The past month has created a difference in the digital marketing industry wherein more and more businesses are realizing the importance of going digital because of its availability amidst the crisis. Us, as SEOs now have the responsibility to expand our knowledge of strategies and techniques that help us win the SEO game.
That being said, link building is one of the foundational strategies that all SEOs must know and do. There are different facets to this strategy, but one is often undervalued or abused that it leads to problems in our SEO. I’m talking about anchor texts – a simple factor that all webmasters and SEOs know. But what is it about anchor texts that make them important to our overall SEO ventures?
What is Anchor Text?
It’s simply the highlighted, clickable text in a hyperlink, usually found inside the body of content of a webpage. You commonly see it as the underlined, blue words such as this one linking to our compilation of the best SEO tools for 2020
Here’s what it looks like in code:
Different Types of Anchor Texts
Anchor texts have different types to them that you must know for you to fully utilize them to help with your SEO
- Branded – This is the anchor text that uses your brand name. So, for us at SEO Hacker, this is what it would look like:
- Exact Match – This includes the target keyword for your page in the anchor text. If your keyword is “link building strategies”, that’s what the anchor text should be.
- Keyword Variations – Unlike exact match anchor texts, you use variations of your keywords as the anchor text. So, if you have a link going to a link building guide page, you might use “link building strategies and techniques” as the anchor text.
- Generic – This includes generic CTAs for anchor texts such as “click here” or “check us out”
- Bare Links – You simply use the URL of the page you’re linking to as the anchor text as well
- No Text – This happens when an image is linking to your page, but there’s no set alt text to serve as the anchor text.
- Alt Text – Unlike the “No text” type, you’ll be using the alt text of the image as the anchor text if the image is linking to a specific page.
Why Anchor Text is Important for SEO
Google and other search engines use the anchor text to understand the context of the linked page. So, through the link I made above regarding the best SEO tools for 2020, you can understand the link as me telling you as the user AND the search engines that the page I linked through will contain information on the best SEO tools for 2020.
It’s that simple yet it’s important as well. Take for example inbound links to your site from other websites. The anchor text helps search engine crawlers understand what your page or site is about and it also signals to them how other websites understand your site as well. Of course, you have limited control over how links to your site are built, most especially if you were not the one who built those links, but what you can control are the internal links on your website.
SEO Best Practices for Anchor Text
Be Concise and Comprehensive
Your anchor text shouldn’t encompass a whole sentence. The best anchor texts are the ones that can fully express what the linked page is all about in just a few words. Additionally, using a whole sentence as your anchor text is also disruptive for the users that see it. Some questions you should remember when creating a concise and comprehensive anchor text:
- How do I express what the linked page is all about?
- How do I summarize it to a few words?
We all know about the Penguin update. They cracked down on websites that used spammy link building tactics, one of which is keyword-stuffed anchor texts. So, it’s important for you as a webmaster or SEO to decide on how you can incorporate keywords into the anchor text without it seeming unnatural and spammy.
My recommendation is to just describe the linked page – plain and simple. If the linked page’s content is properly optimized, you won’t have to worry about stuffing keywords in the anchor texts of the links you build since the keyword is already the topic of the linked page. This make it look more natural and safe. This also applies to internal links since the repeated use of the same anchor text inside a website can also look a bit spammy for Google.
Lastly, make sure your anchor texts are relevant to the linked page. Don’t use an unrelated anchor text for linking since this could possibly affect your SEO. If you’re linking to a page about SEO, don’t use a random anchor text such as “cars for sale”. Even if the page contains a small part about how SEO can help sell cars online, the anchor text is misleading and irrelevant to the whole context at best.
Link relevancy is also a factor considered by search engines nowadays. HOW related is the linked page to the source page and how does the anchor text express that correlation? An extremely relevant link with a great anchor text can improve your SEO by leaps and bounds. Let’s use the example above. Using “cars for sale” as your link’s anchor text is bad, but changing it to “SEO helps sell cars online” is the better way of manipulating the link. But do remember, this will only work if the link you created is relevant to the source page it’s coming from. So, using “SEO helps sell cars online” as an anchor text, the content where the link is located should be talking about how to sell cars online or any other related topics.
Anchor texts seem simple enough, but there are a lot of facets you have to consider to take advantage of its capability to improve your SEO efforts. SEO necessitates constant improvement and innovation – without these, you’ll have a hard time staying on the first page for a long time. Noticing how important small details are is one of the greatest ways for us to come up with innovative ideas to test out. What about you? Do you have experience with the improper or proper optimization of anchor texts? Comment it down below!