Anchor text — the words in a link — are like chocolate in a chocolate cake: feed too much chocolate to Google and one day it will go on a diet and take your website back 50.
To bake the perfect chocolate cake you pour the ingredients in little by little — and use more than just pure chocolate.
There are four steps you need to take to get the optimum combination in your own recipe:
1. Understand the elements of an anchor text distribution
To define the content on the resource pages, anchor texts need to tell who (your super tuck-shop) and what (chocolate cakes). The distribution will include all terms in the backlinks pointing to your website pages, and detail how many links you have for each of those terms.
Lets take a look at some examples:
- exact match chocolate cake
- partial match delicious chocolate cake
- not a partial match best chocolate ice cream cake
Some say it is still safe to have +50% anchor texts with exact match, and support their cause with websites promoting small local businesses. But, following recent updates in Google, most SEOs consider you shouldnt go for more than 30% of the anchor texts with exact match. Combining them with partial match anchor texts and with terms that dont match your targeted keywords should keep you safe from triggering Google penalties.
2. Evaluate your current link building profile and your competition
Gather link building information to see how your current anchor text distribution looks like. This is a good opportunity to also check how many links with the same terms in anchor texts your competitors have. Keep in mind that competitors are not only above your website in the SERPs, but also below it.
To perform a proper comparison, you need to use SEO tools which show your anchor text distribution details and those of your competitors within the same frame. This should help you to:
- Correctly identify where you stand
- Find out how active your competitors are in their link building strategies
- See the exact / partial match ratio of your competitors
- Determine their links value
- Understand what types of links you need to pursue
Why is this important?
Because if you settle only for identifying your competitors links and then try to get backlinks from the same domains, you will always be one step behind them. During this time, your competitors already got new valuable links from other domains.
What you need to do at this point is to find the best domains that match their link building profiles and get backlinks to your own website.
3. Build new links wiser
Now its time to take action!
There are many methods that can help you increase the number of quality backlinks for your website. Guest posting, submission to powerful directories, or simply asking for links are just some of the techniques you can use. Remember, the point is not to get a large number of new links, but to get valuable links that bring you the tastiest juice for your online business.
To achieve this, you need to assign your exact match anchor text to the strongest links you pursue.
Make sure you always keep a healthy balance between the natural links, that the content on your website drives by itself, and the artificial links that you create with the anchor texts you set.
4. Compare anchor text distribution numbers with keyword rankings
After so much effort, its time to measure the results.
The way to do this is by comparing your ranking position for your keywords of interest with the number of links you have with those term in anchor text. After all, you put in all this effort not for the sake of having good links, but to get on the search engines first page and be found by potential customers.
There are two ways to make the comparison:
- Use standalone link building and rank tracking tools, and then compare the data in separate reports
- Put all the data together with an integrated SEO tool, that combines ranking and links metrics.
Regardless of the method you choose, the ability to make this comparison, over a period of time, will tell you the extend to which the exact / partial match ratio you have reached is reflected in the SERPs ( or how much the search engine likes your chocolate cake recipe )
Link building involves hard work to find the strategy that works for you and log hours waiting for results. And when results come, the work still doesnt end. Competition is right around the corner, waiting for you to take a break.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that, in SEO, activities are not independent, but have effects on one other. Things you do in link building influence your rankings; things you do with rankings influence your traffic which, in the end, influence your revenues.
So make sure you work wisely, and every action you take is worth the effort.
Photo credit: Simons photography