25 Feb Bridging The Gap On Anchor Text Ratios
Solidifying An Approach To Anchor Text Choices
The meat and potatoes of what constitutes “proper anchor text practices” has not much changed in the last couple years. However, it’s very tough for even the most experienced SEOs to piece together all the information found in the groups, forums, and articles on anchor text out there. So many people are scratching their heads when it comes to best practices, so below we’ve shared what we’ve learned about proper anchor text ratios and practices over the years from testing different link & anchor scenarios.
The collective Private Networks among our partners isn’t small, and one thing we know for sure is that your ass will get hammered over and over and over if you use the wrong approach when it comes to anchors and link choices.
What Some Of The Best SEOs Have Said
Nathan Gotch put out one of the best ever anchor text blog posts in existence. He proposed that you can be relatively safe by following this basic strategy:
Branded Anchor Text: 70%
Naked Links: 20%
Generic Anchors: 5%
LSI, Partial Match Anchors: 1-5%
Exact Match Anchors: Less Than 1%
Adversely, Ryan Stewart later blogged about how anchor text ratios are useless. Another epic article on anchor text. He proposed what appeared to be in direct conflict with Gotch’s epic post: that you shouldn’t use naked or branded anchors coming from PBNs, among other things. Wow.
And this left people confused.
They were both correct…
Our team has found that when you combine the general gist of these 2 theories, you’ve got the whole picture. To summarize: apply Gotch’s anchor text ratio proportions to Ryan Stewart’s “link type method.” For example, use Guest Posts or PBNs for most of your exact and partial match anchors (as Ryan Stewart suggested) and just follow Gotch’s suggestions for ratios. Another example would be to use profile links and blog comments as Ryan Stewart suggests for the branded anchor links portions that Gotch recommends.
Does this mean I can’t use branded and naked anchors for Guest Posts or PBNs?
Of course not. But Ryan Stewart does have a point about what looks natural, and consistent results we’ve experienced point to the fact that if you use too many branded and naked links, you will most definitely get hammered with an algo penalty. This statement is hard for many people to swallow. There are many experts that attribute this algo slap to other things documented by google, but a large # of the Penguin violations one may experience (whether it is known or unknown by the marketer) have to do with unnatural anchor choices.
How should I apply Exact & Partial Match anchors?
Your links need to be padded with varied link types and anchors to make things work. Ahrefs did a study and found that the highest ranking sites have a considerably higher percentage than Nathan Gotch suggests for exact and partial match anchors. Our team’s collective experience lies mostly in local seo, and when we’ve crossed the threshold of what Gotch recommends (above), we’ve experienced algo penalties. We’re baffled by the Ahrefs article and we’re looking further into that information because we know for a fact it does not apply on the local level. Either way, there is no doubt that linkbuilding takes a significant amount of work and there really is no getting around it. You need varied link types and varied IPs.
Are there additional tactics to supplement the above Anchor Strategy?
This is truly the million dollar question. And that is why there is quite a bit of value in this post. It can get a little nuts when first trying to scale things out, but don’t over-complicate things. One vital last bit of advice is this: take the average of your top 4 competitors link profiles (analyze link types & anchors according to the above 2 principles, putting more weight on the top 2 competitors’) and duplicate it. Then add more links according to Nathan Gotch’s & Ryan Stewart’s above tactics. Also be sure to try to mimic a link velocity that models your competitors OR at the very least a CONSISTENT link velocity. By applying these methods along with other natural looking best practices (such as not leaving a path to one IP origin when linkbuilding), you’ll secure top rankings.
Feel free to comment below if you have questions– we’d love to hear from you. – Jeff B