If you own or operate a website, then you know how important it is to have good SEO (search engine optimisation). Good SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), which means more people will see your site and potentially visit it.
One of the factors that determines your website’s ranking is the anchor text used in links to your site. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to optimise your anchor text for better SEO.
What Is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. When creating links to your website, you should use relevant keywords in the anchor text so that search engines can understand what your website is about.
For example, let’s say you own a website about cars. A link to your site from another car-related website would likely use anchor text such as “cars,” “car buying,” or “car reviews.”
Variations Of Anchor Text
There are many different types of anchor text, with the main ones being:
- Exact match
- Partial match
- Latent Semantic Index (LSI)
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
- Exact Match
Exact match anchor text is exactly what it sounds like—the anchor text is an exact match for the target keyword you’re trying to rank for in SERPs.
For example, if you own a dog grooming business then your exact match anchor text might be something like “dog grooming.”
Using exact match anchor text can be effective for improving your SEO but it should be used sparingly as too much of it can appear spammy to search engines and hurt your rankings rather than help them.
- Partial Match
A partial match keyword is a keyword that contains all or part of your target keyphrase. Partial match keywords are a good way to target long-tail keywords with less competition.
For example, if you sell blue widgets, your partial match keywords could be “buy blue widgets” or “blue widgets for sale.”
Branded anchor text is simply using your brand name – or a variation of it – as the anchor text.
For example, we’re called Niche Inbound. Our branded anchor text might be simply be “Niche Inbound” or something like “link building agency Bulldog Digital Media”.
Using branded anchor text is a great way to improve your brand awareness and build trust with potential customers. It’s also useful for helping people who are already familiar with your brand find your website more easily.
A naked URL is simply the URL of your website without any other surrounding text.
For example, if the URL of your website is www.example.com, then your naked URL anchor text would just be “www.example.com.”
Naked URLs are often used as the default option when adding a hyperlink in most content management systems (CMSs). While they’re not particularly effective for SEO purposes, they can be useful when you’re trying to save space or you want to make it clear that you’re linking to another website.
Generic anchor text is similar to branded anchor text in that it doesn’t include any keywords that are specific to what you’re linking to. However, unlike branded anchor text, generic anchor text doesn’t necessarily have to include your brand name.
For example, generic anchor text could be anything like “click here,” “learn more,” or “read more.”
Generic anchor text isn’t particularly effective for SEO but it can be helpful if you’re looking to reduce bounced traffic from your website by making it clear what visitors will find if they click on a certain link.
- Latent Semantic Index
Latent Semantic Index keywords are simply the search strings suggested to you when searching in Google. These keywords are suggested to you because Google feels that they are relevant to your original search.
With this in mind, you can use the Latent Semantic Index keywords to inspire your anchor text. Just be sure to do your own vetting as not all results will be useful!
What’s The Link Between Anchor Text & SEO?
The number of (valuable) backlinks pointing to your website is another key metric that search engine algorithms take into account when determining your rankings.
So, if you’re looking to improve your SEO, one of the best things you can do is build up your link profile with relevant keywords. This will help to boost your site’s authority while telling Google exactly what it should rank for.
How To Choose & Use The Right Anchor Text
With so many different types of anchor text out there, it can be tough to know which one to use (and how to use it).
- Keep It Relevant
Although an obvious point, a lot of people over-complicate their link building strategy, which can lead to the use of irrelevant anchor text.
Using anchor text that’s irrelevant to the page being linked to will confuse Google and harm your rankings. You’re essentially encouraging misleading information and won’t land the right type of audience on your site.
Through using variations of anchor text that match the link in use, you’ll be able to accurately tell Google what the page is about, increasing your chance of ranking for valuable terms.
- Mix Up The Variations
Google looks at anchor text as a signal, but if you’re constantly using the same word or phrase, it may think something fishy is going on. Using the same anchor text will also reduce your chances of ranking for a larger pool of keywords.
Instead, try to use a variety of different words and phrases that are all relevant to your website. This will show Google that your website is relevant to a variety of different topics, which will help improve your SEO ranking.
💡 To help mix up your anchor text, mix and match between all of the keyword variations mentioned earlier in this guide.
- Track The Progress
Tracking your anchor text is just as important as using it effectively. That’s because if you don’t track your anchor text, you won’t be able to see which keywords are working and which ones aren’t. You also won’t be able to tell how your overall SEO strategy is performing.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that make tracking your anchor text easy, such as Ahrefs and Semrush. A simple search for the page or website your targeting will reveal exactly what keywords it’s ranking for.
💡 Not getting the results you want? Consider targeting different keywords or place links on more valuable websites. Alternatively, hire an SEO expert to do the job for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is Anchor Text?
Just like the name suggests, anchor text is the text that anchors a link. It’s the clickable part of a hyperlink. When you see underlined blue text on a website, that’s anchor text. And when you click on it, you’re taken to another page or website.
For example, let’s say you’re reading an article about car insurance on a website. In that article, there’s a sentence that says, “To get the best car insurance rates, click here.” The words “click here” are the anchor text. If you click on them, you’ll be taken to a different website where you can compare car insurance rates.
- How Does Anchor Text Work?
Your anchor text will tell search engines what your linking piece of content/page is about. When a search engine sees anchor text that includes relevant keywords for a given query, it will be more likely to rank that content/page higher in the search results. That’s why it’s important to choose your anchor text carefully!
- How Can You Optimise Anchor Text for SEO?
If you’re not paying attention to your anchor text, you’re not going to achieve the kind of SEO success that you’re looking for. You can optimise your anchor text for SEO by using a variation of keywords and by keeping those keywords relevant to your link.
- What Are The Benefits Of Optimising Anchor Text?
When optimised correctly, anchor text plays a vital role in your SEO performance. Optimised anchor text gives crawlers an idea of what each page on your site is about, which helps them index it accordingly. As a result, your website is more likely to appear in SERPs for relevant searches.
- What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Anchor Text?
Here are some dos and don’ts to help you master the art of anchor text.
✅ Do: Use Keywords Intelligently
When choosing keywords for your anchor text, it’s important to strike a balance between using too few and too many. Using too few keywords will give search engines a limited view of your website’s relevancy, while using too many will come across as keyword stuffing and damage your website’s ranking. Instead, try to use a variety of keywords that accurately reflect the content on your website.
❌ Don’t: Overdo It With Exact Match Keywords
Anchor text that consists entirely of exact match keywords is a red flag for search engines. This type of anchor text used to be an effective way to game the system, but now it will do more harm than good. If you’re using exact match keywords, mix them up a bit with other related keywords to avoid raising any flags.
✅ Do: Use Natural Language
One of the best ways to use anchor text is in a way that comes across as natural language. Instead of cramming in keywords or using awkward phrasing, just write like you would normally speak. This will not only sound better to readers, but it will also make it easier for search engines to understand the context of your website.
❌ Don’t: Overuse Anchor Text
If linking on your own site, using too much anchor text can come across as spammy and make your website seem less credible. If you’re using anchor text in every other sentence, chances are you’re overdoing it. Try to keep your use of anchor text down to a minimum, using it only when absolutely necessary.
- How Can You Avoid Over-Optimisation of Anchor Text?
Over-optimization is a common mistake when it comes to anchor text. It can be easy to go overboard when you’re trying to keywords, but too much of a good thing can actually hurt your rankings.
There are a few ways to avoid over-optimization of anchor text. First, mix up your anchor text with natural language. In other words, don’t just use keywords; use phrases and sentences that sound natural.
Second, vary the length of your anchor text. Again, this will make your links sound more natural and less like keyword stuffing.
Finally, don’t use the same exact anchor text every time. Search engines will penalise you for this because it looks like you’re trying to manipulate your ranking.
- How Can You Use Anchor Text Analytics To Improve SEO & Link Building?
There are a few different ways you can use anchor text analytics for SEO & Link Building:
Look for opportunities to target new keywords & phrases – If you see that certain keywords & phrases are being used frequently as anchor text for links to your site, but you’re not targeting those keywords & phrases yourself, then this could be an opportunity for you to expand your keyword list and start targeting those keywords & phrases.
Check for negative associations – If there are certain words or phrases that are being used as anchor text for links to your site that are negative in nature (e.g., “scam,” “rip-off,” etc.), then this could be an indication that there are some negative associations with your website that you’ll want to address.
Monitor your competition – Keep an eye on the anchor text that’s being used for links to your competitor’s websites. This can give you insights into their SEO & link building strategies, which can in turn help you adjust your own strategies accordingly.
Look for unnatural patterns – If you see an unusually high number of links with identical or similar anchor text (especially if those links are coming from low-quality websites), then this could be an indication of suspicious or unnatural activity. This is something you’ll want to investigate further and take action accordingly.
By following these simple tips, you can start seeing improved results from both your SEO efforts and your link building campaigns.