In the early days, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was like the Wild West. People use all sorts of tricks to get their websites to rank on Google, like stuffing keywords everywhere and getting lots of spammy backlinks.

However, Google got smarter and started cracking down on these tactics. Now, Google considers over 200 factors when ranking websites.

For example, with the recent Core Web Vitals update, websites need to be fast, stable, and secure to rank well.

One important factor is anchor text. This is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It used to be that the more keywords you had in your anchor text, the better. But now, Google wants to see natural, relevant anchor text that fits in with the surrounding content.

If you overdo it with keyword-rich anchor text, Google might penalize your site. But if you don’t use enough, you might not rank as well.

So, it’s important to find the right balance. SEO is crucial for marketers today, so it’s worth understanding how to optimize your anchor text to improve your rankings and avoid Google penalties.

What is Anchor Text?

An anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink that takes you to another webpage when clicked on.

There is usually a dark blue color, which may be underlined. When you click on an anchor text, it directs you to a specific article, product, or webpage related to the text.

A good anchor text should be relevant to the content it’s linking to. Search engines like Google use the keywords in anchor texts to understand what the linked page is about.

Let me explain with some examples:

Example 1: Suppose you’re writing a blog post about the best budget laptops, and you want to link to a review article on your website about a specific laptop model. The anchor text could be “our review of the XYZ budget laptop,” with “budget laptop” as the keyword.

Example 2: If your article discusses home workout routines and you want to link to a product page for resistance bands, the anchor text could be “our recommended resistance bands for home workouts,” with “resistance bands” as the keyword.

Example 3: Let’s say you’re writing a review of the latest smartphones, and you want to link to a comparison article on your site. The anchor text could be “our comprehensive smartphone comparison guide,” with “smartphone comparison” as the keyword.

Different Types of Anchor Texts

The different types of anchor texts commonly used in SEO strategies:

Exact match anchor text:

This type uses the exact keyword phrase found on the linked-to page. For example, if linking to an article titled “Best refrigerators for small kitchens,” the anchor text would be the same.

Partial match anchor text:

Anchor text for partial matches contains a variation of the keyword phrase on the linked-to page. For instance, if linking to a video about anchor text optimization, the anchor text might be the “best method of anchor text optimization.

Related keyword anchor text:

Similar to partial match, this type uses keywords related to the main keyword but not identical. For example, when linking to a video about anchor text optimization, the anchor text could be “link text strategies.”

Branded anchor text:

Branded anchor text uses the brand name as the main keyword. For instance, if it is linked to HubSpot, the anchor text should be “HubSpot.”

Brand & keyword anchor text:

This combines the brand name with a keyword to provide additional context. For example, “HubSpot’s latest content marketing statistics.”

Naked anchor text:

In this type, the link’s URL is displayed instead of blending into the surrounding text. It’s typically used at the bottom of an article in a list of sources.

Generic anchor text:

This type, such as “click here” or “view more,” is not specific to the linked page and should be used sparingly to avoid appearing spammy.

Image alt texts:

Image alt text serves as anchor text for images. It describes the image’s content and is displayed if the image fails to load.

Why is Anchor text beneficial for SEO?

Anchor text is crucial for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for several reasons:

Enhances User Experience:

Anchor texts provide a clear and concise description of the linked content, helping users understand where the link will take them. This improves user experience by making navigation more intuitive and efficient.

Helps Search Engines Understand Content Relevance:

Search engines like Google use anchor texts to understand the context and relevance of the linked page. When anchor texts contain relevant keywords or phrases related to the linked content, it signals to search engines what the linked page is about.

This helps search engines accurately index and rank web pages in search results.

Supports Page Ranking:

Relevant and well-optimized anchor texts contribute to a website’s SEO efforts by improving its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

When search engines recognize the relevance of anchor texts to the linked content, they are more likely to consider the linked page as authoritative and valuable, leading to higher rankings.

Promotes Natural Link Building:

When other websites naturally link to your content using relevant anchor texts, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and worthy of citation.

Natural link building through anchor texts from authoritative websites can significantly boost your website’s credibility and SEO performance.

Avoids Penalties:

Using spammy or manipulative anchor texts, such as exact match keywords or irrelevant phrases, can trigger search engine penalties.

These penalties can negatively impact your website’s ranking and visibility in search results. By using natural, relevant, and diverse anchor texts, you can avoid penalties and maintain a healthy SEO profile.

What makes a Good Anchor Text?

A good anchor text plays a crucial role in enhancing the user experience, improving SEO, and maintaining website credibility.

According to my experience, the key features that make an anchor text effective are: – 

Descriptive: A good anchor text should accurately describe the content of the linked page and provide readers with a clear understanding of where the link will lead them.

Relevant: The anchor text should be directly relevant to the topic or subject matter of the linked page. Irrelevant anchor texts can confuse users and negatively impact SEO.

Length: While anchor texts can vary in length, they should generally be more than one word. Longer anchor texts provide more context and clarity to both users and search engines.

Keyword Optimization: Ideally, anchor texts should contain relevant keywords related to the linked page’s content. Including keywords helps search engines understand the context and relevance of the linked content.

Variation: To avoid appearing spammy to search engines, it’s essential to vary anchor text usage across your website. Using diverse anchor texts improves SEO and enhances user experience.

Engagement: A good anchor text should entice users to click on the link and explore further content on your website. Engaging anchor texts can increase user interaction and prolong browsing sessions.

Natural: Anchor texts should be seamlessly integrated into the surrounding content and appear natural to readers. Avoid excessive keyword stuffing or unnatural phrasing, which can detract from the user experience.

Diversity: It’s essential to diversify anchor text usage and avoid excessive linking to the same page or article. A variety of anchor texts directing users to different pages improves website credibility and SEO performance.

Visibility: Anchor texts should be easily identifiable within the content, typically through formatting such as underlining or a different color. Clear and visible anchor texts help users recognize clickable links and navigate your website effectively.

What does Google want to see in an anchor text?

Google has established specific guidelines for anchor text usage to ensure a positive user experience and maintain the integrity of its search results. Here’s what Google wants to see in anchor texts:

Descriptive Phrases: Anchor texts should provide descriptive phrases that offer context to the linked content and accurately convey what users can expect when they click on the link.

Exact Keyword Match or Description: A good anchor text either matches the exact keyword in the title of the linked web page or provides a natural description of the destination page within the sentence’s context.

Avoid Over-Optimization: Excessively using exact keyword match anchor texts can result in Google penalties. Instead, aim for a balanced mix of anchor text types.

Unique and Descriptive: Anchor texts should be unique, descriptive, and logically integrated into the surrounding text. They should contribute meaningfully to the sentence and enhance user understanding.

Specificity Over Generic Terms: Avoid using generic terms like “click here” or “this article” as anchor texts. Choose specific phrases that accurately represent the linked content and provide valuable context to users.

Avoid Using URL as Link Text: Linking directly with the URL itself is discouraged, as it disrupts the flow of the sentence and appears unnatural. Opt for descriptive text that seamlessly integrates into the article.

Avoid Link Text Repetition: Do not use the same anchor text to link to multiple web pages within the same article. This practice can confuse users and may be perceived as manipulative by search engines.

Keep Link Text Concise: Whenever possible, keep anchor text shorter than a full sentence. Lengthy anchor texts or linking large chunks of text can disrupt readability and user experience.

Minimize Punctuation: Avoid using excessive punctuation within anchor texts, as it can detract from readability and may impact search engine interpretation.

Can anyone write an anchor text?

Yes, anyone can write an anchor text. As long as you follow the steps in this guide, you can create your anchor texts for your website or articles.

However, it’s important to do some research and understand how to write effective anchor texts to avoid issues with search engines like Google.

Here’s when you can write an anchor text:

  • If you have the time and patience to learn how to write good anchor texts.
  • If you use what you’ve learned from your research when adding links to your content.
  • If you understand the best anchor texts to use in your industry or niche.
  • If you’re willing to stay updated on anchor text SEO and adapt your strategies based on Google’s updates.

However, you might want to avoid writing anchor texts if:

  • You’re too busy with other aspects of your business and don’t have time to learn about anchor text strategy.
  • You recognize that your SEO knowledge is limited and believe hiring an expert would be more efficient.

How to write a good anchor text: step-by-step process

Now that you understand what makes a good anchor text let me walk through a simple step-by-step process for writing one:

Step 1: Find the webpage you want to link to.

To start, you need to locate the webpage you want to link to.

If you’re planning your internal site linking strategy, you likely have a list of links you want to add to your articles. Review your articles and decide where these links fit naturally. You might need to adjust your sentences to include the link and anchor text smoothly.

Alternatively, if you’re researching as you write, and you come across information that could enhance your article, search for a webpage on Google that provides that information.

Step 2: Create your anchor text.

Now that you’ve found the webpage you want to link to and decided where to place the link in your article, it’s time to write the anchor text.

Keep it short and make sure it matches the title of the linked page or describes the linked page’s topic.

Step 3: Review and edit.

Once you’ve written your anchor text, take a moment to read it again and consider these questions:

  • Does it fit naturally in the sentence?
  • Does it include important keywords related to the linked page’s topic?
  • Is it around 5 words long, keeping it concise?
  • Is it specific to the linked page and not too general?

Make any necessary changes to ensure your anchor text flows well within your article and accurately describes the linked page.

Step 4: Insert the link.

Once you’ve got the anchor text just right, it’s time to insert the link.

Choose the best link that fits the context of your sentence. If you’re linking to an external source, opt for a reliable and relevant webpage, especially those that rank high in Google search results.

Although it may seem like a lot of effort for just a few words, practicing these steps will help you improve your anchor text writing skills over time, eventually, it’ll become easier to craft effective anchor texts without needing to follow a strict process.

Can you over-optimize anchor text?

Yes, it’s possible to overdo it by optimizing your anchor text.

If you use too many exact-match anchor texts, you might appear to be manipulating search results. That’s why it’s a good idea to mix up the types of anchor text you use and keep your language natural.

Don’t try to link excessively throughout your content, either. This can make your article seem spammy.

Instead, focus on creating high-quality content first. Once your content is valuable and meets the needs of your audience, you can then look for opportunities to include links within the text naturally.

Only add links where they fit naturally. You might need to tweak some of your existing content to make room for them.

FAQs

👀How many anchor texts are best in a single article?

There’s no strict rule, but aim for around 3-4 external links per 1,000 words to avoid looking spammy.

🤔How do I create an anchor text?

Identify the page you want to link to and describe its topic concisely in about 5 words, making it clear to the reader what they’ll find.

❓How do you add anchor text to an article?

Highlight the desired words, click the link icon, insert or paste the link, and confirm. You can edit the anchor text anytime.

👉Does anchor text affect SEO?

Yes, it’s a ranking factor for Google. Poorly-written or missing anchor text can impact your search engine ranking.

❌What should you not do with anchor text?

Conclusion 

Once you’ve mastered writing anchor text, you’re ready to use it to boost your SEO efforts.

Anchor text is just a small part of SEO, but it’s important to get it right. Along with anchor text, you should also focus on other aspects like having a catchy title, using keywords effectively, posting consistently, and using relevant images.

Remember, the text around your anchor text matters too. It should provide context and encourage users to click on your links.

But SEO involves more than anchor text. You also need to optimize for features like featured snippets, make sure your content is relevant and easy to use, and show Google that you’re an authority in your field.

If all this sounds overwhelming, you can always hire a professional content-writing company to help. Otherwise, learning how to write good anchor text is a great start to managing your SEO strategy.

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