Is Anchor Text Still Useful for the Rankings?

Is Anchor Text Still Useful for the Rankings?

What is Anchor Text ?


Anchor text is…



And it looks like…

anchor text


Way back in the late 90s and early 2000s, Google weighted the text used in the anchor pretty heavily in its algorithm.


If you wanted to rank for ‘blue widgets’, then lots of links with the exact text ‘blue widgets’ would soon see you hitting number 1 in the search results.


Of course this was clearly very open to manipulation and as us SEOs just can’t have nice things without hammering them to death, Google began reducing the weight of exact match anchors as a ranking factor.


Indeed, as the years and penguin updates rolled by, those calves who had particularly flatted themselves on exact match anchors began to see their sites slapped with penalties.

So nowadays, we all strive for a mix of anchor text that looks something like this…




And we spend a lot of time worrying about the percentages of each in our profile, and whether we are in danger of crossing that fine line between optimized and over-optimized.


The Results

There is a saying in songwriting “don’t bore us, skip to the chorus”, so I’ll go straight ahead and give you the results of the study, before outlining the process I used to collect and analyse the data.


I primarily wanted to look at keyword rich anchors and their current influence on search, so will be focusing on exact match and phrase match.


Soon I find out the the average use of ExactMatch keywords are more and ranking well rather than using just the many other keyword along with exact match keywords.



Keyword prevalence in anchor text is almost certainly still a ranking factor, and perhaps a bigger one than Google would like us to believe.


So, if you’re building links then you probably don’t need to be too sensitive about anchor text, and a few keyword rich links as part of a diverse profile should help you rank.


I would suggest exact match at around 1.5% and phrase match at around 33% will keep you on the right side of Google.


Of course, as always, the strongest and safest links are those which are editorially earned and you should always avoid building low quality links, regardless of anchor text.