Analyse Your Anchor Text – It’s Worth It

Here are some of the tactics used by SEO professionals for every type of website in every industry to analyse the anchor text of backlink. By doing so you can improve your backlink profile and give organic rankings a boost.

The perfect backlink profile is almost impossible to create, but there are some neglected tactics for improving a backlink profile to get closer to perfection. One of those tactics is analysing backlink anchor texts then optimising the anchors i.e. emphasising phrases that are important for your website by using the right combination of words, synonyms and semantically related words.

The words in the anchor text matter more than many people think.

We might all worry about keyword stuffing but if there are no keywords in the anchors then that is just as much of a problem. And if there are no synonyms or semantically related words that is also a problem.

So let’s take a look at how to analyse the anchors in a link profile…

List anchor texts

A professional SEO consultant should always provide full details about all the backlinks to a website that include the anchor text of each one. If you are not using SEO consulting services but doing this part of your digital marketing in-house then there are plenty of SEO software options that will show these details. Simply export all the anchor texts and stick them in a spreadsheet – that’s the easy part.

Categorise anchor texts

There are also tools that will calculate what percentage of your anchors are branded, keyword-rich, general, URL etc and are useful for a first pass at categorising anchors. But a manual check also has benefits because the human eye can better detect semantically related words and adjust the automatic categorisation for better accuracy.

Anchor categories might be:

  • Keyword-rich
  • Partial keyword
  • Synonyms
  • Semantic match
  • URL
  • Brand Name
  • General phrases

Check proportions

Now that you have a list of all the anchor texts grouped by category it’s an easy calculation to work out the percentage of each within the categories.

Here are a couple of simple examples of websites – both of with have consistent, long-term Top 3 rankings in Google for competitive keywords. The quite different percentages in each anchor text category are a good example of how important it is to compare a website with its top-ranking competitors.

Website A has:

  • 10% Branded anchors
  • 27% URL
  • 12% General
  • 33% keyword-rich
  • 18% Part-keyword, synonyms/semantics

Website B has:

  • 2% Branded anchors
  • 6% URL
  • 30% General
  • 59% keyword-rich
  • 3% Part-keyword, synonyms/semantics

Check top-ranking competitors

As with any SEO technique it’s vital to check what top-ranking competitors are doing and it’s no different with anchor text percentages. The examples above show that what works in one sector may not work in another. Where a website ranks in organic search in Google or any other search engine will always be related to how well-optimised the competitor’s website are.

Optimise anchor text

Once you know how your anchor texts compare with top-ranking competitors you can start optimising during link-building to adjust proportions of different anchor categories. If there is the option to go back to websites that have given backlinks and ask them to change the anchor text – especially where a particular term has been over-optimised – then it is always worth asking. So there you have it – just one SEO tactic that could improve the backlink profile and, therefore, boost rankings of any website. All it takes is a little bit of effort.