Write Content for Human, Not Bots

Like most things that involve ranking a lot has changed in the last few years, especially with regards to anchor text/links that are considered acceptable by the primary search engine monopoly.  Gone are the days were all of your anchor text links can consist of exact match keywords. Today using your exact search keyword(s) for all of your anchor text is a great way to have Google penalise your target site and potentially the linking site. Similar to keyword stuffing it’s a huge red flag – don’t do it.

Types of Anchor Texts

That said, if your target site is new, having some of your anchor text be exact match keywords is ok, just don’t overdo it. In looking at the total quantity of backlinks pointing to a site, I would shoot for 75 – 80% “branded” anchor text with 15% partial match keywords and 5-10% exact match.

Branded Anchor text can be the URL (www.venturevictory.com), the brand (Venture Victory), or random (“learn more”, “click here”, etc.). Within the approximate 75% of branded anchor text that you’re shooting for, I would work to mix it up equally between the URL, brand and random.

Importance of Co-Citations

With branded anchor text, it’s very important to have the search keyword in the same sentence, either directly before or directly after branded link. This point is super important! The search engine spiders crawl all sites in a linear fashion and proximity of the search keyword to the anchor text is very important in telling them that your keyword is relevant and related to the link. Having the search keyword above or below the anchor text, or in a sentence before or after (the sentence that contains the anchor text), does not work as well. Always work to place it directly before or after (Learn more about co-citations and its impact on SEO here).

Below is an example:

“For the past few years, Venture Victory has provided search engine optimisation for…” – In this example, the actual company name (Venture Victory), is the anchor text and search engine optimisation is the targeted search keyword.

In either example above you could easily substitute the Branded anchor text with a random link, such as “this company”, or “the company’s”, etc. It’s also important that the combination of the branded link and the search keyword sound natural – don’t make up a sentence that you would never use in conversation.

SMX Advanced 2013 Takeways

The above information came from private interviews with Matt Cutts, during the SMX Advanced SEO seminar (in Seattle) and was shared with us by one of our agency clients that was there. Here are some links with notes from the seminar:


  • In light of Penguin, monitor your inbound anchor-text. Understand how link spam analysis works and make sure anchor text stays brand-focused (as opposed to keyword phrase focused) 50 percent of the time or more.


  • Mass estimation of relative links. If links go over a certain threshold, e.g. make sure brand anchor text stays over 50%.


  • Search engines still do use anchor text for relevance, however. So you do have to have some exact match in the mix. The challenge is to keep it looking natural. The top phrase in your back link anchor text should be branded or naked domain.

In closing, I just want to add that we try to use the search keyword in the linking article’s title 80% of the time and you want it to be in the target article’s title – 100% of the time. Again, the title tag is super important in telling the search robots that a specific article is relevant to the search keyword that the user is inputting into Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

(This article was original written by nohatmedia)