What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is simply the visible and clickable text in a link. For example, you may be reading an article and see something like: “the SEO strategies over at H Cube Web Solutions” – “H Cube Web Solutions” is the anchor text.
To create anchor text, you’ll need to memorize a very simple HTML code:
– this is how you create any link in HTML.
Why Does It Matter?
Anchor text will always “matter” as long as backlinks matter. Prior to the Penguin update in 2012, anchor text was one of the easiest ways for Google to understand the relevancy of any given website.
Now in 2014, anchor text is one of the best ways for Google to penalize spam and over-optimization.
Does this mean anchor text is becoming meaningless?
Not even in the slightest.
I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that it’s even stronger than it was before (when used the way I’m going to show you).
Pre-Penguin Anchor Text
Before the first Penguin update, you could go absolutely buck wild with your anchor text.anchor text You could literally use 100% exact match anchors for all of your backlinks and you would rank. It was like stealing candy from a baby, and Google obviously had to make a change.
That change was the Penguin update.
Google Penguin 1.0: The Update That Changed It ALL
The first Penguin update in 2012 literally changed the link building game forever.
Penguin targeted any website that was blatantly doing low-quality, artificial, or spammy link building in an effort to “game” the search engine.
How did they determine if a website is building links artificially or using spam to rank?
Why, might you ask?
Because a normal website would not have 100% of its backlinks with the anchor text “SEO Services ”. And at the time, many people doing SEO were using these crazy high percentages.
In 2014, you really need to understand how Penguin analyzes anchor text and determines whether a site should be penalized or not.
I promise, it’s not complicated, but it is CRITICAL that you understand to
keep your site safe.
Here’s exactly how Penguin works:
You build a backlink
Google indexes the backlink
Google places this new backlink into its database for your specific website, also known as your “link profile”
Steps 1-3 are repeated over-and-over, and now you have a “link profile” that the algorithm can analyze
Now, this is where the real magic happens:
The algorithm analyzes your link profile and compares it to the on-page factors for your website or target page.
So, if your on-page content is optimized for “SEO Services ” and 100% of your anchor text is about SEO Services, then you will get a penalty because it’s very easy for Google’s algorithm to see that you’re:
A) trying to rank for “SEO Services ”
B) you’re building links artificially
They can dish out penalties to sites that make this mistake simply based on the amount of exact match anchor text + the on-page keywords being used. It’s really that simple.
So, how do you avoid getting penalized?
You need to understand HOW, and WHEN to use your keyword-rich anchors.
Different Types of Anchor Text
Before, I get into strategy, it’s critical that you understand all the different forms of anchor text so that you’ll be able to create a diverse and “natural” link / anchor profile.
Branded Anchors – any anchor text that uses your brand in it.
Sentence sample: “Over at H Cube Web Solutions you can learn search engine optimization.”
Branded anchors are by far the safest as long as your site is not an exact match domain (more on this later). Simply take a look at any big brand and look at the percentages of branded anchors in their link profile.