Everyone knows that link building is one of the major ranking factors for improving your search engine rankings. But very few realize the words you choose for linking out and into your site is crucial too. These words are anchor text, and Google and other search engine algorithms take them as a strong signal.
In this article, you’ll learn everything about anchor text, its types, and why anchor text is important. You’ll also learn how anchor text affects your site’s SEO and how to optimize it.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, used to link one web page to another. It is also known as the link title or link label. Anchor text helps provides search engines and users related contextual information about the content of the link’s target.
You may have seen the common blue underlined anchor text on web pages. However, you can change the color and underline with HTML or CSS and different web browsers display anchor text in their own way.
<a href=”http://www.examplesite.com”>Example Anchor Text</a>
The keywords used in anchor text are strong signals that search engines use to verify the topic of any page on the web. The words included in the anchor text help influence the search ranking that the page will receive from Google and other search engines.
- Bad anchor texts: Click here, Click this link, This article
- Anchor text for better SEO: keyword in the anchor text, anchor text definition, learn more about anchor text
Optimizing and using anchor text well can help the page (linked to) rank higher for those keywords in search engines. While anchors text usually links webpages, they may also link to downloads and link to documents or files in Google Drive.
That’s why you should only click anchors from sites you trust. To make sure the URL looks legitimate you can hover over the link with your mouse without clicking.
Types of Anchor Text
Now you’ve understood what anchor text is. Let’s look at some of the types of anchor text.
Exact-match anchor text
Exact-match anchor text includes a keyword that reflects the page it is being linked to. For example, anchor ‘one-page SEO’ linking to a page about on-page SEO.
Partial-match anchor text
Partial-match anchor text usually contains a variation of the keyword on the page it is linked to. For example: ‘on-page SEO strategies’ linking to a page about on-page SEO strategies.
Branded anchor text
A branded anchor text includes a brand name used as anchor text. For example, your site link linking to an article on your blog, or According to SEMrush linking to a SEMrush blog
A naked link is a URL itself used as an anchor text. For example: “www.yoursite.com’ is a naked link anchor.
Random or generic anchor text
A generic anchor text is an unspecified, generic word or phrase that’s used as the anchor. For example: “This article” and “Click here” is a common generic anchor text used.
Image links include an image linked to. ALT text for images is what Google interprets as the image’s anchor when the image is part of a link.
Why is Anchor Text important for SEO?
Anchor text is so important for Digital marketing because Google uses external anchor text to help understand what a page is about and for which keywords it should rank. It tells Google algorithms what your content is all about.
Google’s algorithms use your anchor texts to check that if you are involving in spammy systems and to get the topics you are linking to in your site.
So, if you linked to a page from your article with “backlinks” as the anchor text. That would indicate to Google that the linked page has something to do with backlinks.
Similarly, if more people do the same, then that will help increase Google’s trust for that page and potentially rank higher for the keyword “backlinks.” Take it this way, why would many unrelated websites link to the same web page with the same anchor text if the page doesn’t have anything to do with backlinks.
How to Optimize Anchor Text for SEO?
Now let’s talk about optimizing anchor text for SEO and Google’s best practices.
Google released their BERT update in October 2019, which started using natural language processing to understand and rank pages. Google pays closer attention to circumstance clues around anchors now.
Instead of only reading the anchor text, Google’s crawlers may also scan and consider the nearby words and sentences more so than they have earlier.
Google also prioritizes the user experience and answering search queries more than anything else. So, optimizing anchor text should focus on creating a better experience for everyone.
Here are some things you should consider while optimizing your anchor text for SEO.
- Create a natural flow
Just like your writing, anchor texts or link texts should also have a natural flow. When adding your links, always make sure it goes well with the rest of the text and sentence.
- Use your keyword in the anchor text
Using keywords in the anchor text is another best practice for SEO. When a reader sees the linked text, they should instantly know what to expect if they click on it.
- Don’t try to trick your readers
You should never try to trick your readers with links. For example, if your link text says “backlinks,” it would be bad practice to have that link take the reader to a social media marketing page.
- Make sure your link text is visible and clickable
Finally, always make sure your anchor text is clearly visible and clickable for your readers. You can even use a different distinctive color for the link, underline it, or both.
I hope you find this article helpful and learned everything about anchor text, it’s importance. Including how anchor text affects your SEO and how you can optimize it for improving your SEO.
Use things you learned here to optimize your anchor text and don’t manipulate it by overdoing and keywords stuffing. Also, feel free to check our other SEO related articles.
Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Brian Clark