Anchor Text Rule Based on Word Count

A quality guideline now becomes a rule.

Every month we raise the quality bar a little. This month is no different. Effective immediately, we’ve tightened our standards on how many words are accepted in anchor text links – and for good reason.

An “Anchor Text Link” is a clickable word or phrase that links to another web page. [How to create an Anchor Text Link]

Sadly, some authors abuse this ability by linking-up extremely long key phrases – or worse yet, entire sentences. Before you know it, a quality article looks like SPAM because it’s filled with giant text links. Suddenly the emphasis of the article is shifted from providing useful information to merely serving as a vehicle for link space in a spammy resource box.

Our Editorial Guidelines suggest limiting anchor text links to only 3 words but …

Expert Authors can now earn the ability to link-up 4-word and 5-word phrases* by submitting lengthier (over 400 words) high-quality articles.


  • If your article is shorter than 400 words, each text link may only contain a maximum of 3 words*
  • If your article is longer than 400 words, each text link may only contain a maximum of 5 words*

* Important Note: Any common words, including to, is, in, on, it, and, at, by, a, an and others will now be excluded from the word count.

Make sense?

Member feedback is what lead us to study, and then allow, the “common words” to *not* count towards the total words allowed in an anchor text link.

UPDATED Nov 20th 2009 4:26pm CST: “of” has been added to the common words exclusion list.
UPDATED Nov 24th 2009 2pm CST: “for” has been added to the common words exclusion list.
UPDATED Dec 1st 2009 2pm CST: “or” has been added to the common words exclusion list.


Mike Collins writes:

Thanks for the clarification. Generally I don’t have a problem limiting anchor text to 3 words or less, but there are occasions when an extra word makes sense.

And I always thought common words like “to” or “and” were included! There were a few times I wanted to start my anchor text with “how to” but I thought it would put me over the limit if I used more than one more word.

This is definitely good to know. Thanks again.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 12:53 PM


Common words WERE once included in the word count. Member feedback brought us to change that decision to NOT include them. This is a recent change.


Jan Smith writes:

What a good solution to the looming problem! Glad it was you folks who had to make the decision and not me!

And thanks for such a commonsense solution…much appreciated~ now all I have to do is lengthen my articles.

Cheers all,


Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 3:25 PM


Steve writes:

Hi Penny

This is probably a newbie question, but are we talking about links in the resource box?

Am I right in saying they’re not permitted in the body of the article.


Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 3:32 PM


We would like to see all your links in the resource box :)

We will allow you to include one in the article body so long as it is near the end of the body so that it appears to naturally flow to your resource box.


Jay Jennings writes:

Your Editorial Guidelines say, “We do not accept articles with active or inactive links in the first 1-3 paragraphs.”

Last night I tried to submit an article with a link in the 4th paragraph and it was rejected for being “above the fold.” Then I moved it to the 5th paragraph and it was rejected for the same reason.

In your message here you say “near the end of the body.”

Could you clarify the rule for that so I can update my “Editorial Guidelines Checker” software?


Jay Jennings

PS – I like the new rule for the link text — makes good sense.


We do allow one in the article body so long as it is not in the first 1-3 paragraphs. Your article must be longer than this to get the link accepted in the body.

If you did this and are still getting the error, send an example to our member support team and we’ll look into it for you.


Chris A Smith writes:

Absolutely brilliant!

This addresses your concern for spammy articles and penalizes the SEO only articles while allowing the targeting of longer tailed phrases in quality articles. Win-Win.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 3:37 PM


Riley Andres writes:

I think this is a good idea to exclude common words. I think you should add the term “of” to the group. It is commonly used in domain names and anchor text.

Take care,

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:09 PM



We’re adding “of” to be included in the common words database.

I’ve also appended it to this blog entry.

Expect the change to be made no later than Monday night,… most likely sooner.


Jay Jennings writes:

The blog entry says, “Any common words, including to, is, in…”

By saying “including” you’re leaving open the inclusion of other words.

Will there be a way to get the complete list of words you guys use or is it still partly a judgement call by the editors?


Jay Jennings


This is a server/software level control thing and will have nothing to do with the Editors.

If anything, we just removed a gray area where you won’t have to worry about a subjective Editor decision.


to, is, in, on, it, and, at, by, a, an, of

This is the complete list as of today. If we add/remove or update the list, we’ll most likely tweet about it.


Jay Jennings writes:

Thank you! I’ll add the list to my software and keep an eye on the tweets.

Jay Jennings


Gary Huynh writes:

I like this rule as it’s flexible enough for legitimate article marketers and also keeps quality at EzineArticles high.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:11 PM


Iain writes:

Great news I was wondering if there is anyway to omit these words in MS word to show the wordcount as you would count it?

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:14 PM



I like it too. I like to submit 500 to 600 words and therefore I will feel rewarded for providing quality content. Thank you!

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:19 PM


keith writes:

I think this is brilliant! You guys are right on the money from a quality aspect. So many people want to make their entire article title into a text link and that is just ugly. Great decision. Yet another display of what makes THE premiere article directory on the web. Great call!

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:22 PM


Shirley Bass writes:

This rule is fine with me. I think the anchored text link should follow directly to a page that depicts the link. I’m not sure that it takes full sentences for that to happen.

If I have a phrase that is more than 3 words, then I just have to up the word count.

Sounds fair.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 4:30 PM


Marc writes:

Good rule. What I like about it is that the rule also applies to your editors.

In my mind, rules are better than guidelines.

Guidelines can be ignored by writers who wish to exploit but rules force them to create value.

Guidelines can be abused by editors who might reject an article on a whim because of their own personal biases but rules force them to fairness.

I’m all for closing off exploitable loopholes with rules that are fair like your anchor text rule.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 6:15 PM


Kathy McGraw writes:

Thank you for this update. It makes it easier to create anchor text that makes sense.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 6:49 PM


George Josserme writes:

Please, Penny, do not get me wrong. Your statement “Sadly, some authors abuse this ability by linking-up extremely long key phrases…” clearly indicates that the decision is made as a result of abusers a.k.a. “bad guys that should be picking up potatoes in Idaho.”

Those abusers ~and others that will ride the band-wagon~ will exploit the new rule by adding suprflous, trivial, and meaningless words, phrases, and paragraphs to their articles just to make up for the 400 figure.

It is my opinion that quality comes NOT from scratching your heads coming up with different and/or tighter rules. It comes from actually reading articles. The activity easily leads to see where “quality” exists and that great many articles are worthless to the readers with a brain.

As of today November 20th 2009, those authors will ADD more trashy material to their trashy articles to make it up to 400 and 1 word.

Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 7:35 PM


Sometimes, we do need to make hard rules like this to prevent the bad apples from abusing it. We also look at it as being effective and making this a place to be by raising the quality standards.

This standard, of course, is a benefit to the both of us as quality matters. :)

Tightening the rules helps but so does 2 human reviews for every article. On the flip side to your argument, it can also force authors to see the benefit of writing meatier articles by delivering quality in more than 250-399 words.


carlos writes:


I like your objective approach to this problem.

However, yesterday I had three articles rejected for the anchor text, ” end of the world” on articles with word counts of 343, 399, and 443.

Upon receipt of this newsletter I promptly edited the 443 word count article. I am awaiting re-approval. I did consider writing an anchor text ” end of world” but my English teacher would have turned over in her grave. I know she’s dead because I’m that old now.

It is next to impossile to avoid using prepositions and article modifiers (a,an, the, …) in any phrase.

Please consider excluding those words from your word count for anchor text.


Comment provided November 20, 2009 at 8:14 PM


Your articles have been reviewed, and approved :)

The words that are not included in the count are: to, is, in, on, it, and, at, by, a, an, of


Elmien writes:

I’ve submitted an article with 350 words but the anchor text consist or the word for.

It is something similar to say: beauty tips for women.

Will the word for then also be included in the list of common words like to, is in etc.? If not I’ll make them 400 words or more.

Thanks EzineArticles is tops.

Comment provided November 21, 2009 at 2:59 AM



We will add your suggestion to the table for consideration. If we add any words to this, you will more than likely see it in a tweet.

In the interim, I suggest that you increase the word count to allow your 4 word phrase to pass.


Geoff writes:

A logical decision. Too many words in a key phrase can often defeat the object anyway.

Comment provided November 21, 2009 at 4:15 AM


doug morris writes:

I have noticed that the quality bar has been bumped up a little bit and that is a good thing. However, that needs to go both ways.

A quality website doesn’t need to look like ad spam and a few months ago EzineArticles has added another block of adsense code to the top of all articles as if the pages were not cluttered enough with with adsense. When you have so much adsense the ads start become irrelevant. And the doesn’t benefit the visitor.

Less is more when it comes to adsense or any other form of ad placement. Also the additional ads have no benefit for the Authors.

So since the Authors are being asked to step it up a little bit with quality, Authors need to be asking EzineArticles to do the same.

Comment provided November 21, 2009 at 8:59 AM



Your perception that we need to ‘give’ more would suggest you think we’re ‘taking’ more. The data doesn’t support that perception.

We’re delivering more traffic than ever…to the tune of 230k+ clicks per day on average to our members. Each month this year, this has consistently climbed.

The above stat is our measure as to whether the articles are performing for our members. Selfishly, we know that if we don’t deliver high-value traffic in exchange for your best quality original articles, you’ll eventually stop submitting them to us.


doug morris writes:

I’m not asking that EzineArticles to give anything back. EzineArticles has created a venue that provides many benefits for so many people to include myself.

However, adding adsense above and before the content that a web visitor is in search of is not of any benefit to anyone other than EzineArticles and it gives the website the appearance of an adsense site and those kind of sites are notorious for content spam.

I’m not suggesting that EzineArticles is content spam adsense site but it gives it that appearance and that takes away from the “authority” that an Author may have in the articles they write.

When a visitor from a search engine is in need of content they should be offered the information they are searching for first not an adsense ad.


George Josserme writes:

To Doug Morris –


Your words are the first ones that I read so far that denotes a guy with his head between his shoulders.

You are totally right ! – EzineArticles over saturates each web page with money-making advertising. That is the reason for EzineArticles to exist, and to push authors to write more articles.

Quality articles do NOT make money. ANY trashy article creates a web page that can be overloaded with advertisements.

I am a certified SEO since 2002, and if you right-click on any article, you will immediately notice how far a spider has to go reading tons of irrelevant HTML code ~irrelevant to the spider~ before the cyber creature finds the block of text of your article; or mine for that matter.

That block of text is the ONLY thing the spider wants to read. Does EzineArticles know about it? You bet ! – But you and most every author DO NOT know; and hence, the advertisements keep on accumulating on each web page.


If quality articles didn’t make money, then we might as well just auto-accept every article submitted so that we could make more money? ….Ohhh wait, we can’t do that or the entire site would be trashed in the matter of about 1-3 days. Thus ever article is reviewed by two different humans.

I’m pretty certain the spiders only read the unique text on each page as they don’t see a block of ads,… they see javascript that calls the ads and they ignore that. I’m certain they don’t index the ads.

I hear your complaint and if the stats proved that those ads cut into the traffic we sent to our members websites…then we’d be inclined to consider alternate actions… but the inside stats we have prove that’s not the case. You don’t have to believe me, but I resent any implication that we’d accept crappy articles just to make more money. We’re not here for a fast buck… Never have been. We’re here to deliver our members high value traffic and most members who really engage the EzineArticles system know that we can be their top non-search engine referrer of traffic.


Kevin W Baker writes:

Good morning Penny,

This is an important change in the business. Its not unwelcome and is in my view a logical approach to a problem. Guidelines are open to interpretation and are subjective, whereas making it a rule clearly sets the boundaries which some people obviously need.

Now those who do make these mistakes will learn quickly and those who don’t will go elsewhere.

Smart move which only increases the credibility of the website, service and our credibility as authors.



Comment provided November 21, 2009 at 10:10 AM



I didn’t even know you could put links in the body of the article. I always just left mine at the bottom with the author links.

Comment provided November 22, 2009 at 9:45 AM



Better to put your self-serving links in the Resource Box.

92.1% of the clicks we sent to our members this month were from links in the Resource Box.

The Article Body is your GIVE;
The Resource Box is your TAKE.


Ron Passfield writes:

This seems a very fair decision and very timely from my point of view. I have just written an article (500 words +) that has an anchor text of 5 words.

Comment provided November 22, 2009 at 5:25 PM


Jonathan Dunsky writes:

Fantastic rule. Excellent way to get more quality articles and still keep off the spam

Comment provided November 24, 2009 at 11:43 AM


Timothy S writes:

What about including the word “for” as part of the common words?

Comment provided November 24, 2009 at 1:32 PM




We’ll make it so. Expect it live by the middle of the day Wednesday or sooner.


Kevin W Baker writes:

Now that this rule has had some time to settle out can you please amend the Editorial terms to reflect this word count. Whilst you are at it can you also detail those words currently classed as excluded in the place where it serves most relevence and is therefore retrievable for everyone.

Tweeting is one thing but tweets are like the product, very short range and over in a blink.



Comment provided November 24, 2009 at 2:44 PM



We’re on the same page :)

It will be updated within the next 24 hours.


bryce writes:


Forgive me for any possible ignorance but I just wanted to clarify something.

The “excluded” words list – does this apply to the article body or “just” the resource box and/or links?

I am of the impression that a 500 word article that contains 50 instances of any mix of the excluded “common words” will now become a 450 word article – is this correct?

Comment provided November 24, 2009 at 3:33 PM


This only has to do with the ANCHORED TEXT LINKS rule.

Has NOTHING to do with the article body.

A 500 word article has 500 words in it, regardless as to the word used.


bryce writes:

Ahhh, well that’s okay then! Excellent, thankyou for the confirmation on this.


Donna Houston writes:

Thanks Bryce and Christopher

I thought I would have to start manually counting words and counting out those not accepted. What a relief that is not so.

Question for Chris.

I was alerted to this my someone who was under the impression that all articles under 400 words were going to be removed from e-zine, even those already approved in the past.

If 250 word articles are considered potentially more spam like, would it not be better to raise the lowest word count to 300 or 400, just a thought. I try to get my articles around 350 to 400 words in general.

Like some others above I leave my links for the resource box.

thanks for the clarification.

Happy Writing


Comment provided November 25, 2009 at 3:49 AM



We won’t go back into articles that were once approved unless we have to or are alerted to them (by readers or you resubmitted the article)

This means that if we do a quality review of the account because it’s warranted, all articles on the account are reviewed.

250 words is not spam. Bad content and thin rehashed content is more like spam. Good authors can write quality in 250 words but it is difficult. As we raise the bar and learn from past articles, we would expect that you will grow with those changes.

So to answer your question, No, all articles under 400 words will not be removed. However, we do feel that quality comes in more words. I would expect that in the future, the word count minimum would increase and has always been on the table to consideration. We’ll see. In the mean time, deliver quality in every article and the word count won’t matter.


John Murphy writes:

Just for my clarification, when we talk about anchor text does this also apply to linking to other article pages? I’ve just submitted an article that has a link to another previously approved article and I just want to make sure I’m in compliance with policy, couldn’t find anything in what I’ve read so far in reference to this.

Comment provided November 25, 2009 at 2:25 PM



For the purposes of this blog post, we’ve only narrowly discussed how many words can be in the anchored text link.

To answer your specific question:

As an internal rule, we don’t allow links from one EzineArticle to another. However, there are times when we’ve allowed it because you’re writing an article series and you want to provide a link to the next article in your series, but keep in mind that each article part MUST stand alone in value without requiring the reader to read the series to get the benefit of the article title in any of your articles.

Also, a link to another article of yours on is considered a ‘self-serving link’ and will count towards your 2 available per article.

Lastly, as a best practice, I’d recommend never writing articles in parts or series and rather keep them all to stand alone. I’d rather you get both self-serving links back to YOUR website, not ours. This is in your best interest. :)


Gert Hough writes:

Thank you x 1000. That much this is appreciated as I had to use less words than actually described my website or website name. I usually find that I need to turn on the brakes around 500 to 700 words. If I am relaxed while I write an article the words almost always are more than 500.

Comment provided November 27, 2009 at 6:16 AM


Jay Jennings writes:

I’d like to formally nominate the word “or” to be included in the Common Words Pantheon.

For example, this title:

A Quick Tip for Anyone Who Does Teleseminars or Webinars

…needs to have the word “or” capitalized (according to the guidelines) but it seems quite nice as shown, lowercased.

Thank you for your consideration.


Jay Jennings

Comment provided November 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM




Will be live by the end of our business day today.


Vishal writes:

I wonder why on earth anchor texts should be there in articles of even 700 words. They are, in my opinion, an irritating distraction especially if the article is interesting. For crappy articles, mostly from online marketers who are leveraging long tail keywords, the readers eyes won’t get anchored to the article anyway,lol.

Comment provided December 12, 2009 at 4:38 PM


Alan writes:


What about the word “from”? Is it excluded from the word count for text link.


Comment provided March 10, 2010 at 8:20 PM



“From” is not included in the common words and is not excluded.

Comment provided March 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM



I remember when I first submitted an article to, I used an anchor text link more than 3 words and I was rejected and asked to reduce to 3 words in my anchor text link. Since that, I have always use anchor text no more than 3 words no matter how long my article is, I think it is a rule.
Now I know I can use more than 3 words in my article resource box which is great especially sometimes I need to add “how to”. Thanks for this information.

Comment provided August 30, 2010 at 1:06 PM


Daniel Heller writes:

Is there any advantage to me in listing links in the resource box as straight address – versus embedding it in anchor text.

Should my goal be to use keywords as the anchor text?

If this is discussed in detail elsewhere, I’d appreciate if you could point me in that direction. Thank you.

Comment provided November 15, 2010 at 2:06 PM



There are many things to consider regarding anchor text versus hyperlinked URLs, so there’s not really a clear-cut answer. You can find more information on the topic here:


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Comment provided January 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM


Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the kudos! We know that the best way to improve what we do is to listen to our members, so we’re listening and growing all of the time.



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Comment provided November 4, 2014 at 8:55 AM


Hi Enrique,

At the bottom of the email you receive there should be an option for you to unsubscribe from the notifications.


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