If you’re at all engage in marketing online, you have more than likely heard how important *quality* backlinks are to achieving top rankings. That’s because since Google’s Panda update went into effect in North America earlier in the year there’s more emphasis being placed on the *quality* of the backlinks than ever.

As a result many smart marketers are now striking deals with savvy webmasters (with quality websites) to provide FREE articles in exchange for 2-3 quality backlinks pointing at their site. Most often these backlinks include a keyword-rich phrase most ofter called link text or anchor text.

If you’re needing backlinks (or are new to the concept altogether) it’s more important than ever to know what an anchor text is and how it works. If you’re asking yourself what the role of a anchor text is in SEO then bear with me because I’ll spell it out in just a bit.

But first let me share a quick story.

It Was News to Him!

I recently was called by a fellow marketer asking me to help him with a client who needed to sort out some problems he was having with falling page ranking. A page that had been steadily moving up in the Google rankings, but had suddenly dropped to page 30. What was this fellow doing wrong?

I asked a few questions and quickly ascertained the problem. This guys big strategy was to write articles, and then, using software, submit them to a hundred plus article directories. Theoretically, this would create a hundred plus backlinks.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, first of all, Google looks at how good a site is that’s giving a backlink. If a backlink comes from a really low (or no) value website, the backlink is also of low (or no) value.

Another problem was this: there was no variation in the anchor text. Every article used the exact same anchor text. If this marketer was using “aviation insurance” as his anchor text, Google was seeing a hundred or so sites using the anchor text “aviation insurance” and linked back to the same page. Does Google see that something is off here? of course. There’s no way a hundred webmasters chose to link back to a page using the keyword “aviation insurance.” It’s at all surprising the site owner’s rankings dropped like a stone.

You Need Variations for Success

Do you still need a better explanation of “anchor text”? Anchor text is really just a keyword or keyword phrase that is hyperlinked back to one of the pages on your site. The success of your site is dependent on the keyword phrases you choose. In other words, the position of your page in Google results is strongly effected by the keyword phrases you choose to be used as the anchor text linking back to you.

Let’s say that you promote Genesis WordPress themes. If you want your page to be well ranked, you need to have lots of variations on your anchor text keywords (WordPress themes for Genesis, Genesis child themes, best premium WordPress themes, etc.) linking to your page.

Google uses these keyword phrases, the anchor text, as indicators to help them determine what your page is all about. Google will see each of these backlinks as a vote of confidence from 15 different webmasters.

Now, Google will look at every word in your keyword phrase to decide where in the search results your page should be.

How Many Backlinks Does a Marketer Need?

Well, there’s no “hard and fast” rule. The number of backlinks needed is going to depend on the *quality* of each backlink and how much competition there is.

It’s reasonably safe to say that if you are facing medium competition, you will need to create between 20 and 30 backlinks (using lots of variations) to start seeing your page rise up through the ranks.

Is This an Overnight Phenomenon?

Absolutely not! You can expect to wait a month or two after you have come up with 20 to 30 quality backlinks before you start to see movement up the ranks. But don’t just sit around waiting! This is your time to come up with new links. At some point your creative well will run dry. That’s the time to go to the Google keyword tool and find phrases that are similar to your chosen keyword phrase. It should put some wind in your sales and allow you to start coming up with variations on the keywords that you’re found.

Yes, submitting links via software is easy. However, there’s no way you’ll reap the rewards doing things that way that you’ll reap by having anchor text on the best quality websites. The time you put into this endeavor will be well worth the time it will take.


  1. John Ernest


    Google’s algorithm is really considering the satisfaction of the random user quite effectively. Low backlinks will often result in penalties especially if proved that it is done using an algorithm. They are now, more than ever, promoting the use of white hat techniques for their indexed sites.

  2. financing investment properties


    I absolutely agree that rank for a site is not a night phenomenon. Google Panda said, all is about valuable content. So if we want to discuss about backlink, my best opinion is Google Panda is still values your backlink based on quality of the backlink.

  3. Reply

    It does seem that Google are doing so many updates and being a start-up search engine enthusiast, I am finding so many different threads of information all over the place.
    At least your site is giving me some valuable information about back-links. I still don’t fully understand what I am doing to achieve this, but I think I am getting there.

  4. Roy Marvelous


    Very interesting. I want to learn how to improve my Google PR. So Backlinks would be the solution?

  5. Terry Payne


    Hi Jason. A very good article and excellent advise regarding backlink generation. A lot of things have changed in off-page SEO this past year, and I suspect Panda isn’t finished yet. Last year’s tactics of spinning an article and blasting it to numerous sites won’t help at best, but worse is more likely to actually cause harm.

    I have had clients who have on their own purchased inexpensive “guaranteed, secret method” backlink building offers from marketers with questionable practices and then seemed baffled when I explain that their actions are detrimental to my efforts as well as their own marketing goals. You are absolutely correct in that quality is the key to online success, not only in backlinks but all components of SEO.

    Thanks for the great post!

  6. Jasper


    Hi Jason!

    I know that Back linking plays a very important role to add traffic. I may ask, can anchor text may be also use in CommentLuv premium?


  7. Reply

    Thanks for digging deep into the meaning of anchor texts, and for an overall great job of discussing how to get great rankings.

  8. Marketing Philosophy


    Actually the quality and relevance of your backlinks is not only important for a good google ranking but most importantly to get traffic from these backlinks, if you just get backlinks just for the sake of link building the results will be minimal both in terms of ranking and traffic as well…

    Kostas | Opportunities Planet

  9. Lynn Sanders


    Ok, i agree with the variation – it is needed.
    But, if you go for “cars”, how can diluting the keywords help ranking? You’ll look more legit to Google, but will you also rank at the pace you want when your top competitors for the main keyword have thousands of backlinks already?

  10. Aaron


    Actually I was not aware about such update and going to implement it now. So we need to get 3-4 different anchor texts pointing to same page and then Google will decide more suitable anchor text to rank high in search term. Thanks for sharing this information.

  11. Daniel Wood


    NIce post Jason. I would just like to ask you one thing as you have told above, we should have variation in our anchor text. But if we are using the same article to submit in more than one directory, do we still should variate our anchor text for each site, though the article is same?

    • Jason Monroe


      If you do submit the article to multiple article directories but do not change up the anchor text you will more than likely run into a duplicate anchor text problem.

      Having said that, if you are looking for SEO benefits and Google rankings I would not recommend submitting an article to more than one directory. In fact, I would not even recommend submitting articles to any article directory.

      You are far better off writing one great article and submitting it for publication to a quality website (such as this one).

  12. Megan Brown


    Thats true about quality backlink as it plays an important role in increasing PR and SERP. Thus 10 backlink from high quality site is much better than 100 backlink from low quality sites.

    • Jason Monroe


      Yes, agreed. It is so much more worthwhile to seek out those quality sites instead of wasting valuable time (and money) posting great articles to crappy sites.

  13. sai


    lot of bloggers was scared about Google panda.but now all things are done.nice info of google panda.cool share 🙂

  14. Samuel Joshua


    Hey Jason,
    I really admire and appreciate your firm and well fabricated explanation on why quality backlinks are so much important for better rankings.Variation in anchor text is something really considerable,because it shows the variety keywords which are pointing towards the one page and Google really appreciate this.Hey Jason i have one question in my mind regarding to the quality websites.What are the parameters there on which we can decide or judge that this particular website is a valuable one for getting a backlink??

    Thank you for sharing such an informative and considerable content with us Jason.

    Good Luck and God Bless!!
    With Regards!
    Samuel Joshua

    • Jason Monroe


      Hi Samuel,

      That’s a great question. I look at a number of factors including quality of the website’s content and responsiveness of the audience reflected in the number of tweets, likes, pluses, comments, etc. I also typically look for sites with a PageRank of 3 or better.

  15. Gail Gardner


    Regarding quality backlinks, one of the very best ways to gt them is to write quality guest posts on other established blogs. This not only allows you to choose the backlinks – if you choose related blogs it will also bring you new readers.

    When you find a blog you would like to guest post on first read some of their recent or pillar posts, comment in them and share them. Interact with the blogger on Twitter. Then suggest some topics you feel you could write about and ask if the blogger is interested. You could do this over Twitter or you could check the contact tab on the blog and see what other methods they suggest.

    My contact tab recommends reaching me via Skype or Yahoo IM so we can have a live discussion and also on that tab is information about how guest posting on GrowMap is different than most other blogs – specifically that we encourage related links in content and comments and even encourage bloggers to use their affiliate links as long as what they are recommending is something they really use that is ethical and useful to my readers.

    I want to warn bloggers of some WordPress plugins that are being heavily promoted that will not only generate poor quality links – they will get your blog blacklisted by ethical bloggers. I wrote about those in the Trackback spam post I’ll link to in this comment.

  16. Gail Gardner


    Hi Jason,

    Anchor test is SO important and so few bloggers really use it correctly. I am always glad to support posts that help bloggers learn what is essential to their success. I wrote a similar post that includes additional details on how to choose keyword phrases and how to use them. I’ll put that post in CommentLuv in this comment.

    Could I interest you in assisting me in testing how the configuration choice you made in CommentLuv Premium to allow keywords after 5 approve comments works? This is my first comment (that I recall) here and I put @ GrowMap in it. I expect that CommentLuv Premium will remove that keyword because I do not yet have 5 approved comments here.

    What I want to test is what happens when I do reach 5 approved comments: do the previous comments suddenly show keywords OR do those comments have no keywords and future comments do.

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