Anchor Text Link Strategy – The Best Way to Rank for Difficult Keywords

by Jason Acidre on February 26, 2011 · 21 comments · Search

The use of anchor text variations is one of the fundamentals of Link building. Since it’s given that having backlinks pointing to a single web page with only one anchor text used over and over will make search engines suspect the methods you are using in order to optimize the page. Basically, it’s not the way to convince them in believing that your page is really relevant to that targeted keyword, especially if you’re building massive links in a short period of time.Anchor Text Variation

Google’s ranking algorithm is constantly evolving, and the more your link profile looks natural is the more you get the results you desire. Being smart in choosing your keywords and anchor texts will naturalize the look of your link building campaign. To give an in-depth view of this strategy, I’ll set some of my previous experiences as an example.

Several months ago, I worked and pampered a highly competitive keyword, and of course, I managed to make it rank on Google’s top page within 3 months (where I started from the 18th page).  The strategy was quite simple; I just had to surround the main targeted keyword with terms that complement it. The main keyword was “uk bingo” – very competitive and has 250,000 monthly search count. And the longtail keywords that helped me make the site rank for that keyword are:

  • Uk bingo online
  • Uk bingo site
  • Play Uk bingo
  • Best Uk bingo
  • Play Uk bingo online
  • Best Uk bingo site
  • Bingo in the Uk


As I have mentioned above, I was able to make the main keyword rank on the top page for a very long time (up to now). The link landscape looked very natural, as if real people and satisfied users are the one’s who’re making links to it, seeing as links built pointing to the same page have many variations with the anchor texts used.

Another surprising result was that I also managed to make the keyword “bingo uk” to rank higher than the main keyword “uk bingo” on SERPs without optimizing it. I’ve noticed that it happens a lot, wherein the reverse version of the keyword is also being optimized just by shooting for the other one. So, what if I’ve targeted for the “bingo uk” instead? Perhaps, I should try and experiment on that one.

A Sneak Peek On My Current Campaign

I’ve been very busy lately with tons of work and drinking sessions that decelerated this blog. Although, I still have a lot of experiments in mind that I wish to implement first on this playground, even I can’t find time to do link building on my own blog.

Ok, here’s another sample, I’ve been targeting the keyword “seo strategies” on my homepage, and I was able to make it rank on the 2nd page of Google SERPs in just 2 weeks (from the 40th page). However, after achieving that, I slowed down a bit (for several months), since a lot of client work started coming in. But recently, I’ve thought of reviving my previous campaign by using this strategy as an alternative; and here are the search terms that I chose to surround the main keyword:

  • Organic SEO strategies
  • Effective SEO strategies
  • Strategies for SEO
  • Best SEO strategies
  • Free SEO strategies
  • SEO marketing strategies
  • Google SEO strategies
  • Search engine optimization strategies

Well, I do wish I can find the time to put this experiment into action.

Getting Links Using This Anchor Text Strategy

There are so many ways you can get links from this not-so-spammy strategy, and here are some of them:

  • Monitor mentions of your brand through Google Alerts. It’s important to engage first with the webmaster if you find one before requesting for a link using your desired anchor text.
  • Article submissions and/or guest blog postings. It’s best if your topics are focused with the surrounding keywords (ex. “10 Best SEO strategies”), so that the external links from the content pointing to your site have greater value through relevance.
  • Do link search with your new keywords through Google search, since it will give you a new set of competitors for each keyword. You can choose to contact your new competitors for a link request or explore where they are getting their links from. It’s important to personalize your messages to these webmasters with the intent of engagement, and not just for the link request!
  • Use your new set of keywords as titles on your blog posts and make the copy relevant to the targeted keyword. The best thing about blog posts is that it can naturally build links on its own (especially if it’s linkable). You can choose to promote your blog posts to several social bookmarking sites, RSS feed directories (Feedage and Mybloglog), reputable as well as relevant forums, Q&A sites and CommentLuv enabled blogs, in which the links built will mostly use the blog’s title as anchor text.

How to Find Support Keywords

Easy, use Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Travis!

Next Stop

Be sure that you also use your main keyword as anchor text in building your links, but the most important thing is that your anchor text should vary, since using all of your support keywords will drastically help your main keyword rank higher on search engines.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Orun March 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

Neat anchor-text experiment :)


Web Marketing Sydney March 31, 2011 at 5:27 pm

is ok if you use 10 words anchor text when you bookmark a site or should only use your keyword?


Rohan April 20, 2011 at 3:17 am

When you say that you targeted multiple keyword variations in ‘many longtail’ keywords are you talking about making variations in anchor texts links pointing to the home page or are you suggesting to make multiple posts in the blog targeted to the keyword and tackling various keyword variations so that the relevancy and keyword density of the entire archive increases for that said word ?


Vancouver SEO Analyst - Andy Kuiper May 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

Nice article :-) I agree wholeheartedly with your suggestions and hope that others take your advice into consideration. Too many times we see 300+ backlinks with one keyword phrase as anchor text, followed (way behind) with something like 30, 20, and then 10 different versions of the keyword anchor text. This doesn’t work well as Google knows someone is trying too hard to game the algo… it isn’t natural.
Andy :-)


BingoBabe May 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

Really helpful post, not just because you used a bingo term as an example.

I have a friend who was ranking first page for a term, he then built a lot of links to the site. Apparently he tripped an anchor text filter by getting too many links using the same anchor. Instead of moving up the serps he was out of the serps totally.

Something everyone should be aware of.


Sue Ellen @Luxury Family Tent May 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I’ve read a lot about what you were outlining, and it makes perfect sense to me (now). However, one part of the puzzle I can’t figure out is how much is to much? I mean how many links with the same anchor text is to much – what number triggers the the “anchor text filter” mentioned in the comment above?


Sean TR @ How to Make Wine May 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

Great post Jason. Do you calculate the %ages that you’ll use the different keyphrase variations or do you just alternate as you gain links? It seems to me partial-match influence is still on the rise.


Rob Eveller June 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Great post, I’m new to SEO, what do you use to monitor how your anchor terms are ranking?


Rode Ntk June 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Awesome post thanks for sharing I will implement this strategy for sure


Kent July 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Just one question for anchor text in link building. When we comment on other people’s blog, should we put anchor text as our name? For example, anchor text “Malaysia SEO”, does that help? And will I offend those blogs owners because I don’t put my real name?


SEO blog July 29, 2011 at 3:17 am

I like what you are saying and truth be told I have read similar article on a SEO blog that I follow. I have made use of many of there suggestions when I launched my website a few months back.

Still a good read though as I like to get various opinions and then draw my conclusion.


John@website consultant services August 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

Another top post from you Jason, thank you. That is a smart way to target keywords…I just wonder, have you ever had any sort of spam issues with targeting in this fashion? You definitely know what you are doing with link building, but was just curious if this specific tactic has ever lead to a decreased ranking for a site?


Henry September 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I made the typical newbie mistakes when starting out with my first site like diluting the link juice with” www” or without. Also good reminder to newbies….. vary your links and don’t just link to your home page. Appreciate the advice here,keep it coming.


Rav Sandhu September 9, 2011 at 4:43 am

Nice work mate. Nice to see someone blogging about something useful for a change! We also did a similar experiment with anchor text see here.


Sean@LongTail SEO April 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Great stuff Jason. I love the reminder of keeping things natural and playing around with variations of the main keyword.

I find myself forgetting that sometimes! Good to remember that once in a while.



Hillary Stones April 17, 2012 at 6:03 am

Another great post Jason. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I like what you are saying and truth be told I have read similar article on a SEO blog that I follow.


N1NJA August 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Dude some nice tips there seriously i need a mentor for this stuff so im going to try your theories if it works you ROCK! And if it dont work im going to hunt you down….. LOL Thanks :)


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