One of the main factors Google used with their Penguin update was anchor text variation meaning that sites that focused highly on one or few keywords got hit and hit hard.
When you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. No natural link profile of a website will have more than 50% of its links using the same anchor text. Even 20% would be considered high today but it seems that no one really has an answer to what ratio you should use with your anchor texts in order to avoid being hit by a black and white animal.
The thing is that the answer for that is right in-front of you. You can figure out the exact anchor text ratios any website is using so you can learn exactly what works. I decided to do some testing and see what are the common anchor text ratios for the top 5 websites rankings for certain specific keywords.
Didn’t really think of a better keyword to start than SEO. You can see that it pretty much varies from a low of 5.33% (for the #1 ranking site) to a high of 22.12% (for the 4th ranking site). The 5th ranking site (SEOmoz) doesn’t have SEO as an anchor text enough so we can know the exact % but we do know it is less than 1.23%.
Another SEO keyword I figured I should check as it is probably more competitive than just using SEO. Only 2 of the top 5 sites are using Learn SEO as an anchor text enough so we can the exact % (11.21% and 33.33%).
I didn’t really knew about this keyword before but when I did my research for this post I wan’t to find some highly paying keywords to check as what has a high CPC would probably have high competition is SEO as well. Turn out that SpyFu have several interesting keyword lists and one of them is the Keywords with Highest Cost Per Click (CPC).
You can see that the top 2 rankings sites use the keyword for 25% of their links and the 3rd ranking site goes as high as 49% which is seems extremely high and it might be effected in the future with further updates.
Direct TV sits at the top of SpyFu’s most expensive keyword list so I figured I should check it as well.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Security Guard Training
I figured I will check this keyword to see what Pat Flynn did when he built this niche case study site almost 3 years ago. Not as competitive as any of the other keywords I check but still interesting, especially for those that are going to follow along with his Niche Site Duel 2.0.
How to Get Your Ex Back
I also remembered this keyword from a video that Glenn Allsop from Viperchill shared a few weeks ago on his VIP email list. He used this keyword to show that Google still has plenty of work to do as many of the site ranking for this keyword are new, low quality and even redirect to an affiliate product (which is something that stopped working a while back but seems that is now working again).
What Can You Learn From This?
The first thing you can learn is that the information is out there for you to see, you just need to know how to get it and how to use it.
What I learned from this is that different niches have different anchor text ratios and that you can’t really find something that will work for all. There isn’t a one answer fits all.
Whenever you are going to build a site, add this to your competition research. Check the anchor text ratios your competitors are using and align yourself with them. Maybe a little higher, maybe a litter lower, that is an entirely different matter but having an average number of the anchor text ratio of currently ranking pages is much better than not having a clue and guesstimating.
I didn’t think of doing this test on my own. I got the idea from Terry Kyle but he only checked 2 keywords so I decided to check a few more. In any case, I recommend you join his Terry Kyle Daily email list as you will get a lot of great information about SEO.
What did you learn form these numbers? Share by commenting below.