Anchor text is important in building links, as it tells Google that what you are linking to is relevant to the topic being linked.
“Anchor text” is the term given to the phrase that contains the link on the page. And when it comes to anchor text, there are many different possible variations as to how “exact” that text should be in relation to the link’s destination; and there has also been some debate over years as to the ratio of anchor text that should be “exact” or otherwise in your backlinks.
What is Exact Match?
Anchor text is considered “exact match” if it includes the exact keyword or phrase that you are trying to get the page to rank for. For example, if you are linking to a page about fly fishing on a site of the same name, you would use the phrase “fly fishing” as the anchor text.
There are also other types of anchor text:
Partial match— anchor text includes a variation of the keyword.
Branded— anchor text is a brand name.
Naked URL— anchor text is just a link.
Random or Generic— anchor text is a random or generic phrase such as “click here.”
Image— anchor text is the alt text of an image.
What is the Right Ratio of Exact Match vs Non-Exact Match?
So the question then becomes, what is the “correct” ratio of exact match anchor text, according to best practices?
It might be tempting to look at the definitions above and think “ok, well let’s build a bunch of links using exact match anchor text, to give us the best chance of ranking for that keyword.”
But the truth is, while this strategy may have worked a few years ago — especially in the early days of SEO — a few Google updates later, you will likely find that it has the opposite effect.
Sometimes too many exact match links can begin to look suspicious to Google’s algorithm. And in fact, best practice these days is to keep exact match links down to less than 5-10%. What’s more important than the anchor text being exact match is that the content is relevant.
That’s why we work with our partners to make sure that every page that links back to our clients’ sites is relevant, and contains a variety of keywords, including long-tail variations. This helps us to withstand past Google updates and fortifies our links against potential future updates.
Contact our team to find out how we can take your SEO to the next level through building high-quality links that will last long term.