Anchor Text for SEO: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

by Taymour | July 25, 2022

Anchor texts are an important part of an SEO strategy. It's one of the ways that you can improve your ranking on search engines, and you must use it correctly if you want to see results. In this blog post, we will answer the question "what is an anchor text?" and explain why it's so important for SEO. We'll also discuss how to use anchor texts effectively, and tell you about some common mistakes people make when using it. Finally, we'll give you some tips on how to tell if your anchor text is working well for you.

 

1. What is anchor text and why is it important for SEO?

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It is important for SEO because it helps search engines understand the relevance of a page to a particular keyword or phrase. When a user searches for a certain term, the search engine looks for pages that contain that term in the anchor text. If there are many pages that contain the term, the search engine will rank those pages higher in the search results. Therefore, by including relevant keywords and phrases in your anchor text, you can help improve your SEO and increase your chances of being found by potential customers.

 

2. How do you use anchor text to improve your SEO ranking?

When you use anchor text in a link, your informing Google that the material on the page is relevant to the page you're linking to. When you place a meta description, Google search crawlers check the description for relevance of your product, services or information on a subject.  This can improve your SEO ranking by indicating that the content on your website has a focus and are related like like pages in a book. You may be doing a lot of things correctly for SEO but without the proper use of anchor texts, your website is definitely sub optimized.  By carefully choosing the words that appear in your anchor text, you are sending strong signals to search engines about the topic of your page. As a result, your page is more likely to rank for relevant keyword searches. In addition, using targeted keywords in your anchor text can also help to improve your click-through rate, as users are more likely to click on a link that contains the keywords they're searching for. So if you're looking to boost your SEO ranking, be sure to make use of anchor text.

 

3. What are some best practices for using anchor text effectively in your SEO strategy?

When using anchor text for SEO purposes, it is important to be aware of the best practices to get the most out of your efforts. Some best practices to keep in mind include:

  • Using a variety of anchor text keywords. This will help to ensure that your site appears in a wider variety of search results.
  • Varying the anchor text used on each page of your website. This will help to avoid any penalties from search engines for the overuse of any one keyword or phrase.
  • Use relevant keywords and phrases in your anchor text. This will help to improve the ranking of your website with search engines.
  • Avoid using too many exact-match keywords in your anchor text. This can look spammy to search engines and may lead to penalties for your website.
  • Mix up your anchor text with branded terms, generic terms, and long-tail keyword phrases to get the most benefit from SEO optimization.
  • Categorize your anchor text:

Main Anchor Text Categories

        • Exact Match Anchors – Links with one of your major keywords (exact match) as the anchor text (for example, "link development" are known as exact-match hyperlinks. Consider placing no more than 5% of your anchor texts into this category.
        • Key Phrases Mixed Into Anchors – The MSN home page is also a good example of an optimizing website, as it contains your keyword in the anchor text and additional phrases that are not included in your key phrase. Consider placing 5-10% of your anchor texts into this category.
        • Brand, Natural, and URL Anchors – These are anchors that have nothing to do with your key phrase unless it's included in your brand. You should seriously consider placing between 90-95% of your anchor texts into this category.

 

Detailed Anchor Text Categories

        • Naked Link Text – the link itself without a description. For example, www.ibm.com/cloud/ai.
        • Image Anchor Links – it is the ALT text for images, meant for the search engines and not humans.  Without it, Google wouldn't know anything about the image and would just ignore it.  It matters because it is the series of details that ultimately matters for SEO.
        • A Keyword – a word or phrase that tells both humans and search engines what the page is about. For example, AI for Customer Service, that links to a specific page on the IBM website that describes that service.
        • Partial Keyword – contains your keyword mixed with one or more related words.  Being too precise feel contrived and not very natural.  Google values natural content and a partial keyword is a compromise between a precise focus and the overall flow. 
        • Keyword Plus – your most important keyword phrases plus other lesser-known words.
        • Brand – as the name implies, a branded anchor text contains your brand name.  For example, IBM Cloud Services.
        • Brand Plus Keyword – this is your brand name and a keyword combined into a single anchor.  Let's assume that IBM was promoting their analytics business.  In this case, a brand plus keyword may be IBM Analytics Center of Excellence. 
        • Generic Anchor Text – here, there's no mention of a keyword, brand or anything related to the page. For example, Click Here or Download.
        • Website Name – does not contain "http://" or "www" but just the URL like ibm.com.
        • Long-Tailed Anchor Text – this may include a keyword plus some related or unrelated words.  For example, "Why storing your data on a reputable cloud platform is more secure."

 

4. What are common mistakes people make when using anchor texts?

When it comes to using anchor texts for SEO purposes, there are a few common mistakes that people often make. Some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Not using enough anchor texts – when you’re trying to improve your SEO ranking, you need to use anchor text as much as possible. Not using enough anchor text doesn't help you give context to the search engines. Think of it less as a game and more about clearly expressing what the page is about.  After all, Google indexes millions of pages and needs all the help it can get.  
  • Using the same anchor texts over and over again – this probably means that the page has nothing too interesting to offer or downright spammy behavior.  While repeated anchors may not be explicitly penalized by Google, it will certainly not help your SEO efforts. 
  • Choosing a wrong anchor text – again, the name of the game is relevance.  If the content doesn't match your links, no brownie points from Google.  The anchor texts should mainly contain relevant and contextual keywords. 

 

5. How can you tell if your anchor text is effective or not?

Anchor texts are effective when they accurately describe the contents of the linked-to page. If you are using keyword-rich anchor text to link to a spammy or low-quality page, you could be penalized by Google or just no Google brownie points. It's important to make sure that all of your links are high quality and relevant if you want to improve your SEO ranking.

 

Anchor texts play an important role in SEO.  While they are many factors that can be optimized, anchor texts is definitely among them.  If you want to see results, you must use anchor text correctly. In this blog post, we have answered the question "what is an anchor text?" and explained why it's so important for your SEO efforts. We've also discussed how to use anchor texts effectively and told you about some common mistakes people make when using it. Finally, we've given you some tips on how to tell if your anchor text is working well for you. To learn more about how we can help you with your SEO efforts, please give us a call. Thanks for reading!