Before starting this article, we would like you to perform a quick task: go to Google and search for how to improve SEO efforts. You will find link building as one of the crucial factors for SEO in all of the articles.
But what you may not find in those articles is that the words you choose for linking (we mean, the anchor text) matter a lot!
This article addresses just that! Today, we will discuss everything about anchor text – its types, optimization tips, and so on.
But before delving into that, let’s catch a quick glimpse of what is an anchor text and its importance in SEO activities.
What Is An Anchor Text
An anchor is the text you click while moving from one web page to another. True to its name, it anchors two destinations on the internet together.
Consider this example:
Webguru Infosystems is the one-stop destination for all digital solutions.
Here, Webguru Infosystems is the anchor text. Once you hover the mouse over the anchor, you can find out that it links to the Webguru homepage and is not a malicious or mysterious file.
Importance of Anchor Texts
1. These intimate the search engine (say, Google) what your content is all about. According to Google, anchors provide a better understanding of the links than the pages can offer for themselves through meta title and descriptions. That way, anchors help search engines to better crawl the content and rank it on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
2. Other than enhancing your SEO efforts, the anchors also tell the users what to expect from the link. That way, the users can determine whether the linked page is relevant for them or not.
Types of Anchor Text
1. Generic Anchor Text
A generic anchor doesn’t include any targeted keyword. Here, the reader has to rely on the surrounding content for context clues. A generic anchor may have an actionable language or a straightforward CTA.
Some of its examples include:
- Click here
- Read more
- Download this
- This blog
- More info
2. Branded Anchor Text
A branded anchor includes your brand name. This is great for developing brand recognition. For instance, Webguru Infosystems from www.webguru-india.com.
3. Exact Match Link Text
Exact match anchor text includes the specific keyword of the linked page. For instance, ‘digital marketing services’ linking to a page that targets the keyword digital marketing services.
Some other instances may include:
- Best restaurant in Mumbai
- Running shoes
- Link building
(All the above-mentioned examples assume that the link behind the text is targeting the exact phrase)
4. Partial Match Anchor Text
This type of anchor text includes some other words along with the keyword used in the linked-to page. For instance: “link building strategy” for a page that targets the keyword link building.
Other examples include:
- “Purchase sports shoes” targeting sports shoes in Ireland
- “Useful SEO tools” targeting SEO tools
5. Related Anchor Text
Instead of the precise keyword phrase, related anchor words use a variation of the target keyword used in the page.
These anchors help Google crawlers better understand the content of the links. It also keeps your link profile quite diverse.
Some examples of related anchor are as follow:
- “Facebook content strategy” targeting Social media marketing services.
- “Nike Joyride” targeting buy sports shoes.
6. Naked Link Anchor Text
This is just the clickable URL pasted into the content from the browser bar. You may see such links in the reference section of a content.
Here are two examples of naked anchor:
7. Long Tail Anchor Text
Long-tail anchor text is somewhat similar to partial anchor, but it contains even more number of words. Sometimes, such a descriptive anchor may include an entire subheading or title for a link.
Some examples of long-tail keywords are:
Now that you have learnt about the variants of anchor text, you may want to know about how to optimize for an anchor text. Take a look at the following passages.
How to Optimize for an Anchor Text
Let’s start with a flashback.
Even a few years back, SEO practitioners used a lot of exact match anchors for manipulating the Google algorithm. By using such keyword-centric anchors to point at their site, they could easily end up ranking higher.
But this deceptive practice was crashed down by Google’s Penguin update. This compelled the practitioners to tweak their anchor strategy.
Here are some handpicked ideas preached and practised by Gen Y professionals at any top SEO agency. Go through these and adopt the same.
#Avoid Excessive Use of Exact Match Anchors
We admit that Google still pays keen attention to the anchor words and use them for judging the content of your site. But manipulating Google algorithm with keyword-rich anchors is not rewarding anymore.
In fact, with the Penguin algorithm update, Google looks more closely at the keywords used in an anchor text. And if numerous links to a page (say, your site’s home or contact page) use the same keyword-rich anchor text, Google may sense spammy behaviour and penalize your site.
Further, Google’s BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers) algorithm is a deep learning algorithm that uses natural language processing to comprehend and rank web pages. Therefore, instead of simply reading the anchor text, Google’s crawlers may scan the surrounding words and sentences for context clues.
Also, excessively keyword centric anchors will appear to be contrived and affect User Experience (UX).
So, instead of using over-optimized anchors, maintain a free flow of writing. This will produce a positive UX.
#Use Relevant Anchors
This is a crucial part. Relevance is a key aspect of SEO. Firstly, ensure that the anchor words relate to the context of your present content as well as justify the topic of the linked article.
For example, if we are writing a content on “how to optimize a website to boost SEO ranking”, we may place an anchor how to write SEO friendly content. Note that the anchor words are relevant to the context of the content and if you click on the link, you will find a comprehensive guide on the same.
Secondly, make sure that the linked article is relevant to the present content. This helps the search engines to crawl your site better. We don’t have to go any further to find an example. The previous example is fitting for this.
#Use Long Tail Anchors
This is the ideal way of using anchor text. This freely flows with the context of the content without affecting readability. This also gives you enough opportunity to explain the topic of the link.
You can also distribute various types of anchor text depending on the context. But it’s better to avoid excessive use of generic anchors (click here, find more, etc.) or naked anchors.
Feeling stressed to digest all the information? Simply engage SEO professionals who can help you modify and properly use anchor text as part of their SEO services.
Here’s our best tip: use anchor text for readers to help them find out more information about a relevant topic. Remember, Google (or any other search engine for that matter) prioritizes user-experience. And if you adopt the same strategy, Google will automatically reward you.
Well, as they say, pursue excellence and success will follow!
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