Don’t trust anchor text distribution tools provided by any of the popular backlink checkers

At my day job, I’ve been working on a dashboard to begin monitoring the backlink portfolio of some of our clients. The goal is to be able to provide a detailed report that takes into account our content promotion efforts as well as our clients’ natural link acquisition month by month. I’ve been using this opportunity to do my own backlink checker review. Unlike Matthew Woodward’s review, I wanted to focus on anchor text distribution and destination URLs of all true live links. These are two metrics are much more meaningful when it comes to deciding on the proper offsite tactics to implement.

Since I have just started to perform my own tests, I don’t have any conclusive data as to which back link checker is the best. Yet, I have not seen any backlink checker that doesn’t have at least 10% to 20% dead backlinks in their reports. While that number may look relatively small, it can lead to some horrible conclusions if you’re trying to see whether certain keywords or landing pages should be avoided.

Dead Links Often Skew the Numbers

Here’s an example to illustrate my point. I have a hypothetical client that Ahrefs reports as having exactly 1000 back links before I verify their validity using Scrapebox. Out those links, 50% are said to have branded anchor text, 30% have targeted anchor text and the last 20% are a mix of brand-hybrids and targeted. Since I’m interested in supporting my anchor text choices for content promotion campaigns, I take a deeper look at those 300 links with exact targeted text and discover that 100 of them are using “goat cheese” as an anchor. That would be almost 1/3 of targeted links using the same short tail keyword! Most SEOs would then decide that other short tail keywords should be focused on for the sake of creating a naturally diversity. That would be wrong.

In almost all cases where I noticed a certain anchor or landing page appearing to take a unnaturally high percentage of the overall scope of links or of one of the smaller sub groups, it was always due to the presence of dead backlinks. In the latter case, only a 10% error would have caused most SEOs to avoid a potentially lucrative keyword. When it comes to data, your priority should always be exactitude, not speed of reporting.

Another New Project: An Anchor Text Distribution Tool

With the help of Scrapebox and Excel, I’ll be sharing with my small readership how I am creating my own anchor text distribution tool as part of my backlink portfolio management project.

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  • Mike
    May 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Well, lately I saw that people have understood that they need to use their names or the url instead a keyword. We need to let Google and the other search engines decide what are the keywords of our websites.