchor profile of the penalized website, and C) you have transferred authority to a new domain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anchor Text

What About Manual Penalties?

It’s less of a headache and much more cost-effective to just start a new website, than to try to get out of a manual penalty.

Like I always tell my clients, getting a manual penalty is like going to prison for a felony.

Although you may get out of prison one day, you are still always going to have the felony on your record.

Do you really think Google wipes the slate clean for a website that was previously given a manual penalty?

Even if you do get the penalty lifted, ranking your site will never be easy and it’s always going to feel like “something is holding you back”.

Changing Anchor Text: Red Flag?

I’ve heard this question a lot and I’ve actually done this many times.

The answer is: sometimes.

I know it’s an annoying answer.

If you want to raise a red flag, then change a non-keyword-rich anchor to a keyword-rich anchor. Google may or may not devalue a link when this happens, but it’s definitely not worth it.

Just leave the link how it is, and go acquire a link somewhere else.

Situations that won’t throw up a red flag:

1. Changing a keyword-rich anchor to a non-optimized anchor – going back and decreasing your amount of commercial anchor text can often increase your rankings. If your exact match anchors or keyword-rich anchors are above 25%, then you may want to consider unoptimizing some of those.

2. Deleting an anchor and placing it within a different part of the article – if you decide to change an anchor, you should always place the new one in a different part of the article. When you do this, it makes the anchor / link “new” in Google’s eyes.

You will be losing an aged link, but in theory, starting with a fresh link.

IMPORTANT: You should only change anchor text under extreme circumstances.

Most over-optimized anchor text issues can be solved with the techniques I listed in the penalty recovery section.

Anchor Text Tracking: Don’t Shoot Blindly at the Target

Tracking your anchor text is absolutely critical if you are building backlinks.

If you aren’t, you are basically shooting at a target blindfolded.

There are two ways to track:

1. Manually input every anchor text into a Google Sheet or Excel file

2. Use a tool like Linkio to streamline your anchor text monitoring and optimization.

I used to track my anchor text manually, but Linkio streamlines the entire process.

They pull anchor text from Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Search Console, which makes life a lot easier.


You need to be tracking your anchor text and optimizing throughout the entire link building process.

Last Word About Anchor Text

Anchor text is one very small piece of the SEO puzzle. Most websites are littered with on-site SEO, SEO content, and backlink quality issues.

These areas need to be tackled first. Once you’ve optimize those well, then dive into anchor text optimization. It can give you the edge you need to dominate your competitors.

Now to you:

Do you feel like an anchor text pro now?

Let me know your thoughts and questions below.

Don’t want to build backlinks yourself? Try our #1 rated blogger outreach service. Use coupon code “savetime” to save 10% on your first order. This is a limited time offer, so act today.

Nathan Gotch
Nathan Gotch

I’m the founder of Gotch SEO and my mission is to help you get the SEO results you’ve always wanted. Check out my new SEO case study. It shows you how we increased organic search traffic by 342% using a stupidly simple method.

Join the Conversation

  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. This is a very useful post for me & all bloggers.
    Thank you, sir

  2. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. Your articles are always very informative.keep it up for more valuable knowledge. now I’m following you

  3. hey Nathan,

    as usual, your post is awesome. I like to read your blog post, every time i get to know much more new knowledge from your content. keep sharing

  4. Hi Sir, a generic download site potentially get backlinks with “click for download” and “download” anchor text also for every post. because of all the posts are download related on this site. for example, i got 60,000 backlinks from 1000 refer domains with only “download” anchor text but they are natural links. if they are dofollow should I disavow them?

  5. Thanks for commenting on Scott! Many directories are not normally allowed, therefore, link to the home page and internal pages when possible.

  6. Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iPhone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

  7. Hello Nathan, Thank you very much for this great article. It’s compiling so many information I use to share with prospects and clients. It’s a very complete work you achieved! Are you open to a French translation in an article that would (of course) cite the original one?

  8. Thank you for sharing the great article, never knew that there are amazing stuffs like these.
    That’s a great piece you have written for starters. Great going .

  9. Wao great work. I get a lot of information from your post. Thanks, Admin for sharing your great ideas.

  10. Hi Nathan,

    If I’m doing a link from an article in an UK newspaper and want to target a non-english site – the best thing would probably be brand anchor to the frontpage, I think.

    But I want to target a subpage, and the content has no non-native word that would function as optimal anchor. What would your suggestion be to that subpage? Branded, Generic like “Click here”, image or something else?


  11. Hi Nathan, great article as always! I have my own case study to share with you.

    Recently, one of my link bait articles are being shared all over the internet. With around 100 unique domains, this content strategy was a big hit for me. However, most of them do link back to my page using the exact match keyword anchor text, ouch!

    Combining with my own backlink anchor text variations which are around 10 links, my exact match anchor text raised to 91% (100/110). From theory, this should be penalized from either Panda or Penguin. However, my page is still rocking at the 1st page of that keyword. No penalty or anything, yet. I hope the big G will not change it’s mind one day, fingers crossed.

    From my case, I doubt there must be something else. Perhaps the big G does know what links are created by site owners. Anyway, who knows?

  12. Hey Nathan, great post.

    Are you analyzing anchor text percentage site wide or on a URL basis?



  13. Anchor text was one of the best ways for Google to understand the relevancy of any given website. Really very informative post for everyone.

  14. every time I search on a topic related to SEO. I end up reading your posts. You provide gems every single time. thank you so much for adding so much value to this community.

  15. Hey there, thanks for the informative article. However, I’m wondering about exact match anchor text for internal links! A corporation I worked at before used only exact match for their anchor text pointing towards landing pages for their products. Every resource I’ve seen online mentioned that was a bad idea, but we were #1 in our tracked visibility. What was their secret?

  16. Hi

    if algorithm hit my website so instead of removing the anchor text what if I create more links with a different anchor text in order to dilute the over-optimized anchor text. will that help or removing is the only option that I have left with.

    And my second question is how Google calculates an over-optimized anchor text. what if I have taken only two guest post with the same anchor text as per ration it would be 100% but these are just two links.

  17. Content is very helpful. Anchor text most of the important ranking factor. It’s content most powerful information. Thanks Nathan Gotch

  18. Hi Nathan, great article! I have around 30-40 over optimized links from guest posts. Is there a rate I should delete them to appear natural in Googles eyes (ie 15 a month) or does it not really matter?

  19. Great article. I for life of me, am still super confused as to how to build brand links to inner pages. I need to boost the inner pages on my website without building exact or partial match anchors or overusing naked anchors. Can you provide an example of how to build brand anchors to inner pages? Or do all brand anchors need to point to the homepage? This is where I get confused. Thanks for your help! Really great article!

  20. Hi Nathan,

    This is a great article, an excellent in-depth explanation of all types of link, probably the most informative post online!

    I wanted to ask if you know much about spammy backlinks? On my website I have numerous strange anchors that appear when I run my software, they seem to be coming from some images I have on my website, but when looking at the source code there is nothing there, which is really strange! How can a spammy looking anchor be picked up when there is nothing in the code?

  21. Hi, nicely explained about anchor text. one question is in which link type we can use exact match keyword anchor text link? Is that good idea that uses in internal pages or we can use it in other blog or article submission sites.
    Please Reply

  22. This is a really helpful article. I’m keen to understand the difference between a backlink profile for a site as a whole vs. individual pages. I have a site that has 100 or more links built from a mix of different business listings, blog posts and forum posts. These point largely to the home page, but also to new blog posts and other inner pages. My main keyword is optimised on an inner page to which I have brought 5 keyword rich backlinks over 4 months. These are the only backlinks pointing to that page. Does that risk a penalty because those links are not mixed up with others? Or does Google look at those links in relation to the entire link profile of the site rather than only the profile of that page?

  23. Thanks for the article. Just one question, are unoptimized anchors exact match without the hyperlink? please explain what are unoptimized anchors.

  24. Hi Nathan, Really your guide is too good! This gives me a lot of information about anchor text. When I started reading your guide, I don’t know anything about anchor text but now, I have great knowledge of it and going to optimize my anchor texts. Thanks a lot!
    If I start contacting other bloggers in my niche and ask for the link, do you think they really link back to my site which have low DA and PA?

  25. Are there any free tools to check anchor text percentage?
    I am looking for free anchor text analyzing tools to check my company website anchor text report.

  26. How i said that. I Have no word, I had learn lots of thing in SEO from this blog. Thanks for making this content. This article has been cleared my all doubt regarding anchor text.

    But I have a question.
    If we check a link profile of any website designing company. They all are taking link from their client website. and most of links from coming from footer with anchor like “website designing company ” .
    I Don’t know how they rank with exact match and site wide links (footer links)


  27. Thank you very much, sir, for your great anchor text information. I get a lot of information to read this blog. And I will continue reading in the future. Thanks.

  28. Great information Nathan. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    A question: Should most of branded anchors be directed to the homepage? Do you think where are they directed to is important?

  29. “Naked Links: 20%
    The bulk of your backlinks should be using naked links.”

    You wrote this right after saying 70% should be Branded Links.
    How is 20% the “bulk of your backlinks?”

    70% is the bulk here.

  30. Let’s put it simple: if you want to be successful online,

    you need targeted traffic, and the best way to drive targeted

    traffic to your pages is with good search engine rankings.

    However, if you want to generate traffic from the search

    engines, your pages must appear on the first results page

    for the keywords and phrases you target…

  31. Very thorough blog — thank you so much! This was just what I needed to start a conversation with a potential client. Think I will need to revisit it a few more times so that it sinks in… but this was perfect.

  32. Hi Nathan, thanks for your super in-depth content! I have a question. Will this anchor text ratio of EMD apply for every page or just homepage?

  33. It was a long and thorough piece of information about anchor text most people doing SEO neglect. I’ve used 2-3 SEO agencies before and none of them seemed to use the correct mix of anchor text and that’s why have always disappointed me with the results. Now I am doing Self SEO and have grown the traffic up from 100-150 visitors a day to around 300 in 6 months. It seems slow, but I guess, I’ve learnt a lot in that period.
    Your guide has a lot of important info about the anchor text. I never had read such a good guide about the topic, but a comparable one I read yesterday is by ‘Matt Diggity’. He too possess a good knowledge, but he is more a grey hat.
    Any ways, I’ll be implementing things said above to one of my page ranking at the second page of Google and see how it goes…Thanks for the write up….

  34. What is the difference between PBN and just HQ blog? as i understand that it’s the same but on dropped domains with good backlinks base? or PBN are optimized in grey methods like spam, hardlinks exchange ect? Thanks

  35. Hello, Nathan! First of all thank you for sharing of your experience and answers!
    I d like to know you opinion in 2 cases. About meaning “Branded” anchors. Here are 2 examples
    1) example of the link – branded anchor will be
    a) somesiteT
    b) some site T
    c) or could be both 50%/50%

    2) – can i use 50% as branded “Some Bay” isn’t risky to promote 2-3 keywords brand anchors?

    Thanks in advance for your answers

  36. Thanks for this – this awesome.

    One question – when fixing an over-optimised anchor text profile, about how long does it take to see an improvement in rankings?

    Is it mostly just a matter of waiting for the new anchor text to be crawled? Or are we talking weeks and months beyond that?

  37. The way you have explained about link building text, Exact Match Anchors, Generic Anchor, Branded Anchor, Naked Link nobody ever has explained on Internet but I am confused what meta title and H1 should be used.

    what is Exact Match Anchor is it the phrase we have used in the meta title or H1 or anything else??

    Please reply Nathan.

  38. Really great blog post. Thanks for sharing this knowledgeable blog…Brilliant work.

  39. Thank you for sharing your thoughts…I just want to thanks Again for such a good work.

  40. Wow! Nathan, I really like your site. Extremely detailed and the content is very rich. I can see how this site rocks! I will definitely use your site as an authority and reference source.

  41. Hey Nathan, it’s a really great content… I am reading your blog from quite a bit days and this is my first comment… So, my question is if I buy an EMD for my niche and build some Backlink from web 2.0 and guest post etc, then it will be a no problem if my target keyword anchor text is below 5%… More simply I am going to purchase an EMD so just want to know whether I will get problems in getting Backlinks or just like PMD? Hope I am clear

  42. Hi Nathan,

    What would be your recommendation for anchor text ratio if I am building links to rank YouTube videos?

    Would it be the same as

    Branded Anchor Text: 70%
    Naked Links: 20%
    Generic Anchors: 5%
    LSI, Partial Match Anchors: 1-5%
    Exact Match Anchors Text: Less Than 1%

    For Branded Anchor, should I put my Youtube channel brand name (eg: YI) into the anchor or should I use YouTube? Eg: Watch this video on how to grow a farm from YI or Watch this video on how to grow a farm from Youtube?

    Thanks in advance.

  43. Hello, good evening, this text was certainly one of the best things I’ve read lately, enlightening. Thank you for sharing!

    Hugs from Brazil

  44. Thanks Kenzie! “Branded” applies to all variations of the brand (not just the one singular phrase)

  45. Hi Nathan

    If I cross link from one internal page to another using teh appropriate primary keyword anchor text for teh target page how come teh page I am linking from also shows in SERPS for that target keyword.

    Surely Google should work out that the reason I am linking across is to point out a better page to talk about that query?

    Thanks in advance. Nigel

  46. Hi Nathan Gotch, Thank’s for this great article. I want to know one thing. when i will create backlink for my articles can i use brand name, naked url, generic or i need to use exact anchor text.

  47. i question.

    Naked Links: 24%
    Generic: 22%
    Partial Match: 2%
    Branded / Exact Match Anchors: 1%

    Is it ok ?

  48. Hi Nathan Gotch,

    Post is really appreciable, I like the way that you present this article about Anchor Text. This is the complete guide for Anchor Text those look to understand value of Anchor Text.

  49. Hey Nathan,

    Thanks a lot for the article and everything you do. It’s fantastic. Have a quick question about Branded anchor texts. I see that you said a branded anchor text should be about 70% of your anchors but then I saw that the ahref data for major companies like best buy and Nordstrom only have about 30% anchor text for specifically there brand name: Nordstrom or Best Buy. Am I confusing what exactly branded anchor text is?

  50. Thanks for sharing this information with us, I always like to read such information regarding that topic so please keep it up and keep sharing..

  51. Great article Nathan.
    Is there any affect if i have anchor links(from different websites) with trailing slash and without slash for root domain?

  52. I love this article thousands and millions times!!!!!!!!!! Best quality and BRUTALLY DEVILISH informative!!! I’m gonna share this on my facebook and pinterest group boards now

  53. Hi Nathan,

    Great information here! I think I took about 4 pages of notes as I read through your post and your comments. When you talk about a using “High-quality press release service” for link diversification, do have any in mind that are high-quality? I’ve found quite a few but it’s hard to distinguish who is good. Thanks in advance for the advice.


  54. Excellent article Mr. Nathan, I confess that I am amazed at the quality of content that was addressed here in this post on anchor texts, never that in my country I would find quality content like this, I am grateful to share your knowledge with people.

  55. Hey Rantej,

    Thanks for the comment! That’s a good ratio. I personally use an 80/20 ratio. 80% to internal pages and 20% to the homepage. But that’s also because I use a content-centric approach

  56. Hey Thamira,

    Thanks for the comment. No, it wouldn’t because nothing is being duplicated. The links just take you to a different section on the same page

  57. Hi Nathan,

    I always built more links to the homepage than internal sites (60/40). It helps me pass the link juice to other pages via internal links and navigation links, which is working well for me, at least for local businesses, and for online retail stores which has hundreds of product collection pages. What are your thoughts on this?


  58. Thanks, Nathan Gotch…
    for the information about anchor text
    please write something about running a successful AdWords campaign.

  59. Really, Nathan Gotch, you explain the things in above content were really good
    and really I will use these anchor text guide on my following website.
    thank keep sharing.

  60. Thanks for the comment Jory!

    Yeah, you need to be careful with exact match domains. That means you need to use a higher percentage of generic anchors

  61. Thank you Aaron!

    I like to spread them out over weeks because to see what’s working.

    I like Matt’s strategy, but I prefer gathering averages from the top 10 and keeping my keyword-rich anchor percentages lower overall.

    On a small scale, it’s pretty hard to be too aggressive (especially if you’re acquiring links through outreach)

  62. Can you please through some more light on these 2 thing

    Target only ONE page for your keywords: after the Hummingbird update, Google is very good at ranking pages for many variations of the same keyword. If you are target “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer” and you use the anchor text strategies in this book, your page will rank for all variations of that keyword such as “LA personal injury attorney”, “personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles”, etc.
    If you decide to keep an inner page for targeting your keyword, then change the META information on the duplicate page to avoid keyword dilution. If you are going to use the homepage to target your main keyword, then 301 redirect the other landing page to the homepage.

    Will highly appreciate !

  63. It’s hard to say, but I would always take the position that it’s counting all 7 just to be safe

  64. Great Article.

    The portion “Anchor Text Cycling: More Rankings With Less Backlinks” was good but I wanted to share my opinion for correction.

    Suppose I own a website ABC which do:
    1) Kitchen improvement
    2) Bathroom remodeling
    3) Bedroom renovation

    I plan using Branded Term + Service (abc Kitchen improvement services OR abc Bedroom renovation servcies).

    The “abc Kitchen improvement services” page will be linking to Kitchen improvement services landing page and so on.

    The ration of such anchor text will be 70%.

    Is it fine?

  65. You can, but you’ll probably need to mix in some keyword-rich anchors to increase relevancy

  66. Hi Nathan Sir,
    Really Fantastic stuff as usual, I love the way of your writing, the way of writing looks very conversational. i always follow your tricks. Thanks for sharing here

  67. I found some more techniques to get anchor text. Not only html but we can use BB code, markup syntax too.

  68. Hi Nathan,

    Great article! Thanks for the effort, really valuable for me :-).

    I have one queston regarding a EMD:

    Let’s say we have the domain “”.

    – A brand anchor could be: “exact domain” OR “”

    – A naked anchor could be: “” OR “”

    I have one client with a lot of Does Google count this as a brand anchor or as a naked url anchor?

    I hope my question is clear enough.


  69. Forgot to ask…

    Is it okay to hit a money page with an exact match anchor that is not indexed yet with a powerful link? Or should I wait to the page is indexed?

  70. Hi Nathan,

    Really impressed with the post! Even more impressed with the replies from your comment section!!

    Question: about the “Anchor text cycling”, what is the link velocity like? Is the exact match anchor week one, then branded anchor week 2 etc?

    Also, What are your thoughts on Matt Diggity’s “Anchor Text Ratio Blog Posts”? Matt recommends looking at top 5 ranking sites and look at their ratios, then replicate “what’s already working”, however if there are shitty ratios or not much of a ratio/low competition, then your “anchor cycling” would murder page 1!!

    So just to clarify, you just keep repeating the “anchor cycle” until you hit page one, but what about when you hit the second cycle with an exact match? Wouldn’t it be too aggressive? Would you use a partial match? On-Page is a huge factor when implementing this strategy without getting a penalty.

    Also, already purchased some of your case studies. Awesome stuff as well!



  71. I can’t believe that a blog like Gotch SEO is having such an insightful post only dedicated to anchor text. It is like a bible for anchor text. Guys great job…

    Apart from this using Anchor Text in the content is equally important as backlinking.
    I truely followed this post and get results to its best.

  72. Perhaps this is the best post out there on Anchor Text,
    However, I still have some questions.
    How do I optimize for an internal page. For example, assume, for a keyword difficulty I need to build 4 links to a certain page,
    How the Naked URL, Generic, LSI and Exact Match Anchor Text work here?

  73. Thanks for the wonderful post! The post is really a long read but packed with lot of information. Over-optimizing your website will definitely harm your website.

  74. Wow! A complete guide to the anchor text. I think i’m a little bit late to see this important writings. Every information is up to date. You have described everything clearly. I think i have learned something, that i could use for my website.

  75. Great article on anchor text variation. In my experience it is quite dangerous to build exact match anchor text backlinks when you do not have control over that source. Due to whatever reason the links can get multiplied in some cases, make your site over-optimized and cause heavy damage to your ranking.

    Luckily this happened to one of my not-so-important sites in the past where I got more than 300 exact-match. I requested the owner to take it off and he agreed. This taught me a good lesson though. Now I build exact match links as a last thing and only when I have total control over that source.

    Moreover, if you follow the above rules of anchor text variation and relevancy your site should rank at least on the 2nd page without exact-match. From there you can build a few exact-match and see how it affects your rankings.


  76. Hey Nathan, Thanks for the post. I have a question:

    If a single post is also duplicated to category and tag pages does it increase the count of anchor text. So if i have a exact match anchor on a post which is duplicated 7 times in different tag and category pages. Does it count as 1 or 7?

  77. Great work though. I read this article today after twenty-seven days of its publication and worrying that I’ve wasted much of my effort in doing such mistakes. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  78. Hi,
    thanks for sharing great post i have been doing mistakes in my every site and got penalty many time now i understand what was the problem you are sharing real knowledge thanks for the article 🙂

  79. Wow wow wow, It take’s my hours to read but seriously this “Anchor Text” article is outstanding. You describe A to Z about How to decide anchor texts, even Tier linking. Thank you GotchSEO.

  80. Great article Nathan. What are your thoughts on reverse-engineering the anchor profile of the top 5 ranked keyword on Google instead of having the standard percentages as stated in the article?

    For example, if the average top 5 results are having exact match anchors of say 10%, will you still stick to less than 1% exact match anchor for that keyword?

    Another question would be does Gotch SEO count as a brand name or will Google see it as a partial match anchor since you have the keyword “seo” in it.

    Thank you!

  81. Can only brand/url anchors still help rank. I want to use PBN’s but won’t it be a waste pointing Branded/URL anchors with PBN’s?

  82. Hi Nathan,

    Thank for your post and very detailed analysis.
    I am bit new to SEO and links strategies but for sure your article has given lots of insight to me.
    Thank you so much.

  83. Hey Emrah,

    Thanks for the comment! I prefer one link to my target page and then surrounding those links with other relevant outbound links

  84. I am very new to SEO so this article is extremely helpful to me. I have been trying to figure out anchor text for the last 2 weeks in my studies. I’m starting to piece everything together, but its still “foreign” language to me. I haven’t done any anchor text yet, mainly because I really don’t know how to go about it. What/where do you recommend I start off with anchor text? My own website? Can you use anchor text on social media? Thanks in advance.

  85. This is the best backlinking and internal/ external linking strategy I have ever read since I started blogging in 2006. Now, I need to review my anchor texts. Thanks a lot.

  86. Hi! Thanks for sharing this great article. I have a question… I bought an expired domain about a month ago and just realized it has 3747 nofollow backlinks for 1 anchor text and that’s it. I have a few useless keywords that I still rank for on page 3 automatically and I have no penalty on Search Console. My DA is 16. Is my domain screwed for having unnatural anchor text and wont rank now? Should I just buy a new domain?


  87. Great post and very informative. However, I have a query around social media links. Will social links have any weight in link building?

  88. Great content, valuable information. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    For most of the Editorial links they allow to add up to 3 links in the content.

    * Should we use 3 backlink for one website?
    Or would it be better if 2 links to authoritative website and one for us? Or 2 for us, 1 for authoritative? There are lots of combinations here like using just one link to main website?

    * Also, if we use 3 backlinks for our own website, how should anchor texts be?
    For example: One exact anchor text, one naked url and one generic..?

  89. Thank you for the information. Anchor text is the visible words that hyperlinks display when linking to another webpage or website. Anchor text can provide both search engines and users relevant contextual information about the content of the link’s destination.

  90. Hi Nathan,

    Love your article and have a quick question. As you cycle around with different anchor text as you mentioned, should the target page change or should it pointed to the same target page? To further explain: Target Keyword is Creatine, URL is When you change up your anchor text should they always point to that target page or point to maybe the home page?

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide!

  91. Nathan,

    This was a ridiculously good post on anchor text and anchor text ratios. I’ve never heard anyone else talk about co-occurrence before around the anchor text. Also, great list on all of the different types of anchor text, great resource to have to refer to when thinking about anchor texts. I use PBN’s sparingly, but I get sick of needing to worry about proper AT ratios especially if they’re from a re-built site. I like using white hat methods so you don’t have to worry as much about exact match, you can get partial matches that will provide a big boost without the risk. In any case, great post.

  92. Hi Nathan!

    Really great post! This is what I am looking for when G hits one of my favorite blog sites due to many “Exact anchor text” used by the previous SEO company that I outsourced. Anyway, I should definitely try all your advice not just for anchor text but also how to recover my site from penalty.

  93. Hey Kashif,

    Thanks for the comment! It’s hard to say without knowing the severity of situation. With that said, it’s almost always easier to start fresh than to try to recover a site

  94. Nathan

    Thanks for your good article.
    I found how many mistakes I made 🙁
    Especially I used too many ‘Exact Match Anchors Text’..
    I have to fix this habit for better results.
    Thank again


  95. I real all things of this site . thanks foe shairing this site . when user submmit directly link to other website for link creation then link not to better that anchor text link but both of them link index by google crowler. so i gott many knowlege of this site so i like it mostly.

  96. Hi Gotch! Good stuff as always!! Finally, I got the piece I have been looking for.

    One of my sites was penalized by Google a few months ago (website drop the traffic and Adsense get disable). Now after reading this valuable article I came to know that the reason was anchor text stuffing.

    My question is how to recover the traffic and ranking? Is it possible to rank the site again?

    Thanks for your time.

  97. Hey Anton,

    Thanks for the comment. If you’re using a sub-domain as your main site, then you would use “My Blog” as your branded anchor text.

  98. Hey Asim,

    Has your organic search traffic dropped inside Google Analytics? That’s really the only accurate KPI to know if your site has been hit. Alexa rank isn’t an important KPI at all.

  99. Hey Zac,

    That’s pretty crazy that happened. Sorry to hear that. I’m not affiliated with them at all and to be honest, that recommendation was from over two years ago. With that said, you need to be explicit about the anchor text when ordering ANY press release service.

  100. Hi Nathan – I read through your replies in here and took your advice and tried Rank Crew to dilute anchor text for a client’s target page by ordering their Press Release service. And…. I was ABSOLUTELY shocked to see that every single one of the press releases contains an EXACT MATCH anchor text to the client’s target page.

    I never asked for that, nor was it ever specified in the press release article that we provided to Rank Crew. They have done it at their own accord (without our approval or authorisation), and now have essentially toasted the client’s target page due to EXACT MATCH anchors being above 80%. Absolutely abominable!!!! How can they even call themselves “SEOs” letting this happen???? I like reading your SEO blog Nathan, but this service that you recommended has to be the absolute worst advice I have ever taken. Ever. Totally ruined a $1000 per month client. Just wanted to leave my feedback for anyone else thinking of using their service.

  101. Dear Sir,
    This article very helpful for me. Just can u tell me actually wha the meaning of unoptimized anchor text?

  102. Hey Nathan!

    Thanks for the helpful article. I have a question.

    I realized that the best anchors for web 2.0 will be generics (+ 30-40% naked). But at the same time, you wrote that you can use the brand anchors to any page of the site. Does this mean that for my blog, for example, I can use the anchor “WordPress”? Or will this be treated as a generic?

  103. Hi,
    Thank you very much for such an informative article. Will you please tell me how to check if my site is penalized or not?
    I didn’t have any notification in Google webmaster tools but my site ranking get down nearly 60k in Alexa. I am thinking that i might done something wrong. Month ago i de-indexed tags from Google or maybe i used too much exact keywords as anchor text.

  104. Great post! Thanks so much.
    I have a question if I use anchor text duplicated a lot as listing of Related Posts at the end of post then it will be risky for penalty?
    For example: I have 4 posts about Zucchini and at the end of each post I have created a table to list Related Post About Zucchini to link to 3 other posts with the anchor is their title. So the anchor text for those posts will be duplicated at least 3 times.
    How do you think about this case?

  105. Thanks for dedicating your time & mind to this. Most importantly, thanks for sharing the info. Just when I think I have a strong anchor foundation, I come across a post like this….sending me back to the drawing board. Truly humbling, but very beneficial. Truly appreciate ya!

  106. Hello Gotch,
    I’m thrilled I found your blog. I’m blogging since 2008 and have learned many things over the time. In my blogging career, I never found such an SEO tutorial which is really easy to understand and efficient. I’m thanking you from my deepest heart.

    Bookmarked this blog for later.

  107. I don’t have any idea regarding anchor text distribution. But you have opened my eyes now. I usually make 30% anchor text on tier 1 and i didn’t get good ranking in the google. From Now, i will focus less on anchor text when building a link More on naked urls, LSI, Partial and others one.

  108. Great post Nathan!
    Just 2 questions…
    In step 2 of “Anchor Text Cycling” you’ve said “hit your site with unoptimized anchor text variations”… what does “your site” mean? does it mean “target page” which I’ve hit it in last step?

  109. Hey Parker,

    That’s a good question. There are exceptions to the rule. The one thing I recommend is to always use a branded or generic anchor text if you are planning on using them

  110. Hey Nathan,
    So would you advise against using any site wide footer links at all? Even if they aren’t keyword rich words and are generic ones, such as ‘contact’ and ‘services’?

  111. Okay fist of all it took me forever to get to the bottom so that I could comment.
    Excellent guide – the best guide about anchor texts and how to proper use them in linkbuilding when wanting to perform SEO and links the correct way.
    Thank you for taking your time!

  112. Hi again, does the brand anchor and exact match, eg “BRAND EXACTMATCH”, “EXACTMATCH on BRAND”, belong to a branded link group or partial matching link? How does this percentage look like?

  113. Thanks for the comment Mike! Do what’s best for your users and use keyword-rich anchors with internal links.

  114. Hi,
    Thank you for your interest. Does the same thing look like a disavow tool? I can not get rid of the exact match links and because of their amount I can not “dissolve” the link profile

  115. Thank you for this amazing guide!
    But what about internal link building strategy? I’m talking about links in articles on my money site. Which types of links should I use? How much is the percentage of each?

  116. Hey Lukasz,

    Thanks for the comment! It’s really not possible to give an exact timeframe. But it can take several months for Google to recrawl and index changes

  117. Nathan,

    Thank you for sharing such an informative, and easily digestible article. I definitely picked up some great pointers and clarification of various concepts. I’m taking my time, building slowly and thus far no penalties via use of my brand.


  118. Hi,
    How long does it take for an algorithm to refresh the link profile after removing defective links? I assume that the places where the defective links have been re-indexed with content without links. My pages have been affected by an algorithmic filter and I’m going straight to this tutorial 🙂

  119. Hey William,

    Most of my backlinks are natural, which means I’m not controlling the anchor text.

  120. Hey Santiago,

    Thanks for the comment!

    – No. Focus on getting quality backlinks (speed and quantity don’t matter)
    – My recommendations are for each individual page
    – How closely related are those keywords?
    – Low impact at best

  121. Anybody can build or buy backlinks, but knowing what anchor text to use to diversify your strategy is important. I read this article right after I read your backlinking article and love the analogy of comparing links to a stock portfolio. I run a Houston SEO and web design agency and find that your strategies are the cleanest and most effective on the internet. Thanks for sharing.

  122. Hi Gotch,
    As Per your suggestion we should not contain many exact match Anchor text backlinks, but i just analysed all the backlinks which you have for your site and all i can see is almost 30% of the backlinks are keyword based. How can you justify this..?.

  123. Hi Nathan,
    Many, many thanks for this. Being new to SEO I am getting my head squared on how to improve ranking. This guide is the best I have found. I will follow your advice on cycling the different types of anchors.

    I have a couple of questions I would like to share with you:
    *Is there a recommended frequency to post anchors (per day or per week)?
    *Can I use your cycles for each page on my website or should I apply them as a domain? I mean, if I apply a different exact match per page would I get penalised as a whole domain?
    * If I’m using 3 main keywords on a page can I use your cycle for each keyword without getting a penalty, or Google will track the total number of exact matches anchors regardless of the related keyword?
    *What do you think about platforms like “Intense Debate” to drop backlinks

    All the best

  124. Thanks for the great article. If you are building an affiliate or lead gen site, would it be a good idea to brand it?

  125. My question was confused, sorry. Is the profile of links made by domain or page? My question is: if I work 3 pages simultaneously and using this cycle that you showed, 3 exact keywords will appear in sequence, but they will be on different pages, is this a problem? Should I work a cycle on a page and only after finishing the first cycle start another page, or can I do simultaneous?
    Thank you, your blog is very cool.

  126. Hey Dogan,

    Thank you for the comment. It’s hard for me to give you a proper diagnosis because there are too many other factors outside of anchor text.

  127. Hey Marco,

    Thanks for the comment.

    1. Focus on your on-page SEO first and then move to link acquisition
    2. Not sure what you’re asking here?

  128. Hey Luke,

    Yes, it certainly can because your anchor profile is over-optimized if that’s the case

  129. I have a problem with my money site my domain is emd which includes my main keyword, my anchor ratio is : %37 full url, %2 main kw, %12, others are generic. and i stucked at #14 it was #19 until i changed my exact match pbn anchors. So now i disavowed all url, brand anchors, I done a lot of niche relevant blog comments and waiting for results. Is that good idea ? Do i got overoptimization problem ?

  130. Thank you for a very informative article on Anchor Text. So true regarding monitoring your anchor text for each website you are working on and making sure you don’t over optimise. Great article, it has been of great assistance. Thanks.

  131. Good article, my doubts are as follows
    1- Is it interesting to leave the onpage without optimization first and only to fix the onpage after indexing the optimized backlinks, or will it not make a difference?
    2- If I want to work 3 landingpages simultaneously, can I follow this scheme or leave a fingerprint for punishment?

  132. Authority websites can get away with more aggressive tactics, but I would have to see the exact situation

  133. Hey James,

    Thanks for the comment! Yes, that’s definately true. If your content and on-page optimization is strong, you won’t need to use many exact match or keyword-rich anchors

  134. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for the great guide. In my opinion, I feel generic anchors are generally seen more commonly in comparison to naked anchors. I have a question:
    Can over optimized anchor text (90% of links either partial or exact match anchors) make the difference between bouncing around the 3rd to 7th page result to let’s say a page 2 result?

  135. Hey Luke,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Q1: that depends on your current diversification
    Q2: unoptimized is anything that doesn’t a keyword in it
    Q3: there are usually bigger problems outside of anchor text if you aren’t ranking well. Your anchor text is a micro issue

  136. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the comment and good question. Use grammatically correct anchors even if it’s not the exact phrase. It will still work

  137. I have seen ‘legit’ sites with 90% and more of the same anchor text (keyword rich keyword) ranking #1 and #2 for big keywords.

    How are they getting away with it?

  138. Thanks for the comment Chris! I’m not a fan of copying competitors. Instead, just write naturally and do what’s best for your readers/users.

  139. Hey Amelia,

    Thank you for the comment! Their anchor text strategy works well in many scenarios. Since the first Penguin update, I have used the ratios above and have always gotten great results (without getting penalized). The one issue with copying competitors anchor text ratios is that you don’t know how Google judges each website. For example, Amazon can get away with aggressive keyword-rich anchors, but some new blog wouldn’t be able to do the same. That’s because higher authority websites are treated differently.

    With that said, you can never go wrong with large ratios of branded anchor text (unless you have an EMD or PMD). The truth is, you don’t need many keyword-rich anchors to rank if your content does most of the work.

  140. Hey Tanirul,

    Thanks for the comment! Yes, your ratios must be modified when you are using an exact or partial match domain

  141. Hi
    wow the anchor text topic was discussed in a right way finally. I have seen many Manbo jambo anchor text ratio articles but this is the best so far.

    Well I have been using only Pbns for ranking for the last year. And I am using similar ratio.
    if I make 50 pbns posts I use my main keyword just 1 or 2 time rest are branded naked + LSI and my website title.

    I think you forget for mention that ISL and branded works when you have quality content am I right?

  142. I have seen many local business websites who have made a lot of web 2.0s ( around 200) and then they have created footer link with different anchor texts and have got backlinks to their main site. and they are ranking at #1 position.

  143. Hi Nathan,
    Thank you for such an extensive guide. Since, I am new to SEO, therefore I always wondered how my anchor cloud should look and how to approach back linking strategies. This guide cleared my view of anchor text and back linking. I am reading this again. However, I couldn’t clearly understand your Anchor Text Cycle. Here are my questions:

    Step 1: hit your target page with an exact match anchor

    Q – If I have a website and a target page (how little birds fly) should I hit exact match achor while creating back links? e.g. little birds fly??

    Step 2: hit your site with unoptimized anchor text variations
    Q – Can you give me some unoptimized anchor text example? I didn’t get the idea of ‘unoptimized.’

    Step 4: hit your site with another exact match anchor (if necessary)
    Q – If my site is not ranking as expected then should I hit it?

    Moreover, I applied for your free SEO course but did not get a confirmation email at all.

  144. Hi Gotch,
    I am kinda confused about just one part of the SEO anchor text step.

    Let’s say if I wanted to rank for the keywords “limo service new orleans and limo new orleans,” how can I create a backlink for those keywords?

    Won’t the anchor texts have grammatical errors? I know I can do something like “How to find a reputable limo service in New Orleans” but if I hyperlink the “in” would it still count for my keyword “Limo service new orleans”?

    I would love to hear your insight on this.

    Thank you,

    Jason Lee

  145. Hi Nathan, Absolutely smashed it with the article! Really loving this. Got a question if you don’t mind? If the websites on the 1st page have a keyword density of 3% would you still go for 1%?


  146. Hey Nathan, I was wondering what your opinion is on a particular topic. A lot of big names in the industry such as Matt Diggity, Charles Floate, etc insist and practice duplicating anchor text ratios of the top 5-10 competitors in the serps to rank. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this, and how your method compares. Sorry if this has been asked before, there are almost 600 comments lol – I’m also new to SEO and since there’s this conflict where two sides insist on branded vs duplicated anchor text ratios I’m a little unsure of which to do. Obviously I just want to do what works and works well at that. Thanks!

  147. Hi Nathan, This is a very rich & informative article which describes about importance of anchor text in SEO industry I’ve ever read. Thanks for this awesome article. I’ve a little query regard this topic, hope I’ll be answered.

    I can’t distinguish between branded anchors & partial-match anchors. i.e; my main anchor is best xxx yyy & my brand anchor is xxx yyy review.

    Here, I can see my brand anchor can be called a partially matched anchor. If I build 70% link with my brand anchors, Won’t Google treat it as partial matched anchor while you suggest to keep partial match anchors within 1-5%?

    This question might seems like absurd but considering a newbie hope you’ll help me to find the answer out.
    Thank you.

  148. Hi Gotch,
    Excellent and extraordinary post. This is the first time i landed on your blog and this is my first comment as well. I was looking for anchor text clarification on google search and came here. I just wanted to clear my doubts about anchor text of images, but here i got deep, invaluable information on more areas like backlink building, google penalty programs and unique survival strategy. I read complete post but unable to remember every point what you mentioned here, obviously i need to read 3-4 time again before i apply your suggestions. As far as i think i haven’t read any post like this for a long time even on highly reputed blogs. Quality of this post is the sole reason why i am forced to leave a comment here.

  149. It’s hard to say without seeing your situation. As a general rule, less than 1% exact match anchor can keep you safe.

  150. I am a Newbie in seo . I was confused about anchor text beforr this post.This post cleared a lot of doubts regarding anchor text. Thanks for the great article. Keep it up. Thumbs Up

  151. I was actually mistake regarding this. Thank you for producing it clear. However only 5% exact complement? Is it not small bit short? Waiting around for your solution. I wish to discuss about few matter’s regarding my site. Would you love to give me your skype or individual mail that I can get in touch with with you.

  152. I think this post has great information about anchor texts, but the difficulty with link building isn’t the anchor texts. It’s finding places that will put a link to your site.

    Do you have an article about that?

  153. Quick question that you can maybe elaborate on.. using so if my site is using a anchor text of “money site” is an branded anchor.. “” is a branded or naked URL anchor? Or both? What about “”, is that a branded or naked url anchor?

    Thanks in advance. Love your post!

  154. Thank you for such a descriptive post. I heard your interview and because you reply to every comment. I thought of asking you one question.
    What if I use the anchor strategy as you described but from the sites that are available from Fiverr sellers? Will that still work?

  155. Thanks for the comment Marc. In regards to anchor text, you don’t need to worry about social media posts or shares

  156. That’s too general of a question for me answer. But based on our experience, 1% or less exact match anchor text is usually more than enough.

  157. Thanks for the comment Michael! Blog comments should use your name and should be relevant in most cases. If you’re trying to drive traffic through blog comments, then place your link as a naked link

  158. Finding which anchor text to use can be a difficult process, so many questions. This guide definitely has some good tips. I guess if we don’t over use the same KW anchors then we should be fine for the serps.

  159. Hi Gotch!
    Great article, I learned a lot.
    I do have two questions though:
    Towards what anchor text percentage do social posts (facebook, twitter, …) count? The link usually contains the article main image, headline and sometimes the meta desc or first sentence. Theoretically that would be an exact match if my article title contains the keyword, right? In that case, I should avoid posting my articles and reposts should be discouraged.
    The other question is about dofollow blog comments in my niche. I found two contradicting statements in your comments answers: “I wouldn’t use DoFollow blog comments on tier one” and “If you’re looking for a more affordable option, I would go with dofollow blog comments”. Am I misunderstanding one of them?

    Thanks again for the great work!

  160. Does 1% anchor links can realy help ranking improvement for highly competitive keyword? I don’t think so.
    Also, I found EMD still works, it can take some time and effort but Google give value to exact match domains.

    Example: If my business name is “Box Office Theatre” then I definitely buy a domain (www Dot “boxofficetheatre” Dot Com).

    Also, do you think too amny OBL in blog comments worth?

  161. Thank you so much for this article. I just placed a few backlinks on some sites without even thinking about the anchor text, I haven’t honestly focused on backlink research. It’s my first site and I worked so hard on the content that backlinking never crossed my mind and I’ve been mindlessly doing it everywhere I could get my hands. Your post might have saved me from stopping my business altogether!

    Do you have an advice for blog comments and links?

  162. This is a damn good article… It’s so easy to get suckered into chasing exact and partial match anchor text. Thinking about changing my desktop wallpaper to “Just Say No To Exact Match!”

  163. Hi Gotch,

    Articles on your site are always informative just have few queries. As you described in article about variation of anchor text we must use. Brand name is good as always because we want to improve brand.

    Incase for my personal website I can do little variation in percentage like brand anchor text plus naked url around 60 and increase exact match 2%.

    Is that okay?

  164. Hey Gotch, from last few days I was continuously following your tips from link building article. I am new at blogging and thanks to you, it’s going easy for me to begin in blogging. I’m learning lots of things from your blogs articles.

    And one more thing I need from you is, Where can I find my blogs SEO mistakes easily. Because I’m new at it so don’t know what mistakes I’m doing day by day.

    Thanks Again.

  165. Hello, thank you for this awesome article.
    I bought a brand new domain.
    But I’m unsure about exact match domain anchor.
    My target is to build 20 backlinks.
    If I build one exact match anchor then I’ll get 5% exact match when I’ll end building backlinks. Is this bad? Because you say Exact match should be less than 1% but after then you say someone suggest to use 5% exact match. I don’t know who should I trust?

  166. Hey Nathan,

    Great post there. I had never given anchor text much thought but now I’m incorporating this as a key part of my SEO strategy. Thanks so much!

    One question though: assuming that every page of a website targeted a keyword that is distinct from the ones all other pages target. Would you think it’s safe to hit every page with one exact match anchor each (probably also very early after publishing them when there are little to no other links to this page). Or would you reserve exact matches only for a handful of important pages (even though all exact match anchors would be different keywords)?

    That would help me understand this topic even better.


  167. Thank you for the comment Emmerey! Write your content for users and focus on keyword placement, not density

  168. Hi Nathan,

    Thank you for your awesome article; it is so helpful. I’ve got a question, and your opinion would be of great help to me.

    So, I’ve been thinking about using Google disavow tool for anchor text dilution, as my website has too many inbund links with exact match anchors. Actually, I intend to disavow exact match anchors from low authority domains and to keep only a few from strong domains.

    Is this tactic effective for anchor text dilution? Does disavowing domains/links have any effect on the anchor text diversity?

    Thank you very much.

    Kind regards,

  169. Hello,

    Regarding this comment:
    “Usually when a random page is ranking for your target keyword, you have been penalized. It’s more than likely a Penguin penalty based on the information you have given.”

    how about if this “random page” in about your local enviroment, about news and bussiness in your local area?
    Regarding google and it’s meaning for local search results…

  170. Very informative article Nathan! Thanks for sharing all these info. But I was wondering, do you think keyword density still matters? if yes, what’s the preferable percentage for your main keyword?

  171. Thanks for the comment!

    No, that isn’t a good idea because it doesn’t make sense. English articles should have English anchor text. And Arabic articles should have Arabic anchor text

  172. Yes, it’s possible. You just need a quality keyword-targeted page and strong backlinks. It works best if the target page is a keyword-targeted content asset.

  173. Thank you Raja!

    Usually when a random page is ranking for your target keyword, you have been penalized. It’s more than likely a Penguin penalty based on the information you have given.

  174. Hey Nathan,
    what an awesome article 🙂 , I have one question for you mate and please reply as I am not able to find genuine advice.
    I am trying to rank my website for arabic anchor text and I hav my own PBN sets with all english content. So is it safe to take arabic anchor text links from english language based site ?
    If I have to target the english keyword for the same arabic keyword then it ll be too competitive for me , So i have to rank my site for arabic anchor text . Please reply mate.

  175. Hi Nathan, thanks for your great post,
    i want to confirm, & ask something about your post,
    is it possible to rank a site to top 5 google without using Exact Match Anchors??,
    in my next campaign, i’m planning to use branded and naked url only
    Thanks for your help

  176. Hi Nathan..It’s really an awesome post and I love your blog. I particularly love to read your article about backlinks or SEO.

    By the way, For your information, I guess my post has been hit by Over-Optimized Anchor Text penalty. I haven’t got unnatural backlink in GWT but my page that I’ve been optimized now isn’t ranking any longer.

    It’s used to be on page #3 for the targeted keyword but now the post doesn’t exist until the last page on google but it’s still well indexed 🙁
    But, this is the weird thing, another post of my blog is now on page #5 for the same keyword. After doing some search I conclude that I have over optimize the post. I check on majestic the exact match anchor is 12%.

    And then I have implemented your “trick”. I have added hundreds backlink with branded anchor(using press release, blog comment and web2/blogpost). It has been almost 2 months since the post dropped and it’s not recovered yet. I have almost get frustrated. Would you please suggest me what I have to do to fix this issue..?
    Thanks Nathan..God Bless You.. 🙂


  177. Hi gotch, thanks for sharing an epic post. I have a doubt about this anchor text strategy. Most of the blog comments, guest posting byline allows a link back to a website (which means branded anchor hope i am right) . if this is the case, there will be a lot of links point towards the homepage rather than other post or pages, is this advisable? you talked about reverse silo, where we need the link should point to a cool blog post which is not at all possible when we follow the blog comments or guest posting strategy. I am a beginner, may be i am wrong! hope you explain this scenario.

  178. Thank you for the comment Ryan! There are always going to be exceptions to the rule. Authority sites can often get away with more

  179. Thanks for the excellent article Gotch,

    Initial I was thinking diversify was the best to rank a website. but when I saw a competitor website. with partial match domain, main anchor text of 50%+ still ranked no 1 in google. The only think i guess is the content.



  180. when you say you would consider all backlinks in your calculation, what happens if from the same source page, you have 2 backlinks to your money site? My understanding is that google still looks at the first backlink and ignores the second one. is this still true?

  181. thanks for the prompt response on my first question.

    in calculation, do you count backlinks at domain level or at link level.
    for example, if I have sidebar branded backlink from my PBN to my money site and it has 10 blogs, then it could translate to 10 pages, hence, 10 backlinks. Or do you consider all of this as one backlink when you are trying to get to the 70% or so branded backlink ratio?

  182. Thanks for the comment!

    I would go with option two. Changing anchors is a footprint because it shows that you may some control over the link placement

  183. Nathan – (Resending. If possible, please delete my first post. I made a mistake.)

    Many thanks for putting this together and staying active in answering our questions. Would like to get your thinking on the following item:
    After penguin 4 update, I went back and changed majority of my backlinks in my own PBN to branded, generic and URL based anchors. I think I have overdone this and my backlink ratio for my keyword is way too low.

    If I want to go back and update those blogs, what is the best option:
    – option 1: change the link from generic/branded/URL to exact match keyword?
    – option 2: leave those geneirc/branded/url keyword in each PBN, and introduce new exact match keyword backlinks? if I do, this then from each PBN, i would have 2 links to my money site. Please do note that I have about more than 10 articles in each PBN, and in total for each PBN i have about 2 follow links and about 8 or so no-follow links to related authoritative sites.
    – option 3: do option 2, but after few weeks delete the generic/branded/url keyword, so that I would have only backlink to my money site. The negative side of this is that I will be reducing the ratio from the branded,generic, url based keywords

    what do you think?

    Thanks in advance

  184. Grace,

    Thanks for the comment! Ahrefs and Majestic are the best. Is “Work Anywhere Now” your target keyword phrase? I wouldn’t do that too often if it is

  185. Tom,

    Thank you for the comment. I wish I could give you a solid answer, but that’s not possible without seeing your campaign as whole.

  186. Hey Gotch,
    I have been following your blog for the past couple of weeks and trying to implement as much as possible. You have really helped me understand SEO & Link Building to a new level.

    All of your posts are super-detailed with tons of examples and explanations. I hope you will publish more such awesome articles and tips to get a better edge on SEO.

    Cheers 🙂

  187. Hi Nathan,

    How do I check my Link Profile to see if my site is any good in Google’s eyes?

    Also, does having “Grace | Work Anywhere Now” in the Name field in comments hurt my site by linking to my site? Is this considered Branded text which is okay to do?

    Thanks for this article, I’m just starting out and this post simplified a lot of things for me.

    Best to you,

  188. hi geat post as always, i have been woeking on a new site in non english language but use also some english keyword. auditing the site at first i realized was over optimized for 1 word keyword we wanted to rank so i de optimized the home page and the site went to position 9-10 from 12. then i got 29 guest post sprinkled during a period of a months only naked urls. site went quickly at postion 3. the domain is really so is a pmd but more a double emd. so i think i have over sent to many naked urls containing the keyword. i want to rank included in the naked url. what you rhink go back to the latest blog post and change the anchors to lsi keywords that dont contain the key i want to rank? since the site dropped back to pos13 from 3.probabily an algo penalization right?

  189. This is a helpful post and a great intro to understand how to use Anchor LSI I will give an example if I got it right as I target “seo services” musty LSI keywords will be like this “is the cheapest seo services”
    “guaranteed seo services”
    “the best seo services”
    “professional seo services”
    “pricing seo services”
    “seo services”
    Please answer to my question thanks for sharing.

  190. Thanks lot for your valuable post
    My domain name is and my company name is Haridra Technologies
    I am getting bit confusing what is my brand name is it haridrait or Haridra Technologies.
    Please give me clarification
    Thank you

  191. Hi Nathan,
    I have an article:
    TITLE: Dance your way to fitness with Zumba classes in Kolkata
    In this article I have added anchor text (same like Keyword) , which navigates user to my internal page (Yoga classes in Kolkata)
    Here is the added anchor text.
    “Also Read : Yoga Classes in Kolkata”

    Now, I have used the same anchor text “Yoga Classes in Kolkata ” in 5 more articles.

    Let me know if this is OK and improve SEO for “Yoga Classes in Kolkata” . Please advices , if I require any updates

  192. Hi Christian,

    Thanks for the comment. That’s because keyword-rich anchor text will hurt your results when used in excess. That’s why it’s important to place your keyword-rich anchor text on your best link opportunities.

  193. Oh, you put me to shame, this is by far the most comprehensive and easy to follow article I read on Anchor text. I wonder how long one of these take to write?

    I definitely need to come back here.

  194. Hey Jordan,

    Thanks for the comment. That’s a loaded question because it depends on what your current anchor text profile is

  195. Congratulations and thanks very much, really !!! It’s an excellent article !!! I think it’s the best article i read on the anchor text and the evolution of SEO in the last years, before and after Penguin.

    It’s a perfect guide !!! I search this article since many years. Really. I love this article and i bookmark. You explain very well the evolution. There are a lot of case studies.

    You have a very good strategy.

  196. Hey James,

    Thank you for the kind words! I recommend using your name because that’s most natural

  197. Hi there Natha,

    I think I don’t need to read anymore about anchor text because you simplified everything here for us. Keep up the good work, since I found this blog post on google, I’ll be a regular follower here.


    Clay Smith

  198. I’ve recently come across your wonderful blog, and your content is really the best among that of SEOs out there. Thank you!
    I read this article. Somewhere you mentioned “Niche Relevant Blog Comments” as a type of backlink. Is that OK if I use only names (of people) for diversifying my backlink profile? Or should I use anchors that are somewhat related to my blog?

  199. Test it. I recommend removing a link and tracking the impact. Don’t just remove a ton of links right away

  200. Hey Cristian,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Remove the links and start building better links with branded anchor text.

  201. I read it all know, and I see you are answering my question in the article. What about leaving the “exact match” link in place and NF it, and add another link with branded anchor? Can this work?

  202. Hey Nathan, great article, just bookmarked it for more profound study. I have a quick question for you. If a website got hit by Penguin because of the anchor text ratio, what do you recommend to do with the links that are in our control?
    A: remove
    B: edit
    C: disavow
    or maybe D: remove it and add it again with the desired anchor text, “somewhere nearby”.
    I’m waiting for your thoughts about this, Thanks!

  203. Thank you, Kenn!

    The point of using them is to make your anchor profile more natural.

    People often link with generic anchors such as:
    “go here” to
    this post “right here” or
    “this article” explains more.

    “” = anchor text

    There is no risk using generic anchors.

  204. Nate great read and easy to interpret, (which can be a rarity in SEO).

    My question is this;
    Why use a whole 5% on generic anchors?
    They seem spammy/dated.

    As an SEO professional, recommending this best practice of using the 5% on just these to current clients makes me weary.
    So I just wanted to know a bit more in depth about the importance of “generic anchors”………..

    Big cheers

  205. Hey John,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking. Just follow the percentages or give this guide to whoever is building your links

  206. Nathan,
    Finding a good link builder that knows what they are doing is tough. I can see why, most of them do not care, and they only have a one sided approach, they build links with the exact keywords you give them (no diversification), over, and over, most of them do not diversify your link building, they may not use brand, naked urls, etc, so if you give them 3-5 keywords, then they build links exactly that way. Would it it be safer to give them multiple orders? ie: order#1 brand, order#2 LSI, order#3 naked urls, order #4 partical, order #5 exact match urls; this would seem a little ridiculous, but most link builders just want the money, then clock out.

    What do you suggest?

  207. Hi, Gotch.

    When you say that 1% of links should be exact match, is this for the ENTIRE SITE or a SPECIFIC PAGE? For instance, let’s say (for the sake of simplicity) that Website A has 100 links: 97 branded anchors pointed to Page 1 and 3 exact match anchors pointed to Page 2. The TOTAL link profile shows an exact match anchor percentage of 3%. However, Page 2 has an exact match percentage of 100%.

    Does the ENTIRE website get penalized at this point? Or just the “trouble” page?


  208. HI Nathan,

    Lets say i share my page or article on social media with whatever anchor text, it counts as 1 link to my site with that anchor text. So if it gets shares, does each share count as one link with the same anchor text?


  209. Naser,

    Thanks for the comment. I try to use variations that I believe the searcher would use. “Best” and “top” are good and so are variations like “collars for dogs”. Use Google Search Console to see what queries people are using to find your page and use that as your anchor text.

  210. Hi Nathan,

    Awesome guide as always. I have a question about choosing related keywords of our main keyword for anchor texts: Are we using the related terms which have searches per month or we don’t care about searches and just choose words which have our main keyword embedded into it?

    For example, my main keyword is dog collars, then the related keywords would be:

    best dog collars
    dog training collars
    cool dog collars
    dog collar
    collars for dogs

    Some of them have searches less than 10 per month.


  211. Thanks for this but what I find annoying on your site is you removed the date of the posts being published, why?! How do I know when this was published and if still relevant, thanks, but this is stupid.

  212. Hey Alex,

    Thanks for the comment. I have to respectfully disagree with that assumption. Search volume wouldn’t change how aggressive you can be with anchor text because the two things aren’t correlated in any way. You can alter percentages based on industry standards for a particular keyword, but the percentages in this guide are the safest across the board.

  213. Hey Nathan, great post. I think when it comes to figuring out how many exact match anchors you should create, the number of searches that keyword gets also comes into play.
    If a keyword gets 10k searches and you have 50 exact match anchors, wouldn’t that kinda’ seem natural?

    What I’m saying is that the more searches the keyword gets the more exact match anchors you could build.

    What do you think?

  214. Hey MG,

    You would want to prospect for “law” or “legal” based opportunities. Most blogs won’t accept articles with geo-modifiers in the title because it’s too spammy

  215. So if I were to create articles similar to “How to Find a Reputable Personal Injury Lawyer in (City)…where would be the best placement to use these articles? Currently NOLO, lawyers and a few others are no-follow but allow for blog post.

  216. Indeed, this is no doubt the definitive guide to anchor text. I dont think i need to confuse my little head by reading any other article regarding anchor text..

    Thanks Nathan, waiting for your next course as i have and still keeps eating the 1st one i enrolled in already..


  217. Wow ! this article is very helpful. I was so confused about backilink and anchor text. I am facing so much problem in my site as each day my backlink is decreasing. I hope this anchor text trick may solve my problem. Thanks Nathan for a good work.

  218. Thanks for the comment Ben. Use exact match and partial match anchors for internal links within articles. If it’s a call to action, then use strong copywriting like “go here” or “click here”.

  219. Thanks for the comment! The reason is because I update my articles on the regular and not using publish dates makes content appear more “fresh” to the user

  220. Great article and exactly what I’ve been looking for. Just one question left unanswered: What about anchor texts for internal linking. Obviously I can’t use 70% branded anchors because that would look like I’m obsessed with myself. Any ratios for internal? How much exact or partial for target pages?

  221. Hey Nathan,

    Extremely informative article for someone looking for a detailed explanation on this topic 🙂 Love it.

    I was just curious though, your articles don’t display the date of publishing even though that information is there in the post (I could find it by viewing the source of the page and searching for the tag). Just wondering if this is something intentional or it’s some sort of bug and you’re just not aware of it.

  222. Hey man your post was awesome i am new to SEO and i have client
    He wants me to rank his site against some keywords.
    I am facing trouble in starting please give me a Quick head regarding this

    This is his site : REMOVED
    and he wants me to rank it against these keywords :

    I have done each and everything regarding competitor analysis
    now i am stucked how to work with each keyword and how to make exact plan for it so that i can easily work on that

    My another question is : Is thr any way to predict estimate of links i am going to blast to this url to rank one keyword by analysing competitor websites with LongTailPro
    Please sir help me to finish my first project
    ( very important thing this client is paying me very low rate for a month probably 150 to 200$/month. Is this ok to work with such rate?)
    Thanks <3

  223. Hey, Gotch!
    First of all, I would like to thank you for this super amazing article!
    I am new in SEO, like doing it since 7,8 months and i didn’t know these all things what I was doing till now was 90% wrong. 🙁
    I’ve lost 3 of my websites. Those were doing good but all 3 of them ended with penalties and completely got de-indexed. It’s alright now but after reading your article now I came to know where I was doing mistakes ( A lot :/ ).
    Now, my all doubts are clear, Thanks a lot man for this article, for sharing this knowledge with us! You’ve now changed my mind completely. Now, i will follow your this article on some of my new projects! 🙂
    Bookmarking this page also!
    Thanks Again brother!

  224. Hi Nathan

    Read a lot of your articles, including the background to this very article and it’s purpose. Big fan.

    Couple of questions on this one around PMDs.

    Seems to me that if you are building a niche site it is almost certain you’ll use some target KWs in your url.

    So, based on your experience, how many more ‘non KWs’ need to be in a PMD so that you can you be more aggressive with branded anchor backlinks?

    For example, let’s say I run Mike’s Dog Training – a dog training site targeting dog training KWs. Can I be aggressive with branded backlinks for:

    A. (66% PMD)?
    B. (50%PMD)?
    C. Mikesdogworld (33% PMD)?

    It is pretty likely a person running a dog training site will have dog in the title – at what point can we just ignore this and start building brand links more aggressively again?

    Also gotchseo is 50% PMD for your industry. Do you build branded links aggressively for your own site ;)?

    Would you recommend throwing in fake words (eg. Moz) or first names or surnames to dilute your PMD brand url? I think a fake (made up word) might work really well to dilute the PMD – just wondering if you have any experience of this… eg.

    Sorry for being so long winded but every domain I own is a PMD and I hate the idea of my only options being naked or generic anchors and that I cant properly promote my brand – all because I wanted to put what my business does in the domain – seems anti-user and almost like blackhatting your site to make it whitehat…

  225. hi Gotch,

    Your article is really great. I will follow some of your teachings. My question so far is that can I use my Brand Name and have a link on it on my sub page? Example Brand Name ? Can I do that or should I only link my Brand Name to the home page?

    Thanks a lot!

  226. Hey Ravi,

    I can’t tell you what’s effecting your rankings because I don’t have the full picture. With that said, I don’t recommend using site-wide links.

  227. Hi Nathan,

    Would you recommend using the same anchor text ratio for Tier 2 properties if I am building a blogger web 2.0 property for money making purposes? Or should I follow what you recommend for Tier 1?


  228. Hi Nathan

    So you mean as long as my links are quality, it does not matter how many are going to my website every day right?


  229. You promised the ‘definitive guide’ to anchor text…and you delivered! Great work Gotch. I’ll be bookmarking this page for sure.

    One of the things I like about working in SEO is that so many bloggers understand the value of long, detailed, authoritative posts, meaning that readers like me can learn something from almost everything they read (minus the rehashed pap of course), but your content is about as educational as I’ve seen, so thank you.

    I’m a first time visitor to this blog, but I’ll be coming back for sure.

  230. Hi Nathan Gotch
    Thanks for your quick reply
    Actually 30000+ links are coming to my domain ( is this effecting my ranking ?

    Basically my domain is very new and I am following link percentages which you have mention on this blog

    Thank you

  231. Dear Nathan Gotch,
    I am basically a web designer we have around 50+ clients (websites), for each website we will keep our brand name and give link to my website.
    recently we have change our company name to this is very new domain and we have updated all our client website with my new brand name according to your Anchor Text percentages like Branded Anchor Text: 70%, Naked Links: 20%, Generic Anchors: 5%, LSI, Partial Match Anchors: 1-5%, Exact Match Anchors: Less Than 1%
    but still website is not getting top on google

    In webmaster tools my domain getting 30000+ links

  232. I read ahrefs article from a while and that helped me a lot with my money site. Now your article make the information that i already know more stronger, also i learned a lot of new things from you article.

  233. Thanks Again! I will keep this in mind 🙂

    I have one thing to ask:

    I am writing a blog post with 3000+ words, full of quality on topics like:

    77 top seo blogs to follow in 2016
    67 top technology blogs to follow in 2016

    [List of 50 articles like this is ready]

    So, there will be 50-70 or near these websites in each post,

    How much outgoing links you suggest to get best result? to not get any problem according to SEO and all.

    Just wanted to safe, What you suggest me on this, should i do this if yes, how to properly. to get best results and safety.

    Thanks again in advance 🙂

  234. hi tank you for post it will very help full for me.. i have one doubt
    my target keyword was [REMOVED] my article title was also
    [REMOVED] my on page optimization for this keyword 94%
    can i create a back links with anchor text [REMOVED] is it good or not

  235. Great post Nathan. What’ most impressive asdie from the content is the number of comments you have on it? How did you build such an engaged community?

  236. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog entries and I won’t lie, I skim through most of them but you provide a whole heap of value.

    I’m commenting now just because you’ve shown how upstanding of a person you are by removing his keywords for him. I’m sure it’s a lesson he’ll never forget.

    You’re a good man Gotch! Keep up the great stuff, I’ll be tuning in more often.

  237. Hi Nathan, my website is more than 5 years old. What would you recommend for the number of links that I can build to individual pages in a month or in a day? The link velocity is what I would be keen to know. Thanks.

  238. I am facing the same problem with a few of my websites as Fred is. The rankings keep changing in a course of 10 days from low to high and vice versa. I did start wondering why, and that’s the reason i had to go through this blog for an idea of whether i’m doing my link building badly, but i am following my anchor distribution closely as mentioned in the blog.

    I guess the Google Dance is affecting my sites. I guess i got an answer for my clients and boss!

  239. This is a great article thanks!

    I have noticed the issues recently in regard to exact match anchors. Doing local client SEO, i have found better results by not using exact match anchor text at all.

    In fact i have noticed that a lot of sites ranking at the top of local searches do not have any exact match anchors at all. The relevancy that is making them rank, is coming from the urls linking back to the site.

  240. Thank you sir.

    Panda penalties aren’t based on external signals such as backlinks. Penguin is. There are usually two ways to tell if your site is penalized: A) your traffic and organic visibility is slowly declining or B) your traffic drops off overnight

  241. Thank you!

    Hmm… I doubt a single internal link would have that much of an effect on your rankings. Be careful with your conclusion because correlation isn’t causation.

  242. Hi Nathan,

    Needless to say how helpful your article was. As everyone said it was very helpful and indepth. I have few questions. What is the easiest ways to determine if the site is hit by panda. I mean if the drop is not very significant what should the first and foremost step to fix panda. Also what’s the healthy ratio of dofollow and dofollow links.

  243. Hey Fred,

    Exact match anchors can often make new websites have volatile rankings. This is the “Google Dance”. It will stabilize once you diversify your anchor text profile and your site ages.

  244. Lovely, Gotch.

    As per using exact match Anchor text for internal Linking, I tested it od recent and the page I linked to disappeared from SERRS the next day.

    I removed the anchor text and it came back.

    I did it for two other pages and the results were the same – they disappeared!

    So it’s advisable to play safe.

  245. Hi Nathan,

    I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that using exact match anchor texts are having a detrimental effect for SEO, even for sites that have very little of this (or zero) work done previously.

    Have you noticed the same?

    Now I am avoiding using keywords in anchor text completely until I find out more.

  246. Thank you for this article Nathan.

    I am new at SEO, so I have a question related to internal linking.

    I am trying to boost at google ranking a subcategory at my website, I am doing that through my section of articles and whitepapers. My question is how many anchor text is preferable to use toward the subcategory of my products, is there any maximum limit ?
    Second, can I get penalized if I make to many links (internal with anchor text) toward that subcategory of my products?

  247. Excellent post and appreciate your very clear presentation.

    I am interested in getting some help on back links and would enjoy scheduling a call to see what services you offer. I am particularly troubled by the fact that much of my anchor text on the few back links I have (new business-under a year) are identifying me as “hire a trademark screening specialist” when I am “brand naming specialists” etc. Can these incorrect anchor texts be corrected and if not, why are they appearing? Kind wishes, Margaret Wolfson (

  248. This post is really helpful to me. I am a noob at SEO, so any hints on how to do it better is invaluable.

    Question: I want to promote two things. One is my main site and the other is my blog which is a subdomain within the main site (domain name).

    Should I attempt to promote both? Or would it look spammy to promote the domain and a subdomain url using backlinks??

  249. I really enjoyed reading this long article. I think exact anchor text be used on the more relevant pages. I have tested on many of the site it can be between 5% to 10%. I reached on your site by Instagram

  250. Amazing guide! So complete, informative and well written. Thanks a lot for sharing all this, learned a lot! Keep up the good work 😉

  251. Great stuff! What about internal linking? How should the anchor text be approached?

  252. ‘Mr. Gotch this was a really interesting article however I have a question relating to “Learn More” + SEO + Accessibility.

    I’m using bootstrap, would it be safe to wrap additional anchor text within a span and give it a class of sr-only, for the main purpose of providing screen readers with additional information of what the “Learn More” pertains too? Visually you would see “Learn More”, but a screen reader would see “Learn More on healthy eating”. This is in reference to a CTA button.

  253. Hey Dean,

    Yeah, I wouldn’t stress about it. It sounds like your site is dancing around. Even older websites often dance when new links are introduced

  254. Hey,

    It’s bout 2 years old, just a pastime blog. I decided just to try optimise some of my new posts to learn more bout SEO, I’m not trying to get any mad rankings or anything, just picking some low competition KW and monitor results to learn. I’m not building any crazy backlinks, just average social stuff. Perhaps your right on the dancing. Generally never ends well though.

    Thanks for reply

  255. Hi Dean,

    Thank you for the comment! Majestic’s index isn’t the same as Google’s. Google’s index is the only one that matters.

    As far as the movement, your site might be going through the Google dance. How old is your website? It’s very unlikely that only a few links would hurt your site.

  256. Hey Nathan,

    Great Blog, just found it and def gonna be following. I am newbie and just tried to optimise my page for a KW, it was sitting well at pos 15 and I just had some social/blog platform (bout 5) links built to it like from and etc. (which I can’t seem to see in majestic BTW even though these pages are indexed???)
    I then wen’t and added 3 natural enough blog comments on some blogs I found 2 with exact match anchor text in name field and one with my real name. But looks I can only see 1 of these comment links in majestic. Anyway result was my page dropped to pos 70. Is it possible these tiny comments screwed me? One wasn’t even moderated yet. KW was very low competition. Can’t understand the drop in ranks for such a minuscule change to minuscule site. Do you know why I can’t see all backlinks in majestic from the social/blog platforms, the pages appear to be indexed?

    Thanks for help,


  257. After reading this post, I feel worried about my site rank! I use 20%-30% exact match anchor text for backlink. My question is, If I replace those link to Branded & Naked anchor text, then can google replace anchor text what they counted? Or its better to create new link with branded & naked anchor text to reduce the ratio of exact match text?

  258. Hi Sergej,

    Thank you for the comment!

    Good question. It’s hard to say, but it’s likely that Google will devalue the subsequent links that appear in categories, tags, etc. If it’s a natural link, there’s no need to worry about it. It’s much more important to avoid pounding your website with exact match anchors from many different unique domains.

  259. There is no set ratio, but the majority of your backlinks should go to internal pages. We personally try to use an 80/20 split.

    80% = backlinks to internal pages
    20% = to homepage

  260. Hey Nathan!

    I find the article really useful, but a question came up after reading your post and analysing the anchor text distribution of one of my sites with webmaster tools.

    Question: Let’s imagine:
    If I submit a link to reddit with a PMA/EMA anchor text link to a website of mine, in the beginning all there is, is 1 link. After a while webmaster tools has found the same link on more than just one page. The same link appears on a reddit categories page, reddit user page, reddit most popular page, reddit comments page, etc…
    Does each and every one of these links count towards my anchor text ratio? Because webmaster tools now shows a total of 27 links from reddit, simply because I submitted one link.

    If each link counts (which I doubt), I come to the conclusion that having a PMA or EMA anchor text link, which goes viral on reddit, would be the absolute worst case, because your anchor text ratio would be f*****.

    So how do I weigh these links? Count it as one link only? Because the same principle applies to all webpages having category pages, etc…

    I got many links from web 2.0 properties like tumblr, wordpress & wix following the same principle. I hope you get the idea and understand what I am trying to say here :). English is my second language, so I apologize for not being able to express myself clearly.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards


  261. This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.
    Thank you!

  262. Mr Gotch i want to ask you that backlinks gives with different variation to inner pages as well as home page of the website,or we can hit only our targeted keywords,or any more.Please give me the ratio of backlinks about inner pages ( thanks )

  263. Hello Gotch,
    Today I spend many hours reading a understanding anchor text links and keywords you are talking about and I must say that I have never ever thought that google detects spamy links from links itself. I used to think that it detects from the website it is linked to but now i know that Google not only checks the type of website i am linked to but also the anchor text. The whole article can be summarised in way that you have make backlinks in such a manner that it looks natural. Very informative article and worth attention.

    Thanks for sharing

  264. Andreas,

    Thank you for the comment and that’s awesome to hear!

    1. Good question and what other SEO’s are saying is true. You don’t want backlinks from traditional, spammed web directories. The directories that are fine to use include niche relevant directories, authoritative directories that have an editorial process (DMOZ, BOTW), geo-targeted directories, and business listing websites. Avoid the spammy the directories and you’ll be fine.

    2. I would redirect to the homepage because that’s more natural. Plus, doing so will send link equity throughout the entire site – given you have a well-developed site architecture

  265. Hi Nathan,

    Thank you again for sharing you experience and ideas with us! I followed your link building guide and I am happy with the results. There are two questions I have:

    I have a one word EMD like keyword.tld. My main keyword is surely “keyword” and till now the optimization works well. I know, I have to be very patient and never over optimize anchor text within links, especially when handling one word EMDs.

    1. Question 1
    You write in your article, that submission to web directories still works very good, especially for varying and/or dilluting anchor text with brand signals, LSI, etc.
    But there are SEOs saying, that links from web directories are NOT (independent from anchor text) good, because they will diminuate the authority of the website they link to. Your experience? What percentage of the total amount of backlinks would you recommend for web directory submission (given that the website owner handles the anchor texts as you recommend)?
    (I mean web directories with a decent quality and topic based submissions)

    2. Question 2
    My keyword.tld domain is a news site. It has more topics (and for each topic a special, optimized page) as economy, sports, politics, etc.
    I have the opportunity to buy an expired domain with a phantastic linking structure (university- and NGO-links). Topic and main anchor text for this website is “politics”. If I redirect (301) this powerful domain to mine, should I redirect it to my main site, or to the special topic page (keyword.tld/politics/) ?
    Do 301 redirects of trusted and strong domains pass authority to the whole website, when redirecting them to subfolders and not to main site?

    Thank you again!

  266. Hi, thanks for sharing this amazing article, But i am running amazon affiliate site and its domain is EMD and here is my question that what will be the BRAND anchor for EMD .


  267. Hi Yaro,

    That is a very hard question to answer because I’ve seen site-wide internal links work, but it’s definitely possible it could lead to over-optimization.

  268. I am thinking there is another issue with internal link over-optimization.
    If you place page you are trying to rank in navigation then it will consume the keyword it links with.

    I just checked google webmaster tool and looks like my page has 100+ internal links. Basically from each other page.

    Does placing page under navigation = over optimization = bad On-Page SEO???

  269. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for this guide it’s awesome.

    I’m looking your excel files and the anchor cycling tab. Regarding the cycle for Branded Domain, is it possible to use this cycling to point all links with these anchors to an inner page I want to rank ?
    I’ve already done several branded links from social profiles and other High DA to the homepage to gain trust but kws I want to rank is on a innerpage.


  270. Hi Nathan,

    Amazing post, thank you for taking the time to write it. I have a couple of questions:
    1. I’m about to have a series of blog posts written (for our company blog) to add as related posts our top-level & search result pages providing more detailed info on the subject for users.
    My question is this…when writing the blogs, can we add multiple links with different anchor text in the blog if they all link to the same top-level page on our site?

  271. Thanks for this post was very informative. Isn’t the key to getting the most out of links lies in quality not quantity?

  272. Nikolay,

    Thanks for the comment! General keyword stuffing or LSI keyword stuffing are both bad ideas. You’ll never need to worry about as long as you are producing quality content. Worry more about how to give maximum value and less about manipulating a search engine.

  273. Great article as always Nathan! I was wondering about something. Given that LSI keywords are such an important part of SEO nowadays, how do you think they will change over time? Sooner than later, people will start exploiting this concept. I am sure of that. I feel that people will start stuffing their articles with LSI keywords as a result. If this happens, how will Google react? What do you think?

  274. Hi,
    It’s really an awesome stuff regarding anchor text and how it should be used.
    Can you please tell me how much Anchor Text Ratio for EMD should be maintained for Tier 2 and Tier 3 because as I have seen It’s not mentioned at all in this guide.I will be really waiting for your reply.Thanks

  275. High authority websites can get away with high percentages because they are trusted. Keep in mind: just because a site is getting away with it now doesn’t mean it will forever.

  276. Andreas,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, low quality links can always damage your site regardless of the anchor text you use. One quality link is better than 1,000 low quality links. I don’t recommend taking a spam approach because it’s cheaper.

  277. Hi Zubair,

    Thank you! As long as your links are quality, it shouldn’t take much time. Links showing Google Search Console does not mean they are indexed.

  278. I have seen ‘legit’ sites with 90% and more of the same anchor text (keyword rich keyword) ranking #1 and #2 for big keywords.

    How are they getting away with it?

  279. Hi Nathan!
    Thank you for this great article. I have an one year old website (local news project) with many social media mentions. My site is (just an example) The targeted keyword is “Goldtown” (a real existing town somewhere in the world), so what I have is a EMD.
    Till now, I have about 30 different domains linking to my website, the majority of them with linktext “”. Now I want to start optimizing/linking.
    My questions:

    1. Can a bunch (!) of (low and medium quality) links with linktext AND dammage my site and/or trigger a Google penalty?
    2. For a “natural looking backlink graph”, I would like to buy (in additon to 1) a bunch of links with linktext “here”, “click here”, etc. As I am a student and my budget isn’t huge, I can only buy low quality links for this purpose. So, there will be many links to my mainsite with linktext “here”. Is this dangerous (because the linktext is NOT diversified)?

    Till now, my SERP with “Goldtown” ist 36, awesome for the moment, as all linking was natural till now. Thanks for advice,

  280. Hi Nathan,

    I didn’t asked the question the right way. What I meant is:

    If we have website: – targeting keyword: “Blue Widgets USA”

    This website has internal pages like this: – which target keyword: “Blue Widgets in Chicago” – – which target keyword: “Blue Widgets in New York”

    If i build some backlinks to: with anchor: “Blue Widgets in Chicago” with anchor: “Blue Widgets in New York”

    do you think this can lead to a peanlty for keywords:

    a) “Blue Widgets in Chicago” for chicago page
    b) “Blue Widgets USA” for main website

  281. Hi Gotch,

    Thanks for this great post. I stumbled upon this while browsing for building backlink strategy. I’ve bookmarked this post and will be visiting it again whenever in doubt.

    I have not read the other posts where you talk about how to create tier1 and tier2 links but I’m gonna come back for them.

    I feel encouraged after reading this post that if i am careful and build my links carefully, i can start ranking. How long will it take for Google to index these links and my site?

    I’ve my site up for 6 days now but it doesnt show as indexed in Webmaster tools yet.

  282. Another gret post from Nathan Gotch. Thank you man.
    I want to ask you for your opinion about anochor text of links to internal pages.
    For example if your main keyword on homepage is: Blue Widgets in USA
    and you have internal pages targeting keyword in cities , like: Blue Widgets in Chicago, Blue Widgets in New York…
    Lets say you decide to build links to this internal pages and have some links with anchor: Blue Widgets in New York.
    My question is: do you think that anchor text to internal page: Blue Widgets in New York , we be counted from Google as partial anchor match to your homepage main keyword: Blue Widgets in USA?
    In short – do you think that too many links to internal pages with anchor like this: Blue Widgets in Chicago, Blue Widgets in New York, will lead to a penalty for the maian keyword: Blue Widgets in USA?

  283. I stumbled onto your site a couple months ago and just as I’m searching for some anchor text info… there you are again. I have to say THANKS for this! Also, I’m adding you to my Feedly feed… thanks again!

  284. Thank You for the insight of this article. I think I have read it five times. The piece on Anchor Text cycling is awesome! I have begin to incorporate your strategies in my Seo.

  285. My question is if I post a blog article on Tumblr or other social media sites and use some anchor text links pointing back to different pages on my website, are they nofollow or dofollow? I’m very familar with SEO but haven’t seen anything on the internet to say otherwise about my question.

  286. Thank you for your very concise and informative page Nathan.
    Could you please provide examples of which types of sites you would recommend posting exact match anchor back links?

    I know these have to be very high quality/ranking sites, however could you use an exact match anchor text on a respected and highly-ranked niche related blog?

    I’m in the process of having a new website built, and would like to target the first back link as an exact match, then just focus on generic, branded and non-optimised links thereafter.

    Thank you.


  287. Thanks for the comment Ray!

    No, it is never unnatural to use branded anchor text. Every website starts off as “unknown”. It’s unnatural to pound a website with the same keyword-rich anchor text. No one has ever been penalized for too many branded anchors 🙂

  288. Nick,

    Thanks for the comment! Google can translate content, so the contextual relevancy should still be valid. Of course, it’s hard to say that with 100% certainty because no one knows how Google would assign relevancy in that situation. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t matter since the algorithm can translate

  289. Thank you Nathan for a remarkably articulate and comprehensive article.

    I do have one a doubt however when it comes to always having such a high % of brand anchor text for sites that promote the services of an unkown individual – like a lawyer for example.

    Consider the following: Let’s say our lawyer is called David Smith , and his website has a page optimised for the primary keyword “DUI Lawyer London”. As David Smith is not a publicly recognised name, would it not be “unnatural” to have about half his anchor text as “David Smith”?

  290. Hello Nathan, first of all congrats for the quality of your content.
    I have a question regarding non-english language keywords… not sure if you have experience with that but here it goes: if I write a guest article in english, contextually related to a non-english keyword (same niche of course), and use a naked url as an anchor to the non-english website, do the search engines recognize that the anchor is surrounded by contextually relevant text, and rate it accordingly?

  291. Hi Nathan,

    I just wondering what happened if we change all anchor text at our PBNs? You said that it definitely be a footprint. The question is what google will took actions? de-index our PBN or our money site will get penalty?

  292. Hi Nathan,

    Another awesome article, and invaluable for avoiding Big G’s Banhammer! I did have a question though regarding press releases – namely, do you have a preferred press release platform/channel? Thanks again, and keep up the awesome!

  293. Dylan,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Yes, the whole phrase “what is link building” would be the anchor. It is a variation of the keyword. As long as your percentages of LSI and exact match anchors are low you want have any trouble. Just follow the distribution model I explained

  294. Hi, i’ve read through your article. Due to my bad English and limited knowledge,
    there’s some confusion for me regarding LSI Anchors.

    So, if I’m targeting “link building”, then some LSI keywords would be:

    “what is link building” <– does it mean this whole sentence will be the anchor text?
    Isn't it risky since the target keyword "link building" is in it?

    I'm very interested about what anchors text can help with backlinks,
    does it helps even with a comment on youtube? or any forums site or blog?
    Not sure if comment helps in seo though

    Thanks Gotch 🙂

  295. Hey Nathan, I just wanted to say that I really like your in-depth articles, I find them very useful so thank you!
    Just a quick question: What’s your opinion on using different ips (proxies) when creating tier 1 web 2.0s? I read somewhere that it’s ideal to hide my footprints this way as I being too paranoid? 😀 Keep up the good work!

  296. Great post indeed Nathan,

    I do have one question. What should be the ratio or percentage of variation of keyword in anchor text. I mean my targeted keyword is “Dubai Tour Packages” and if I build links with the anchor texts like “Best Dubai Tour Packages”, “Dubai Tour Packages from New York”, “Available Dubai Packages”

    waiting for your reply.

  297. Hi Tommy,

    Thanks for the comment! No, you’re not screwed. It would just be ideal if you could get the bulk of those links removed. If you can’t, then use disavow. You will need to increase the percentage of quality backlinks in your profile to dilute the bad ones

  298. Hi Nathan!
    I’m a big fan..(Read all your posts)
    One question please..

    So basically I am screwed if I have no-follow exact match and/or disavowed exact match which I can’t remove?

  299. Thank you for the reply. Every web 2.0 outbound limitation is 1~3 and that means (as my last question), do I need to create another web 2.0 or a set of web 2.0 to produce another set of 1~3 backlinks and at least 1 pointing to the same the domain?

  300. Jose,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Question #1: the 1-3 outbound link limitation on web 2.0s doesn’t change regardless of what anchor text you use. The anchor text cycling can be done with any link type

    Question #2: I don’t recommend any type of “massive” backlinking service

  301. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the comment!

    The only options you really have are to either unoptimize some of the anchors or add additional sitewide links on other client sites – this will dilute the anchor text. Either way, you need to increase the amount of branded anchor text in your profile.

  302. Awesome article! Very compelling guide I ever read!

    Question #1: Can I do the cycling on my web 2.0 posts? What I mean is that, I am planning to make 1 post per day following your cycling site#2. I have read the limitation 1~3 backlinks. Does this method will lift the limits?

    I want to apply this on my tier 1 to rank my money site that has AdSense and Affiliate.

    Question #2: This just comes to my mind after reading the whole article. Just a wild idea. What if I am going to buy a massive backlinking service using the cycling site#2 method with many variations like spinning, do you think is it gonna work?

    Thank you.

  303. Hi Nathan,

    First of all I would like to thank you for this awesome article about anchor text.

    My situation: We are webdesigners. And in the bottom of every website for a client we put there a link in threw our website. To let people know we made that website. And especially the anchor text ‘Webdesign bureau’ (it’s Dutch). That anchor is linking threw a landing page, named ‘Webdesign bureau’. But the percentage in Majestic of that landing page, shows a 33% with the anchor ‘Webdesign bureau’. So in our opinion that’s a way to much.
    Now we would like to change that anchor texts to put the 33% back down to 15%. What would you advise of how to do this? So for example to don’t bulk it? Etc.

    How would you do this? Thanks in advance.

  304. Hi friend,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles!

    1. I don’t recommend hitting your site directly with Fiverr links. Although this may dilute your anchor text it will decrease the overall quality of your link profile.
    2. That’s pretty aggressive/unnecessary. If you have to go to those lengths, then you would likely be better off with a new domain
    3. It would be ideal to get the exact match anchors removed. Disavowing likely won’t help

    Sorry to be a downer 🙁

  305. Awesome, very informative, and definitely very detailed write up about anchor text. I don’t think there any other article this detailed.

    Unfortunately, i should have read this two years ago but didn’t. My site is stuck on oage 2-5 due to over optimized exact match anchors like 40%. I should just buy another domain and start over but I think I have a chance since reading your article.

    I’n yhe last two weeks I’ve done a couple of things you suggested to dilute the anchors.

    1. How fast can I dilute it? Let’s say I go to Fiverr and buy 2000 social bookmarks naked / branded anchors?

    2. How bad would it be if I dilute it all in one month…6000 naked / branded anchor links? What would happen?

    3. I have 50 pbn but only 20 are pointing to it now. It made gains to where it is now. Since i have 50 pbn, should I just disavow the exact match anchor link’s? It will be replace by another 30 good contextual branded linns anyways.

    Your thoughts please?

  306. Hi Claude,

    Yes, my new site is in development now to fix issues like that!

    I would place branded partial match in the same category as general partial match anchors. So 1-5% if safe

  307. Hey man

    thanks for the article. I have one question (BTW the social icons in the sidebar make commenting a bit difficult. But so many comments as you have prove that usability is not that important when people like something. They will come anyway)
    ok, question:
    you write:
    Partial Match Anchors: 1-5%
    Branded Anchor Text: 70%
    LSI, Partial Match Anchors: 1-5%

    How about branded partial match anchors? Let’s say keyword is = SEO St. Louis
    What percentage would be acceptable for “Gotch SEO St. Louis” as anchor?
    It is a branded anchor, so 70%? Or Partial Match Anchors: 1-5% ??

  308. Thanks Nathan for such a comprehensive article. I have a question. One of my article has ranked well for certain keywords but after collecting all the keywords from Google Webmaster Tools. I found out that 3 of the keywords have the highest searches in Google, but none of my backlink has anchor text for that. I am planning to build some high quality backlinks for it. My question is, is it advisable to use the anchor text in an article from authority blogs. My link profile has several other and similar anchor text but the 3 particular anchor texts have no backlinks. Is it advisable to use them now?

    Once again thank you.

  309. Nathan,

    This has gotch (see what I did there) to be the best site I’ve found on SEO tactics – and I’ve seen a lot.

    Congrats on a wonderful site.

  310. Really, nice guide for Anchor text. I think, Infographics are the best way to get Branded Link Building.. and I am going to start it, What do you think, will they really help me? ANy Suggestion?

  311. That was great, i have succensfully SEO’d my own fencing company in perth, and back in the day it was number 1 for yrs, but as i got busy fencing and not really updateing my site and just going through the motion of building regular links from business directories, and a few good ones from similar businesses. i noticed my rank was dropping just slightly over the last few years, when my website is still very informative and much more informative than some of my competitors. even using CTLD mainly backlinks and was still loosing spots to people with less links and less information for that matter….
    However my fencing company is so versatile and i relise how non computer people use searches i ranks for something like 40 keywords still generating 1800 hits a month..
    Anyway thanks mate i have a fair understanding of SEO over the years of self teaching i even have 3 of my own clients on the side, taking away the information you’ve explained is going to help in so many ways.
    it was interesting and to me it made perfect sence, there is no way spam backlinks couldve ruled rankings, otherwise there is nothing else for SEO to do other than spam, but this is cool

  312. Great Article, it’s my second time reading this particular article just to really understand. Quick question, what if i’m running a Clickbank review website and am trying to rank a POST lets say on. Example: “how to be a man” do you still recommend a branded anchor text or and exact match anchor text?

    kind regards,

  313. Nathan, what an amazing article. It pretty much explains the best practices and tactics to be used to build backlinks without leaving a footprint. I myself as an SEO agency owner, always on the lookout for the best formula to build up our clients offpage factors without risking a penalty. I would like to add to this something I found to be very crucial which is the frequency with which you build backlinks and this is mainly connected to different factors as for example the domain age, the platforms and kind of websites that link to you etc My approach is always to look at what the competition is doing and try to use our experience and background to find the right link velocity, resources etc Again great job with this article 🙂

  314. Honestly, this is one of the best and comprehensive guides on freaking Earth about Anchor Text. The concepts of co-occurrence and co-citation were a little bit tricky but I got the hang of it. The best thing about this guide is that you showed a practical approach of keeping the things safe.

    I strongly agree that less percentage of exact match anchor will make it more powerful. Plus, it’s a common myth that article directories have become useless while they’re a great source of diversifying link profiles.

  315. Hello mr gotch
    Just wanna say thanks for this article, on my 1st reading this article, only 50% i can understand, i believe i need read 10 times again and practice to my site.
    Well that just i want to say, good luck and thanks again. 🙂

  316. Gees, good effort! Half way through and a real eye opener, bookmarked and coming back for the second half after lunch. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time out to provide such great content free.

  317. Hi,

    This one was really an eye opener for a newbie like me. I even requested a resubmission of keywords for a $99 SEO package that I bought from a forum two days back. Added some generic and naked keyword. Thanks, man!

  318. Erik,

    Thanks for the comment and the kind words!

    That’s a good question.

    The naked link anchors on tier two would be the URLs from the tier one links. The only time you use your money site URL as an anchor is when you are linking directly to it (tier one). Please let me know if that makes sense.

  319. Hi Nathan,

    Been following your many great article, you are such a genius person.
    After half way on my journey build tier 2 and try to apply your anchortext Percentages.
    Naked for 40%, did i using my money site naked keyword or my tier 1 naked keyword? im sorry for noob question, hope this never been discuss in past comment.

  320. Thanks for the comment! Let me know how it goes! Don’t forget: anchor text is a small ranking factor. Simply manipulating anchors won’t guarantee improvements in the search engines. You need to look at the big picture.

  321. Hi Gotch,
    I really enjoyed the article. This is by far the best anchor text guide I’ve ever read on the internet. This has really increased my SEO knowledge 10 times and I really appreciate your time and effort writing it and also putting it in a way someone like me can understand. I will be using these strategies on my website to dilute my anchor profile using web 2.0’s since I’m kind of.. over-optimized.

    Once again, thank you and I also enjoyed reading your other article about Manual web 2.0 creation.

  322. Wow this is very thorough. I realize that I have some stuff to work on. Thanks for info.

  323. That’s one thing for sure, the other is putting all this info into action and actually see what happens as a lot of people here are already asking questions on their existing seo campaigns, no one said any results based on this yet one mentioned already doing the things said here except for one tip.

    Planning to put this into action and see what happens indeed. Keyword difficulty pretty much high.

  324. Simona,

    Thanks for the comment! It depends on the anchor text you used for the directories. Directories are devalued and can be hurting your link profile in general (if you have a high percentage of them).

  325. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the comment! I’m going to be totally honest with you – you’re overthinking it. I highly recommend you re-read the middle part of this article. It will help you a lot. If you’re still struggling please send me an email

  326. Absolutely wonderful and truly exhaustive article – a piece of reference indeed!
    I am having a 10 years old site which was doing amazing, but of course, over the last year is started to rank worse… I am fearing that the backlinks are the culprit, so now I am analyzing one by one.
    What should we do with old free directories (not paid), which have “legal” back links (different anchors). But some of them are just abandoned or kept for AdSense?? The majority are not having more than PageRank of 2 on the homepage.
    This would be the question: to disavow it or now?
    We are applying meanwhile other techniques too, like dilution, etc.

    I would highly appreciate your help and advice!

  327. You’re welcome. I saw too late that you have posted there already – as the first one. Excellent. But I think that this case study supports your own research very well, so I posted it here. I always believe that as more we can get hands on to quality research from various parties, so better.

  328. Hi Nathan, I still don’t understand!
    so lets say my site is, my keyword for home page is Chicken Farms. So I create a backlink with is the place to find chicken farms, that i understand. If I create another backlink for another page, say it’s called chicken egg colours with keyword of chicken eggs, what should my backlink look like? would it be is the place to find chicken eggs, with the underlying url going to the chicken eggs page for the anchor text or do I make the branded anchor text the same as the full destination URL.

  329. Hi Nathan, Great article. I’ve built my website 2 years ago and have some good rankings but have done no link building at all. I’d like to give my site a bit of a push so will be following some of your advice in your excellent article. I have one question. When doing external linking do you always link back to the homepage when using the branded anchor text or can you put any url from your website in as the destination? I obviously have a main term that my whole website is going for and the home page is optimised for that term, but I have other pages with different terms I’m also looking to rank for. Do I link to those ones separately using brand or naked links? I’m a bit confused. Hope that makes sense.

  330. Awesome write up. Took me a while to get through it all but definitely a conclusive article. Must have taken you a long time to test all these things especially the anchor text percentages.

  331. Hi Fred,

    Thanks for the comment. Keep in the mind that anchor text distribution is judged on a page-by-page basis. You need to fix over-optimization issues before trying to optimize again

  332. Hey Nathan,

    keep providing unique and intelligent post for future of seo. There is no way to find out the best guide without your that will be penguin safe. I want to ask a question about keyword research. Please tell me how to make a good demo of keyword research for showing clients…if you share a full screenshot it will better for understand.

  333. Hi there, great read !!
    If i got an inner page penalized from over optimized anchors which i was trying to rank for main keyword, can i re-focus on Home page to target main keyword ? maybe 301 the penalized one since hp has mainly branded and naked url anchors, that could even out the bad ratio !? what do you think ? Thanks very much and keep up the good writing, a pleasure to read !

  334. Excellent article ! one question : 1 of my page seems to have been penalized but not the other pages, i think from over optimized anchors, 3 out of 5 keywords have dropped sharply, main keyword lost 40 spots from 20 to 60.What do you think it means when only some keywords are affected ?

  335. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the comment! There is no perfect ratio of links to the homepage and to internal pages, but a general ratio is 50/50 split. You still want links going to the homepage so you can send link equity from the top down.

  336. great write up by the way, one thing i came here to get the answer on but couldn’t find was what sort of ratio of links should go to your home page, key categories, products and articles pages.

    Say for example you had an “antique record store”, so that and variations of it was your main keywords your chasing, then you had categories like, vinyl, tapes, CD’s, country, rock. Follow by product pages like the beatles, Elvis, The who and so on, with the blog to match, the onsite help pages and articles the full whack!!!

    Still you want the majority of people to land on your home pages as thats the money, you’ll do a little niche linking for the better/choice products “elvis, bluesuade shoes original vinyl”

    but across the board you dont want to have every link to your home page, whats the break down?? is it reason able to have 50% of a sites links to its how page for example??

  337. People tend to ignore naked anchors because they want a quick shortcut to rankings. Naked anchors are the best method to gaining a natural anchor profile. Great read, Nathan.

  338. Hey Nathan,

    I have to say, I’ve been reading a lot of this stuff lately and this has got to be the best article I’ve come across by far. Gonna bookmark your site right now – keep up the great work!

  339. Tommy,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Only a very small amount (if any) link equity flows through a NoFollowed link. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you should go out and spam them. Treat your anchor text the same regardless of whether it’s nofollow or not.

  340. Hi Natan,
    Love this article. I read it once a weak cause its a lot to take.
    I have a question please..
    Does nofollow exact match count?
    and how should I treat disavowed exact match anchor text links?
    Thanks a lot!

  341. Also, one more question along that line. How do you go about choosing your Partial Match Anchors – do you make them up by adding generic content “cool article about anchor text” or do you use them as an opportunity to target long tail keywords “bold anchor text”?


  342. Hey Nathan,

    In section III of your article, you mention that “LSI, Partial Match Anchors” should be 1-5%. But in your excel file there are already 8 occurrences of Partial Match Anchors (green) within 30 links – that would come out to 25% if you were to continue at such a frequency!

    Did I miss something?

  343. Hi Khaled,

    Yes, this is the Google dance. It can definitely freak you out / freak your client’s out. You’re totally right about them testing the legitimacy of your links.

  344. Hi Nathan, Great article!

    I’m not sure if this ever happens to your client’s sites, but in some instances, no matter how many times we diversify our anchors to be as safe as possible, Google plays their little trick where they temporarily drop half or on some occasions all the rankings.

    If you remove or change your anchors after the sudden rank drop, then you failed the test. I fell into that trap back in the days, but after reading their patents, it turns they do it on purpose to test the legitimacy of the links.

  345. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the comment! It’s on a page-by-page basis. Those sites are super authorities, so they can get away with over-optimization. In actuality, my exact match anchor text percentage for this article is less than 1%. The tools don’t always tell the full story.

  346. Can’t tell you how much I learned from your post 🙂 I really thank you a lot Nathan! You have put in a lot of hard work for this post and it shows 🙂

  347. Hi mr.gotch,I read your anchor text article thoroughly.It’s simply superb.And i have a crucial doubt regarding this article.It is :
    the exact match anchor text percentage that you are saying is, with regarding to whole site’s percentage or of that page?
    i analyzed something after this.for the keyword “anchor text” there is a tough competition going on.And i took this for a case study.I analyzed backlinks and their anchor texts using openlinkprofile tools.The sites moz,wordstream has very high percentages of Exact match anchor texts for that page and when compared to whole site’s anchor text profile that’s not at all considered.Here am talking about only that page’s link profile.
    moz and wordstream have 40-50% exact match anchor text whereas you , gotchseo has rarely 6% which is ethical and whitehat according to your article.But how can you outrank them?Plz help me out of this.Thanks in advance

  348. Thanks for the reply.
    If I understand this correctly, because Google prefers to have around 50% of branded anchors it’s better to brand yourself Nathan Gotch than Nathan SEO, as Nathan Gotch would create a kind of a partial brand anchor, whereas Nathan SEO would be more of a partial Keyword anchor?

  349. Thanks for the reply.
    If I understand this correctly, because Google prefers to have around 50% of branded anchors it’s better to brand yourself Nathan Gotch than Nathan SEO, as Nathan Gotch would create a kind of a partial brand anchor, whereas Nathan SEO would be more of a partial Keyword anchor?

  350. Hi Emile,

    Thanks for the comment! It’s definitely spammy. First name or first and last name are both fine. It really depends on how you want to brand yourself. I’ve branded myself as “Gotch” and that’s what I’ve been called on sports team. I don’t link to Gotch SEO on my own site because it’s unnecessary. I would rather expand my presence on a different platform. However, when I comment on other blogs I always link back to Gotch SEO or my blog

  351. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for this article. Actually I landed on this article because I was looking for information about anchors when commenting on blogs because I feel it’s very spammy when people put keywords or the name of their website as anchors. But I was wondering if it’s good to always put my firstname as anchor when commenting on blogs. What’s your take on that ? I see here you anchored your twitter account, do you alternate between your twitter account and ?

  352. Thanks for your response – highly appreciated! Also, just wondering about the excel file you provided – does each link in the first column correspond to a different domain? How would I input links that have my site on several inner pages of their site?

  353. Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for the comment. Keep in mind, although you disavowed the directories, those links still exist. If you went out and got those links removed, I could without certainty say that you can start using keyword-rich anchors. HOWEVER, for your particular situation, you should really focus on building a strong branded anchor text profile. Like 80-90% branded anchors before even thinking about using keywords in your anchors. This will build trust for your site

  354. I have a site that recovered after doing a disavow of all spammy directories. I once used software to spam directories, which triggered the penguin algorithm. My question now is whether I can start building keyword-rich anchors again (at a low frequency, of course)? Or, does the spammy anchor text profile remain – even though the actual backlinks have been disavowed?

  355. This may have been stated but I cannot see it….
    Any percentages/ratio of links to the root of a domain vs the rest of the domain…

  356. Fantastic article on anchor text. I use them often but going to adjust my strategy after reading this. One of the more helpful articles on SEO I’ve read in a long time. Thanks so much for the obvious effort you put into writing it! Much appreciated

  357. Lindsay,

    Thanks for the comment!

    That would be considered a PMD. You can change anchor text, but I wouldn’t do it in bulk because it can definitely be a footprint. You definatiely have keyword dilution if you’ve created pages for each variation of the keyword. Redirect the others to the page that’s performing the best and modify the META information to encompass “buy” and other LSI keywords.

  358. Hi,

    Tks for this wonderful post.

    I want to build Tier 1 with Web 2.0, What’s anchor ratios you suggest ?
    Should I put link to the money site in every article ?
    how many links to the money site I can make to every article ?

  359. Hey Nathan! GREAT Article. I have been building niche websites for about 9 months now and have been slowly ranking them on Google.

    I have a few EMDs… you are the FIRST to point this error out to me. Like my keyword is “productgrowfaster” and my domain is “learnhowtoproductgrowfaster” Would that be considered an EMD or PMD? If so I am over optimized with brand/exact/broad keyword anchor text. From what I read it sounds like it’s okay to change some of those brand/exact/broad keyword anchor texts on my PBNs to a URL/Generic anchor text to correct my anchor text profile? That doesn’t raise a red flag??

    It also sounds like I have keyword dilution! I have my homepage targeting “Product Name” then my 2nd page targeting “ProductName” and my 3rd page targeting “Buy Product Name.” I have actually been sitting on spot 11 for ALL of those keyterms for a month of so. I have been adding brand/generic links to my PBNs over the past few weeks but haven’t see a budge yet. How would you correct this?

    Thank you in advance! This article has been the BEST and most helpful article I have read yet regarding anchor text profile.