The selection of anchor text holds a lot of significance in offsite SEO. The distribution of anchor text needs to be correct, otherwise, you can lose your website rankings in the SERPs. When implemented correctly, anchor text can put you on the first page of SERP without using many links.
However, be aware that incorrect implementation can result in a Penguin penalty. It all boils down to learning the right strategy for using anchor text. In this article, we will learn more about anchor text and how to use it correctly on your website.
What Is Anchor Text?
Anchor Text is a clickable and visible text in a hyperlink. The text can contain a combination of words and characters. Modern browsers show it as underlined and in blue color. This is the default appearance. You can modify the color and style by making changes in the associated CSS or HTML file.
Here is an example of an anchor text:
<a href=” https:// example.com”> An Example Blog</a>
When you place the text in the HTML code of a webpage, it is shown as a clickable text as “An Example Blog”. This text is an anchor text. When you click on the text, it will take you to the website (https:// example.com)
What Is The Importance Of Having An Anchor Text?
Anchor text can offer pertinent contextual information to both website users and search engines. This information is linked to the content at the destination of the link. Search engines employ external anchor text as a replication of how outsiders see your webpage and what it tells them about the business.
The anchor text that you use in your website should be beneficial, expressive and applicable. Anchor text is also an indicator that search engines use to govern the relevancy of a webpage. This implies that if your website is consistently obtaining quality links using the anchor text “SEO marketing”, then Google will eventually determine that your website is about “SEO Marketing”.
Advantages of Anchor Text in Search Engine Algorithms
In the early days, Google was heavily dependent on anchor text. In 1998, the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, explained that search engines treat the anchor text in a special way. The majority of search engines relate the text of an external link with the webpage that it links to. This gives numerous benefits:
- Anchors provide more precise descriptions of a webpage than what a webpage can provide for itself.
- Anchor text enables Google to define the theme of those media formats where on‐page signals can’t be used.
- Anchors can exist even for those documents that can’t be indexed via a text‐based search engine. This includes images, databases and programs.
Google has concluded that the use of anchor text in a website yields better results than the key commercial search engines for a majority of searches. However, Google soon figured out that anchor texts were easy to manipulate.
To rank any webpage for a search query, the only thing required was to target several links at it with the keyword serving as the anchor. So, a greater number of keyword dense anchor text links gives you an edge over your competitors.
What is the Penguin Penalty?
To obtain a website ranking, you should send enough links alongside the anchor text that matches the keyword you want to rank for. The Penguin algorithm has been in place since April 24, 2012. It was formed to target the manipulation of backlinks on websites. The algorithm looks at the link quality that your website is receiving.
If the distribution of an anchor text does not look genuine, then the website gets fined. Sending anchor text stuffed with keywords is one of the ways to get your rankings moving. It is advised not to overdo it to the extent that it makes it unrealistic. Otherwise, Google will penalize you for it.
The Different Types of Anchor Text
Different types of anchor text are used on websites:
Anchor text is called an “exact match” when it consists of a keyword that matches the theme of the page that it is linked to.
This type of anchor text comprises of a combination of keywords that match the theme of the webpage to which it is linked.
In this type of anchor text, a brand name is used in the form of anchor text.
- Naked link
This type of anchor text has a URL that is used to link to a website.
A generic anchor text consists of a generic phrase or word that is used in the form of an anchor. An example of this anchor text is “Click here”.
This anchor text includes the alt attribute of the anchor text. Google uses this text to link to that image.
How Does An Anchor Text Impact Search Engine Ranking?
The external anchor text in a webpage helps Google to understand the theme of your webpage, and for what type of keywords it needs to rank. Google uses several different methods to enhance search quality. This includes anchor text, proximity information and page rank. This implies that if a website links to cat food, then it tells Google that the website is related to cats.
If that website gets external links related to cat food products, then it increases Google’s confidence that the website is related to cat stuff. Based on this interpretation, Google potentially ranks the website for “cat food”. So, in this way, an anchor text plays a big role in the search engine rankings of any website.
What Is An SEO-Friendly Anchor Text?
The following are attributes of an SEO compatible anchor text.
Though there is no specific limit to the length of an anchor text, it is advised to keep the anchor text length as concise as possible. Ensure the anchor text takes into consideration these two key factors:
- What is a highly concise and precise method to define the linked-to webpage?
- What phrase or word would compel users to click the link?
- Target page relevance
Search engines have advanced over the past years. They have found several new metrics to determine website rankings. One of the most effective metrics is based on the “relevancy of a link” or how does the link relate to the topic of the two linked webpages.
This is a natural phenomenon that happens when developers externally link to the content of another website. It is based on the following:.
- The theme of the source page
- The anchor text content present on that source page
A highly relevant link can enhance the likelihood of linked webpages ranking for queries associated with their topic. To ensure that your external links show powerful link relevancy signals, it is important to keep the anchor text expressive of the target webpage.
- Low keyword density
Google started looking more carefully at keywords present in the anchor text. If the majority of the inbound links to a website have the same anchor text, then it begins to appear suspicious. It may be because the links aren’t acquired naturally.
It is best practice to use only topic and keyword related anchor text as much as possible. However, to create an SEO-friendly anchor text, you can achieve a better outcome by striving for a combination of natural text phrases in place of using the same keyword every time.
With that being said, ensure that you do not stuff keywords into internal links. Although internal linking is highly recommended, care should be taken when using anchor text for the links to your webpages. If several links to any webpage use the same type of anchor text, then Google may find it spammy. It may even blacklist your website. So, do not use heavily use keywords.
How to Optimize an External Anchor Text?
In this section, we will look at how to optimize the anchor text. We will look at ways to determine the theme-specific target anchor text.
The first step is to identify the perfect target anchor text for your niche. To do this, you will begin by analyzing the competition. You need to implement a “natural” anchor text distribution. This type of anchor text is identified in various forms, such as:
- 50% Brand or URL anchors
For example, a branded anchor for qualityguestpost.com would be “Quality Guest Post”. This type of anchor applies to only non-EMD/PMD sites.
URL anchors are a modified version of the naked URL – for example, https://www.qualityguestpost.com/, qualityguestpost.com, www.qualityguestpost.com, etc.
- 25% topic anchors
Here the chosen keywords might sound a bit like a mismatch to the business, but the niches will be somehow related to each other.
For example: “healthy lungs” or “weight loss goal” will serve as topic anchors for a business that deals with “swimming pool construction”.
- Longtail or 10% target keyword anchors
All anchor texts that have just one word of a keyword phrase that you wish to rank for will come under this category.
A few examples of this are: best granite driver, what is the ideal granite driver, buy granite driver online.
- 15% miscellaneous anchors
Examples of this type of anchor are: click here, go to site, read more, etc.
How To Identify The Average Distribution Of Anchor Text
After optimizing the external anchor text, we will now look at finding the target anchor distribution for a particular niche. Here are a few steps that will help accomplish this objective.
- Download the “Ahrefs Anchor Text data” for a website in the first position
- Classify anchors by type
- Identify the distribution of anchor text for the URL by forming a pie chart
- Repeat these steps for websites that are ranked between second and fifth position
- Your theme-specific distribution of target anchor text should be equivalent to the average of the top five websites
- Save and Implement
The above steps would help you ensure that the anchor text ratio meets the requirements of Google, so you can begin a link building campaign for all those anchors that imitate this distribution.
Tips To Select The Anchor Text Like A PRO
Here are some of the top tips to help you choose the right anchor text for linking your website:
- Do not reuse a target anchor text twice
- Use the SEO title tag of a webpage as an anchor
- Ensure that the anchor fits the link type
- Form the anchor with the persona’s name
- When fixed in the rankings, try to break down the keyword phrase
- Use “Brand + target anchors”. This is another type of anchor that is a blend of target keywords with either URL or Brand. It is a simple method to increase target anchors. As they are grouped by URL or branded items, they can lower the chances of penalty.
- Optimize your anchor text with respect to the URL that you are trying to link to.
- Try a diverse combination of URL anchors in accordance with the niche average. You can include categories such as target, URL, branded, miscellaneous, topic, etc.
Did you know that you can create around sixty-four variations of URL anchors? Here are a few:
- https://www.website.com – standard
Use them in combination and ensure you add variety to your anchor texts:
- Use lengthy keyword phrases by mixing in some long-phrase anchor texts at regular intervals.
- Write anchors in English, in place of SEO-ese.
- Synonyms are a great way to boost your search rankings while fudging Penguin over-optimization. It also helps you to obtain credit for the keyword and avoids over-optimization. Google provides an inbuilt synonym matching and latent semantic indexing into its algorithm.
- Enclose your anchor text with related longtails, synonyms and keywords. All of these help to increase the link relevancy to a good extent.
Knowledge of the various kinds of anchor text will assist you in forming an arsenal to use in the content on your website. To get the desired results from your anchor text implementation, you should find a target anchor text that is specific to your webpage, and it should meet the requirements of the webpage.
As long as they remain contextually appropriate, they will pass as a positive indication to search engine crawlers. Balance your internal anchor text in a manner that looks natural and effective. In that way, it will help to put your website ahead of your competitors.