Anchor Text Diversification In SEO — The Right Percentage Post Penguin 2.0

Things never remain the same in SEO. When Google rolled out the first Penguin update, anchor text use changed permanently. Just to make sure we carry newcomers along, there was a time when the right thing to do was to have your target keywords only or mainly in your anchor texts. But that has changed. Now you need to diversify your anchor text to simulate a “natural” pattern.

So let us assume your target keyword/phrase is “Sony TV”: You will be penalized if all (or most of your anchor texts) are just Sony TV (This was acceptable just a few years ago). Now you have to blend in similar keywords/phrases like “televisions” and “Sony televisions” (And that would just be the beginning).

You also need to add naked urls. So assuming the url of the target page is, you are expected to have some anchor texts with just “” and “”. But that’s NOT all…

You have to add nonsense anchor texts like “Click here”, “Visit my website”, whole phrases and even sentences and things like that. The point is: When people link to you naturally they do NOT usually follow a rigid pattern. Your attempt is to mimic that chaotic pattern.

That was the lesson the first Penguin update taught. Experts then advised that your target keyword/phrase make up NOT more than 15% of your anchor text. That was then. Penguin 2.0 makes that advice obsolete.

According to an article by Terry Kyle, the right percentage for your target keyword/phrase is now much lower. And how did he arrive at that conclusion? He just analyzed the anchor texts of top ranking sites in tough niches like “Car insurance”, “Personal injury lawyer”, “Payday loans”, etc. on (Google USA) on Monday May 27 2013.

Unless you are new to SEO, these are some of the most competitive niches to rank number one for. So it’s safe to conclude that finding out what makes sites rank top three in these niches gives insight into what Google wants at any point in time.

The result of Terry’s findings: Make sure your target keyword doesn’t account for up to 4% of your anchor texts. To put it in Terry’s own words…

“Do NOT use Anchor text for relevancy on keywords that you want to rank for (worked in 2010, doesn’t any more!) — let your On-Page SEO (but don’t overdo it) show relevancy & keep VARYING your Anchors (to hide your SEO efforts).”

But while you are at it, this should afford you the opportunity to target different but related keyword phrases. So in essence, this change in Google’s algorithm actually makes it easier for you to target multiple keyword phrases per page.

Do you agree with Terry? What has been your personal experience after the most recent Penguin update? Did you lose or gain rankings? If so, does your experience support Terry’s findings? Share with us by leaving a comment below.

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