Anchor text, also known as the link label or link title, is the only visible part of a link on a page. Once you click on it, this hyperlinked selection directs you to another web page.
They are regularly made up of one or more clickable words, highlighted and colored blue (they can be any other color as well, but blue is the most common one). Such terms serve as keywords and should accurately describe the reference (target) link.
Just to quickly illustrate; if you are referencing a page about keywords an appropriate anchor text would be something like, keyword research for Google to ‘understand’ what you are referring to. But we will go into detail later.
In the following lines, we will get a bit more into anchor texts, their role in link building strategy, and what makes them such a vital part of SEO.
Why Is Anchor Text so Important?
Undoubtedly, one of the most important aspects of SEO is link building. Although there are many other aspects, link building is the building stone of SEO. Links have been and continue to be an essential part of web positioning.
Because links referring to your page mean more authority, and more authority means better web positioning. And how does this work? The more links you have referring back to your page the more Google ‘recognizes’ your site as the place with valuable content that is relevant.
When we link our URL to a specific anchor text, we are sending signals to Google that a particular URL is closely related to that topic. Meaning that we are “showing” the search engine what our blog post is all about.
The anchor text is basically what the user clicks on a link. Mostly it is a word or a phrase or several words highlighted in color as the link text. An anchor text often consists of an apt keyword that matches the theme of the linked site.
When using sites links that have a positive effect on your page, you must differentiate as follows:
- Links that are part of your website and enhance their content. Here you differentiate between external and internal links.
- Links that lead from other sites to your own (backlinks) and are considered by Google as an indication of the relevance of individual websites or domains.
The relevance of the anchor texts for SEO becomes clear once you figure out that with the right targeted keywords for anchor texts, the Google robots also capture the meaning of the content of their website.
Types of Anchor Text
Something fundamental to talk about is the type of anchor text we can use.
They are the ones that use the exact keyword without any additional extension. For example, “kittens” – This type of anchor worked very well in the past. But, today, we have to remember that abusing keywords can bring us problems and even penalties.
However, it is still essential to continue working on this type of anchor text, especially for the highest quality links you create.
Keyword variations to continue with “kittens” would be “cats”. Synonyms of the exact keyword that we want to position are used to give greater importance to the main keyword. And in the process to be able to position by synonyms (which never hurts).
Branded Anchor Text
These are anchor texts that use the same name as your brand.
They are very natural and give relevance to your brand, like no other. We usually reserve this type of anchor text for the links that have less authority; in this way, we will get a functional diversity of anchor texts in link building strategy. For example, Play Media, or Play Media Agency.
Generic anchors that have meaning with a very wide scope and those can be Blog, Click Here, Visit Here, Check Here, Learn More, and so on.
This type of anchor text can practically be used instead of any type of business, industry, all-natural etc. They produce a large number of matches and usually tend to have a higher cost.
They are a combination of your brand and the keyword to position type or + anchor text. They keep a certain naturalness because they contain your brand name and also give you a link to your main keyword with which you get relevance without over-optimizing. For example, Play Media + anchor text.
Naked Link Anchors
This is the type of anchor text that has a naked link as a reference to the anchor text. For example play-media.org.
LSI keywords are words that are commonly found in the same context together and are semantically interrelated.
To give an example of LSI – Let’s say that the subject of your article is “digital marketing”. The first thing that will come to mind will be related keywords such as “keywords”, “social media”, “anchor text”, “SEO”, and so on.
As you write about a particular topic for which you have researched enough, you will naturally find a certain number of common keyword phrases for that specific topic. These phrases are referred to as LSI keywords.
Anchor Text External Links
External links are links that link other websites to ours. These are the links with which we should be more careful.
Why is that you might ask? Because Google determines that these links are the ones that can be used to manipulate the rankings of your search engine. And that is where they have focused their efforts on “naturalizing” everything.
That is why today, it is imperative to make things as natural as possible so that our profile of incoming links seems natural. To do this, we must try to avoid over-optimization in our anchor text profile.
If we neglect our anchor text profile, we can worsen our positioning, and what’s worse we can even get some kind of penalty, whether manual or algorithmic.
Anchor Text Internal Links
The anchor of the internal links is the anchor text that we place to connect to the internal areas of our website. That is, they are the links we use to intertwine different zones.
Does this help with SEO? Absolutely yes, internal linking not only helps to guide the user through the different areas of the web but also serves to improve our positioning.
The exciting thing about the internal link is that unlike the external link, you can use the anchor text as much as you want. There is no major problem in linking with exact keywords to different areas of your website. Since it is very, very unlikely you will get some kind of penalty for it (if not impossible).
You can play with the anchor text internally as much as you want. Placing the ones that interest us most, in the areas of greater authority of our website.
About Anchor Text Optimization
Many people make the big mistake and abuse the exact keyword anchor text in their inbound links profile. Google recognized this to be false and not at all-natural that you have an excess of links with your exact keyword and that these are the predominant ones.
If you think about it, people who would link to you would do it with all kinds of anchor texts from branded to generic. You always have to think about how you would be linked by someone who would be interested in your content.
That is, if you are interested in an article about keywords, you will likely link it to the text “play-media/keywords.org” or “play-media.org keywords” or “Article about keywords.” Still, on very few occasions, would you link it with the text “keywords”.
If you think logically, you will know when an anchor profile is over-optimized or not. It is not natural to have an overload of links with an exact keyword and much less that these are the predominant ones. The normal and natural thing is that whoever links us does so with different anchor text.
The Perfect Anchor Text Ratio – Is It Possible?
I can’t help but name something that has brought many discussions into the SEO world, and it’s the perfect anchor text ratio.
Many would say that you need to have a certain percentage of branded links, the same rate of exact keyword links, and so on. But let me tell you, that makes no sense within SEO since nothing is so black and white in the anchor text game.
Each website belongs to a different niche and a separate topic, and the anchor profile that can benefit one site can harm another.
How to Be a Step Closer to a Perfect Link Profile?
Start by looking at the top five competitors from your niche. Study their link profiles and see what percentages they are using, and that will be your reference for the start.
There are niches in which I have seen the anchor text profile in the top positions optimized and works great and without any penalties.
However, in other niches, I have seen how websites that had the profile of optimized anchor texts collapsed.
We must be careful when studying the profiles of other websites. Since many are using links of hidden and similar PBNs that we cannot study with our naked eye.
Website links have been and continue to be an essential part of web positioning. And web positioning is important if we want to get to that famous first page of Google. Links help us get to that first page.
The more valuable links we get from relevant sites we are going to have a better position. Links are hidden in anchor texts and we learned today what kind of anchor texts we can use.
We must study hard and remember all types of anchor text we can use on our website. And above all, we must remember to make them seem as natural as possible to avoid any kind of problems and penalties from our dear friend, Google.