With so many businesses and brands competing for customer attention, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has never been more critical. You can use numerous SEO best practices to improve your rankings, including web optimization, creating high-quality content, understanding user intent, and more. Today, however, we’re answering a commonly asked question, “What is an anchor text?’
What Is An Anchor Text?
Simply put, an anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. Therefore, you could say the anchor text is the text that holds the link in a hyperlink – hence the name “anchor”.
The anchor text is often underlined or formatted in a different color than the rest of the text. This is the main distinguishing feature between an anchor text and the rest of the text.
You’ll find that if you hover your mouse on the anchor text, the cursor often turns from an arrow to a hand. This is another way you know this is a hyperlink.
Why Are Anchor Texts Important for Your SEO Strategy?
The main way you’ll benefit from anchor texts is when you’re adding internal links to your content. Internal links are links that direct your audience to more content or web pages on your site. Using the proper anchor text allows search engines to know what content is on the linked page.
Another way anchor texts help with SEO is they help establish the linked page as an authority on the subject that your anchor text describes. This applies to both internal links and outbound links.
Therefore it’s important that your anchor text includes your target keyword or a variation of it to give good context of what to expect on the linked page. If you’re using backlink services, it’s important to ensure that the pages linking to your site use the correct anchor text to increase your ranking on search engines.
Another reason why using descriptive anchor texts is vital is because it provides the reader with context for the linked page.
For example, if you have a web page about recipes and you have a hyperlink that links to a page with “cake recipes”, your anchor text will probably read something like, “best cake recipes to make your mouth water”. So, the reader will know they are being led to a web page with more information about cake recipes.
Therefore, by using descriptive anchor text, you help readers and search engines understand what information they’ll get when they click the link.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s first look at the types of anchor texts you can use and then discover how to optimize your anchor text for the best SEO results.
Types of Anchor Texts
Whether you’re well-versed in technical SEO or not, knowing the various types of anchor texts can allow you to choose the best ones for your SEO strategy.
Anchor texts are related to the keywords you want to rank for. Therefore, you’ll find that these anchor texts vary depending on how much the targeted keyword is changed. Let’s look at the most popular types of anchor texts.
1. Exact-Match Anchor Text
Starting us off is a type of anchor text that means exactly as it sounds. Exact match anchor texts are exactly the same as the keyword you want to rank for.
For example, if you’re targeted keyword is “best coffee shops”, your exact-match anchor text will be “best coffee shops”. You won’t add or remove anything to the keywords to get the anchor text.
We recommend using exact match anchor texts sparingly to avoid raising alarms with search engines and being marked as spammy.
2. Phrase-Match Anchor Text
This type of anchor text for SEO is similar to the exact-match anchor text except you have more words added before and/or after the targeted keyword.
For example, using the same example above where the targeted keyword is “best coffee shops”, your phrase-match anchor text could be “best coffee shops near me” if you want to rank for your local SEO.
If you feel you’ve used too many exact-match anchor texts in your content, you can diversify with some phrase-match anchor texts. However, just like with exact match anchor texts, avoid overusing these anchor texts to avoid being flagged by search engines for being spammy.
3. Partial-Match Anchor Text
The partial-match anchor text can contain the exact targeted keyword like in phrase match anchor texts, or a variation of the targeted keyword. The variation of the keyword can be synonyms, misspellings, plurals, or something similar.
For example, if the targeted keyword is “best dog foods”, the partial-match anchor text can be “best puppy food”, “dog nutrition”, or anything similar.
4. Branded Anchor Text
A branded anchor text contains a brand name. For example, if you are linking to a page about the Canadian waterproof shoe brand “Vessi”, your branded anchor text will be “Vessi shoes”.
5. Generic Anchor Text
This type of anchor text doesn’t feature the targeted keyword or reveal any information about the linked page. Good examples of these anchor texts include “Click here”, “Learn more”, “Read more”, and so on.
The reason we’re telling you about these types of anchor texts is so that you can diversify the ones you use in your content.
6. Naked URL Anchor Text
In this case of the naked link anchor text, the URL is used as the anchor text. For example, https://indexsy.com/ is a great example of a naked anchor text. We don’t recommend using this type of anchor text unless it’s extremely necessary because it can be confusing to the reader, not to mention that it is unsightly.
You can use a naked link when you’re citing references at the end of your article.
7. Image Anchor Text
An image anchor text is when you hyperlink your image so that when someone clicks it, they’re led to a specific page.
One thing to note when using image anchor texts is to add an alternative text (alt text) that describes what the image is about. This helps to give the reader context if the image doesn’t load properly and to aid your SEO efforts.
Now that we’ve covered the various types of anchor texts, let’s now dive into how to optimize your anchor text for the best SEO results.
How to Optimize Anchor Texts for Your SEO Strategy
1. Ensure A Natural Flow
A vital part of a working SEO strategy is good user experience. Therefore, ensure that your anchor text naturally blends in with the rest of your text and doesn’t break the reading flow of your audience. If your reader gets confused or exhausted when reading your anchor text, it’s likely that they won’t click on it, or worse, they’ll leave the web page altogether.
Therefore, always ensure that the anchor text is relevant to what you’re talking about on the page and incentivizes the reader to click the link.
2. Use Various Anchor Text Types
Search engines are likely to flag you for spammy behaviors if you’re only using one type of anchor text in your content. Therefore, ensure that you’re diversifying whenever you’re using anchor texts.
You could have a mix of exact-match, phrase-match, and even naked URL anchor texts on your web page to avoid drawing negative attention to your page from search engines and also to give your reader a good experience.
3. Match Anchor Text to Linked Page Content
This goes without saying, but you should always ensure that the phrase or words you choose to use in your anchor text match the content on the linked page. Not only is this good for search engines, but it’s also good for your reader’s experience.
Your reader should already know what to expect when they click the hyperlink thanks to the anchor text description. This shows that you are responsible and encourages the reader to trust you to deliver what you promise.
4. Make the Link Text Conspicuous
We mentioned earlier that one way to spot anchor texts on a page is they are usually a different color than the rest of the text. In some cases, you’ll even find that the anchor text is underlined.
Formatting the anchor text differently from the rest of the text is a good way to draw attention to it and encourage your reader to click on it. This tip is especially valuable when dealing with internal links because it encourages the reader to spend more time on your site which is great for your SEO points.
5. Avoid Over-Optimization of Anchor Texts
An over-optimized anchor text is one that has been overused in an effort to improve ranking on search engines. Although this tactic is often intentionally used by some individuals, it can sometimes be by accident.
For example, you may use too many exact-match anchor texts on your page in an attempt to use your targeted keyword without realizing that you are over-optimizing your anchor text. The danger with over-optimization is that it can incur penalties from search engines.
To avoid this, use a mix of anchor text types in your content and aim to provide your reader with value instead of simply using link texts as a means to rank highly on search engines. After all, high-quality content on your site is one of the best ways to climb up the search engine result pages (SERPs).
An anchor text is the text that holds the hyperlink on a web page. The various types of anchor texts include exact-match, image, naked URL, and phrase-match anchor texts, to name a few.
It’s important to use various types of anchor texts in your content to avoid getting flagged by search engines as being spammy. Also, ensure that you have good anchor text distribution across your page for a good reader experience.
By making your anchor text descriptive, matching the words to the linked page content, and ensuring a natural flow with the rest of your text, you’ll be well on your way to improving your SEO strategy with anchor texts.