Choosing the right anchor text helps provide additional context to links on (or pointing to) your website which can significantly increase your ranking on search engines as well as improve user experience.
Anchor text optimization helps create relevance around your content, influence rankings, and drive more clicks to your page.
Here’s what Google founders, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page have to say about anchor text in a research paper called, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.
“The text of links is treated in a special way in our search engine. Most search engines associate the text of a link with the page that the link is on. In addition, we associate it with the page the link points to.”
In this post, you’ll learn how to use anchor text correctly to improve your keyword ranking on search engines. This post covers a concept known as anchor text ratios and why you
What is Anchor Text?
An anchor text is a visible and clickable text that you see in a hyperlink on web pages. Readers click on anchor text to navigate from one web page to another, which can either be on the same website or a different website. It creates a physical connection between two separate web pages.
Anchor texts are typically highlighted and colored differently from the rest of the text. A carefully selected anchor text doesn’t only function as a ranking signal to search engines, it can improve user experience on your site. Relevant, natural and keyword-rich anchor texts help you in optimizing your content for on-page SEO.
This is what a code for anchor text looks like:
<a href=”https://www.brooksinternetmarketing.com”>SEO services </a>
Types of Anchor Text
Anchor texts can appear in different ways. Here are some of the types of anchor texts
Exact-match anchors are those that include keywords that mirror the pages that are being liked to. For example: ‘On-page SEO’ linking to a page about On-page SEO.
Partial match anchor texts include variations of the targeted keywords on the linked-to page. For example: ‘internal linking’ linking to a page about On-page SEO.
An anchor text is branded when it contains a brand name of a business or organization. For example: ‘Forbes’ linking to a blog post on the Forbes Blog.
An anchor text is naked when it uses only the URL of a web page. For example: ‘www.brooksinternetmarketing.com’ is a naked anchor.
A generic anchor text doesn’t provide any connection to the linked-to page. Generic anchor texts use common phrases like: ‘Click here’, ‘Order now’, ‘Learn more’, etc.
It’s also possible to embed a link inside an image. In such cases, Google will use the text in the image’s alt attributes as the anchor text.
SEO Best Practices For Anchor Text
An SEO-friendly anchor text is one that’s succinct, non-generic and relevant to the linked-to page. While you don’t have power over the anchor text that other sides use to link to your web content, you can apply the following SEO best practices when you’re doing either internal or external linking on your website.
Use Succinct Anchor Text
Although there’s no universally length limit for anchor text, it’s best to keep your link text as brief as possible. Using a few words, your anchor text should successfully describe the linked-to page and as well as highlight the specific word or phrase you want users to click on.
Target Relevant Pages
As search engines continue to advance, they have hundreds of metrics in their ranking algorithms. One of the strongest ranking signals is link relevancy. It’s helpful to link only pages with intersecting topics. A highly relevant link can boost your chances of ranking both the source page and the linked-to page for keywords related to their topic.
For example, it will be inappropriate to use ‘internal linking’ as an anchor text and then link it to a page about social media marketing. There’s a mismatch.
Links that point to content related to the topic of the referring page are likely to send stronger link equity or relevance signals than links pointing to unrelated content.
Avoid Generic Anchor Text
Generic anchor text doesn’t provide value or contextual information to Google about the source page and it’s hard to determine its relevance to the linked-to page. You miss out on the opportunity to pass link relevance to your target page whenever you use a generic anchor text.
Anchor Text Ratios
Links are strong signals in Google’s overall ranking algorithm. As a result, black hat SEOs use several tricks to create unnatural links to rank websites.
The idea of anchor text rations was created to detect unnatural linking patterns and penalize unethical practices.
In the early days of Google, the search engine used what’s called statistical analysis to identify unnatural linking patterns. Today, Google uses Spam Fighting AI at the indexing level to block spam sites from entering the index. This means all the links on those pages will not have a chance of ranking in search engines.
If you’re getting links naturally, then there’s little or nothing to worry about since you don’t have power over your anchor text.
But if you have to go out of your way to get backlinks, then there are chances that you may always be lucky to create acceptable links. So the question is, how do you ensure that your links look natural to Google?
The best way to know if your links are in the right shape is to look at the backlink profiles of the top ranking sites in Google across all industries.
For example, your homepage SEO should have:
80%-90% links that fall in the brand, natural and URL anchor text category.
Up to 10% of links should include key phases combined to create anchor text
Up to 5% of links should include exact match anchor text.
Anchor text is critical to your link building efforts, as it can indicate to Google what a page is about. Not using the right anchor text or using generic anchor text, such as “click here” is generally considered as a poor SEO practice and can negatively affect your ranking. Following the tricks in this article will help you choose the right anchor text and increase your ranking in search engines.