Anchor text is not a new concept but still important in SEO. In the early days of SEO and digital marketing, there were many practices that were used to rank easily on Google and other search engines. But then the Google algorithm changed and became smarter at analyzing website content. Eventually, those practices became redundant, and those sites that had black hat SEO practices were penalized.
Some of those practices included keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks. These won’t work on your site today and they can, in fact, harm your site’s SEO. Now that Penguin and Hummingbird are a part of Google’s core algorithm, backlinking and anchor text are more important than before.
In this guide, we are going to cover everything about anchor text – what they are, how to use them, how to optimize for SEO and malpractices.
What is anchor text in SEO? (with examples)
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink which when you click on them, it directs you to another site or a webpage. They help users navigate your site. You can identify anchor text by its blue and underlined character. Search engines determine the topic of the page by finding keywords in anchor texts.
An anchor text is also called a link label or link title.
The anchor text code looks like this –
When Google released the Penguin algorithm, anchor text became the easiest way to see how relevant a website was. It also began to determine if the website was over-optimized with backlinks and anchor text.
SEO-friendly anchor text is relevant to the target page and concise. They provide contextual information about the site’s page and content to both search engines and users.
Here’s an SEO-friendly anchor text example –
Latest SEO techniques (anchor text) in a blog about SEO content linking to SEO techniques to use in 2021 or so.
What is keyword-rich anchor text?
Keyword-rich anchor text contains the relevant keyword that is related to the linked page’s content. When a link in the content contains a target keyword, then that text is a keyword-rich anchor text. They are highly beneficial for SEO and can improve your page’s ranking.
Example of a keyword-rich anchor text –
Types of anchor text with examples
An exact match anchor text has the same keyword highlighted as the target keyword of the content in a webpage. It mirrors the page that is linked to.
For example – SEO tips for blogs – linking to a page about SEO tips for blogs. The anchor text in the hyperlink matches the content of the link, so it’s considered an exact match.
Branded anchor text
Here, the brand’s name is used as an anchor text.
For example – Webi7 services Here the branded anchor text is the company name and the link is directed to their services page.
Phrase match anchor text
In phrase match, the anchor text contains search phrases that are longer than 3 words.
For example – where can you find digital marketing services in Bangalore?
Keyword branded anchor text
Keyword branded anchor text contains both the brand’s name and their keyword specific to the products or services they sell and link out to their respective products or services pages.
For example – Learn digital academy’s diploma in a digital marketing course
Spammy Anchor Text
Spammy anchor text link to an irrelevant page. It tricks the user into thinking that they will be directed to a relevant page but are instead directed to a spam page. For example, if they are reading a blog about places to visit in Bangalore and link on a link with the anchor text related to the content, and they end up on some page that sells products, it’s considered spam. The reader will exit the blog as it was manipulative and deemed untrustworthy.
Using the same anchor text with links to the same page in your content can also be considered spammy.
Spammy anchor text is a common black hat SEO technique that can harm your website and must be avoided at all costs.
Generic anchor text
Generic anchor texts are very common and not usually optimized for SEO. they don’t contain any keyword or brand name. “Click here”, “read more”, “visit this page”, “website” are some of the examples of generic anchor text.
Naked anchor text
Naked anchor text contains no words or keywords. It’s just a plain HTML link. For example, https://learndigital.co is a naked anchor text.
How to create an anchor text in HTML?
HTML code for hyperlink
A hyperlink can also be in images, not necessarily limited to text. The hyperlink is an HTML link that can be clicked. When you click it, you’ll land on another page or document.
The HTML <a> tag defines a hyperlink. It contains the syntax below:
<a href=”url“>link text</a>
The most important attribute of the <a> element is the href attribute, which indicates the link’s destination.
The link text part will be visible to the reader. It will direct the reader to the target URL address.
Anchor text generator
There are many anchor text generators or tools that can suggest relevant and suitable anchor text.
Here are some of the best free tools to generate the anchor texts –
- Google Webmaster tools
SEOJet anchor text generator
- Mozbar anchor text generator
- SEO workers tool
How to optimize anchor text for SEO?
You can only control anchor text in your website and in the content that you write. What other people use for anchor text to link to your website is out of your hands. So, to best optimize your anchor text for SEO, here are some of the ways to do so –
Succinct – There’s no definite length for an anchor text but keep it as concise and clear as you possibly can. Take into consideration these two factors –
- What is the best way to describe the linked page in the anchor text?
- What is the best way to prompt users to click the link?
Relevance – Your page’s ranking also depends on how relevant the content from page A to page B is. Whatever is linked from page A should be relevant to the anchor link used. Relevancy is one of the metrics for determining rankings. It is determined by 2 things –
- The topic of the source page
- The content of the anchor text on that source page
Links that direct the users to more relevant content tend to rank better than the ones that don’t. For example, if you use an anchor text that says, “digital marketing course” and links it to a page about digital marketing courses available, it’s likely to rank better than the page linked to it about other things not related to digital marketing course.
You have to understand that search engines use different variations of anchor text to pay attention to what the content is about and use it to determine for which search query it is relevant. So, to ensure that your page scores high relevance, use the anchor text to describe what the target page is about as accurate and relevant as possible.
Keyword density – Ever since Google installed the Penguin algorithm, it has looked for keywords in anchor text more closely. If the page uses too many same anchor text, Google sees it as suspicious and may rank it down. So, try to use more of a natural variety of keywords in anchor text and use different variations.
Also, avoid doing keyword-heavy internal links.
Using internal links is a useful and effective SEO strategy and anchor text plays a major role in optimizing your content and the webpage. Though they are a small part of the content, they can influence the ranking and relevance of your site. So anchor text needs to be used wisely, with rich keywords, and should have links to related content.
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