What is anchor text and is it important for SEO? You have undoubtedly encountered anchor text numerous times while browsing the net. It is the clickable blue text on a page that is also a hyperlink. When you click on it, it transfers you to a relevant page of content. Part of SEO best practice is ensuring that all anchor text is relevant to the content it forms part of. At Dojono, our technical SEO team has extensive experience in using anchor text to boost SEO results.
Types of Anchor Text
There are numerous types of anchor text that you can use when creating. These include:
- Article or blog post title anchor text,
- Company name anchor text (branded anchor text),
- Website URL anchor text (often also called “naked URL” anchor text and appears in the following format:
- Targeted keywords anchor text,
- Partial match keyword anchor text (this link includes a targeted keyword with other text),
- Image anchors,
- Generic anchor text (usually text such as “read more”).
How you use these anchor text types can have an impact on your SEO results. In the past, marketers looking for quick results would use anchor text to over-optimise pages. Nowadays, it’s a lot harder to trick the system in this way. Google has strict rules in place regarding the use of anchor text links. By using them correctly, you can improve on your search engine rankings.
9 Ways You Can Use Anchor Text to Improve Search Engine Results
If you are wondering if anchor text is still important to SEO, the answer is a resounding yes. There are several ways you can optimise your anchor text for better search engine rankings. But, what is anchor text optimisation? There are 9 ways that you can go about anchor text optimisation:
1. Familiarise Yourself With the Rules
Creating content that Google likes is harder than it used to be. Nowadays, Google’s algorithms quickly detect content that’s jam packed with links strategically used for exposure. Google insists on content and the links within it being of value to the reader. If you are including generic links in content that holds no value for the reader, Google is going to detect it and your search engine rankings will start to fall. Google has a list of rules that pertain to anchor text optimisation that can be read in their Link Schemes guidelines. Some marketers try tricking the system and while cheating the system might work for a short while, soon Google will penalise you for your black-hat marketing efforts. For the best SEO results, commit to doing things right and playing by Google’s rules.
2. Include Links Naturally in Content
The anchor text that you include in your content should be as natural as possible. If it seems forced or links appear out of place, the content is not considered “valuable”. Stuffing as many anchor text links into content is also going to be detected by Google’s algorithms, and is therefore a waste of time and effort. When linking anchor text to external sources, make sure that the pages (and the websites they are on) are of a high-quality. Don’t link to low-quality websites as their poor rankings will negatively impact on yours.
3. Don’t Make it Obvious
Google penalises content that appears to have spammy backlinks. When creating content, you shouldn’t use the exact same version of your anchor text several times or in every post. This appears to be strategically manipulative. Being a little less obvious will also make your content come across as more natural, which is something that Google likes. For example, if you are hoping to rank for the keyword “law firm London”, try to make some of your anchor text relevant, but not exactly the same. You could use “lawyers in London” or “professional legal services in London”.
4. Stay on Topic and Ensure All Anchor Text is Strictly Relevant
Google’s main focus is on ensuring the user experience is valuable to them. If a browser ends up on a website that includes non-relevant anchor text that sends them to irrelevant websites/content, Google’s algorithms will soon pick up on it. This can negatively impact on your search engine rankings. Staying on topic and ensuring that each and every link (both internal and external) is strictly relevant will show Google that you are serious about providing a valuable user experience. And that is something that Google rewards with good search engine rankings.
5. Share Your Expertise on Relevant Blog Sites
Guest blogging is a highly effective form of SEO. Each guest article or blog that you post should include anchor text that is exact-match, partial-match or branded. The anchor text should lead the reader back to your website or valuable, relevant content that is shareable. If you embark on a guest blogging campaign, make sure that sites that your content is featured on are relevant. For instance, don’t post guest articles offering legal advice on a known wedding planning website.
6. Get Fussy About Links
Not all anchor text links are going to point to your own website. In some instances, you are going to feature content on your website or blog that points to an external source, in order to give more relevant information. Be careful of what websites you link to while doing this. One problem that our SEO often faces is trying to undo the negative impact of clients linking back to poor quality and spammy websites. Unfortunately, every single website you link back to can affect your overall visibility on Google. If a website that you are linking to behaves in a spammy way or only features poor quality content, it is going to bring your website rankings down too.
7. Avoid Anchor Text Keyword Stuffing – Use the Right Proportions
When creating content and including anchor text, it is important that you don’t overdo it. It can be difficult to determine how many anchor text keywords you should use in a page of content, but there are some general guidelines that you can follow, to be on the safe side. The types of anchor text you use in your content will determine how many you can use. As a general rule of thumb, the proportions of anchor text links in content should be as follows:
- Branded anchor texts (company names) - no more than 50%.
- Website name anchor text - no more than 15%.
- Exact-match and partial-match keyword anchor text – no more than 1 to 5%.
- Generic anchor text (“read more”) – no more than 1 to 5%.
- Page title and blog post title anchor text – no more than 10 to 20%.
8. Avoid Building Anchor Text Links Around Shallow Pages Only
You might find yourself including anchor text that links to your home page, products page, or website landing pages when creating content. This is a problematic way of building links as it appears unnatural and manipulative to Google’s algorithms. When creating content, you need to link to pages that are highly shareable. Users online are most likely to share blog posts, listicles, and guest articles. Create anchors that direct readers to deep-level pages and not just your main website pages.
9. Be Strategic with Anchor Text Placement
Where you place your anchor text won’t specifically impact on your search engine rankings, but can affect how valuable a user finds the content. Keep in mind that the main goal is to provide a valuable user experience. You want your anchor text to be spotted early on, so place the anchors in the first paragraph of content and near images where the eye is naturally drawn when reading content.
Anchor text on a website is more than just a hyperlink. It is a way of showing readers that you can direct them to valuable relevant content. It’s also a way of showing Google that you are putting time and effort into creating a valuable user experience for clients. Use the 9 tips above to optimise your anchor text for better SEO.