Anchor text is an integral part of the SEO formula, but it can be one of the hardest to control. So to help you find your anchor text sea legs, we’ve got some hints and tips.

What Is Anchor Text?

Anchor texts are the clickable words in a hyperlink. Typically, they’re a different color than the rest of the copy — often blue. Ideally, anchor text should be SEO-friendly and concisely describe the page to which it’s linking. For example, anchor text for our blog that’s filled with digital marketing tips for chiropractors would be “SEO for Chiropractors.”

Why Is Anchor Text Important?

Anchor text plays a critical role in algorithm calculations since it helps bots determine the target page’s topic. In fact, several of Google’s patents include anchor text functionality.

What Is Good Anchor Text?

Practically, anchor text serves two purposes: it signals to both readers and search engine algorithms what to expect on the other side of the link. Google recommends optimizing your internal anchor text to be “useful, descriptive, and relevant.”

Types of Anchor Text

Exact Match Anchor Text

Using anchor text that includes the exact keywords for which a target page is optimized is an exact match. For example, the exact match anchor text for our blog post about off-site SEO would be “off-site SEO.”

Partial Match Anchor Text

Partial match anchor text is when a keyword variation is used. For example, a partial match anchor text phrase for our “best keywords for chiropractors” blog post could be “effective chiropractic keywords.”

Branded Anchor Text

Branded anchor text uses a company’s name. For example, branded anchor text for our digital marketing company would be “Rounded Digital.”

Naked Anchor Text

Naked anchor text is when you use the exact URL being linked, like External linkers most often deploy this technique, and it’s not a terrible thing.

Generic or Natural Anchor Text

Generic anchor text is instructional. “Click here” is a good example. It isn’t always the best option, but search algorithms expect a smattering of generic anchor text and may label a page as spammy if it doesn’t have any pointing at it.

Images As Anchor Text

When an image is a link, algorithms use the alt text as the anchor text. That’s why it’s a standard SEO practice to use keyword-rich alt text.

Anchor Text Pitfalls to Avoid

As is the case with nearly all SEO techniques, it’s possible to overdo anchor text. So let’s take a look at what not to do.

Don’t Over-Optimize

Algorithms are smart. Like parents, they can sniff out manipulative behavior and punish websites for trying to game the system. For years, algorithms have had the power to de-index low-quality websites stuffed with keywords and other deceptive SEO tactics that no longer work.

The same logic applies to anchor text. Don’t keyword stuff! Doing so could land you in SEO prison.

Don’t Be Uniform

Algorithms are suspicious of web pages where all the backlinks have the same exact anchor text. It’s unnatural and triggers alerts. Things can look spammy to bots if you only internally link on the exact keyword phrase for a given page. Mix things up a bit and include all the anchor text categories we outlined in the section above.

Don’t Settle for Just Any Backlinks

Anchor text is related to backlinks in that irrelevant entries could do more harm than good. For example, if your website is the online portal for a chiropractic business, backlinks from a hot sauce company will not do you much good. However, links from medical journals, sports websites, wellness pages, and other area businesses would be helpful.

Anchor Text Best Practices

  • So what’s the best way to implement anchor text? Effective SEO anchor texts:
  • Preview the target page and let people know what to expect on the other side
  • Aren’t artificially stuffed with keywords
  • Are succinct

Also, don’t rush through internal linking. Think about the words and phrases that would encourage people to click. Remember: you’re not just trying to please algorithm bots; human interactions with a given web page also matter.

Get Effective SEO Help

One of the most challenging feats of SEO is cultivating external links with good anchor text. The good news is that professional SEO marketers have the know-how.

If you want to superpower your SEO efforts, let’s talk. Rounded Digital has a full-service online marketing team that handles everything from backlinks to content development to anchor text optimization.