6 Tips: Diversifying Anchor Text

Apr 18, 2012   //   by Kaila Strong   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

Do you vary your anchor text? Surprisingly, many individuals that do their own SEO and link building activities don’t diversify anchor text enough. Today, over use of your keywords can lead to some pretty severe consequences – penalties, ranking drops and traffic decreases.

Luckily, there are easy ways to combat the issue of over optimized anchor text. Diversifying the keywords pointing to your domain is the best way to avoid this issue. Here are 6 tips to help you understand your options when diversifying anchor text.

Branded Anchor Text

The easiest way to start diversifying your anchor text is to use your brand as the keyword phrase. For large brands, the anchor text most often used when linking to their sites is their brand name already.

Use a tool like Open Site Explorer to examine your backlinks. Use their distribution of anchor text tab to help you see what keywords are being used most often. How often is your brand name used, or variations of your brand name? Keep an eye on the keyword variations showing up in your backlinks and actively pursue opportunities that will allow you to link to your site using your brand name: social profiles, directories, guest blogging, etc…


It’s natural to see keywords misspelled or used incorrectly. This is true too, of your backlinks. Purposely misspell and use keywords incorrectly every now and again. Sure, it’s not a best practice always but when you’re trying to find ideas on how to diversify your backlinks – this is an option.

Natural Unoptimized Terms

Do you know who ranks #1 for “click here”? Adobe of course! Think about it – many sites link to Adobe for their Acrobat Reader. “Click here”, “Download”, etc… are all anchor texts that are used. While this is an extreme case, it certainly can be a good lesson. Natural anchor text is sometimes not keyword oriented but action oriented. Build a few links to your domain using natural and unoptimized anchor text.

Long Tail Anchor Text

Another option you have when diversifying anchor text is to use a long tail term to hyperlink. Having a long tail SEO strategy is always a good idea, as long tail terms can over time draw in the targeted traffic you’re looking for. Try using a question or a quote as the anchor text or look for specific long tail phrases using keyword research that have some search volume.

URL as Anchor Text

Using your URL as your anchor text is an option. Sites that allow you to have a company profile often link to you using just the URL as the anchor text. Seek out these opportunities and try placing not just your homepage as the URL. Look to place internal page URLs as the anchor text as well.


Last but certainly not least, your option to vary anchor text may come down to identifying other similar keywords. Use a Thesaurus to help you come up with synonyms that will still apply to the keywords you wish to focus, but help in diversifying exact match anchor text. You may even find some of the keywords convert better than the broad match terms you’ve always tried to focus on.

Do you have tips to help users diversify anchor text? Tell us in the comments below!

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Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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  • Jen Franklin says:

    Kailia, Great tips. Do you have a formula you use for your anchor diversity? Like a certain percentage of each?

  • Stan says:

    I’ve got burned on not diversifying anchor text. From what I have heard, most of the people in the industry recommend maximum of 80% weight of any anchor to a single page. The rest should be other anchors. Do you agree?

  • Marbella says:

    Hi Kaila,
    The long tail in combination with synonyms can give you good traffic and in the same time good ranking in the serp.

  • Kazzsandra says:

    Hi.. Thanks for the great tips here.. Anyway, only few people are more familiar with differentiating anchor text.. This can help..

  • Debbie says:

    Interesting article – I thought using the same anchor text will just strengthen a good position in SERP. Thanks for sharing.

  • Carol says:

    Anchor text is definitely important in every blogger and I hope these tips can be a big help to us.. Thanks!

  • Jacob

    A good method that I find myself in terms of varying anchor text is by using keywords that you would usually use to link to a “deep page” and simply link to the “home page” with those keywords… adds variation and another layer… plus it’s still niche related 🙂

  • biobank says:

    I’ve got burned on not diversifying anchor text. From what I have heard, the majority of us in the industry recommend maximum of 80% weight of any anchor to a single page. The rest should be other anchors.

  • Annabel S. says:

    Great read Kaila – “Natural anchor text is sometimes not keyword oriented but action oriented.” I had never considered this before but it makes complete sense. I have some updating to do now, thanks!

  • Ricky says:

    Misspelling, seriously? Why the heck I never thought about this earlier? I usually use unoptimized term, site address, varied anchor text to build my links.

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  • Jamie Kirk

    It’d be quite cool to see a few suggest percentages each time – ie how many times should we mention the URL, etc. Although, there’s clearly no obvious answer, I guess it depends a bit on the industry.

  • Kralj Crni says:

    This is definitely some text for all SEO freaks to think about. Especially after latest Google updates link diversify will gain more and more value for top rankings spots

  • Chris

    Found your post while looking for a list of un-optimized phrases to use for backlinking, glad I came across it even if I didn’t find what I originally set out to find.

    Jacob who commented above had a good point also, a lot of your links should hit the home page and linking with keywords that are actually targeted on an internal page seems all to natural as at one point that post (WP sites) was there at some point anyway so people would link to the home page if they didn’t understand the workings of a blog style site.

  • Jamy Hoster

    This is an nice information as back links are count not as a link but you have a click from some where some how.