In the early days of SEO, black-hat SEO experts were doing everything imaginable to rank their sites on Google which included keyword stuffing and creating spammy backlinks. (Black-hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies and techniques that focus on search engines rather than a human audience). Those older SEO hacks are long gone as we deal with a much more sophisticated algorithm like Google Penguin.

Google Penguin was launched on April 24, 2012 to decrease search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO strategies and techniques. Such strategies and techniques are commonly described as link schemes that involve artificially ranking a webpage by manipulating the number of links pointing to the page.

Now that Google Penguin is part of the core Google Algorithm, the anchor text you use in your backlinks and internal links is a lot more important. Anchor texts are an important part of SEO and have a strong impact on your search engine ranking. So in this blog, we will show you how to optimize your anchor text in order to positively impact your SEO.

Related Article: The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building for Small Businesses 

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link that appears in a different colour and underlined. Anchor text indicates what’s behind that link, provides context for search engines, and most importantly increases the chance of someone clicking on your link. The image below is an example of an anchor text on a web page. The clickable text that you see in a hyperlink is “basement waterproofing.”


But, what does an anchor text look like in HTML? In HTML, the first piece of code is the URL and the second part describes the link. The image below is an example of an anchor text in HTML. The anchor text that you see in HTML is “debt consolidation.”

Anchor Text with Google Penguin

How does Google Penguin analyze anchor text? How does it determine whether a site should be penalized or not? Well here’s exactly how Google Penguin works:

1. You create a backlink

2. Google indexes the backlink through Search Console

3. Google places your backlink into its database for your specific website known as your link profile

4. Steps 1-3 are repeated over and over again, so now you have a link profile that Google Penguin analyzes

When Google Penguin analyzes your link profile, it compares it to your on-site keyword optimization. (A link profile is the makeup of links directing to your site). So if your on-page content is optimized for “condos for Sale North York,” 100% of your anchor texts shouldn’t be “condos for Sale North York” or you will get a penalty. Google Penguin will see that you are trying to rank for “condos for Sale North York” and you are building links artificially. Therefore, exact match anchor text + keyword-rich optimized = Google Penguin Penalty.

The Different Types of Anchor Texts

So then how do I avoid getting penalized by Google Penguin? In order to optimize your anchor text in order to positively impact your SEO, you need to have a clear understanding of the different types of anchor texts.

1. Generic Anchor  Text

Generic anchors are normal text like go here, this page clicks here, read more, additional info, check this out, more info here, and about the author.

2. Branded Anchors

Branded anchors use the brand name as text. These are the safest to use unless your website is an exact match domain. Well-know brands and sites like Best Buy and Amazon will have the highest number of branded anchor texts.

3. Naked Link Anchors

Naked link anchors link back to a site by using the URL. For example, and are examples of naked link anchors.

4. Brand + Keyword Anchors

Brand + keyword anchors are a combination of your brand name and your choice of keyword. For example, “Experiential Marketing by Retailors Group” is an example of a brand + keyword anchor.

5. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Anchors

LSI anchors refer to the variations of your main keyword. Just think of it as a synonym. For example, if your main keyword is “financial advisor”, LSI keywords could include “financial planning,” “wealth management,” and so on.

6. Partial Match Anchors

Partial match anchors is the partial presence of keywords in the anchor text. For example, “useful anchor text guide” and “learn more about anchor text.”

7. Long Tail Anchors

Long-tail anchors are similar to match anchors except that they’re longer. For example, “anchor text is an important part of link building” and “anchor text have a strong impact on your search engine ranking.”

8. Exact Match Anchors

Exact match anchors are the exact match of your target keyword. They are the most important type of anchor text and play a crucial role in improving your ranking or getting penalized by Google. For example, if your target keyword is “optometrist,” your anchor text is also “optometrist.”

Tips & Best Practices for Anchor Texts

Optimizing anchor text without being penalized by Google Penguin for your website can be tricky. However, here are some useful tips and best practices for anchors text to help you optimize your anchor text in order to positively impact your SEO.

1. Keep your Anchor Text Relevant

Make sure your anchor texts are relevant to the content you’ve placed them. For example, if your target keyword is “link building,” you should write an article specifically about link building. The more relevant your article is to your keyword, the better your rank will be on Google.

2. Distribute Different Types of Anchors

You should distribute different types of anchors as it can make or break your search engine ranking. There is no ideal anchor text distribution, however, according to SEMrush, your anchor distribution should be 40% branded anchor text, 25% naked link anchor, 5% brand + keyword anchors, and so on. You can refer to the image below for the anchor text distribution graph.

1. Track your Anchor Texts

It’s important to track the anchor texts that you’ve used when you’re building backlinks. Therefore, you need to be organized and ensure you’re not over-optimizing your page with keyword-rich anchors.

4. Acquiring the Right Links

You should acquire the right links from sites with high traffic and authority. Having authoritative sites linking to you is great for your link profile. Focus on sites with Domain Authority above 30 and Page Authority over 35.