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How-to 8 min read June 23, 2020

How To Build An Anchor List To Expand Backlink Profile

How To Build An Anchor List To Expand Backlink Profile
An anchor list is a must for any link-building campaign. It helps to increase the website's SEO performance and simplifies link publishing process.

What Is An Anchor List

A link anchor is a text the user clicks on to follow the link. The list of all anchor texts used on the website is called the anchor list.

Keywords in the link anchors help increase the external links' effectiveness and speed up site optimization in general. However, excessive use of transactional queries in anchors, for instance, keywords containing the words "buy," "order," "price," etc., can lead the site to a search engine penalty, as its algorithms will detect the unnatural origin of links.

The anchorless links are the ones that don't supplement the semantic aspect of the text. At the same time, statistically, the link works properly. The anchor lacking a link might be looking like this:

  • an image without <alt> tag;
  • the URL;
  • a text which is not considered as an anchor (here, by the link, etc.).

Stick to the following shares of the anchored and anchorless links: 10% of the former ones and 90% of the latter. Advanced specialists divide the links according to this ratio: 80% and 20%. This is also considered acceptable for link promotion.

However, the most influential factors remain the link's quality and suitability. The proper link anchors look like naturally inserted keywords. As a result, the link looks like this:

Linking text [anchor with the URL] Linking text.

Here is the same link in the HTML code:

<a href="http://site.com/">ANCHOR

Why should be the anchors combined with the plain text? It is needed to make the outer links look more natural, and the site could not be threatened with sanctions. At the same time, the inner link anchor has to be relevant to the page that is referred to.

How to build an anchor-list for backlink profile increasing

The anchor list building requires some preparation:
Determine which pages are prior for you and decide what exactly are you going to optimize by means of the link promotion.
Compile the keyword list with clustering.
Develop the search optimization strategy for several months. To do this, you need to analyze your niche competitors. Enter a keyword to the search, create a text document, and build a list of the resulting URLs. Analyze at least ten competitors.
As a result, you will know:

  • how competitors use anchored and anchorless links and you'll take it into account in the long-term planning;
  • who refers to the competitors. Note a topic and some pieces of the donor-site technical performance: domain age, site size, etc;
  • what amount of links your competitors have.

Analyze the Top-10 sites according to each of the keywords. Develop a strategy based on the real results that other sites managed to attain. This will help you to succeed and avoid filters.

Serpstat anchor analysis

Serpstat can help you to carry out such an analysis in order to see the competitors' strategy from the technical side:

  • referring donors;
  • anchors used;
  • amount of the links;

Go to Serpstat and choose Backlink Analysis section.
Backlink Analysis at Serpstat
Enter the competing URL and the service will automatically generate the Overview which includes information about the amount of the referring domains. Also, there is a backlink profile grow chart. You will also see the referring domains' levels, unique backlink history, etc. Such domain zones as edu and gov are considered as trustable.
Continue analyzing and move on to the most interesting. Look which anchors your competitor uses:
Anchor text list graph at Serpstat
Export the competitor's anchor list. Then, sort out the links to separate the natural anchors. Usually, useful content refers to articles, reviews, site homepage, or a contact name that contains the site's URL. Finally, value how the links are distributed among site pages. You can use Top Pages report to do this.
Competitors' top pages analysis in Serpstat
Using the generated table, decide what pages are suitable for publishing the links and what pages have to be paid attention to for distributing the backlink profile properly.

You should know that SERPs often may include competitors who decide to promote their resources in risky ways. It is better to avoid them not to face sanctions. For convenience, fix all the data in a table by placing the anchors according to the target categories.
Anchors' analysis table
It is better to use combined with directly inserted keyword anchor links as less as it is possible. It should be no more than 10%-20% of the whole anchor mass.
Advanced SEO Audit: A Complete Guide To All Stages Of The Analysis [Infographic]
Personal demonstration
Our specialists will contact you and discuss options for further work. These may include a personal demonstration, a trial period, comprehensive training articles, webinar recordings, and custom advice from a Serpstat specialist. It is our goal to make you feel comfortable while using Serpstat.

Text around the link

Write a text which will include the links. While preparing it, the following recommendations should be taken into account:
Use the keywords, their synonyms, and word-forms.
Follow the grammar: start sentences with capitals and don't forget about the punctuation.
Harmoniously combine the sentences and don't make the anchors standing out of the context.


Anchor-list is a basis for the link promotion. The most important while building it — is not to forget about the anchors' over-concentration, which negatively influences the promotion, and not to spam with the keywords following the 10%-20% limits of the whole mass.

To create the anchor list for your project, you need to analyze your competitors. The main things that have to be found out are:

  • several donors;
  • donors' technical performance;
  • anchors;
  • backlink profile distribution within the text.

Having gathered the data, distribute the generated anchors according to the site pages, as it is shown in the table. Technical characteristics and links to the donors will be needed to publish the links.

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