Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Other names for anchor text include link title, link text, and link label.
The anchor text is usually made up of one or a few clickable words that are usually underlined and a different color from the rest of the text (blue is the most common color used). These are keywords and should describe the referring (target) link accurately.
When you click on this hyperlinked part of a sentence, it takes you to another online destination; it literally anchors two different web pages together.
Anchor text is important for SEO because it helps search engines understand the context of the link and the content of the linked page. Depending on the relevance of the text, this can positively or negatively influence the ranking of a website.
This is also because there is a hidden backlink under an anchor text which is essential for off-page SEO.
This is the text that search engines see when crawling your site. The anchor text is placed between the opening <a href> and closing anchor tag </a>. An Example of an anchor text is:
<a href=”https://example.com”>This is an anchor text</a>
“This is an anchor text” is what readers see in blue and underlined when viewing your webpage.
Also, Google uses the page title of web pages or blog posts as the anchor text on their SERPs. It’s the clickable blue link you find when you search for a keyword.
There are 9 types of anchor texts:
- Generic – This anchor text uses generic words as its link title. It includes common phrases like “click here”, “read more”, or “buy now”. It is mostly used for CTAs and ads
- URL – This link text uses the URL as an anchor. A great example is https://www.mihaelcacic.com/seo-glossary/what-is-structured-data/.
- Domain name – This is when you use your domain name as an anchor text. For example mihaelcacic.com
- Exact match – This link uses specific keywords that the target webpage aims to rank for. Use these with caution because keyword stuffing may set off Google’s spam filter. An Example of this might be “outdoor lighting”. This type of link is very useful for SEO.
- Phrase Match – This link title consists of a phrase (two or more words) that your website wants to rank for. For instance, “outdoor lighting on a budget”
- Partial Match – A link that uses keywords with additional text. This uses a variation of the keyword phrase. Such as: “outdoor lighting on a budget” will be “get cheap outdoor lighting”
- Branded – This consists of using your brand name as the anchor text. For example, I run a writing agency called 21writers. An example of a branded anchor would be: “”21Writers writing agency”.
- Image/No text Anchor – An image can be used as an anchor. It’s important to include a description of your image to help search engines understand what the image is about.
- Blog/Page Title – You can use the page title as a link. Like, “What Is A Backlink?”. Using a Page Title as an anchor text is a natural and straightforward way to refer to a resource.
Search engines like Google use anchor words to understand what the referred page is about so that it can rank them for the right keywords.
Google associates anchor text with the page that the link is on and the page the link points to. As far as Google is concerned, anchors provide better descriptions of a link than the pages can provide for themselves through metadata.
Anchor text also provides context to users. The link label indicates what a user will see on the linked page when it is clicked.
This is why relevancy is crucial. If the content referenced by the anchor is not relevant to the topic of the page or site, website visitors may have a bad user experience. And, as a result, your website will be pushed down by the search engines because the linked content doesn’t add value to the user.
Using relevant anchor texts can increase your visitors’ trust in the content on your site.
You can’t control anchor texts that other sites use to link back to yours, so these best practices will help you use anchor text within your website in the best way
- Make the anchor text clear and distinguishable, so that users know it’s clickable. You can do this by changing the text’s color, underlining, or a combination, of the rest of the content.
- Ensure that the link text corresponds to the content to which you are linking. Do not deceive your readers with irrelevant links.
- Make sure the links are relevant to your content.
- Use links to trustworthy websites. Use a no-follow tag, If you don’t trust a website.
- Write with a natural flow. Do not force links into a sentence. Make sure the links fit well with the text and are easy to read
- Review your links and keep them up-to-date
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Incorporate keyword variations
- Diversify your anchor text profile
- Keep link text succinct
- Keep track of your links and anchors