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Stop FEARING Anchor Text Density for No Reason

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Rich77ard, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Rich77ard

    Rich77ard Registered Member Premium Member

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    What's the perfect anchor text density post Penguin for 2016? The proof is hidden in plain sight - straight the Serps – and the results are counter-intuitive to all of the regurgitated propaganda you hear online.

    I just did a search for 'web design' and it's giving me results for Sydney (Aust) as that's where I'm searching from.

    That's a pretty difficult keyword, just - 'web design'

    I see the site in 1st has 10% exact match anchor for that
    5th place site has 24% exact match anchor for that
    8th place site has 41% exact match anchor for that
    9th place site has 12% exact match anchor for that!

    The sites successfully ranking in 5th & 8th have huge exact match anchor text ratios. The sites also have a lot of links, 1.35K and 163K links respectively. (Local search volume for that keyword is 6,600 per month at $14 per click)

    Let's try another hard keyword - 'seo sydney'

    4th place has 24% exact match (8k links)
    5th place has 20% exact match (465 links)

    By traditional penguin theory all of those sites should have been hit but they're fine. The algo and it's tolerances are different for every niche. What you get away with in one niche will also bury you in another.

    What you'll notice as you start to dig down into those sites is that they have some really good links in their profiles. They're not just full of junk which is why they can get away with such high exact match ratios.

    Over optimization of anchor text isn't the main problem, the main issue is having exact match links coming from rubbish websites - that's the problem.

    Having exact match links coming from great sites will never be a problem, no matter how high your anchor text density is. After all, a truly good link is meant to be a link that you have no control over, so why would Google really care if everyone chose to link to you with the same anchor text?
     
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  2. Victor Hin

    Victor Hin Newbie

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    thank for the sharing interesting post
     
  3. spider4567

    spider4567 Regular Member

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    This is really great! Thx
     
  4. judaculla

    judaculla Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    'Web design' is a pretty generic keyword though, and i would expect exact match percentages to be higher than others. Bad example maybe, but great overall point--do your own niche relevant homework!
     
  5. mbreezy

    mbreezy Regular Member

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    I don't think there is a magic number you need to hit... but I also think it is important for there to be diversity. My opinion is that diversity in anchors and nofollow helps keep things looking natural.

    Also, you're most likely using a 3rd party tool that doesn't know for certain if Google values all the links and anchor text you're evaluating. You're also not reading into DA, TF and etc.

    Another thing that is important is the context of the page your backlinks are on. If the content on the page backlinking to you is irrelevant to your website, exact match anchors won't be as helpful as a naked URL anchor on a page that is relevant is relevant to your website.

    You can't say to not worry about a ratio, but then also say that exact match anchors have positive effects. If your link's anchors were a 100% exact match for your targeted keyword, that would look unnatural and be an issue. High amounts of exact match would be less likely to hold up under manual review.
     
  6. Rich77ard

    Rich77ard Registered Member Premium Member

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    I completely agree diversity is much safer. I actually aim for 0% exact match for my main keywords and can still rank them in first place even with a 0% exact match. I also see that quite a bit as well in the Serps whereby everyone on the first page has 0% exact match anchors for their main keyword. Look at the results for 'SEO New York' - not one site on the first page as an exact match anchor according to ahrefs.

    This post was more for the guys who might be panicking about their high exact match ratios. From what I'm seeing, as long as there is a certain level of quality throughout their entire link profile, high exact match ratios are nothing to really worry about.

    Another keyword for example is 'SEO Seattle' - 1st spot has the youngest domain by far - the lowest trust flow (5) - and 31% exact match ratio for that keyword - (1.06K links). And … The guy in 3rd place has a 75% exact match ratio for that keyword.

    By traditional penguin theory, it shouldn't matter how trusted the domain is, that should have been hit with an anchor text over optimization penalty. Looks like they don't really care about that at all. What they care about is whether or not those links are on pages that get traffic, the page topic is related, and the link actually gets click-throughs back to the target site, and then whether or not there is reasonable dwell time on the target site after they click through on the link.

    I've also been seeing many sites come out of penalties lately by doing absolutely nothing. Now they just seem to be devaluing all of the week exact match anchor links. It's like those sites are returning to their previous rankings because the penalty has been lifted, but they also don't get the benefit of all their old exact match anchors either.

    So for example, those sites that are ranking in 1st & 3rd place for the above keyword with 31% and 75% exact match ratios, Google is just ignoring all of those bad exact match links, and then still giving them credit for all of their good links.
     
  7. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    None of this means anything. Looking up a bunch of sites that have high exact doesn't mean your new site can just have 30% exact anchor and rank.

    I've personally had my site disappear from the serps by being too aggressive with exact anchors. We don't fear it for no reason.
     
  8. Rich77ard

    Rich77ard Registered Member Premium Member

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    So studying search results for keywords and finding that sites are still ranking with high anchor text density means nothing … hmmm … Interesting theory. There was nothing mentioned in the post about spamming a new site with 30% anchor text density and trying to rank either?

    Yes you may have had sites disappear from the Serps, but how do you know it was from anchor text over optimization. (That was the old penguin - not the new one) Did you get a notice in Webmaster tools? How do you know it wasn't poor user experience, thin content or the myriad of other things that can hurt rankings.
     
  9. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Calm down.

    Why are you on a crusade to prove that high exact anchors are harmless?

    And yes, studying search results and theorycrafting is not hugely useful unless you do it in a very very large scale scientific way, with massive sample sizes and elimination of confounding variables.

    Looking at a few sites and making conclusions is just not useful. You'll find sites ranking #1 with almost no backlinks and others with pbns that are on page 2 for the same keyword. You'll find sites that rank with spam. You'll find sites that don't rank with spam. You'll find almost anything out there in the wild.

    Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that the only thing that matters is real experience. 99% of the web just theorycrafts about what does and doesn't work.
     
  10. andredeo

    andredeo Newbie

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    Good findings, I think it is all niche dependent.
     
  11. Rich77ard

    Rich77ard Registered Member Premium Member

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    There's no crusade going on, it's just a simple post to add some value & content to the forum from some recent observations I've made. When you dump on someones thread with “None of this means anything” or you haven't analyzed 1 million keywords, SEO is all experience, theory means nothing etc - what do you expect, a warm welcome?
     
  12. Peter Ngo

    Peter Ngo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    He made some good point about your thread, "Stop fearing anchors text for no reason", lol hell yea there are ton of reasons to fear the anchor text ratio%.
     
  13. securelinkbuilding

    securelinkbuilding Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great post OP!

    I agree with you as well. There isn't an exact magical number of what anchor text ratio you should however usually the rule of thumb is to go light on your exact match keywords and focus more on brand, raw URL and LSI.

    In my opinion, the most important aspects are as you said, relevant contextual links from quality sites coupled along with a domain that has a solid all around on-page set-up and silo blog structure which is highly recommended!

    Warm Regards and best of luck to all!
    ~Mark
     
  14. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    It HIGHLY depends on the niche. OP mentioned two fairly spammy (lets be honest, very spammy) niches. It also depends on the depth of the focus of your site and if you're trying to rank inner pages or the home page. If you have a somewhat spammy niche and you have a highly focused site that is tuned to THAT ONE KEYWORD and you're aiming it at the home page then yeah... yeah you might be able to get away with 20%+ exact anchor text. But if you have a broader niche that isn't spammy and your site isn't laser focused on that EXACT topic as a whole and you're wanting to rank an inner page for that keyword than I'd caution you against going full retard and pumping 25% exact anchor text.

    Life isn't so simple, neither is SEO. Don't go jumping to crazy conclusions guys.

    -ThopHayt
     
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  15. manolo12399

    manolo12399 Senior Member

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    in my opinion exact match anchors go also together with how many searches that keywords has monthly, more monthly searches and more time is possible to use that exact keyword as anchor, because normally would be used often to link to a site, but a keyword that is searched not much, would be not really normal, to have lots of backlinks with that keyword, but backlinks with more different keywords would be more normal.
     
  16. soccerlover

    soccerlover Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great Post! It cleared many doubts.
     
  17. Lauriat

    Lauriat Power Member

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    no one knows how many of those exact match links are sitting in disavow file. Also could be unsuccessful neg seo attack.
     
  18. seo dean

    seo dean Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks for sharing.I have learned some informations.
     
  19. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yes, I expected a warm welcome and fresh cookies. Your hospitality is not up to much. :(

    Yep, and this is exactly why I said above you can't just analyse a few sites and make conclusions. It has to be very a very thorough analysis, eliminating confounding variables(variables just like thophayt is talking about here.)

    There are so many factors at play with google that you can't just jump to over-simplistic conclusions like "you don't have to fear anchor text".

    The way a penalty is actually decided isn't just based on your external anchor text.

    It's based on, external anchor text, internal anchor text, keyword density, site age and site authority. The older and more authority a site gets, the more it can get away with higher anchor text.

    SEO is very much like this. That's why you learn much more from experience. You see what happens with a fresh site, you see what happens when you adjust certain things and you see the changes week on week with link building.

    Looking at a bunch of older sites at their final resting spot in the serps doesn't teach you that much. You need to see the process to really understand.

    It's like trying to figure how to bake a cake by looking at a bunch of cakes in a shop. It doesn't really work.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  20. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Now what OP can DEFINITELY do is analyze the density that competition SIMILAR to his website within his exact niche who are also targeting his keyword. If you are selling left handed PC mice and you see that three guys with sites similar to yours rank in the top 10 of your keyword with a 12% exact anchor text ratio then it's a fairly decent bet that you may be able to get away with that same 12%. There are a few details you need to watch when copying ratios, such as making sure you look at the rest of their anchor text's diversity as well as their link diversity... but this can be useful. Just don't go thinking that because left handed PC mice allow a 12% exact anchor text ratio that your other website about gaming laptops can also use 12%.

    -ThopHayt
     
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