Anchor Text like a Pro!

by Stuart McHenry July 6, 2012

Anchor text is one of the most important factors in SEO. It’s also the easiest to get a search engine penalty for. For years and years, webmasters/companies pounded links to their websites with little thought of how search engines might react in the future. The future is here and so many websites got hit with linking penalties this year. From Google Penguin to all the unnatural link emails Google sent out.

It’s good to note that all the methods below work effectively if not overdone. The only anchor text that can be overdone is branded anchors. You should always have more branded anchor text links than keyword links.

Synonym Anchor Text

This is the most overlooked and under learned SEO technique out there. Find synonyms to your main keywords. It’s simple to look this up online via a synonym or dictionary website. A good example would be if you are trying to rank for discount dog beds. You could use these related keywords as well:

Keyword: Cheap Dogs Beds

Synonym: Cheap Dog Beds

Synonym: Affordable Dog Beds

If you do a search in Google for “cheap dog beds” you will find a few websites that don’t even mention the word “cheap” on their website. Instead, Google will highlight in their search results the synonyms for this word.

ie. discount dog beds

It is even to hit the first page of Google without a link with your specific anchor text. It can be done by getting enough quality links with the synonym as the anchor.

Brand Anchor Text

When link building you really need to focus on branded anchors. Branded anchors are anchors with your company name and your domain name as the link text. An example of our website would be:


Most companies that contact us for our SEO services have had some sort of penalty for linking. Some were hit by Penguin and some were hit before that due to overly aggressive anchor text. Do yourself and website a favor and focus on brand-related anchors.

Keyword Anchor Text

Although I’ve been an advocate for natural looking links for a long time. Many had the train of thought was to get as many keyword anchors as possible. Today in Google you can hit the first page with just a few anchor text links. There is no need to overdo it. If you follow the advice I have with the other anchor text methods you will be fine as far as anchor text goes.

Partial Keyword Anchor Text

Again, think about what looks natural to the search engines. If your page was about cheap dog beds how many different anchor texts would people use to link to you naturally. Here are some examples:

Dog Beds

Discount Dog Beds

Discount Dog Beds Online

Dog Beds from [company name]

Dog Beds Online

The combinations can go on and on. You should even have some really natural looking anchors in there like “bought a dog bed for fido” and “fido’s new dog bed”. This will ensure your page looks really natural for an anchor text standpoint.

Stuart McHenry
Stuart McHenry is a US-based SEO Consultant focusing on link building, content marketing, local SEO, and reputation management. Follow Stuart on Twitter @smindsrt

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