Are Anchor Text Based Algos Bogus?

I don't always agree with what martinibuster says, but in this case, I think he's on to something. Anchor text may have officially reached its peak of importance in search algos, and may have even started on a gradual decline.

From Are Anchor Text Based Algos Bogus? [WMW supporters thread -- no riffraff allowed -- go back to DigitalPoint whence you came!!]

Anchors, imo, are unnatural and they don't happen naturally online anymore. People generally don't naturally link that way today except when doing it for seo purposes, or in blogs (the last place today it seems where you find people linking out in the traditional way using descriptive anchors). In fact, aside from blogs, many webmasters are loathe to link out except from a hard to find links page. Even Yahoo wants their directory anchors to be the name of the company, not your pet anchor text. It just seems to me that that is the way things are today.

Although there are some true authority sites that aren't seo'd and do really well with this method, I'm starting to believe that anchors may not promote the best results, only the most seo'd results.

Does this make sense? And if so, why persist in using this technique?

I think it's obvious that it's a bit ridiculous how important this single factor has been in the past 3 years. Of course there is a good argument that can be made in its defense: it may not be a perfect factor, but results are better with it than without it.

But, it certainly has its flaws, as a heavily weighted algo factor.

  • Most "normal" people don't think about linking with keywords
  • SEO's have had a field day with it, and arguably have manipulated it even more than we manipulated PageRank!

Of course, I'm not saying anchor text is "dead" -- not by a long shot. Simply that in three years it probably won't be the most important factor anymore.

So what factors are gaining in importance? My vote: user actions and clickstreams...


Like online gambling? You

Like online gambling? You may be right. I don't deal with that stuff. I am doing link building (small campaigns) for a collection of real estate sites right now, though. I'll see how that goes.

come on qwerty:)

You don't have to think natural, or make it seem natural... just let it happen naturally.

Now people are just asking for changing anchor text......waiting for it naturally to happen in any agressive sector just won't make you rank.



seems like the more occurances of synonyms and just plain variety of different phrases linking in, the better now.....goes to the theme of "think natural".

And that's the trick. You don't have to think natural, or make it seem natural... just let it happen naturally. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't seek out links -- just that you don't need to request particular anchor text.

But .. what about "click here"

Why is adobe #1 on Google with "click here"

Absolutely nothing on the page that says "click here."

8,610,000 links off site.

I am sure I have gone bizerk! Friday 7 pm and still counting links. Madness.

Top 10 natural to top 10 allinanchor - see correlation and %

If you run a search in google and view the natural top 10, and then run a search for allinanchor and view the top 10, you'll see usually about 6 of the same sites. Now if you check the anchor text of those repeated sites you'll see that the percentage of the phrases being "keyword keyword" is very low....very low....yet they're in the top for Allinanchor, and in the natural results.

Few years ago (3) you'd want as close to 100% of your anchor text to be keywords, but over time the percentage has gone way down. Today sites which rank high for allinanchor will only have the "keyword keyword" a very small percentage of the time....seems like the more occurances of synonyms and just plain variety of different phrases linking in, the better now.....goes to the theme of "think natural".


The 13 folks who voted on the ranking factors seemed to agree - it was #2, behind only title tag out of 103. I'd guess that MB is right, though. As SEs can develop algorithms that their engineers are happy with, a lot of the value of anchor text is going to dissipate - it's like PageRank a few years ago.

I don't think it will be replaced by clickstreams and usera actions, though. Those are too easy to game. I think we'll see a shift to trying to understand pages and links in context, more and more. Even for an SEO, it's very tough to land lots of "in-content" links from good sites unless you've got a great site to promote. Those behind the scenes at the SEs are surely working their tails off trying to figure out how to easily differentiate editorial links from advertising links.

Thanks for the warning -

Thanks for the warning - I'll go back to DP where I don't have to pay just to read someone to state the obvious - that anchor text is wholly abused and Google have long been trying to automatically devalue that abuse. :)

I agree, though - Google have made it plain for a long time that they don't see anchor text as the authority it once was, and user behaviour will ultimately play a huge roll.