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I'm sticking with a few stock variations on anchor that I will rotate through.
It makes perfect sense to have the same anchor text throughout a site on nav bars for consistency, but for variety I could see having alternate text scattered throughout the site, in places other than nav bars.
But this is becoming bizzaro world, where everything I once knew is often the opposite now.
For example if a travel site runs a "keyword hotels" link as a sponsor on home page nobody would say it's a spammy link, but how about on every page of a large site? Half the pages? Drug links? I think the Google Guidelines are far too vague with respect to legitimate linking practices.
For a complex site many anchor text terms are legitimate, but anchor text abuse is a common spam technique. (The guys at SEOinc would probably like clarification of this as well!)
It seems to me randomizing relevant anchor text terms is a good example of something that might be considered out of the spirit of the Google Guidelines but probably works well since it would appear as relevant inbound links from many pages.
the fact is most natural links are the url posted whole and no anchor text at all.
That might have been true years ago, but I don't think it's true today. And it goes against one of the fundamental principles of the Web: namely, hypertext linking. I can't imagine Google thinking there's anything "unnatural" about a link that says "National Widget Corporation" and takes the user to nationalwidget.com. OTOH, Google just might think there's something unnatural about 50 or 500 or 5,000 links to an e-commerce or affiliate page with artificially randomized anchor text like "free widgets," "cheap widgets," and "discount widgets." :-)
With internal links using varied anchor text can increase the number of visitors that click through to a given page. That works well when you have more than one link to a page on any other given page. For instance a link in a standard site navigation block and a link in the text on the page.
With external links there's probaly nothing wrong, and quite likely some benefit, with making the anchor text appropriate to the page or site the link is placed on.
My site has a unique name. I haven't actively solicited many third party links and certainly no links from irrelevant sites or run of site stuff etc. The site gets the vast majority of incoming links naturally because it's the top resource in its field. Just about everyone links to it using the title as the link text.
Now I find myself on page 3 of the Google SERPS if you do a search on the exact site title. Ranking above it are a bunch of pages that link to my site using its title. Some of them are scraper directories.
Hard to interpret that as a positive for the searcher.
That might have been true years ago, but I don't think it's true today
its certainly true for all the sites i check. Im not saying no links have anchor im saying a standard percentage are naked urls and if a site has 100's or 1000's of inbounds and the percentage of naked urls is not inline you can guarantee they are non-organic links.