Over Optimised Anchor Text Is Harming Your Rankings: 4 Ways To Fix It

Having over optimised anchor text can have damaging consequences for your search engine rankings. Here's how to fix them.

Over Optimised Anchor Text Is Harming Your Rankings: 4 Ways To Fix It
Written by Stephanie Barnes
SEO  |   3 minute read

Anchor texts play an important role in SEO and they can help improve your search engine rankings. But if they're abused, over optimised anchor text can negatively impact them. This is how you can fix it before Google hits your site. 

How to fix optimised anchor texts

Anchor texts can help improve rankings

Anchor texts are clickable text links. 

The words in the text link help search engines understand your website and can even increase you rankings.

eg. Anchor text

How does inbound marketing work for businesses?

If a link has no anchor text, it will look like a normal URL:


Having normal URLs on your site damages your visitors' navigational experience and you will receive no ranking benefits from search engines. Anchor texts invite visitors to click and explore further into your site.

For search engines, clickable text links are a strong ranking factor. 

google logo

Whilst anchor texts can benefit your rankings, they can also cripple them.

Having too many over optimised anchor texts on your website will have negative repercussions for your rankings.

Google's filters will determine you're trying to spam the system. This will increase the chances of your site being hit with penalties and losing valuable page rankings.

It's important to have a diverse selection of anchor texts. 

Over optimised anchor text in action

Anchor text

This site has lots of links linked to the keyword "payday loans". To a search engine this will look like spam. 

Healthy variety of anchor text links


Now, this is a healthy back link profile as it has a diverse selection of anchor texts.

If you're guilty of over optimising your anchor texts, then you need to fix them...

Here are the different ways you can fix your text links: 

1) Dilute keyword optimised anchor texts

If you've received a penalty flag from Google or you're aware your back link profile is looking spammy, you can fix them. 

Go through your site and dilute any keyword rich anchor texts. You can do this by increasing your text links. 

For example:

What is inbound marketing? - if we linked this anchor text to our popular blog 'what is inbound marketing?' Google would likely see this as an attempt to manipulate the rules because the text link is exactly the same as our keyword phrase in our blog. 

However if we wrote:

If you want to learn more about how inbound marketing can help you, click here. 

Putting a link here is more acceptable because the phrase is relevant to the page I'm linking to and it's not spammed with keywords.

Neil Patel, a top SEO influencer, says, "Ideally, the keyword you are trying to rank for shouldn't be more than 10% of your anchor text links."

Whilst fixing your current anchor texts can take a lot of time, it can benefit your ranking and clean up your back link profile. 

2) Create relevant text anchors

student on a laptop

Rather than trying to insert text links on every page, only include a text link if it is truly relevant to the content on the page. 

Since Google released the Panda update, we can see how Google is promoting higher rankings to pages with original and valuable content. Inserting lots of anchor texts into your helpful content can make Google think something spammy is going on.

So, use your anchor texts sparingly.  

Moz experimented to find out how Google considers anchor texts. They discovered if you have multiple text links on one page that are linking to the same page elsewhere, Google will only count the first anchor text. Don't aggravate Google by adding lots of text links onto your pages, make them count.

3) Use synonyms

An easy tactic you can incorporate into your strategy is to use alternatives to your keywords. 

Creating anchor texts with synonyms of your relevant keywords can help you increase rankings for other keywords and they're a quick alternative to using the same anchor texts.

Of course, with this method, don't abuse it. 

4) Avoid future over optimising

In future, avoid over optimising any of your anchor texts. This will save you a big job later. 

Talk to your team, if you have content writers or admins doing work on your site, have a chat to alert them about over optimising any anchor text. Some sites that get hit with penalties because of text links, weren't over optimising vindictively. It was an accident. 

Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page to avoid future problems. 

Want to learn the other 21 reliable ways to improve your Google Ranking? (Answer: Yes)

Over optimising anchor texts is just like keyword stuffing, Google will be able to tell when you're trying to manipulate your rankings. 

Our FREE Google cheat sheet offers the 22 ranking factors you need to conquer to improve your rankings. Download it now:

Ranking Factors Cheatsheet