There was an excellent post done on Search Engine Journal two weeks ago that provided a lot of thorough analysis on anchor text.
Over use of the same anchor text was one of the main reasons a website got demoted in the Penguin update. Exact Match Domains also can have a problem with Google thinking their anchor text is spammy but when the anchor text is the name of the site its hard not to use that. OnlineCollege.org is an example in the article. We one time had them email because of a link we used for them. We published an infographic and used the anchor text "Online College" after Penguin they emailed us and asked u to put OnlineCollege.Org as the anchor text. The article looks at seven competitive industries and the anchor text profiles of those ranking well.
The takeaways from the author were:
So, what can we take away from the link building analysis of
different industries and websites ranking at the top of the first page?
Here are just a few things:
- Having a strong authority will help you rank for your keywords regardless of how often you use them as anchor text.
- Don’t want to tip off Google by using the exact keyword phrase you
want to rank for in your anchor text? Mix it in with your brand name or
other long-tail keywords. Also target single and plural forms as needed.
- Make sure your brand / business name gets a good majority of your anchor text.
- Exact match domains are still OK if the content on them is quality.
- Some industries and related keywords can be completely unpredictable
when it comes to the number of links needed to rank at the top of
search results. The sites with less than 1,000 backlinks for payday loans and DUI lawyer, for example, were not even ranking well because of local search considering none of them were located in or near Maine.
The article is well worth the read for anyone developing their domains and looking for some insight on anchor text and link building.