Anyone familiar with guest blogging understands that the author byline (aka author bio) is where the magic happens. In the old days, guest authors would place as many as three exact match anchors in the byline. A year ago, two was the norm. Nowadays, folks are understandably skittish, and bylines are often seen with a single brand name link.
What’s the right approach here? Is it okay to use exact match anchors for the majority of your links? Or is going the conservative route the smarter choice?
The good news is, we don’t have to guess at the answer. Smart folks like Razvan Gavrilas of Cognitive Seo have run extensive analysis on which approach is working best in today’s search environment. Check out his complete post entitled Anchor Text Analysis Post Penguin.
As he points out in the article, the businesses with the best rankings in some of the most competitive niches tend to have between 1% and 25% exact match anchors, with the majority being below 5% exact match. A worthwhile study indeed. This says a lot.
His analysis also revealed that top ranking sites tended to have very high Domain Authority. They didn’t win top rank by ”over optimizing” their links. In many cases, these brands probably gained the majority of their links the natural way – by being exceptional. Google wants to send searchers to exceptional websites rather than those who utilize brute-force link building tactics.
The lesson here? Be exceptional. But if that just isn’t possible, then build links in a way that looks natural. Google’s semantic capabilities enable it to understand the nature of your website. There is no need to over emphasize to Google what your website is about using exact match anchors in your link building efforts.