Anchor Text Explained
what is anchor text?
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a link and applies to all hyperlinks made up of both internal and external links. It is often, but not always, in blue and underlined, and typically looks like this internal link to the Marketing Websites homepage.
Ideally, the optimal format for SEO-friendly anchor text is one that is concise and relevant to the page it’s linking to or the target page.
Anchor Text: Explanation and Types
Anchor text is defined by the visible, clickable characters and words that are shown in a hyperlink when linking to a location or page anywhere on the web.
External anchor text is text that other pages use to link to your site. Search engines like Google use this text as a reflection of how your page is viewed by others and also what your page is possibly about.
You can’t control how other sites link to yours, but you can control the anchor text you use within your own site and make sure that it is appropriate, detailed, concise, and relevant.
Here is an example of what the link code looks like:
<a href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com”>Your Great Website</a>
In this example ‘Your Great Website’ is the anchor text for the target link, which is http://www.yourwebsite.com
6 Types of Anchor Text
Here are 6 different types of anchor text you can use:
- Branded Anchors
Branded anchors are when a brand name is used as anchor text. For example: ‘Marketing Websites’ linking to an article on Marketing Websites Blog in the following way: “Learn about web design trends at Marketing Websites.”
- Generic Anchors
Generic anchors are generic words or phrases, that are often calls-to-action words like “click here” or “go here” An example would be: Click here for more on generic anchors.
- Naked Link Anchors
A naked link anchor is when a URL is used as an anchor. For example: ‘http://www.hackgs.com/’
- Image Anchors
An image anchor is when an image is linked and Google uses the text within the image’s alt attribute as the anchor text.
- Partial Match Anchors
A partial match anchor is text that either includes a variation of the keyword or adds generic words around the main keyword phrase. An example of this for the target keyword “SEO strategies” would be: ‘This SEO strategies article’
- Exact Match Anchors
An exact match anchor is when the text includes your target keyword that matches exactly the target page being linked to. For example: ‘Anchor text’ linking to a page about anchor text.
How to Get Maximum SEO Performance
How can you make sure anchor text is SEO-friendly?
As mentioned earlier, since you don’t have any control over the anchor text that other sites use to link back to yours, you should make sure to use some of these best practices below with the anchor text within your own website.
Make Sure Your Target Page is Relevant
Of the many metrics that search engines identify for determining rankings, link relevancy is by far the most important and above the rest. Link relevancy is how relevant or related the topic of one page is to the topic of another page, if one page links to the other. Highly relevant links improve the chances of both pages ranking for search queries related to their topic.
This link relevancy happens when we link out to other content on the web and it depends on both the topic of the source page and the content of the anchor text on the source page.
Relevance is key when you’re trying to achieve link building success.
A link that points to content relevant to the topic of the source page is going to send much stronger relevance signals than a link that points to completely unrelated content. That’s why a page about top real estate agents is more likely to send a better relevance signal to Google when it links to a real estate website rather than linking to a site that has nothing to do with real estate at all.
Search engines pay attention to several factors as link relevancy indicators. Some of these include: anchor text variations used to link back to the original article, which they use as additional ways of knowing what that article is about and its relevance in related search queries, as well as link source and information hierarchy.
By keeping your anchor text as concise and descriptive of the target page as possible, you ensure that your links are sending strong relevancy signals to the search engines.
Anchor Text That is Clear and Concise
Anchor text doesn’t necessarily have a specific length limit, but it is good practice to keep your link text as brief and clear as possible.
When deciding what the best terms are to include in your anchor text, you should consider what is the clearest, most concise way to describe the page your linking to and what word or catchphrase would persuade readers to click on the link?
Keyword-Heavy Anchor Text
There was a time when all you had to do to rank fast was build links using keyword-rich anchor text. Then, in April of 2012, Google launched their first Penguin update which adjusted several spam factors, including keyword stuffing. The update affected roughly 3% of search queries and was meant to catch people spamming its search results with suspicious activity such as too many of a site’s inbound links containing the exact same anchor text.
It’s important to note that, in most cases, internal linking and using keyword- and topic-specific anchor text whenever possible are still recommended best practices. Just be careful with anchor text you use for internal linking and don’t use too many keyword-heavy internal links or have too many links to a page using the same anchor text.
Try to have a mixture of more natural anchor text phrases instead of the same keyword each time. This will avoid Google picking up your behavior as suspicious or spamming.