Anchor Text Ratio SEO – The Definitive Guide
What Is Anchor Text Ratio SEO?
Anchor text ratio is the distribution of all of the different types of anchor texts in your backlink profile.
For example, an organic homepage backlink profile will probably have the majority (read 75% or more) of their backlinks with the brand name or URL as the anchor text. Whereas a blog post might have a much better mix of keyword to non-keyword anchors in the backlinks that point to it.
In the Google age where unnatural backlink profiles can decimate your SEO efforts, a much bigger emphasis has been placed on getting the proper anchor text ratio on your backlinks.
If you get your ratios right, you have a much better chance of ranking in the top 5 of Google.
So let’s get into how to set yourself up for success.
Why is it important to mix your anchor text?
The main purpose behind caring about anchor text ratios at all is that if your backlink profile doesn’t look natural to Google, you will struggle to rank high in the search results.
Obviously that is an oversimplification of Google’s complex algorithm, but backlinks play such an important role in SEO that the last thing you want to do is handicap your SEO efforts by building backlinks in an unnatural way.
The temptation, especially for SEO agencies and consultants, is to include key phrases you want to rank for in your anchor text in hopes that with each link your website will inch closer to #1 on Google.
While it is not a bad thing to target key phrases in your anchor text, you need to do it in a strategic way that ensures you have the right mix of key phrase anchors and other types of anchors that have no reference to a key phrase.
What is the proper anchor text distribution?
To understand this properly we need to first look at anchor text categories.
For example, if someone links to my website using the words “click here” as the anchor text, that is seen much differently than if they used the words “backlink software”.
One would be categorized as a “generic” anchor text while the other would be a “keyword” anchor.
When I built SEOJet, I was trying to understand once and for all what Google wants to see in a natural #1 ranked backlink profile.
So I put my nose to the grindstone and researched thousands of backlinks that pointed to #1 ranked pages. I looked at each and every anchor text and then categorized the anchors one by one.
The 12 Anchor Text Categories
As I created anchor text categories for thousands of backlinks I realized there were actually only 12 categories that every anchor could fall under.
These are the 12 anchors I found:
Brand – A brand anchor is when someone links to your website using your brand name as the anchor text (ie SEOJet). This is especially useful for homepage backlinks to help you build brand authority.
Generic – A generic anchor simply means that the anchor text has no reference to any keyword at all. Things like “click here” or “this article” etc.
WebsiteName.com – This anchor is similar to your brand anchor except that it includes your domain extension on the end. It is your website written like a brand name with the first letter of each word being capitalized. So for my website, it would be written “SEOJet.net”. This is another common anchor used to build homepage brand authority.
Full URL – This anchor text is literally the full URL that is the target URL you are linking to. So for this blog post, a full URL anchor would be https://seojet.net/blog/anchor-text-distribution This is actually the most common occurring anchor texts from #1 ranked pages.
Keyword – The keyword anchor text is literally an exact match of a keyword you are trying to rank for. It has to be a keyword all by itself as the anchor.
Brand plus keyword – A brand plus keyword anchor includes both your brand name and all or part of a key phrase you are trying to rank for. For example, this would be a brand plus keyword I might use, “SEOJet has backlink software that can make you a ninja”. You can see that the anchor has my brand name and also contains the phrase “backlink software” mixed with a few other words to help it fit naturally into a sentence.
Keyword plus – A keyword plus anchor is similar to brand plus keyword except that it doesn’t have the brand in it. The important thing here is your key phrase is found in the anchor but also surrounded by other random words, written in a way to fit into a sentence. A keyword plus for me would be “this backlink software that can make you a link building ninja”.
Page Title – The page title anchor is typically used for blog posts and could be renamed to a blog post title anchor. It literally is the title of the blog post. If you’re a smart SEO and you include key phrases in your blog post title this can be a sneaky way to boost your rankings. This anchor is probably the most underused and underestimated anchors of all.
Partial Keyword – A partial keyword anchor is one that has part of your key phrase but not the entire phrase. For example, if I’m trying to rank for the phrase “backlink tool” a partial keyword anchor text would be something like, “this tool can help you”. You can see that I only have the word “tool” in the anchor so it is a partial match.
Empty Anchor – This anchor text is almost always when someone uses an image to link to you but doesn’t include an Alt tag in the image so it comes through as being an empty anchor. Empty anchors don’t hold as much value as a backlink with an anchor text so you should try to avoid these or get them fixed where possible.
Home URL – The home URL anchor is as it sounds, using your main root domain as the anchor. I was surprised to see many blog posts or inner pages that were ranking #1 that had backlinks that linked to that blog post but used the root URL as the anchor. My home URL anchor would be “https://seojet.net”
URL with no http – A lesser occurring anchor text is the URL anchor without the “http://” on the front. These only occur about 3% of the time but it does seem like almost every #1 ranked backlink profile had at least a couple of them so it must look natural to Google to have one. For example, this blog post URL with no http anchor would be “seojet.net/blog/anchor-text-distribution”.
These are the 12 anchor text categories. To make it easier to manage I created 3 Anchor groups that I could sort each category into: Blended Anchors, Exact Match Anchors, Natural Anchors.
3 Main Anchor Text Groups
Blended Anchors are all anchors that have a reference to a key phrase but never the key phrase by itself. (Anchors in this group are keyword plus, page title, brand plus keyword, partial keyword)
Exact Match Anchors are simply keyword anchors that contain only your key phrase. (Anchors in this group are keyword)
Natural Anchors are anchors that don’t have reference to any key phrase. (Anchors in this group are brand, full url, WebsiteName.com, generic, home url, empty anchors)
Now that you have an idea of what they are we can go over how often you should be using each.
What Are The Proper Anchor Text Ratios?
One common misunderstood principle in SEO is that there are actually two different page types with different anchor text ratios.
Homepage Anchor Text Ratio
The first and most important page you need to focus building out the right anchor text ratio is on your homepage. If you mess up your homepage backlink distribution you will struggle (if not completely fail) to get other pages from your website to rank.
The homepage anchor text ratio is much different than any other page on the site. You should build backlinks to the homepage to build brand trust which is why 80%-95% of your homepage backlinks should fall into the Natural Anchor group.
So many people make the common mistake of aggressively trying to target key phrases in their link building to homepages but you will have much more success if you only build branded and WebsiteName.com anchors to your homepage.
Inner-page Anchor Text Ratio
The other page type, with its own unique anchor distribution, is the inner page. This can be anything from a long-form blog post (SEO power page), to a services page to a product page.
If you have spent time building the proper brand authority on your homepage then you can be more aggressive in targeting key phrases on your inner pages.
There are two anchor text ratios you can go off of when optimizing an inner-page.
Inside of SEOJet we give you two options, either take the average of all #1 ranked pages across all niches and build a link map to match the ratio of all of those pages or take the average anchor text distribution of any or all of the top 10 ranked pages for your main key phrase.
If you choose to build your link map to match the top 10 ranked pages for your main key phrase, SEOJet will let you really customize the list to meet your individual needs. We let you pick and choose which top 10 pages you want to try to match.
All you have to do is click the “Ignore” link next to one of the top ten results that you don’t want to include in our calculations.
Using the top 10 averages is a little more risky because you are comparing your backlink profile against a much smaller sample size, but we understand that every niche is a little different in their SEO knowledge and how aggressive they are so using this option can often help move the needle when your rankings become stagnant.
Using the top 10 results will also give you a better idea of how many backlinks you need to rank.
How You Can Figure Out Competitors Anchor Text Ratio For SEO
Do you want to see the backlink profiles of your competition?
All you have to do is download the backlinks of everyone in the top ten results. Then go through each of their anchor texts and categorize them. From there you can group the anchor text categories and then do the calculations to know what their profile looks like.
Or, (shameless self-promotion coming) you can just let SEOJet automatically do it for you.
One of the cool tools inside of SEOJet is the competitor analysis tool. You can check the backlink profile of each of the top ten ranked pages to see how your website stacks up to them.
This becomes extremely useful for niches or categories where those in the top ten are much different from the normal.
Anchor Text Ratio Checker – SEOJet
As soon as you enter any page of your website into SEOJet, the software will automatically scan your backlink profile and let you know how natural your ratio looks compared to all other #1 ranked pages.
You can then do a Google top ten comparison for your main key phrase to see how your profile stacks up against everyone in the top ten of Google. SEOJet will show you each of the top ten search results with their backlink data and their gauges so you can decide the best path forward.
You can then do a deep dive into anyone in the top ten to see a side by side comparison of your backlink profile vs theirs.
Anchor Text Generator
One of the cool features of SEOJet is that it looks at your current backlink profile, and looks at where you want your profile to be and has a built-in anchor text generator which we affectionately call a “Link Map”. The anchor text distribution tool tells you exactly which anchor texts you need to get in order to get your backlink profile to match a top-ranked profile.
Link by link SEOJet generates the suggested anchor text for you to help you keep your backlink profile looking as clean as possible. It truly makes the link building process as simple as filling in the blanks.
If you want to set yourself up for success in all of your SEO efforts, it is in your best interest to use a good anchor text ratio strategy to plan out all of your backlinks. This will not only help you get to the top of the search results quicker, but with less backlinks than your competitors.
SEOJet can help you build better links
Looking to supercharge your link building? Try a free trial of SEOJet for 14 days.