Most businesses understand the importance of link-building as part of an effective SEO strategy. But many don’t realize that the words you choose for your links, aka “anchor text,” is just as important as the links themselves.
The ratio of anchored versus unanchored text links (often called “naked” links) is a critical ranking factor for Google. That’s because it’s a strong indicator of the site’s quality and relevancy.
If, for example, a site has mostly unanchored links (like “click here” or “read more”), that’s a red flag for Google. It suggests that the site might be engaging in link spamming or other black-hat SEO practices. On the other hand, if a site has a healthy ratio of anchored links (text that includes keywords related to the linked-to site), that’s a good sign. It suggests that the site is being linked to because it’s relevant and informative – not because it’s trying to game the system.
So what’s the ideal anchor text ratio? How do you know if you have too many or too few anchored links?
What Is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the clickable part of a link. It’s the visible text that appears on a web page, usually highlighted in some way (like blue and underlined).
Here’s an example of anchor text:
As you can see, the anchor text in this example is “SEO Vendor’s CORE AI.”
Anchor text can be a single word, a phrase, or even a sentence. It’s up to the person creating the link to decide what anchor text to use.
What Is the Importance of Anchor Text In SEO?
Anchor text is essential for SEO because it’s one of the few elements on a web page that allows Google to infer what a linked-to page is about.
Remember, Google’s algorithms are designed to crawl and index web pages – not to read them as a human would. That means they rely heavily on cues like anchor text to determine the meaning and relevancy of a linked-to page.
If, for example, you have a page about “SEO Services” and link to it using the anchor text “Click here to learn more about our SEO Services,” that’s a strong cue for Google that your linked-to page is about SEO Services.
On the other hand, if you link to the same page using the anchor text “Read our latest blog post,” Google will have a harder time understanding what that linked-to page is about. In this case, it might use other cues like the title of the linked-to page or the surrounding context to infer the meaning.
In addition to helping Google understand the relevancy of a linked-to page, anchor text is also a strong indicator of the quality of a link.
Anchor Text Ratio: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
As we mentioned, the anchor text ratio is the number of anchored links versus unanchored links on a page.
For instance, let’s say a page has a total of nine links. Four of those nine links are anchored, and five are unanchored (naked links). That means the anchor text ratio for this page is 4:5, or four anchored links for every five unanchored links.
So what’s the ideal anchor text ratio? Unfortunately, there’s no magic number.
SEO experts differ on what constitutes a “healthy” anchor text ratio. And the truth is, it can vary depending on your site type and the nature of your links.
For instance, if you have a blog, it’s perfectly normal to have more unanchored links than anchored links. That’s because most blog posts will have links to other pages on the site (like the homepage or a category page) without any anchor text.
In general, it’s a good idea to have more anchored links than unanchored ones. That’s because anchored links are more specific and informative, and they help Google understand the relevancy of the linked-to page. It’s also worth noting that the ideal anchor text ratio can vary depending on the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
3 Main Categories for Anchor Texts
Anchor text can broadly be divided into three categories. These are:
1. Blended or Mixed Anchors
Blended or mixed anchors are the most common type of anchor text. They include a mix of keywords, brand names, and generic terms like “click here” or “read more.”
For example, a blended anchor text might look like this: “If you’re looking for a great SEO company, be sure to check out ours.”
2. Exact Match Anchors
Exact match anchors include the exact keyword you’re trying to rank for.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “red shoes,” your exact match anchor text might look like this: “If you’re looking for red shoes, be sure to check out ours.”
A Note On Exact Match Anchor Text
In the past, it was common for SEOs to use what’s known as “exact match anchor text.” This is when the anchor text of a link exactly matches the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
For instance, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “red shoes,” your anchor text might be something like “click here to buy red shoes.”
While this used to be an effective SEO tactic, it’s no longer as useful as it once was. That’s because Google has gotten better at understanding the context of a link, and it now penalizes sites that use too much exact match anchor text.
3. Partial Match Anchors
Partial match anchors are anchors that include the partial keyword you’re trying to rank for.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “red shoes,” your partial match anchor text might look like this: “If you’re looking for shoes in any color, be sure to check out ours.”
Remember, to build a backlink profile that matches top-ranking sites in your industry; you need a mix of all 3 types of anchor text links.
How to Optimize Your Anchor Text Ratio?
There is a common misconception that you need to have a certain percentage of keyword-rich anchor text links pointing to your site in order to rank well. Many also believe that it is fine to have a common anchor text ratio for all your pages.
However, this is not the case. Since the anchor text ratio can vary depending on your site type and the nature of your links, there is no magic number.
Anchor Text Ratio for Homepage
The homepage is the most important place to develop the right anchor text ratio. In general, for homepage SEO, this is how your backlink profile should look like:
- Brand, Natural, and URL Anchors: 80-95%
- Blended Or Mixed Anchors: Up to 10%
- Exact Anchors: Up to 5%
It is advised that up to 95% of your anchors for your homepage should include your brand name or some form of your website URL. This is because your homepage is generally the most trusted page on your website; thus, links from your homepage tend to carry more weight.
It is also important to note that most of the links on your website should go to your homepage. If not, it should at least have 2X links as your next most linked-to page. In general, we advise you to get 1 link to your homepage for every link you get to an inner page on your site.
Anchor Text Ratio for Inner Pages
Inner pages are where you can be a bit more creative with your anchor text. This is because inner pages are generally not as trusted as your homepage; thus, links from these pages don’t carry as much weight.
While there is no magic number for the anchor text ratio of inner pages, a good rule of thumb is to have anchors as:
- Brand, Natural, and URL Anchors: 35-45%
- Blended Or Mixed Anchors: 50-60%
- Exact Anchors: Up to 10%
If you are unsure how to check your site’s anchor text ratio, you can use a tool like Ahrefs or SEOJet. These tools will provide a complete breakdown of the anchor text links pointing to your website.
How to Check Your Competitor’s Anchor Text Ratios for SEO Insights
As we’ve mentioned before, keeping an eye on your competition is important. After all, if they are ranking ahead of you, it’s likely because they have a better backlink profile.
To see what their anchor text ratios look like, you need to download the backlinks of the top-ranking pages in your industry. Then, you can go through each link individually and categorize the anchor text. You can also group the anchor text categories and do the calculations to find out what their ratios look like.
If you don’t have the time to do this, you can use tools like SEOJet and Ahrefs. These tools will give you a complete overview of your competitor’s backlink profiles, including their anchor text ratios.
Build a Strong Backlink Profile With SEO Vendor
Now that you know everything there is to know about anchor text ratios, it’s time to start building your backlink profile. And if you want to ensure that your backlink profile is as strong as it can be, you need the help of a reputable SEO company.
At SEO Vendor, we have a team of experienced SEO experts who can help you build a strong backlink profile for your website. We can also help you optimize your anchor text ratios for better results.
In addition, our patent-pending CORE AI technology can help you boost your SEO remarkably. It enables us to run various artificial intelligence techniques on keywords and anchor types to generate internal warning information. This, in turn, helps us conduct predictive experiments by incorporating a comprehensive knowledge of search engine algorithms, knowledge of keywords, and website rankings gathered by using third-party backlink analysis tools. We use these results to formulate optimizing strategies and make regular adjustments to boost your website rankings.
If you’re ready to take your SEO to the next level, contact us today, and let’s get started.
October 24, 2022 at 7:15 am
This article is a great reminder that we really do need to diversify and focus on branded, URL anchors, natural or mixed anchors as you call them. Thanks for the helpful article!
December 30, 2022 at 1:19 pm
Good talk points! Understanding how anchor text works and how much of it you should use can help optimize your website’s performance in SERPs.
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