Anchor text is the visible and clickable text of a link that leads to another page, either inside or outside of your blog.
The power of SEO links is enormous. With them, Google identifies which sites are most relevant to users’ searches, to better position them in search results.
The logic is this: If a page gets many referrals from other authoritative sites in your niche, it means that it is relevant within your market. This is why link building has gained so much importance for optimizing a website.
Within this logic, there is an important factor that the searcher also evaluates, in addition to the quantity and quality of links to a page: the anchor text of these links.
So if you are committed to SEO work for your site, you need to know the power of this factor. But you also need to know the precautions you need when using it so as not to be penalized by Google.
In this post, we’ll unveil the anchor text, understand its importance, and see the best tips for using it correctly. Come on?
What is an anchor text?
Anchor text is the visible and clickable text of a link that leads to another page. For example, in the phrase “investing in SEO is important,” the word “SEO” is the anchor text of the link.
In terms of HTML, you will see code like this:
<a href=” https://www.bloggercage.com/what-is-seo/ “> SEO </a>
Throughout a text on the web, it is common to direct the user to other pages that add more information. In such cases, anchor texts prevent reading from being truncated with these references, as links are naturally inserted in the context of a sentence.
So the anchor text accurately describes the landing page content and contextualizes both the user and the search engine about what they will find there.
Why anchor text is important in SEO?
Anchor text is one of the key factors Google evaluates to identify what the page that received the link is about and index it to that subject.
In the example above, the page is receiving a link with the anchor text “SEO”. Thus, the search engine understands that your content talks about SEO.
Let’s say other sites also link to this page, but using other terms in the anchor text, such as “site optimization” or “search engine optimization.”
They also help Google understand the subject matter because Google can understand the semantics of the words, and in this case, they all refer to the same subject.
So if multiple sites use “SEO” or other related terms like anchor text, Google crawls that page for these keywords and it appears for user searches linked to those terms.
This logic applies to both externally received backlinks and internally created links, as these two strategies help position a page.
Of course, there are many other factors that influence indexing and ranking, but the anchor text is an important element to consider.
When Google began to consider anchor text as a ranking factor, it was very easy to position websites for a particular keyword.
Just create bulk links internally and externally, using exactly the desired term in the anchor text, so you would be well-positioned in the search.
However, this generated a very bad user experience, and Google had to revise its criteria regarding this factor.
So the 2012 Penguin update transformed the link building landscape. Sites that built links in artificial and poor quality were penalized.
After this update, the algorithm began profiling links created for a page to track manipulation attempts.
Today, if there are too many exact anchor text links (ie all with the same keyword you want to rank for), that could be a sign of spam.
The idea is that sites are referenced naturally, because of their content, not through black hat practices.
And if you get links naturally, it’s also natural that the terms of the anchor text vary. Therefore, you need to understand how to use keywords, avoiding over-repetition, so as not to be penalized by Google.
Let’s follow the post so you can better understand how to use them!
Types of Anchor Text
Not to always use the same keyword in the anchor text, it is interesting that you explore different variations. This not only prevents the algorithm from interpreting this as spam but also gives Google more insight into your page.
There are several types of anchor text that can be used. Check out:
Ex .: Learn all about SEO
It’s the exact use of the keyword you want to rank for, which tells Google exactly what your landing page is about. In the example above, we want to position it for the term SEO, so it – and only it – is being used in the anchor text.
The only caveat is when the exact term is overused. When a page receives too many exact match links, this can spark a search alert on a possible manipulation attempt.
Ex. Learn all about SEO techniques
To avoid single-use of the exact match, you can use partial. In this case, the anchor text includes the keyword along with other terms that also tell the subject of the page to Google. This makes linking more natural.
Ex: Learn All About Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques
This is also a partial match type. The difference is that the anchor text gets longer with the use of more terms.
Thus, the landing page gains strength in positioning for more specific searches.
Imagine someone searches on Google for the terms in the example above. They are much more specific than just “SEO” and therefore less crowded as well.
Just don’t overdo it – think of words that people would actually use to search the search engine.
Ex. Learn all about website optimization
Another way to escape the exact match is to use synonyms for the keyword.
Thus, the anchor text adds semantic value and helps the searcher to be more precise about the subject of the page.
This is especially useful when anchor text uses ambiguous terms. For example, the word “memory” may refer to different themes. But if the intention is to talk about computers, using the synonym “RAM” helps Google understand its semantic field.
Ex .: Learn all about SEO: click here
Expressions like “click here”, “learn more”, “see more” etc. are classified as generic anchor texts. After all, they can be used for any kind of link.
The problem is that these terms do not add any semantic value to the anchor text and should, therefore, be avoided.
Imagine, for example, someone typing “click here” on Google. Surely that page linked in the example would not appear in the results.
Eg Learn All About SEO in Content Marketing
It is the use of the brand name (or website or blog) as anchor text. This type is widely used in natural external references, so it is hardly considered spam.
However, it does not offer much information to Google about the content theme.
Brand with keyword
Eg Learn All About SEO in Content Marketing
The use of the brand, blog or website in the anchor text, next to the keyword, is more relevant information for the search engine and helps to position the brand as a reference for that term.
Eg: Learn all about SEO at www.marketingdeconteudo.com/o-que-e-seo/
This type of anchor text uses the landing page URL itself. If you use this option, make sure you use a friendly URL that is easily understandable by Google.
Links need not only be created in the text; Images can also reference other pages.
In this case, Google reads the “alt” tag as an anchor text. That’s why we stress the importance of filling in this tag to optimize your images.
Tips for Optimizing Anchor Text
Now that you know what anchor text types are, let’s look at some tips for optimizing their use in favor of positioning your pages in Google results.
Use the different types
The most obvious is to use exact match to objectively show Google what your keyword is.
However, as we said, this practice can be interpreted as spam when overused. So use the different variations we mentioned earlier.
For each page, you can create a list of anchor texts, with synonyms, related words, and various other combination possibilities. Thus, the terms vary and convey naturalness to the seeker.
Always think of the user
SEO professionals know the importance of anchor text for ranking.
But some are so focused on this optimization for search engine robots that they end up harming the user experience with artificial keyword use.
There is one little rule that goes for every SEO strategy: think of the user first. If he has a good reading experience, Google will recognize.
So naturally use anchor texts, making reading enjoyable and exploring the different types we mentioned earlier.
Use in relevant contexts
The more relevant the page content to the anchor text, the better its placement.
For example, if your term is “SEO tips”, the anchor text will have more force for Google in an SEO post than in the footer of any website.
The logic is simple: If SEO specialized text links to your site, it means that you are a reference in that subject. So ideally, the anchor text should be as close as possible to the page context.
This is especially true for your link building strategy and guest posts (as we’ll see later). You should focus on getting backlinks from relevant sites in your niche, not asking for quotes on random pages. Quantity counts, but quality counts much more.
Pay attention to guest posts
You will not always have control over incoming backlinks. One of the cases in which we know which site and how the link will be created is the guest post – in which case you are invited to write on another blog as an expert.
Make sure you have mastery over this post and create a smart link to your blog.
If you have good relationships, your pages can be referenced – with good anchor text – by authority websites in your niche, for whom Google gives great value.
However, as link building practices are always in the searcher’s eye, it is recommended not to use exact match in guest posts, as it may indicate an artificial link. When in doubt, avoid distrusting your site.
Enjoy internal links
The links between internal pages of your website also have the strength to rank higher and improve user navigation.
So also use this feature intelligently, using the most authoritative pages to convey relevance to others with less visibility.
Enjoy that this is a type of link over which you have complete control. Show Google with the anchor text the subject of the pages you want to rank and to which terms it should index them. And again, don’t abuse the exact match.
Monitor your anchor texts
As we said, most of the outbound links you receive are not under your control – after all, if you have good content, referrals come naturally.
So you need to monitor the incoming backlinks to know which anchor texts are being used.
A basic Excel spreadsheet already helps you manage terms and avoid over-repetition. Tools like SEMrush, Monitor Backlinks, and Ahrefs report on the anchor texts used for a given page and help track them.
Thus, you check if there are links from untrusted sites or the possibility of being considered as spam.
If you feel that anchor text is hurting your pages, try contacting your site administrator and requesting a change to a better term. A good neighbourhood policy is essential for these times.
Anchor text is an important element of your SEO strategy. The problem is that often the focus of creation goes so much on the content, the titles, the images, that it is in the background.
And, as we have seen, some oversights can cost Google a penalty. Therefore, you need to know the best practices and the possibilities of use and remember to apply them.
In short, keep in mind: Choose keywords relevant to your landing page and avoid exclusive use of the exact match.
Anchor text is just one component of the algorithm. Check out Google’s many other ranking factors to better understand how it works!