Search engine optimization can be complicated and overwhelming for novice website owners. One of the foundational aspects of SEO that you should understand is that of anchor text and how it can impact your Google rankings. In this post, I am going to talk about anchor text: what it is, the different kinds of anchor text that you commonly find on a webpage and tips for how to use anchor text to optimize your rankings.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the text that sends you to another webpage when clicked. For example, the word “Google” in the first paragraph is considered anchor text. When you click on the text, you will be brought to the Google website. It used to be that search engines used anchor text to determine the worthiness and reliability of the webpage it linked to. Both the number of links to a specific webpage and the relevancy of the anchor text associated with it contributed to a positive ranking on search engines.
With that, many dubious uses of anchor text were prevalent online. It was common for sites to dump a ton of keyword-rich anchor text links on their sites, and see their rankings rise. However, with the introduction of Penguin in 2012, Google created standards that actually penalized sites that used black hat SEO practices such as those mentioned above.
Types of Anchor Text
There are a number of types of anchor text that you might find on a typical webpage. Some of the more common types of anchor text include:
- Generic Anchors– often “click here” or “learn more”
- Branded Anchors– the company or brand name
- Naked Link Anchors– full URL rather than anchor text
- Image Anchors– often a button or advertisement that uses the alt tag as the anchor text
- Brand plus Keyword Anchors– the company or brand name with the keyword
- LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Anchors– the suggested search keywords from Google
- Partial Match Anchors-similar to LSI Anchors, but you create the anchor text
- Exact Match Anchors– exact matches to your keywords
Now that we know a little more about anchor text, let’s talk about how it can be used to improve SEO on a webpage.
How to Use Anchor Text to Boost Your SEO
Keep it Relevant
Your goal is to create relevant and useful content for your readers. Cramming a bunch of keywords into your content does not provide the experience that Google and other search engines value. When creating anchor text, you want it to be relevant to the content it is linking to. For example, if my anchor text is “WordPress web design” then the article or webpage that I link to should be about WordPress web design.
Use a Variety of Anchor Text Types
Search engines like Google appreciate when site owners use a variety of types of anchor text. Savvy content writers and web designers will be sure to include some branded anchors, image anchors, and exact and partial match anchors in their copy.
Avoid Generic Anchor Text
Generic anchor text like “click here” or “learn more” doesn’t provide much value to the reader. They are not very descriptive and do not help search engines understand what kind of content is found on the webpage. Try using other types of anchor text instead, such as keywords or your brand’s name, to describe your link.
Link To and Acquire Links From Quality Websites
Google and other search engines place value on anchor text that links to quality web pages and websites. Your site should link to other sites that search engines regard as high-quality, reputable and relevant. Similarly, having many links back to your site from websites that do not have authority will not do anything to help your SEO rankings. Be sure to link to and acquire links from websites that have authority and are relevant to your business and niche.
Optimizing your website for search engine rankings can be complicated. At ACA Web Consulting we specialize in helping clients achieve the search engine rankings they need to boost their businesses. If you have questions about how to better optimize your website for Google or you’d like a professional SEO to help you develop a strategy, contact the team at ACA Web Consulting for your consultation today.