Anchor text is one of my favorite elements in an SEO strategy. They are just a few words, but their structure, placement, and wording can affect the SEO of your website in a way that can significantly impact your SERP rankings.
What is an anchor text?
Anchor text in any content is the text over which a hyperlink is added. It turns the text into a clickable link that takes users to the linked page upon clicking.
It is highlighted with text in blue color and an underline. For example: Here is our post on internal linking practices that can boost your SEO efforts.
- : Anchor text example
Here is the HTML code for this anchor text:
<a href=”https://growthproton.com/blog/seo-hacks </a>
Anchor texts are important because they give users an idea about the content on the webpage. It also helps search engines to determine the nature of the linked web page’s content.
Types of anchor texts:
Exact match anchor text:
An exact match anchor text is when the hyperlink is added to the target keyword. For example, this is how I would redirect you to the link-building services page of Growth Proton using exact match anchor text.
Partial match anchor text:
A partial match anchor text has the keyword with a little variation. For example, here are some advantages of doing local SEO in 2021. The page is about local SEO, and the anchor text carries the keyword, but it isn’t the exact match.
Branded anchor text
Branded anchor text is when our brand’s name is used. For example, if I add a link to my home page on keyword Growth Proton.
Naked URLs anchor text
The complete URL structure with a subdomain, root domain, root directory, and the top-level domain is the text on which URL is placed in naked URL anchor text. For example, if one places the link to Google’s homepage on www.google.com, it will be a naked URL anchor text.
Descriptive anchor text
A descriptive anchor text explains the page’s content, and it may or may not include the targeted keyword. Take the example of this post: the title says, ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Anchor Texts.’ If I hyperlink it over the text ‘This blog covers everything from anchor text type to best practices,’ I will be using a descriptive anchor text.
Generic anchor text
Generic anchor texts are when the text doesn’t have the keyword but hints people to take an action. Click here, read more to find out, and contd are the examples of generic anchors.
LSI anchor text
Like LSI keywords, LSI anchor text is not the exact keyword but a synonym or a phrase that carries the same meaning. For example, if a page about cat food is hyperlinked on text feline diet, it is an LSI anchor text.
Anchor text best practices:
Here are some of the best ways to use anchor texts and benefit from them.
A relevant anchor helps both users and the search engine crawlers to make sense of the content. It is their first insight into the webpage before clicking on the link. A relevant anchor text includes either exact words or words that closely match the embedded link’s topic.
Search engines prefer relevant anchor text which matches the webpage’s title. It is also a metric for search engines to determine web pages’ rankings in the SERP.
With a relevant anchor text, there is a possibility of getting both pages ranked: the one pointing towards the URL and the one that is hyperlinked.
Exact match anchor text
The Penguin update by Google in 2012 completely altered the practice of using anchor texts. Sites had to discard their old ways and adapt to the new and less-spammy means of utilizing anchor texts.
Before the Penguin update, websites built a large directory of backlinks through guest posting and link exchange and used the exact anchor text as the keyword times and again.
So, there could be 50 to 100 backlinks pointing to your post about keyword research with ‘keyword research’ as the anchor text.
Now Google has come down hard on this practice. If too many exact anchor texts point towards the same URL, Google marks it as spam.
The good practice of using exact match keywords is to limit their usage to 3% to 5% of your entire backlink profile. Using exact keywords as anchor text on a backlink from an authoritative website is a preferred practice of SEO experts.
Studies have shown that links from authoritative websites with exact anchor texts can rank the page for the desired keyword.
Brief anchor text:
Anchor texts should be brief to make them effective. A brief anchor text has more benefits than a detailed anchor text. Detailed anchor text sometimes makes the content appear one-dimensional.
Compare these two keywords: link building basics and how to secure backlinks as a beginner. Suppose both are pointing towards the same blog. The brief keyword conveys that the linked webpage content covers everything about the basics of link building. The detailed keyword narrows it down to only ‘securing backlinks,’ while the blog discusses the whole process.
Adding the link on a brief text instead of a descriptive one also improves the CTR as the user clicks on it with an open mind. With link-building basics, one can expect to learn everything to set up a link-building strategy.
But, with how to secure backlinks as a beginner, the user knows what information they will get. It might not be the exact same thing they are looking for.
Use moderate-density keywords
After the Penguin Update, Google is on the lookout for anchor text spam. Using high-density keywords will not help as many other websites employ the same strategy.
So, while doing keyword research for the text, list the ones that get moderate traffic – between high traffic and low-traffic keywords. It will be easier to rank for these keywords. Moreover, keywords with moderate to high traffic appear more natural as anchor text than high-density keywords
Focus on the link type
Another good practice when it comes to securing backlinks is to choose the website of multiple types. It is an important aspect of any anchor strategy.
Don’t focus on securing links from the guest post only. Diversify your link profile by getting links for various sources like community forums, referential links, blog commenting, resource pages, guest posting on authoritative websites, links from visual content, directory submissions, and editorial links
Mix the anchor text types
The use of various types of anchor text makes your link-building strategy appear more natural. Your anchor texts should not be of one type only – they will be marked as spam.
Brief anchor text, descriptive texts, naked URL, branded keywords, LSI keywords are the types of anchor texts that you should use to secure backlinks for your website.
A good way to determine the nature of your anchor texts is to run a thorough analysis of your backlinks profile. Use any SEO tool or Google search console to get a list of all the backlinks pointing to your website. Follow those links to determine the nature of your anchor text.
If you want to get the hyperlinked text modified, reach out to the publishing website and propose how an alternate anchor text would appear more natural and benefit both of you.
Analyze and improvise
These two words form the backbone of every SEO strategy. Anchor text analysis comes in handy to determine:
- What type of anchor texts are working
- What kind of website is sending the most traffic on your linked webpage
- What anchor text is leading to improved CTR and conversions
- What keywords are performing the best
Based on these analyses, you can modify your link-building strategy and the anchor text usage to increase the traffic on your website and raise the number of clicks.
Jump on trends
Trends are arbitrary – they appear for a short time and vanish soon. But, these trends are a great opportunity to cash for some quick success.
Here is how you can successfully use trends to your benefit:
- Find the trend topics of the day Twitter or Instagram
- Curtate posts around the tope and use the exact trend as your keyword
- Optimize the post and publish it
When people come across trends, they will see your post. For the time that trend lasts, you will get traffic on your linked web pages.
Focus on the link building strategy
Anchor texts are a part of your overall link-building strategy. How well you have curated that strategy determines the success and efficacy of your anchor text optimization.
Websites with high quality, authoritative and reliable content secure backlinks easily. When you are guest posting on a website, focus on quality more than quantity. Branded anchors on few authoritative websites serve more purpose than LSI or exact keywords on multiple websites.
The improvement in your overall link-building plan will translate into high CTR on your anchor texts and help you create a workable anchor guide.
Anchor texts are the first impression of your content for both users and search engines. It is important to get these right to increase the CTR and traffic.
Trying different types of texts and monitoring them to determine their success is your way to go. Ensure diversity in texts and the nature of websites on which the links are placed.
Use these methods and tell us in the comments below how they translated into success for your website.