Anchor text is a vital element of backlinks because it enables the user to navigate from one page to another. The user sees it as a piece of text highlighted in blue and clicks it to land on another page. So you can use them smartly within the content to drive qualified traffic to your website. It sounds simple, but there is much more to anchor text if you scratch the surface!
You can derive immense benefits from them only if you use them properly. On the other hand, over-optimized anchor text can land you in deep trouble and even bring Google penalty for your website. Keeping an eye on anchor text usage and fixing over-optimization issues is essential to ensure good positioning for your website. Here are some key facts that you need to know about fixing anchor text over-optimization.
Understanding anchor text over-optimization
First things first, you need to understand what anchor text over-optimization actually is. The idea is to identify the root of the problem and prevent it from happening at all. Basically, over-optimization occurs when a large number of anchor text links with the same webpage. Further, not using variation in the anchor text could be another cause of concern from the optimization perspective. Simply speaking, using the same keyword for linking with the same web page can get you the attention of Google for all the wrong reasons. This is something that you would not want to happen because a Google penalty is likely to come next.
Why does anchor text optimization matter?
Now that you know the significance of monitoring your anchor text closely, you would want to know the real reasons why Google is not happy about over-optimization. This is basically attributed to the Penguin update, which prioritizes the ratio of diverse anchor text types while considering the authenticity of your link profile. If you are not sticking to the apt ratio, your link profile appears unnatural. The best way to prevent this is by ensuring that you use the right ratios that render a natural link profile. You can go through https://www.thehoth.com/blog/anchor-text-ratios/ to know the correct ratio of different types of anchor text (such as exact match, keyword match, branded and naked URL anchor texts). Once you are able to optimize this ratio, you can nail a natural profile that gets you real results rather than a penalty. So it becomes evident that anchor text optimization matters a lot for your website’s SEO.
Tips for fixing anchor text over-optimization
Ideally, you should aspire for an optimized link profile that does not open your website to the risk of the Google penalty. But what if your anchor text is already over-optimized? Are there any short cuts to fix the problem or do you have to invest a lot of effort in resolving the issue? The good news is that you can get things on track by diversifying your anchor text. However, there is a process that you would need to follow for achieving this. Let us highlight the steps that you will need to implement for the same.
Start with a comprehensive Backlink Analysis
To start with, you will need to identify the existing backlinks to your website and also find the anchor text used for them. Listing them is easy even though you may have hundreds and thousands of them because there are several tools that you can use for the task. While some of them are paid, there are many free options as well. So the first step is fairly easy to manage.
Analyze the backlink profiles of the competitors
Besides listing out your own backlinks and the related anchor text, you need to conduct a comprehensive backlink analysis for the websites of your competitors as well. Though this may sound like a lot of hard work, it will give you insights into the keywords and anchor text distribution that the competitors may be using to rank higher than your website. The best part is that this information can actually help you understand what they are doing better than you so that you can realign your strategy for success.
Go ahead with a cleanup
At this stage, you will probably have discovered the flaws in your strategy and the areas where you need to work for achieving optimization with your anchor text. This is the right time for a cleanup, which essentially involves getting rid of the irrelevant backlinks. You need to reach out to the webmasters who own the sites with these links and request them to disavow these links for good. In case they do not respond, you can place a request to Google Search Console.
Have a diversification strategy
While getting rid of bad backlinks is one part of the picture, having an anchor text diversification strategy in place is the other. Ensure that you use keyword variations while adhering to the recommended ratios. Follow the distribution of your competitors to figure out the best one for your website. Build the anchor text as naturally as you can because this is actually what makes it relevant and user-friendly.
Follow best practices while creating new backlinks
Once you are sorted out with the cleanup and optimization of the existing backlinks, you must create a roadmap for the future as well. Stick to the best practices while creating new backlinks. Prioritize the relevance of the anchor text and ensure that it is placed naturally in the content. Every backlink that you build for your website should be created with the intention of optimization. This approach will strengthen your profile and fetch extensive benefits for your site in the long run.
The bottom line is that you need to be very careful about optimizing your anchor text when you build backlinks because they have a far-reaching impact on your profile. Stick to the Google guidelines from start to end as anything spammy or suspicious can endanger all the hard work you may have invested in strengthening your link profile over the years. So you’d better be safe than sorry!