You know what anchor text is, right?
If you link to a website, like this, the words “like this” make up the anchor text.
Back in the primitive days of Google, you could load that anchor text up with the keywords you want to rank for, plaster it all over your website, and watch your rankings shoot up.
Now, you have a different ballgame.
Google would send you straight to the bottom of its search rankings if you did anything of the sort.
At the same time, anchor text still plays a role in your search rankings.
So how should you handle it today?
In 2018, Google Wants “Natural” Anchor Text
Throw out the idea of keywords and that they even exist just for a second…
Go back to the late 1990s before anyone had any clue how any web page got to the top of leading search engines like Yahoo, Excite, and Alta-Vista.
You would link to a website. And you would use whatever anchor text came to mind.
You wouldn’t carefully consider what keywords should go in that anchor text beforehand.
Clearly, that would lead to different words going in your anchor text.
Well…that’s really what Google wants to see today.
Because, it wants internet searchers to put the best websites at the top of its search rankings.
Google sees each link as a “vote” for your website. The difference between links and democratic voting is that a link from a powerhouse website like the New York Times counts for a heck of a lot more than a link from your personal one.
It doesn’t want to see links professionally placed throughout the web with precision anchor text so that companies who want their websites at the top of the search rankings show up there.
It wants everyday people (the market) collectively making that decision.
Because if Google loses its ability to do this, the market will turn to another search engine which does that better. And since Google’s a $750 billion company, they don’t want to lose any ground to competitors.
What’s a Desirable Keyword-Heavy Anchor Text Ratio?
Some pro SEOs still recommend you use keywords in your anchor text anyway. You can “get away with it.”
But…since Google doesn’t want this behavior, why risk the trouble? If they don’t penalize you now, they will soon.
So, you’ll hear some SEOs recommend 5% of your anchor text should include your targeted keywords.
Don’t buy it! It goes against the principles Google stands for. Eventually, you’ll have to contact all the web masters and get your anchor text changed…or you’ll have to lose rankings and go through a painfully slow Google Disavow process, which may not even return your original rankings 100% anyway.
And while do you that, you’ll lose goodness knows how much business!
Two Kinds of Anchor Text: Onsite and Offsite
When ranking your site, Google gives most of the weight to links coming to your site from other sites (“offsite” links). So, that’s where you need to be especially careful for creating links that use natural language only (and not your keywords).
With links appearing on one of your own pages and pointing to your own pages (perfectly okay – and even encourage, by the way), Google isn’t as fussy.
However, again, why put yourself in any jeopardy? Plus, users don’t click keyword-heavy anchor text. You’re not helping them in any way.
So, make their experience better by giving them links with natural language that point them to other useful areas of your website.
Throw out ratios. Focus on people and relationships.
Do that well, just like you do in any other area of your business, and you’ll have high search rankings for years to come.