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Site Explorer (Legacy Reports)

How to use the Anchors report

Video for this tutorial is coming soon.

In this report, we show all anchor texts from inbound backlinks pointing to a target website, subdomain (e.g.,, subfolder (e.g., or URL.

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Below are some actionable ways to use this report.

Check backlink profiles for over-optimized anchor texts

If you’re working on a new site or are looking to acquire one, it's worth checking the backlink profile for signs of over-optimization.

To do that, enter your domain into Site Explorer and go to the Anchors report. Add a “Dofollow” filter to find anchor texts from value-passing links.

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Eyeball the report. Usually, sites with natural link profiles have a high percentage of branded and generic anchors.

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If you see an unnaturally high percentage of keyword-rich anchors, then that could be a sign of over-optimization.

Monitor your site for negative SEO attacks

Enter your domain into Site Explorer and go to the Anchors report. Analyze the results and look for unnatural or irrelevant anchors.

For example, it makes no sense for a fitness blog to have a backlink with this anchor text:

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If the influx of unnatural links coincides with a significant organic traffic drop, you may want to consider disavowing them. Be careful though—don't disavow unless you're confident that the link is causing more harm than good.

Pro Tip

Use the “Include” filter to search for common negative SEO anchors (e.g., “poker.")

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Find out why people are linking to your competitors’ pages

Find a competing page with lots of links, paste it into Site Explorer and go to the Anchors report. Analyze the results and see if there are any common patterns in the anchors.

If we analyze this article about a popular link building strategy, we can see plenty of referring domains using the anchor "110%."

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To delve deeper, enter the “pattern” into the “Include” box. In this example, searching for “110%” shows us that people are linking because of a statistic in the post.

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Understanding what drives people to link to the content in your niche is the key to publishing more "linkable" content on your site. If you’re in this niche and want to tackle a similar topic, you may want to consider including statistics or results from a case study too.

Keep learning

Check out our guide to anchor text on the Ahrefs blog:

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Internal backlinks