Anchor Text

The Epic Guide to Anchor Text

WARNING: this will be the most epic article you’ve EVER read about anchor text. It’s nearly 7,000 words, so make sure you bookmark this ASAP for future reference.

Anchor text can be scary and confusing at first, but once you understand / master it, you automatically become a million times better at SEO. It’s crazy because it can literally make or break a campaign.

With that being said, I’m going to explain EVERYTHING you’ll ever need to know about how to use anchor text in a hostile post-Penguin world.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a self-proclaimed white hat or a down-and-dirty blackhat, the strategies you’re about to learn straight out work in all scenarios.

Let’s do this.

Section I

What is Anchor Text?

It simply the visible and clickable text in a link. For example, you may be reading an article and see something like: “the SEO strategies over at Gotch SEO” – “Gotch SEO” is the anchor.

To create it, you’ll need to memorize a very simple HTML code:
Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.36.35 AM

Why Does It Matter?

It will always “matter” as long as backlinks matter. Prior to the Penguin update in 2012, anchor text was one of the easiest ways for Google to understand the relevancy of any given website.

Now in 2014, it is one of the best ways for Google to penalize spam and over-optimization.

Does this mean anchor text is becoming meaningless? Not even in the slightest.

I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that it’s even stronger than it was before (when used the way I’m going to show you).

Pre-Penguin Anchor Text

Before the first Penguin update, you could go absolutely buck wild with your anchor text. You could literally use 100% exact match anchors for all of your backlinks and you would rank.

It was like stealing candy from a baby, and Google obviously had to make a change.

That change was the Penguin update.

Google Penguin 1.0: The Update That Changed It ALL

The first Penguin update in 2012 literally changed the link building game forever.

Penguin targeted any website that was blatantly doing low-quality, artificial, or spammy link building in an effort to “game” the search engine.

How did they determine if a website is building links artificially or using spam to rank?



Why, might you ask?

Because a normal website would not have 100% of its backlinks with the anchor text “Pay Day Loans”. And at the time, many people doing SEO were using these crazy high percentages.

In 2014, you really need to understand how Penguin analyzes anchor text and determines whether a site should be penalized or not.

I promise, it’s not complicated, but it is CRITICAL that you understand to keep your site safe.

Here’s exactly how Penguin works:

  • You build a backlink
  • Google indexes the backlink
  • Google places this new backlink into its database for your specific website, also known as your “link profile”
  • Steps 1-3 are repeated over-and-over, and now you have a “link profile” that the algorithm can analyze

Now, this is where the real magic happens:
The algorithm analyzes your link profile and compares it to the on-page factors for your website or target page.

So, if your on-page content is optimized for “PayDay Loans” and 100% of your anchors are about PayDay Loans, then you will get a penalty because it’s very easy for Google’s algorithm to see that you’re:
A) trying to rank for “PayDay Loans”
B) you’re building links artificially

They can dish out penalties to sites that make this mistake simply based on the amount of exact match anchor text + the on-page keywords being used. It’s really that simple.

So, how do you avoid getting penalized?

You need to understand HOW, and WHEN to use your keyword-rich anchors.

You’ll be learning about this in the next sections.

Section II

Different Types of Anchor Text

Before, I get into strategy, it’s critical that you understand all the different types of anchors so that you’ll be able to create a diverse and “natural” link / anchor profile.

In a separate excel file, there will be a nice list of anchor variations for each type.

Branded Anchors

Any anchor that uses your brand in it.

Sentence sample: “Over at GOTCH SEO you can learn search engine optimization.”

Branded anchors are by far the safest as long as your site is not an exact match domain (more on this later). Simply take a look at any big brand and look at the percentages of branded anchors in their link profile.

Here are few examples that you’ll want to follow:

1. Best Buy

Best Buy Anchors

2. Nordstrom


3. WebMD

web md

Generic Anchors

The most “normal” form of anchor text such as:

  • “click here”
  • “go here”
  • “check this site out”

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

Naked Link Anchors

Simply linking back to a website with your URL.



No Anchor Trick

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

Whether purposefully or not, it’s a good idea.

Go back to the previous images under “branded anchors”. You’ll see that these brands have “noText” anchors.

What’s a better way to diversify your anchor profile, then not having ANY words at all?

The easiest way to building “noText” anchors is through images or you can simply “forget” to include an anchor within an article, which will have a similar effect.

Image Anchors

I always throw in image links with every campaign because I think it’s a great way to diversify. Some SEOs claim that the anchor text isn’t counted in images, but in my experience it does count.

Google uses the “ALT” tag as the anchor text in an image.

If you leave this blank, you’ll get a “noText” anchor like I mentioned above.

Brand + Keyword Anchor

This is another great way to stay “safe” and for building a diverse, natural anchor profile.

I’ll use “Gotch SEO” as the brand and my target keyword as “link building”.

The anchor text would look like this:

  • “link building strategies by Gotch SEO”
  • “Gotch SEO link building strategies”

You’re simply combining your target keyword with your brand.

LSI Anchors

“LSI” is the acronym for “Latent Semantic Indexing”.

It really just means variations of your main keyword.

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

  • “what is link building”
  • “building links”
  • “link building example”
  • “define link building”

Finding LSI keywords is super easy. You can either use Google’s suggest options in the search bar, “Searched related to ___” at the bottom of the search results, or for more extensive keywords, you can use the Keyword Planner.

Related Searches Options

Find LSI #1

Google Suggest Options

google suggest

Google Keyword Planner

Find LSI #3

Find LSI #4

Partial-Match Anchors

Partial matches are very similar to LSI’s, but the biggest difference is that you’re making it up as opposed to using Google’s suggestions or using keywords that have search volume.

Here are some examples for target keyword “link building”:

  • “learn about link building”
  • “quality link building guide”
  • “this link building article”

I use partial-match anchors quite a lot because it’s a very natural way of linking to another website.

Long Anchors

Long anchors are really just an extension of partial-match except they are a little longer.

Here are a few examples for “anchor text”:

  • “anchor text is the key to link building”
  • “I used anchor text to get these rankings”

Exact Match Anchors

The king of all anchor text. It has the power to increase your rankings, but also has the power to penalize your website.

To simply put it, an exact match anchor is the exact match of whatever your target keyword is.

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

Co-Occurrence: Build Relevancy Without Exact Match Anchors

Before I jump into percentages, you need to have a firm understanding of co-occurrence. Don’t feel intimidated by this nerdy terminology. It’s actually really simple.

So since you won’t be using a ton of keyword-rich anchor text, you will need a way to create relevancy for your links. I’m not kidding when I say this, I use the co-occurrence technique I’m about to show you, with every single link I build.

Mainly because I try to make every single link relevant even if it isn’t using a keyword-rich anchor or even if it’s on a website with average relevancy to mine.

How can you do this? Very simple.

You’re going to surround your anchor text with your target keyword. Getting the target keyword as close to the anchor as possible is the best, but as you’ll see in the examples, it doesn’t always have to be.

Do what’s natural and don’t try to stuff keywords around your anchor.

Sample #1: Generic Anchor

Target Keyword: “anchor text”
Anchor Text: “go here”

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

Sample #2: Branded Anchor

Target Keyword: “anchor text”
Anchor Text: “Gotch SEO”

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

Sample #3: Naked Link

Target Keyword: “anchor text”
Anchor Text: “”

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

Using the co-occurrence technique is a must for any anchor text including exact match. The greater the relevancy of content surrounding your anchor, the stronger your backlink will be.

This is why I always use super targeted content in my link building campaigns.

Place Your Anchor Text in Super Relevant Content

Below, I’ve given you a few different examples of the types of content I would use for link building purposes. The better the relevancy of your article to your target keyword, the higher you will rank.

Keyword: “anchor text”

Instead of writing a broader article about link building, I would actually write articles specifically about anchor text. The tighter the relevancy of the linking article, the stronger your link.

Keyword: “New York personal injury lawyer”

I would write an article like “How to Find a Reputable Personal Injury Lawyer in New York” instead of a generic article about personal injury.

Keyword: “garcinia cambogia”

Instead of writing an article about health or weight loss, I would write an article like “10 Garcinia Cambogia Scams to Watch Out For”.

Last Word on Co-Occurrence

Surround your links with highly relevant content to increase their power. Google is fully capable of understanding the relevancy of a certain link without you needing to shove hundreds of exact match anchors in its face.

Bringing me to the next very important section where you’ll learn the exact anchor percentages I use with every link building campaign.

Sound good? Keep reading.

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209 thoughts on “The Epic Guide to Anchor Text

  1. Good stuff as always!!

    Here is a good question. Those directory links, where do you point them? Only at the home page or at deeper pages? Not everyone wants to only rank their home page for any given key word.


    1. Thanks for commenting Scott! I link to the homepage and internal pages when possible since many of the directories don’t typically allow it.

      – Gotch

      1. Hi Nathan,

        I Really Enjoying Your Blog Post , Your Blog Post are Really Very Helpful For Me.

        But I Have a Question , Sorry For off Topic.

        Actually I Have a Website and The Website Was Ranking on Their Keywords 2nd and 3rd Page of Google Before One Month.

        Now The Website Lost Ranking and It Showing on 17th Page of Google.Then I Redirect That Domain to Another Domain by 301 Redirect. After Redirecting Some of Keywords Get Their Ranking Back.

        Now My Question is , Making New Backlinks to My Old Domain Can Increase Searching Ranking of My New Redirected Domain OR Should I Make New Links to My New Redirected Domain.

        I Hope You Will Give Me Right Answer. I am Waiting For Your Important Reply.

        1. Hi Verma, sorry to hear about your loss in rankings and thanks for the comment. It really depends if you were penalized for anchor text over-optimization or if you were hit by Panda. I need more details to be able to help you out my friend. Thanks!

        2. Hi Verma, sorry to hear about your loss in rankings and thanks for the comment. It really depends if you were penalized for anchor text over-optimization or if you were hit by Panda. I need more details to be able to help you out my friend. Thanks!

  2. Wow! Wonderful. Finally I got the piece I have been looking since penguin update out. I always concerned about anchor texts, for my website that has been slapped by Google on updates.
    Now I think I can do better with info you provided.

    Thanks Gotch,

      1. You say to use real or made up names….so would mattress store houston be wrong then? When I do a search for my links, my name comes up the most….are you saying I should change it up or stay consistent?

  3. I was really confuse about this. Thank you for making it clear. But only 5% exact match? Is it not little bit short? Waiting for your answer. I want to discuss about few matter’s about my site. Would you like to give me your skype or personal mail that I can contact with you.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Anywhere around 5% is usually all it takes as long as they placed on the right properties. Keep in mind, you’re still using variations of your keyword as well. So in reality, you’re using your keyword about 15% of the time.

    1. Thanks for the comment John. Honestly, I don’t really think about my percentages when linking to my homepage or internal pages because I just do whatever it takes to rank. And also, I only target 1-3 keywords per page on my website. So, my percentages are always super diversified (even though that’s not the intention). I use the 1-3 keyword method because it makes my pages super targeted and easier to rank. If you’re only targeting your homepage with keywords, then you’ll probably want to use at least a 50/50 split.

      – Gotch

  4. Great post I will be using this as a reference to avoid bad anchor diversification.

    Nathan this post got me a bit concerned actually, I create small product review type sites in conjunction with some bigger sites just to earn a little more cash.

    The competition for some of these small review sites is so low I have been ranking them simply using one exact match anchor from a pr1 directory. Simply to give it a little nudge and index it faster.

    However, paid directories seem risky, the link leaves the page within a few days and becomes a useless pr 0 exact anchor directory link that I now have no control over. One of these sites dive bombed and I have no control too see if its the directory to blame or not.

    For future references, for a site I only need one pr 1 exact match anchor to rank, what type of link would you build for that first and only link? And would you make it an exact match anchor or naked url? I feel these sites arent worth using a PR blog link as a simple 2$ directory has been working. Which is why I asked.

    Anyway thanks for article and hopefully response :)

    1. Craig,

      Thanks for the comment. I would never use an exact match anchor for any directory link because Google watches them like a hawk because they were heavily spammed in the past. But, it’s pretty unlikely that your website tanked because of one exact match anchor.

      If I could choose one link to rank a site, I go with a high PR / high domain authority link and I would use an exact match anchor.

      Side note: paid directories are actually great for sending trust to your website as long as you use a branded anchor.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      – Gotch

      1. I have used a similar strategy of a paid directory, it indexes sites fast and you get the pr3 recent boost before the directory drops you off their front page into archives.

        I actually checked a site I used one on and noticed something disturbing.

        Since directories have search boxes, my site listing was coming up on various random searches and I was recieving a link from every results page I was found on.

        In this case the one directory link was giving me 20 referring pages from the same anchor.

        My site was an EMD so now I noticed I have 88% of my anchors are the exact match anchor. The site is small and ranking fine but I fear its sustainability now.

        Just wondering if this is bad Nathan? and if these count as real backlinks since there coming from the same listing via search pages.

        1. Hi Jack, thanks for the comment. Yeah this problem tends to happen with directories. All you need to do is build more links to dilute the anchors, and you’ll be in the clear. EMD’s can be tricky, so make sure you’re tracking the anchor text of every single link you build.

          * EMD tip: whenever I work with EMDs, the first thing I do is build a ton of generic anchors and naked links before using any optimized anchors. That’s what I did in my authority site project because I’m using an EMD for it.

          – Gotch

      2. Hey Nathan thanks for the help.

        I have sent a PR link to a new test site to see if the results will be similar as the directory were. So far they are not, at least in terms of ranking speed, but I will wait and see.

        If in the future in conjunction to a PR link I want to also send a paid directory link to an EMD site to get the fast rankings/trust as I did before, Instead of an Exact anchor and having to be in damage control after, what anchor can I use to get the same effect without the risks?

        Since branded isnt possible for an EMD should I go URL or some other?


        1. Hi Craig,

          Was the PR link contextual, if so, is the article indexed? As far as which anchor to use, the best is always exact match, but it’s dangerous when using directories. Personally, I stick to branded anchors for directories. If it’s an EMD, you’ll probably be fine using the title (your brand). Just make sure you send some other unoptimized, generic anchors to your website just to be safe.

          – Gotch

  5. Hi Nathan thanks for sharing, I wonder if you can please help me out with one or two queries as this is exactly what I have been researching this morning?

    For inner pages on a website, what kind of anchor text do you use and is it safe to use your brand name for inner pages?

    Im still trying to repair our link profile post penguin and so far have got the link anchor text down to 29% by diluting it and building more brand name/author/naked url links etc, what would you do to deduce that?

    1. Thomas,

      thanks for the comment! I sent you an email regarding the queries.

      Building branded links to inner pages is totally fine and I actually encourage it. I do it all the time to dilute anchor text.

      You’re getting super close to getting it down where it needs to be. One trick to get it down quickly is to find a quality website in your niche and get a sitewide link with your brand as the anchor.

      If this is hard to obtain, I would use a high-quality press release service – reason being that you can use about three branded anchors in the article and it will be distributed to tons of websites. This is a more expensive option, but it’s definitely the best.

      If you’re looking for a more affordable option, I would go with dofollow blog comments, social bookmarks, and directory links. All using naked/URL, branded, and generic links. Let me know if you need any of these types of services.

      – Gotch

      1. Thanks for the useful article and response to this question, but it doesn’t quite answer for me one very important question. What anchor text and in what quanitities can be used for inner pages? Should you stick with mostly “brand” anchor text even for inner pages, or is it okay to have a majority of keyword anchor texts for inner pages? For example, if your website is and you have an inner page “” then we may expect that 50-90% of the anchor texts going to that inner page would be “furry mouse” and not “”. Obviously the point is to avoid Penguin penalties for over-optimized anchor text. I have looked all over the internet for an answer to this question, but haven’t found any advice at all about this. Thanks for your input on this.

        1. Hi Geoff, the percentages are the same regardless of whether it’s your homepage or an inner page. Exact match anchors and keyword variations should always be low, and branded, URL, and generic anchors should be high no matter what page you’re building links to. If you take this approach, you’ll not only be safe from penalties, but you’ll also give more weight to your exact match anchor text.

          Let me know if you have any more questions or clarifications. Thanks!

          – Gotch

          1. This doesn’t make sense to me because it doesn’t match with organic linking habits. For example, my website is something like which is a yoga center. I don’t think anyone has ever brand linked to my inner pages about yoga retreats or yoga teacher training. They brand-link the index page, or they use an anchor text such as “yoga retreats” or “yoga retreats at Super Resort” when linking to an inner page of mine such as “” about those subjects. With Penguin, we are told to keep money keyword anchor text to 5% or so. If that was true for inner pages, then nearly every website would get penguin-penalized for the organic links that tend to use keywords as anchor text. I ask this because I have a manual penguin penalty, directed at keywords such as “yoga” and “retreats” which aren’t in my brand name. So, does Google expect me to go and remove/disavow all the good links I have to my inner pages when they are 100% natural organic links, in order to get the Penguin penalty lifted?

          2. Pounding the same page with countless exact match anchors is way more unnatural than building branded, generic, and naked link anchors. Natural “organic link habits” don’t have patterns to their anchor text. Penguin CAN and DOES target inner pages for over-optimized anchor text that’s why the percentages stay true no matter what page you’re building links to.

            Do you have a manual penalty or an algorithmic Penguin penalty? Those are two entirely different things.

            Yes, that’s the route GOOGLE wants you to take. Personally, it’s a dead end street. If you’ve been hit with a penalty, you’re always going to have that history and ranking that site is always going to be difficult.

            Unless you’re really in love with this site, your time is better off building a completely new BRANDED website and focusing on the right linking and anchor text strategies right off the bat (so you don’t get penalized).

            Let me know if you have more questions Geoff and thanks for the comment!

            – Gotch

          3. Hi Nathan,

            I though you said in another article always use your Exact Match anchor text for internal linking as over-optimisation only counts for external links?

            What anchor text’s do I use to link page 1 in silo 1 to page 2, to page 3, to page 4 to homepage?


          4. Hi Fisher, I did say that and it’s still true, but its risk mitigation. It’s not a bad idea to diversify internal anchors. You just don’t need to track them like you would your external links.

  6. Hi Nathan,

    Very helpful article, thanks for writing it.
    The last commenters question was the question I wanted
    to ask.

    Part 2 of that question, when linking to an inner page
    using the url as the anchor,

    do you include the filename as well as part of the
    anchor text


        1. one more thought, all your rules for anchor text/ anchor text percentages, they also apply to inner pages.


  7. Hi Nathan,

    Many people add content to article directories, web 2.0 sites,
    and create youtube videos.

    Are there anchor text rules when trying to rank these 3 types of web properties.

    This is something I’m going to start working on more.


    1. Hi Jeremy,

      yes the anchor text rules are going to be the same no matter what property you’re building links to. You can be more aggressive when link building to web 2.0s and YouTube videos because they are established platforms.

      – Gotch

  8. Great post, this is now my go to reference for anchor text diversification ratios.

    Nathan, this article made me remember something I was uncertain of and you seem like a perfect person to ask.

    I have a page which the primary keyword is like “best blank for blank”, that term gets say 800 searches per month.

    Too my surprise, I started getting a lot more sales recently and noticed that the same page is also ranking for the keyword “blank for blank” which gets a whopping 12,000 searches.

    Atm its in spot 6# for that keyword.

    Just wondering if building anchor texts of “blank for blank” would actually influence my “best blank for blank” page to rank higher in the SERPS when someone types in “blank for blank”?

    Its also to my understanding, a partial anchor, because the “best” is missing, and therefore safer…I think?

    Anyway jw if the words of anchor text from backlinks influence the same words if they are entered into search queries from users? If that makes sense.

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for the comment! Before I answer your questions, just want you to know that I “blanked” out your keywords. Don’t ever reveal your money niche on any Internet marketing site or forum because there are a lot of trolls that will try to piggy back off your success.

      Building exact match anchors for “blank for blank” would influence the ranking of the longer tail version. In this instance, I usually try to dominate the long tail and then naturally the more challenging keyword ends up ranking. Just make sure your title tag is something like “Best Blank for Blank” – and you’ll end up ranking for both without a problem.

      Make sure you focus on diversifying the anchors though. Don’t use a ton of EM anchors. Throw in a lot of variations: “womens blank for blank”, “best womens blank for blank”, etc.

      I’m actually conducting two case studies to test if we even need to use exact match anchors anymore to rank. I’m seeing a lot of results with using variations only, so I’ll keep you posted on that.

  9. that’s a great post ! i loved the idea how you distributed the anchor texts based on the platforms and priority :)

  10. What do you do if your exact match anchor text is too high? My company’s website is at about 7% according to, with 111 links like that. There are even more keyword variations. What do you suggest that I do?

    1. Hi Garit, thanks for the comment. 7% isn’t too bad, but to be safe, you should definitely try to get it well below 5%. You can either dilute your anchors with variations of the primary keyword or just build branded links (which is the safest option). I took at look at your link profile and your exact match anchors are outweighing your branded anchors, and that’s really dangerous / unnatural. About half of your links should be using some sort of variation of your brand / URL.

      Easiest way to decrease your EM anchor percentages is to start submitting your site to traditional directories, business directories, and send out a press release with branded and generic anchored links ONLY.

      Let me know if you need any clarifications and thanks again for the comment!

      – Gotch

  11. Awesome guide Nathan, thanks so much for putting everything all in one place :)

    I wanted to ask a question about keyword anchors for web 2.0’s and yahoo answers. I currently create most of my pages on blogger, yahoo answers and and then I rank those. I was wondering, since I am not promoting a brand, what should I use in it’s place for my 40% of branding anchor text? Also, what is a good number of branding variations to use in a campaign?

    1. Mike, thanks for the comment!

      In this instance, you can just go with naked links (30-40% +) and a ton of generic anchor text like “see my WordPress site” or “go to my blogger blog” etc.

    1. I don’t know exactly what you want to know about posting on forums, but here’s a couple tips: never use commercial anchor text in your forum signatures or profile links. Only use branded or naked URLs. If you’re looking to generate traffic from forums, you have to contribute, provide value to the community, and establish yourself as an authority. There’s no way around this. Forums links are good for diversification, but will never rank you for any keywords.

      1. okey thanks that’s what i wanted to ask so the market that i am working on is not that that competitive there are blogs that get around 50k to 100k unique visitors daily just by blasting exact match anchor text in related forum, and i wanted to take a different approach for my blog using forum to create naked and brand varition and also random anchor texts and use partial match on guest blogs on other forums
        do you think that link from forurms are still safe or not ?

        1. Depends on what you’re looking to do. If you’re looking for short term rankings, then there are way better links than forums links for getting a site to rank quickly. As far as a long-term approach, solely using forum links is not a good strategy.

  12. Hi gotch!!
    I like your blog posts. i visit your blog today by searching in google about backlink building..
    now i am reading all your blog posts.

    Give me the answer of question please!!!

    what is the correct way to build link on web 2.0 ??
    if i build link on “” blogs. (DA: 93 = good)
    so what if a Blog has Low PA and low alexa, and no pr but most relevant
    so what to do ?? should i make backlink from such blog or Panda will kick on ass ??

      1. thanks for Reply..
        another question ??
        how much backlinks we can make on single post (for web 2.0 / article directories).

        and how much backlinks are enough per day ??

          1. Dear sir,
            If i built 3 backlinks per day its mean there is 90 backlinks per month.Is it ranked my website on the specific low competition of search Volume 1000-1500.?
            Thank you

          2. Haris, it’s hard for me to say man. There are a lot of factors other than the quantity of your link building. Are the links high-quality? Are they relevant? Are they contextual? What type of anchor text distribution have you used?

  13. Hi Gotch,

    this is finally a very clear instruction about handling the anchortext. Great! When you do the backlinking, do you use multiple tiers (e.g. for the web2.0s). And if you use a 2nd or even 3rd tier, which kind of anchortext do you use therefor?

  14. What if the keyword your targeting is for example toaster review and your domain is a partial emd

    Do you run the risk of being penalized for keyword anchor over optimization, and having your ranking for toaster review removed by google, if you create many naked backlinks such as or or just toasterreviewed simply because both the naked url and your brand names contains your targeted keyword.

    1. Hi Phillip, thanks for the comment. EMDs and partial match domains are tricky and you can get penalized for over-optimization very easily. The best way to combat this problem is you’re using a PMD, is build a ton of generic anchors. In my experience, you’ll be pretty safe with naked links as well.

    2. Phillip, in my experience you have to be very careful using EMD anchor text. For example, I have a website that’s something like I created too many exact match anchor text links such as “North California Surfing”. They are legitimate links from good, relevant sites, and perhaps only 20 of them, but my site has an algorithmic penalty for that search term “north california surfing”, because probably 70-80% of my total links had this anchor text. So, I have gone back and changed most of them to be raw URL links, and am waiting now around 2 months to see if the penalty disappears. So far it hasn’t. Also, I have another website with a manual penalty that has a similar issue. It’s something like Years ago I created too many anchor texts links such as “yoga retreats” and “yoga teacher training”. We have removed or changed most of the bad links, but have been rejected twice for reconsideration. So that means, Google has so far given us 6 specific examples of the links to our site that it doesn’t like. In all 6 cases, the example links were ones such as “yoga retreats” or “yoga teacher training” that didn’t contain our brand. We also have many links with anchor texts such as “sooper yoga retreats”, “sooper yoga resort”, “sooper yoga teacher training” and these “mixed brand” links have never been used by Google as an example of a bad link to us. So, I feel that Google is much more flexible with the branded links. Also, I should mention that none of their examples have ever been deep links such as to our pages like, even though we have many anchor text links with “yoga retreats” as deep links. All six examples were to our index page.

  15. Hi Gotch,

    I did not understand that point

    (High-Quality: High PR Links: exact match, keyword variations)

    what you mean high pr link.

    from article directories, guest posting, wikis ??
    we can get High pr links from these Plat forms ????

    1. He means private blog networks
      the point is that you’ll place the exact match in you most valuable links

      and also i have a question for you Gotch
      please do tell me if you think that this is a good idea and won’t get me penalized
      i will try to rank for a keyword in my own language for blogger templates
      and i will place a link in the footer with my brand name

  16. Useful info. Fortunate me I found your web site by accident, and I am shocked why this coincidence did not happened
    in advance! I bookmarked it.

  17. Very good tips but from long time i confuse about LSI keywords, i understand that i should not use the same keyword many times on my website and i actually use different keywords but what should i do if the text was look like keyword and if i change it, that will destroy the article?

  18. Dear sir,
    I write 3 articles on web 2.0 websites.And i used this type of ancher diversity
    small dog cage is my exact keyword
    I used small dogs cage point to my homepage and small doggy cage to authority website such as wikipedia.In the same way i used small dog cage point to subpage of my website and another link of ancher text small dog crate to amazon
    In short i didn’t used exact match keyword but i used related words. But my exact match keyword is small dog cage.Is it good anchor tect diversity?
    Reply as soon as possible
    Thank you

    *** I removed your keywords to protect your niche. I replaced them with sample keywords so other people can still learn from your comment

    1. Haris, your anchor diversity is good. Just make sure you aren’t targeting two pages on your site for the same keyword and also make sure you throw in generic and branded anchor text.

      1. I don’t understand what do you want to say in these lines”also know you are throw in generic and brand name ancher text
        Thank you

          1. Dear sir,
            Thanks for this valuable information.
            But there is one request with you that you give us the excel sheet which contain links and search terms,a great work.Kindly also make a 30 days schedule in which every day you tell what we have to do..where to post with some suggestion and tips so that all the readers used excel more favourable.Thiscan be possible in ebook.Please sir this is a request to you
            Reply as soon as possible
            Thank you

  19. Hi Nathan

    Excellent article and I can confirm that the keyword anchor text percentages you mention are about right based on my experience with our customers.

  20. Hi Gotch! Just finishing my first backlink audit and wasn’t sure about disavowing two sites that have dozens of backlinks to us:

    1) a legit or trusted site? It looks like a Chinese search engine and we have about 50 links pointing back from it. Moz gives it a Domain Authority around 55 but it looks spammy

    2) Is worth disavowing? Our niche is essential oils and we have dozens of backlinks from different pages pointing back to us from all sorts of foreign language pages. So on the one hand, the relevancy seems good, but on the other hand the site looks old, has low Moz domain authority (22) and the foreign language aspect seems like a negative.

    1. Hi Garit, thanks for the comment.

      1) That’s a tough one and it will probably be hard to get those links actually removed. I doubt it’s hurting you unless there are exact match anchors.

      2) Personally, I think disavowing is a waste of time. If your site is penalized, then you’re always going to have that baggage on the site and it will still be hard to rank. It’s easier to rank a brand new website than it is to recover a penalized domain.

  21. This is of great help. I have been slapped with the Penguin twice even after i diluted my anchor text. But now I have a strategy to look forward to without fear. Thanks for the great info.

  22. Hey Nathan whats up! I was wondering I’m working on a few inner pages right now and was wondering , my brand percent is the highest at 30% right now at the moment and main keyword is 12% and generics are still a small percent. How can i dilute that main keyword some more, Like what kinds of platforms can i build generics with. Are do follow blog comments safe to point at money site or what would you recommend thank you!!

  23. It is refeshing to find someone who is not afraid of the much maligned web directory links. I own a couple dozen directories and am so sick of link removal requests that i considered shutting some of them down. It has been my impression as well that the directories themselves that are the problem, but the anchor texts (done mostly pre-penguin) that are to blame.

    1. Steve, thanks for the comment. I love directories :) – perfect for building branded anchor text. Anchor text is almost ALWAYS the problem, not the links. You’re on point with that.

      – Gotch

  24. Hey Nathan! thanks for the awesome post! I am having problems pillowing my site, I have a day job and really dont have time to learn GSA or similar tools. Getting someone to do it can be expensive in the longrun. All I can think of now is using just web 2.0 accounts only for diversifying my anchor. Is it ok to just use web 2.0 ? or will it be allot better if I also build tier 2 and tier 3 ? Can you recommend me the best option for diversity ? Thanks :)

    1. Hi Max, thank you for the comment. In all honesty, pretty much anything works for pillowing because it’s very unlikely that you would get penalized for using unoptimized anchor text. I typically use web 2.0s, article directories, social bookmarks, web directories, blog comments, and press releases to dilute anchor text. Like I said, pretty much anything lol

      Note: I would avoid using GSA on tier one unless you’re trying to churn and burn, which isn’t really working anymore with GSA.

  25. Hi Nathan I like your post here, its a great job ur doing helping ppl out. I highly recommend to anyone here to follow ur advise and strategy. I was wondering and I know your very busy here!!! Would it be possible to get some advice from you? I have been doing seo for around 5+ years and im always looking for like minded people to share ideas will it be possible for you to perhaps email me and have a skype chat?

  26. Hi Nathan

    thanks one more time for value information about anchor link building,i would like to ask you when check my %anchor into the tool as ahref,which % anchor have i look?The anchor % from referring domains or anchor for referring pages?

    If i look the %anchor for referring pages is bigger percent as referring domains because i see that i take a couple of links for 1 website tha grow the anchor% from referring pages


  27. Hello Gotch.

    Please tell me what “Brand Name Anchors” is and give me some examples of “Brand Name Anchors”

    Thank you very much!

  28. Thank you Nathan, you are a legend.

    even SEO gurus wont put up all of these amount of information for free. they would rather sell it as WSO on warrior.

    I have some questions, I hope you wont mind to answer.
    do you link out to authority sites or relevant sites from each blog post?
    is it mandatory to link out from each post ?

    Do you offer online consultation? if you do, how can we contact you?

    1. Niz, thank you for the kind words and the comment :)

      If you’re trying to rank a page, then linking out is a good idea because it makes your blog post appear to be a resource. If you’re talking about in guest posts or with private blog network posts, it’s also good because it reduces footprints and also makes the linking article appear to be resources.

      You can use my contact page:


      – Gotch

    1. Damien, thanks for the comment and good question. Back in day, it would have been a waste, but thanks to co-occurence, Google can now give credit / understand a link without you needing to use a keyword-rich anchor. That’s why it is critical that the content surrounding your anchor is highly relevant.

  29. I’ve got a tricky question. If I use competition’s name or/and domain name as anchor text, will I be penalized as soon as big G finds such link ?

      1. I’m all the time afraid that’s a real gray zone, as checking if anchor is a domain name and corresponds to href value is a very simple task.
        From the other hand, G search engine seems to cut off the TLD, and just consider the raw domain name in SERPs.
        If I had enough time to give a real shot on this ….

  30. Hi Nathan

    Just i have finished Anchor text Bible and already feel stronger,thank you.

    I would like to ask you 3 questions…a) when distribute my anchor in a local market,specific in a Greek Local Market for a new site(eg this site have greek content),could i use branded and naked links from properties you recommended or i have to use only greek properties?(greek directories,Greek blogs etc)

    b)As phrase and exact anchor i use Greek properties with Greek content (pbns,web2.0)
    For Tier 2 links(link to tier1 greek content) can i use English content?

    c)Could i buy expired com domains and use them with Greek content as Tier 1 in local market?


    1. Dimitris, that makes me really happy to hear!

      a) it definitely ideal to have links from Greek properties with the .gr extensions, but the .com, .net, etc. extensions will help as well. You should focus your efforts on getting .gr links if you’re trying to rank for cities within Greece.
      b) Once again, Greek would be best, but English will work as well. Google can understand both
      c) You SHOULD do this

      – Gotch

  31. Hello Gotch.
    Thank you for this article.

    You said that you’re using Web Directories and Article Directories for link building.
    Are these Web Directories and Article Directories good for link building? Really?

    I will start to use them, but tell me some suggestions, PLEASE. 😀


  32. Excellent article! I did not pay much attention to keyword diversification after the Penguin update, that may be the reason some of my sites are messed up. Well, I will try to implement the concept presented throughout your post. Thanks for opening my eyes on that.

  33. Much appreciated for your excellent guide on the strategy that you use for diversifying anchors when building links.
    Thanks Nathan, sincerely mean it.

    Could I please ask though:

    What is the treatment of links made with no textual content, just with an image, for example most of the directories in my niche have link banners made up of simply an image wrapped in a link to your site?

    To make myself clear, is this guide 50% brand – 20% url – 20% generic – 5% LSI – 5% EMA using percentages of just the links which have textual anchors? Is it independent of image links?

    The problem I am facing is that different SEO programmes use different methods to work out % shares of anchors in backlinks, some don’t count the image links, whereas others such as ahrefs include image links with no text, listing something like .

    I am trying to help my client’s site to have a more natural link profile since we got hit hard by penguin back in October 2013. Two different SEOs and they still haven’t addressed the issue of getting the EMA down to a low level.

    So using spyglass software I’m getting a list of all the site’s links, then trying to work out how many generic or naked urls will be needed to bring EMA % share of anchors down. I’m getting stuck on whether to have the no text/ image links in my analysis.

    I suppose the answer lies in how Google would treat the image links. Whether it would include this links when calculating the percentage of EMA% anchors or would it just solely look at all the non-empty text based anchors?

    Again, I appreciate your assistance, I haven’t found a good post such as yours anywhere, thanks and god bless.

    1. Dan, thanks for the comment!

      Google uses the ALT tag for the anchor text in images. Images are included within those percentages. If you have over-optimized image anchor text, then just change them to branded or delete them all together.

      Hope that makes sense,

      – Gotch

      1. Thanks Nathan, so this naturally leads me to ask: how would empty Alt tags be treated in the construction of models that monitor the distribution of links among the categories BRAND / URL / GENERIC / LSI / EMA ?

  34. I’m sorry Nathan, I didn’t mean to put any link in my first comment/question. I was trying to say how ahrefs list images when they list the anchor phrases. I’m sorry for causing you any trouble for that, I just saw my comment, and the whole of the bottom part was a link, as I was trying to say *code*a* no text *end code*.

    Sorry once again, as you can probably tell I don’t comment much on sites, hence made a beginner mistake!



  35. Hi Nathan, I have a question about branded anchor text. What if your brand contains your main keyword? For example, “Best Main Keyword Guide”. So, it’s basically a keyword variation or will Google recognize this as a brand? If not, would you suggest replacing branded anchor text with naked urls and generic anchors?

    1. Hi Sean, thanks for the comment! What you’re saying would be considered a partial match domain/brand and so you would need to be careful. With any exact or partial match domain, you need to alter the percentages and throw in more generic and naked link anchor text

  36. Hey, i am a regular reader and learn lots of seo stuff through your blog. Can you also help us to know how much anchor text percentage can we use on churn and burn campaign to get more effective results.

  37. Gotch SEO is right on the money. I’ve used this strategy on some incredibly hard keywords 400.000 + searches a month and it works!

  38. Great article! I have a question about anchor percents. You haven’t written anything about partial match domains where main anchor is for example: “Internet Marketing” and domain is for example or I am afraid that using 40-50% brand name anchors can get penalty for main keyword: Internet Marketing. What do you think about it?

  39. Hey Gotch, I’ve been following your blog and I’m really impressed with all the tips and advices that you’ve shared with your readers.
    I’ve been testing this strategy on one of my moneysite (drip feed links with only branded, partial & long tail anchor text over a month) and I’ve noticed some improvement in rankings although I never put exact match anchor (however KW with MS> 2k still N/A). I will put 5-10 “PBN” links with exact match anchor to see the effects next week.

    I’ve some questions here,

    I’ve noticed that if you build web 2.0s as your tier 1 links, it rarely shows up in Majestic and Ahrefs. Do you noticed that as well? Or maybe I’ve done something wrong? This makes it difficult for me to check my anchor text ratio.. Don’t recommend me to use Webmaster Tools since I hate them! (LOL) and I’m a bit skeptical using WMT on my site. I believe Google can spy any BlackH/GreyH activities on your site.

    Another thing is, I’ve thinking of a new strategy to save my site in case someone “negative SEO’d” my site (and at the same time help them ranking strongly). Do you mind emailing me your contact so that I can discuss with you on this? I really want to hear some advices/recommendations from someone who have lot of experience in SEO.


  40. Hi Gotch.
    I wondered if you would place more than 1 link to the site your trying to rank from a PBN article. i.e. if in the article you linked to the site from 1. partial match anchor 2. Naked URL and 3. Link an image ?

    And wound this count as 3 links? (in terms of tracking anchor text percentages)

    Thanks so much.
    I find you blog really helpful and precise!

    1. Peter, thanks for the comment!

      I actually do this pretty frequently. I use my best anchor text first and will use the next 1-2 to dilute. It works very well. I just wouldn’t link out three times to the same page very often from the same PBN article because it could be a footprint – mix it up

      – Gotch

  41. It’s still an excellent article, Gotch! This guide is “epic”. It’s true. I’ve ever read your Anchor-text to defeat hostile Penguins months ago. This newest article is best of the best. Thanks man for contributing to the community such a perfect guide.

  42. Hi there,

    Great stuff… i know that anchor text are important but don’t know how can I manipulate them. Thanks for the great article. I have subscribe your blog please keep posting such a useful content.

  43. Regarding trying to recover from over optimized anchor text, it looks like all the solutions to fix the problem that you mention in the article would involve spam (press releases less so, but still not exactly high quality). You don’t think that by ‘solving’ your anchor text problem, you could be creating a bad backlink profile problem?

    1. Tyson,

      We’ve actually refined our dilution strategy, but didn’t have a chance to update the post. It’s updated now, so take a look. Thanks for the comment and logical analysis :)

  44. Hi Nathan,

    This is a very interesting one. I got my site hit by a “was previously” cute birdie, Penguin 3.0. I already used exact match keywords for directories and Press Releases. Do you think it’s a good idea to resubmit for article directories and press releases in the right way to dilute anchor text?

    Already submitted some of the bad links, but do you think I should disavow all these “wrong” Press Releases and article directories?

    Many thanks

    1. Lisa, thanks for the comment and sorry to hear about your troubles.

      I updated the section on penalty recovery which will help. For this scenario, I would try to change the keyword-rich anchors on the directories to branded anchors. Most press releases are NoFollow and will be a challenge to get removed. I would just send out another press release with unoptimized anchors while building the other links I mentioned in the updated section.

      Let me know if you have more questions. Thanks!

      1. Hey Nathan, what is your opinion on using the same sites over and over again to dilute different pages on your site?

        For instance, I have 4 pages I want to rank on my site. If I use 1 press release targeting two pages, can I use a second press release, which will have links from the same sites, for the other two pages? What about profiles, bookmarks, and web 2.0’s? Does this become a red flag?

        I hope you see what I am getting at here. I don’t want to just rank a single page :)

        1. Hey Robert, thanks for the question and comment – if the press release is hitting different pages each time, then it will be fine. If possible, you should try to get as many different unique IPs

  45. Really Interesting article on Anchor Text and one of the best I have ever read. It took me almost more than 2 hrs. to read the whole article.
    This should be an Ebook instead of a Blog article.
    Thank you

  46. Really insightful post. I’ve not long launched my first website (just over a year ago) and never really thought too much about varying my anchor text. I suppose the way I post has always been quite natural, which in some ways may work in my favour, but it may have prevented me from ranking much higher. This has really opened my eyes about how anchor text can benefit my rankings – or completely ruin my website.

    Thanks for sharing and I’ll be sure to check back soon.

  47. Thanks for the post, very useful! One question, when you mention %1 exact match etc are you referring to referring domains or total backlinks for the percentages?

    Best regards

  48. Hi Nathan
    Im halfway through Your post but I can wait to ask this about:
    Section III
    Anchor Text Percentages
    Thing is Ive submited my website to directories, and for title I used long anchors, 5-7 words describing my service.
    It wasnt my intent becouse when I was submiting I didnt know so much about anchors, I was writting something that will describe service I offer so now I have 5 long anchors variatins (among other links ofcourse):
    1. Variation 9%
    2. Variation 5%
    3. Variation 2%
    4. Variation 2%
    5. Variation 2%
    (total 20%)

    Rest of links are:
    24 % Generic Anchors
    36% Naked Links
    4% no anchor
    16 % brand name

    I know its not all about anchor text, but also where they come from.
    I removed some of direcotry links and Im using ahrefs to check my links (I think links are still in ahrefs anchor cloud becouse of ahrefs “memory effect” when showing links) but anyway just by looking at my link profile as it is (never mind ahrefs “memory effect” ) what is Your advice?
    Im confused about Long Anchors and if google treat them as Exact Match Anchors?

    1. Filip,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s only an exact match anchor if it exactly matches the keyword in your title tag on-site. From what you’re describing, your “long” anchor will is really just a variation. In the future, you should only use branded anchor text for directory links and keep your keyword-based anchors for your most powerful links.

      – Gotch

  49. Hey Gotch!

    Awesome free content you have here Im learning a TON from this website. Quick question looking at my domain URL would you consider it a PMD or EMD? Also I noticed you put percentages to follow for EMD’s but what are the percentage guidelines to follow for a PMD like mine?

    1. Aaron,

      thanks for the comment and I’m really happy you’re learning from my content! As far as your domain name, it’s in-between an EMD and PMD because you’re technically targeting two different keywords within the URL. A PMD would have more filler words, so you’re domain is definitely leaning towards exact match. The percentages are going to be pretty much the same for both EMD and PMD because it’s very easy to over-optimize if you’re careful.

      – Gotch

  50. Hello, After reading your post, I am very glad that today i learn many things in Anchor Text, and hope it is very useful and apply same techniques which you taught in this Article…..
    You are doing an Awesome Job….
    Can you tell me one thing: How many Anchor Text Keyword’s with variances i can in keep in my home page and what is the percentage of that, I am also asking the inner Pages, Anchor Text Strategy. what is the percentage between home page and Inner pages Anchor Text. Please guide me as much as you Can..

    Many Thanks…

  51. Hey Nathan,

    thanks for this amazing guide! However I have a really specific question. In your articel you differntiate between EMDs and PMDs. Unfortunatley I could not find anything about the ankertext distribution for PMDs. For example I have a domain name like this:
    Now I want to rank for bobby car in general and also for bobby car test. However with a Partial Match Domain I should be careful that I do not overoptimize so I cannot just use a naked link since my domain contains bobbycar, is that correct? Now I wonder how you would distribute the ankertext for such a domain. Furthermore I wonder if I can also overoptimize when I use naked links quite often? For example if I link to I will have 2x Bobbycar in my Ankertext, does this matte or is this already overoptimized towards bobbycar?

    Could you please let me know how you would deal with such a specific case? Would you stick to the following ankertext distribution? Or would you decrease the precentage of naked links and increase the percentage of generic ankertext?

    Branded / Exact Match Anchors: 1-5%
    LSI: 5%
    Partial Match: 5%
    Generic: 40%
    Naked Links: 40%

    Thanks for your help,


    1. Lukas,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      The anchor text percentages will resemble an EMD, so you’ll want to have high percentages of generic anchor text and naked links. This will keep you safe from over-optimization

  52. Hi Nathan,

    First of all, many thanks for this epic post!

    I’m writing up a press release to promote a new website. I’m using four links. One naked URL and one branded link to the home page.

    The other two links are for two separate internal pages. For these I was going to use exact keyword anchor text, but after reading your guide, I’ve changed my mind to brand + keyword anchor.

    As an example, with “blue widgets review” and “how to sell pink widgets” being the target keywords, the anchor texts would read “blue widgets review by” and “How to sell pink widgets article on”.

    Would you recommend this.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Sean O

  53. Thank you for the post. That’s a very good article. But still I have a question about anchor text, if you don’t mind.

    For example, I optimize my site for keyword “curling iron” and other synonyms like, “curly hair plate”, “professional curling iron”, “professional curly hair plate” “curly hair machine” “iron wave”, and so on, and all these keywords point to the same link address: Could I use three of these keywords as anchor text in an article with about 300 words? Could there be a problem using same link for different keywords in one article?

    I look forward to your reply in this regard.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the comment Gabriel!

      You can definitely use those keywords as anchors, but I would create a unique article each time. Don’t link to the target page more than once from the same article, and you should consider using longer content for your backlinks. It makes a big difference.

  54. Is shared hosting ok for a private blog network? I’ve been debating between different packages and am I trying to identify the most cost efficient method. For example, if I’m building a PBN of 5 different blogs, would I choose 5 different hosting providers for all 5 of them and would these need dedicated ip’s? Or could I use one hosting package on a shared server with a reputable provider? Or for a third option could I create 5 different shared hosting packages with the same provider?

    Additionally, when it comes to building links to PBN’s should I follow the same rules as linking to my main site? Or can I use a tiered linking system with a network of web 2.0’s supported by tools like FCS Networker and GSA?

    I’d appreciate any advice you can provide as this is my first foray into SEO.

    1. Nick,

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, shared hosting is okay for ONE domain. You should have separate hosting for every domain in your network. You wouldn’t need dedicated IPs if you’re using new hosts every time because each one is going to give you a unique IP. As far as tier two links, you can follow the strategies in my post and you’ll increase the authority of your domains even further.

      – Gotch

      1. For simplicity I guess I was thinking of hosting all the blogs on the same provider such as bluehost or hostgator but creating a different hosting plan for each of them. Essentially paying for 5 different hosting plans but all under the same provider. Do you think this would cause issues? I’ve heard of issues with C blocks being heavily reused with certain hosts.

  55. Hi I wanted to get your feedback on this article at this site . The author is saying that you should avoid using bot blockers like Spyder Spanker or using robot.txt for your PBNs because doing so leaves a big footprint and then shows a simple process of how to find PBN sites that are using bot blockers saying that with this reverse engineering anyone could uncover a person’s whole network of PBN’s this way. He’s saying that the bot blockers put your PBN at risk and makes them an easy target for Google. What are your thoughts about the things he brings up in his article? If you don’t have a bot blocker then your site will show up in Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, etc. In light of the issues he raises, what do you suggest?

    1. Hi Michael, I actually agree with him. Anything that causes a footprint could compromise your network. If you create quality niche relevant network sites, then your competitors won’t even be able to tell the difference. If you want to throw off your competition, then just block 50% of your sites and leave the blocker off the other 50%, but make them premium quality.

      – Gotch

  56. Hey Nathan
    thank you for this amazing guide. I have a really specific question.

    I have two sites that had been penalized almost a year ago. I never found any messages in the webmaster’s area so I can only guess it was an algorithm triggered penalty. When those sites got penalized my first reaction was to delete the 2 domains (PBN) that had all off the 25,000+ exact match backlinks pointing to these sites but then I decided it wasn’t worth to wait for the ban to be lifted so I went ahead and made a third one to start fresh but with a more careful strategy. My third site is currently at the bottom places of page1 results for my targeted keywords in a very competitive niche.

    It’s now 3-4 days that the two first sites that had been penalized are back on the serps at pages 3 and 4 for the same targeted keywords (all three sites are of the same niche) so I suppose the ban has finally been lifted. What do you advice me to do?

    a) 301 redirect the two old sites to the new one
    b) place 2 or 3 naked anchor links on each one of the old sites pointing to the new
    c) place 2 or 3 naked anchor NoFollow links on each one of the old sites pointing to the new
    d) do nothing as they may put the new site in trouble.

    Thanking you in advance,

  57. Nathan, the title didn’t disappoint for sure! I’ve read a lot of articles on anchor text over the years, your’s is by FAR the best. Appreciate all the hard work and time you put into this one. It’s actually my first time here. Taken a lot away from your article. Impressive!!

      1. In your 9 link rotation breakdown, that looks like it is repeating a pattern that is more or less equally distributed vs matching up to the ratios you specified earlier?

  58. I just had to say that this a a great article. I have a website that while, it ranks “ok” it just never seems to get into the top 3 and I am thinking that the information you have here will help me fix that.

    thanks for sharing

  59. hi,
    is the guidelines in this article applicable for internal-linking? the web site that i responsible for in company take account on internal linking. for example is it OK to use branded anchor link about 50 percent in a page?

  60. Hi Nathan Gotch

    I always read your each blog very carefully and can know something new. I have a SEO firm and working for some of my clients. I always do implementation of your strategies for each of my client. But I have a question to know and the question is:

    How can i get power link is not clear to me ? Could you show some sample links and the exact way to get power link ?


  61. Absolutely great article. 2 questions:
    1) Any tools/services you’d suggest for anchor text diluting? I’ve used Social Adr, but maybe there’s anything better?
    2) Any press release service you’d recommend?

  62. Hi,

    I have couple question that confused me;

    -Manual link building is doing everything by yourself right? (Not using any tool)
    That is what you’re doing right? But if you’re doing everything by yourself how are you enable to make it like this:


    Branded / Exact Match Anchors: 1-5%
    LSI: 5%
    Partial Match: 5%
    Generic: 40%
    Naked Links: 40%

    Making something like this is possible with GSA SER, but manual?? Because you said you’re not using GSA SER for tier one right?

    – Is it okay to use for tier one Web 2.0 / Wiki’s

    – Do you need to have 100+ tier one links or can it also be maybe 10+ high-/quality links?

    Sorry I’m dutch it’s possible that you already answered all those question in your article but it takes some time to really understand it.

    Thanks for making this great article.

    1. Mark,

      Thank you for the comment. All of the link building we do is manual and we’re able to keep the percentages accurate because we keep track of our anchor text distribution. We don’t build a ton of links, so it’s very easy to keep track. Using GSA on tier one is a death wish and it’s way better to use RELEVANT and authoritative links over hundreds of low-quality / easy-to-acquire backlinks. Let me know if you have any other questions Mark

  63. Gotch,
    Thanks for your blog and I’m reading this for may be fifth time to understand all of it :)
    3 questions:
    1. You mentioned about 100 back links is enough for low-medium niche. Does it include just the Power Links or all inclusive?
    2. How many times it is okay to link from the same source? If one per source, I would need 100 sources – just making sure.
    3. Is it okay to use automatic tools ( Ulitmate Demon, GSA Ranker ) etc?
    Appreciate your answer.

    1. Zee,

      Thanks for the comment.

      1. Every niche is different and it also depends on the quality of the links you’re acquiring. Higher quality and relevancy = less quantity need
      2. You typically don’t want more than 3 or so links from the same IP / domain because it will dilute the effectiveness.
      3. They can help you on the tier two and tier three level if you know how to use them. Just be smart and test your strategies on a dummy site first

  64. Wow, I am impressed. This is truly exhaustive. I just wrote a guide about link attributes. I was going to do a long section on the penguin update and how it affected link anchors but I found your guide and realised there was no way I could match this. I also shared this on my twitter. Kudos this guide must have taken a long time to write.

  65. Hi Nathan,

    Just discovered your blog and I’m amazed by the info I can learn here. Your anchor text post is the best I’ve found anywhere on the web. I’ll be tuning in from now on.



  66. Hi Gotch, fantastic article! I’ve read it several times and will probably read it a few more :)

    I’ve got a question about one of the things you talked about in the area of keyword dilution. I have a new site (about a month old) that I set up unknowingly the old school way (7 articles around a topic, where 4 of the articles are all built and keyworded around the same product name, ie Article 1 “product name”, Article 2 “product name review”, Article 3 “product name ebook”, Article 4 “product name pdf”) So now I know this is the wrong approach but how should I fix it without angering the mighty G? Is it safe to just 301 redirect each of the 3 product name articles back to the main product name article or should I remove the 3 articles (they’ve been indexed) all together?

    Thanks so much!

  67. Epic article, i don’t think there will be an article of this sort ever published to describe Anchor Text, this article can teach about Anchor Text to a toddler!

      1. HI Nathan,

        Thank you for providing such clear, concise, and actual to do marketing tips. I really appreciate it. I am curious regarding your thoughts on why your blog post all start with a content section. I guess my take is that you do it for two reason but could be wrong.

        1) Obviously the content section is very valuable for your readers and allows them to navigate through your blog post. So it adds tremendous value to readers.
        2) From an internal linking standpoint this helps you in a number of ways. From creating high quality relevant internal links.

        Those are my thoughts and I might be over thinking this but I would love to hear your view on the question.


  68. Hi Nathan,
    First I’m a huge fan and this article is amazing!
    I have 2 questions please
    1. how come some sites get away with over 30% and sometimes 50% exact match keyword on non EMD domain?
    2. do you think this diversification should be used for building external linking to inner pages like product or category page or I can use more exact matches?

    Thanks a Lot!

    1. Hi Tommy,

      Thank you for the comment

      1. Sites get away with all kinds of things they shouldn’t, but that’s the game. Using 50% EMD anchor text is asking for a Penguin penalty.
      2. Using exact match anchor on internal links are fine, but it doesn’t hurt to diversify

  69. Hi Nathan, awesome information !

    1. I have a question about the Exact Match anchor ! Like you said : we need to use only once to rank and Partial Match, LSI around 5% this sound good but now let’s go back to what another persons said to don’t optimize any anchor text : ” don’t optimize anchor texts. I’ve seen optimized anchor texts ruin a site’s SEO through gradual algorithmic penalization.” They said to use only Naked anchor and Branded anchors ! What do you think ?

    2. I also have another question : where we will need to use the exact match anchor ? Will be good if I will use on a WEB2.0 ? You said isn’t good to use on a GUEST POST but will be good to use on a PBN link, why ? Guest posts are the same with PBN the difference is the PBN are private and guest posts are public ! So please tell me where I will need to use this exact match anchor because I’m thinking to buy some powerfull guest posts and I don’t know what to do with exact match anchor !

    3. I have another question but will be more good if I will give to you an example : let’s say I will have 25 powerfull GUEST POSTS and 20 WEB2.0 (where I will add TIER 2), so in total 45 links. What you will do ? You will use the all links with LSI,PARTIAL MATCH and 1 or 2 with exact match anchor and then will do the diversity anchor text with some directories , social bookmarks etc or you will use only 6 from this links (1 exact match, 5 LSI,PARTIAL MATCH) ? I want to say you will won’t lose your power if you will make the 39 links with BRAND,NAKED,GENERIC ?

    What you will do in this case with all 45 links? If you have another suggestion I will be happy to listen you !

    Thank you :)

  70. I already do most of them but link through image without anchor is great idea. If i have Brand Name Ali Recover Reading and my keyword is Recovery Reading it it good or bad idea to have ALI RECOVERY READING as anchor text 30% ?

  71. Hi Nathan, thanks as always for the great content. Two quick questions – I am following your suggestion with press release distrib for anchor text diversity. Do you have a recommended provider (fiverr or elsewhere) for press release submission? Also, I am trying to get some links in my niche (tattoo removal/beauty) – do you have a reputable link broker you can recommend? Rick

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