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The progression of anchor text

Much like the SEO industry as a whole, strategies for anchor text are always changing. Make sure you are following anchor best text practices to maintain a natural looking backlink profile.

One of the most exciting things about being involved in the SEO industry is that it is always evolving. While the industry as a whole is always changing, so are the various individual parts that make up SEO. One aspect of SEO that has seen dramatic alterations over the years is anchor text strategy. As Google continues to update its search algorithm to create the most accurate SERPs possible, it is equally important that you update your anchor text strategy to ensure your site shows up in those SERPs.

An Admiralty Pattern anchor
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Importance of Anchor Text

As mentioned above, it is important to utilize the correct anchor text strategy for your links. In some regards, the anchor text you use is just as significant to your link as the site it is published on. Not only will anchor text help determine the value of your links, but it will also shape how your backlink portfolio looks to Google. If you aren’t staying on top of anchor text best practices, the links you build could appear unnatural to Google and result in your site being penalized. Let’s take a look at how anchor text has progressed over time and discuss some anchor text best practices that you can utilize today.

Early Forms of Anchor Text

In the early stages of linking, most sites would simply link with an exact match URL as the anchor text. For example, a link to Biznology may look like this – . This quickly changed with the emergence of Google as the value of links grew tremendously. People began to realize that they could game the system by flooding the web with links back to their site that used exact match anchor text for the keywords they wanted to rank for. However, as it does with most spam, Google came up with updates to their algorithm that punished sites using this tactic. Most notably, the Penguin update heavily penalized sites with large percentages of exact match anchor text and formed the strategies people use today.

Current Anchor Text Best Practices

Due to updates like Penguin, it has become clear what types of anchor text strategies should be pursued and which should be avoided. Exact match anchor text should be used sparingly and should only make up a small percentage of your backlink portfolio.

The rest of your portfolio should consist of a combination of things. Two common anchor text strategies involve branded anchor text (i.e. and partial-match or long-tailed anchor text. Partial-match and long-tailed anchor text include a partial phrase or portion of the keyword or term you are trying to rank for rather than the exact term.

The use of “white noise” anchor text is another option that will help round out your backlink portfolio. White noise anchor text refers to links that have the anchor text “click here” or “his/her website” and are usually used around keywords or phrases in close proximity. These are the anchor text best practices that you should be employing so you can build a natural backlink profile that won’t get you penalized by Google.

The progression of anchor text is something that has developed and changed over a number of years. As Google continues to perfect their algorithm, anchor text strategy will no doubt continue to change. However, for now it is important to adhere to anchor text best practices to get the most out of your links and ensure you don’t appear to be gaming the system.

Main photo credit: Vilseskogen via photopin cc

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