SEO Guides

What Are Anchor Text Best Practices For SEO?

ahrefs site explorer anchor tab

The right way of doing SEO has changed so much over the years, in response to Google’s ever-changing algorithms aimed at keeping us from over optimization, it’s getting harder and harder to optimize correctly when gaining backlinks.

Anchor text is something that can make or break your websites rankings. If anchor text best practices are used you’ll find yourself ranking with fewer links while dodging penalties. If not used you can possibly penalize your site. Read on to find out the most relevant strategies to use right now.

Use the Ratio of Anchor Text That is Ideal for the Niche

This can’t be overstated enough. There is no cookie cutter anchor text ratio. Using too much of a single type won’t help your website ranking much because Google can detect this and will deem it as a sign of link control.

When wondering what anchor text ratio to use the answer is right in front of you. Google shows you what ratio they want to see right in the search results.
If a site had a bad anchor text ratio would it rank well? Probably not. Knowing this, we can simply take an average of the top 5 results and base our strategy off that.

Types of Anchor Text to Use

Naked URL

This is the most basic one of all. Naked anchor texts comprise simply of the website’s URL and appears quite unprofessional on your part, since most websites these days know how to name their anchor tags in a more user-friendly way. Here is a naked URL anchor


Formerly one of the most popular ways to optimize anchor texts for SEO, target anchor text contains the target keywords that are being optimized for on that page. Unfortunately, over usage by past SEOs have led to Google using algorithmic filters such as penguin, that punish the use of too many target anchor text so it’s best to use these only as often as what other sites in the niche have used.


As the name implies, generic anchor texts are the ones that don’t need too much creativity to come up with. They simplify things greatly for the user by telling them literally what to do: “click here”; “about the author”; “here” are some examples of generic anchor texts. While they help the user, they don’t help with SEO as much as a target anchor text because the text itself doesn’t allow Google to identify what kind of content you’re directing the page to.


Having a popular brand is important these days, not just for credibility with users but also for ranking in Google. It’s no secret that big brands rank well and sending branded anchor text is a great way to reinforce your brand in Google.

Alt tags (for images)

Alt tags are written into the HTML and contain a description of an image, so this can be displayed in case the image fails to load. It’s a type of anchor text and image anchors are needed sometimes for a natural profile.

Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords

This is probably one of the trickier ways of optimizing anchor texts. LSI is responsible for the suggested searches that you see when you begin to type something in the search bar. They attempt to guess your search and promote user-friendliness. This relates to anchor text because if you use these LSI keywords, it could potentially help your rankings.
Proportion-wise, there are some general guidelines that could be loosely followed. Check out this one by Exposure Ninja:

anchor text examples

Source: Neil Patel (

Don’t fret too much over the numerical proportions. Your best bet is to go for what’s natural and fits well with your content, rather than force fitting the formulas and making things look suspicious for Google.

Keep Anchor Texts Relevant and Useful

Instead of blindly optimizing, aim to achieve relevancy, as this is one of the biggest criteria that Google uses to gauge your site. Your anchor text should be
1) an accurate reflection of the link’s content and should
2) flow well within your page. It pays to be ethical these days, so do your readers a favor and help yourself at the same time.

Conduct quality checks

Engineers do quality control all the time, by literally testing constantly and getting down and dirty at the production sites. It’s the same for doing SEO: you have to engineer your competition to find the optimal strategy.

Manual checking can be tedious but it’s definitely worth the trouble. Besides, there are tools out there to help you, such as ahrefs site explorer, which provides you pretty much every detail you need when doing competitive analysis.

Track Your Anchor Text Usage

This simply means keeping track of the anchor texts on external websites that link to your site. You can use a simple excel spreadsheet for this – it’s a good tool for tracking SEO-related data. You can also use, as well as Google search console to find the existing anchors sent to a site.

Final words

Google uses bots to crawl websites to judge the quality and legitimacy of websites. The complexity of the algorithm makes it very tricky to come up with a complete solution to achieve perfect SEO. What we know, for sure, is that it helps to be careful when choosing anhor texts, as good use will yield good results. Being more natural in the way you choose the types of anchor texts will also work in your favor and make you appear more natural in the SERPS, which is always good when doing SEO. If you need any help choosing your anchor text don’t hesitate to contact us today.