Anchor Text variance to meet Google demands

How Search Engines Use Anchor Text in SEO

Search engines use the descriptive text in the anchor of a link in order to help determine the relevancy and topical nature of the page that it’s linking to.

For example, if a particular webpage has lots of backlinks with the anchor “dog training”, “dog training tips”, “how to train your dog”, then search engines will be able to recongise and understand the context of the target page.

In addition to anchor text, search engines also analyze the content of the source page (i.e. the page the link is on) and the keywords and title tag of the target page in order to determine relevancy and content. This process then allows Google to return more relevant results to their users in the search queries.

Finally, SEOs have proven in the past that when you have two links on a page that both point to the same destination, Google only counts the anchor text of the “first” link when assigning relevancy.

Best Practices for Using Anchor Text in SEO

Although having targeted, relevant anchor text is great for SEO and ranking for your keywords, the historical abuse of artificial anchor text by SEOs eventually led to Google launching a new optimization penalty called the Penguin Update in April 2012.

The Google Penguin update served to counteract the manipulative abuse of anchor text and artificial backlinks by penalizing sites and removing their rankings in the search results. This is because the manipulation of your own backlinks and creating optimized anchor text is a direct violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

Most SEOs recommend at the bare minimum to have no more than 30% of your anchor text for a specific keyword, however even this is probably too high. I would probably say a maximum of 10% of your anchor text should be for one keyword (including exact-match domains).

A normal distribution of anchor text for a website normally looks something like this:

30% – Website Name
15% –
15% –
5% –
3% – here
32% – mixture of other anchor texts