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

by Taymour | July 25, 2022

Anchor texts are an important part of SEO strategy. They’re one way to improve your ranking on search engines, but you must use them correctly if you want to see results. In this blog post, we’ll 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 them. 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, and it’s important for SEO because it helps search engines understand a page’s relevance 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 many pages 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 the chance of potential customers finding you.


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

When you use anchor text in a link, you inform Google that the material on your page is relevant to the page to which you're linking. When you place a meta description, Google search crawlers check it for your product’s, service’s, or information’s relevance to a subject. If the crawlers detect a high degree of relevance, it can improve your SEO ranking because it indicates that your website’s content is related to the keywords like the pages in a book. 

You may be doing a lot of things correctly in regard to SEO, but if you’re not properly using anchor texts, your website is definitely sub-optimized. By carefully choosing the words that appear in your anchor text, you send strong signals to search engines about your page’s topic. As a result, your page is more likely to rank for related keyword searches. In addition, using targeted keywords in your anchor text can also help improve your click-through rate, as users are more likely to click on a link that contains the keywords for which they're searching. 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 utilizing anchor text for SEO purposes, you need 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. Doing so will help ensure that your site appears in a wider variety of search results.
  • Varying the anchor text used on each website page. This technique will help you avoid any search engine penalties for the overuse of any one keyword or phrase.
  • Use relevant keywords and phrases in your anchor text. This strategy will help improve your website’s search engine ranking.
  • Avoid using too many exact-match keywords in your anchor text, which 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 – These link with one of your major keywords (exact match) as the anchor text; for example,  an exact match anchor text would be if you were targeting the keyword phrase "blue widgets" for your website, and you used that exact phrase as your anchor text. This would be considered keyword stuffing if you did it excessively, but it can be an effective way to optimize your website for that particular keyword phrase.). Consider placing no more than 5% of your anchor texts into this category.
  • Key Phrases Mixed into Anchors – The MSN homepage uses a variety of anchor text, including keywords and additional phrases not included in the main key phrase. This helps to optimize the website and improve its ranking. Try using 5-10% of your anchor texts for this purpose.
  • Brand, Natural, and URL Anchors – These are anchors that have nothing to do with your key phrase unless they’re 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 – This is the link itself, without a description. For example, “”
  • Image Anchor Links – These are the ALT texts for images; they’re meant for the search engines and not humans.  Without them, Google wouldn't know anything about the image and would just ignore it. These links are important because they’re the series of details that ultimately matters for SEO.
  • A Keyword – A keyword is a word or phrase that informs both humans and search engines about a page’s subject matter. For example, “AI for customer service” which links to a specific page on the IBM website that describes that service.
  • Partial Keyword – This contains your keyword interspersed with one or more related words. Being too precise feels contrived, and since  Google values natural content, a partial keyword is a compromise between a precise focus and the overall flow. 
  • Keyword Plus – These are 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 might  be “IBM Analytics Center of Excellence.” 
  • Generic Anchor Text – Here, no keyword, brand, or anything related to the page is mentioned. For example, “Click Here” or “Download.”
  • Website Name – This does not contain "http://" or "www," but just the URL, like “”
  • 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 common mistakes do people make when using anchor texts?

When it comes to using anchor texts for SEO purposes, people often make a few common mistakes. Some of them 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 means the search engines won’t have sufficient context. Think of it less as a game and more as your effort to clearly express your page’s purpose. 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 interesting to offer or is downright spammy behavior.  While Google may not explicitly penalize repeated anchors, this approach 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, Google won’t give you any brownie points.  The anchor texts should mainly contain relevant and contextual keywords. 


5. How can you tell if your anchor text is (or isn’t) effective?

  1. Check your traffic levels. If you see a sudden drop in traffic after implementing a new SEO anchor text strategy, it's likely that something is not working as intended.
  2. Compare your traffic levels to those of your competitors. If they are outperforming you, it's possible that their anchor text strategy is better than yours.
  3. Examine your click-through rates. If you see a significant drop in CTR after changing your anchor text, it's likely that your new strategy is not as effective as it could be.
  4. Check your rankings. If you see a drop in your search engine rankings after implementing a new SEO anchor text strategy, it's possible that your strategy is not as effective as it could be.
  5. Talk to your customers. If you notice that your customers are not responding well to your new anchor text, it's possible that it's not as effective as it could be.

Anchor texts play an important role in SEO.  While many factors  can be optimized, anchor texts are at the top of the list.  If you want to see results, you must use anchor text correctly. In this blog post, we’ve 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 them. 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!