Anchor Text

We want the Rankers Paradise blog to cover all aspects of SEO, today we are going to cover everything you need to know about anchor text.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the words or word used in a link, be it an internal link or an external link. An internal link passes the user to another page on the same website. An external link passes the user to another website.

An example of anchor text is as follows. We are going to do an internal link using the anchor text “web 2.0 backlinks”. Here it is: web 2.0 backlinks

HOW IT LOOKS IN THE HTML LINK CODE

HTML Link Anchor Text Example

From an SEO standpoint, the anchor text will be relevant to the target page. The search engine bots use anchor text to understand what the target page is about. Therefore, if you use your target keyword as the anchor text on your backlinks your rankings will improve.

Definition of anchor text

The anchor text is the clickable letters in an HTML hyperlink. These days the clickable text is usually highlighted to stand out in some way so that you can clearly notice that there is a link there. In most cases the clickable text will be a different color to the rest of the text, and in many cases the text will be underlined too.

The anchor text not only tells the website surfer what the target page is about, but also the search engine bots. This is an incredibly important part of SEO.

Anatomy of Anchor Text Link

In the example html code above, “free backlinks” is the anchor text for the link.

Why is anchor text important in SEO?

Google bot uses the words used in the anchor text on external links from one website to another to understand what the target page is about. If you are building backlinks yourself it is important to use your main target keywords as the anchor text to help improve search visibility. This works the same on internal links too. Ensure the anchor text used to link your pages/posts inside your site use the target keywords of the post/page.

For example, this post is about “anchor text”. If I link internally using the words “anchor text” Google bot and other search spiders will clearly understand that this post is about anchor text. If many external websites link to this post using the words “anchor text” as the anchor text then it will rank high in the search engine results pages for the keyword “anchor text”.

Variations of anchor text

There are many different types of anchor text that people will use to link back to your website (external links). If possible try and make sure all internal links use your main target keywords as the anchor text.

Exact Match

An exact match anchor is an anchor text using the keyword of the target page. For example: the target keyword for this post is “anchor text”, therefore the anchor text used in the backlink would be “anchor text”.

Partial Match

This is where the anchor text used uses some of the keyword. For example: If the keyword is “SEO strategies for small business” then a partial match anchor would be “go here to read more about SEO strategies”. As you can see, some of the pages target keyword is used, but not all of it.

Brand

The anchor text would use the brand name to link to the website. For example: “Rankers Paradise” would be used if another website linked to this one.

URL

This is where the target page URL is used as the anchor text. For example: “rankersparadise.com” would be the URL anchor for this website. Of course there are other variations on this, where you would include the “www” or the full destination URL like “https://rankersparadise.com/web-2-0-link-wheel/”.

General

This is where random general words are used for the anchor text. For example: “see this website” or “go here” would be used.

Images and NoText

Google or another other search bot will use an image alt tag as the anchor text. If the image does not have an alt tag then the anchor text used will be viewed as a NoText link.

Use your anchor text knowledge for better SEO

You may have come across the term “anchor text ratio”. This comes up over and over again when you start looking into link building.

The anchor text ratio refers to the amount of the times you use the different variations of anchors on your backlinks.

A good backlink profile will use all the different types of anchors. We did a study here at Rankers Paradise looking to find the perfect anchor text ratio and this what we discovered:

  • Brand
  • Title Tag
  • Full Open URL
  • Exact Match
  • website.com
  • Long Tail Random
  • Part Match
  • General/Generic
  • Long Tail Exact
  • LSI Keyword Synonyms
  • No Text
  • Authors Name
  • www.website.com

We found out that the most used anchor text on backlinks for the websites used in our study came from brand names. In fact, we discovered that exact match anchors were only used on 8% of all backlinks. Of course you can conduct your own research for the niche that you are working in. Take a look at the top ranking sites for your target keywords and use Ahrefs or a free tool like https://backlinkshitter.com/ to analyze the anchor text used.

Keywords and anchor text

On your internal links it makes good sense to use your target keywords on all anchor text. This makes it as clear as possible to the search bots what the page should be showing in the search engine results for.

If your target search term is “nofollow and dofollow links” then make sure your internal links use that as the anchor text. What does this mean? Well, if some types into Google search engine that exact keyword it is more likely that your website will show in the results pages for it. That’s how important it is to use your keywords in your anchor text, not just for internal links, but external links too.

Remember that your website will earn backlinks and you will not be able to control the anchor text that they use to link to your website. Be sure to factor this into your link building campaign, always take a look at the current anchor text profile before you start.

When linking to your own or another website it is important to:

  • Ensure the anchor text is relevant to the target page
  • Ensure the words used will inspire the user to click the link

Anchor text relationships

Google and the other major search engines have evolved to understand more values to determine search engine placements. The most important aspect in ranking a website is the backlinks that point to it and their quality. A quality backlink will come from a related website and will be contextual.

For example, if I link from the Rankers Paradise SEO blog to another SEO website from within a blog post it would be determined as a quality relevant link. If I linked from this website to an unrelated site, like a zoo, it would not be a great backlink for the zoo to get. A good backlink for a zoo would be from an animal blog.

To make sure a backlink is totally relevant it will be from:

  • A website in the same niche
  • A website that has general posts but has linked to your site from a niche related post
  • The anchor text is relevant to the content on the page that surrounds it and to the target URL

Backlinks that come from within relevant content generally have a bigger impact on search engine keyword rankings. For instance, if Rankers Paradise gets a backlink from another SEO site it will have a bigger impact on rankings than a link from a website that sells t-shirts.

The search engine spiders crawl sites to find new content to index, the spiders follow these links and use the anchor text as one part of their system to determine what the target page is about and what keywords it should appear for in their engine results pages. To make sure you have the best possible chance of getting your website to show in the search engine results pages it is good practice to keep your anchor text as relevant as possible to the target page.

Anchor text and on-page SEO

With all the latest algorithm updates it is important now more than ever to check what the top ranking sites are doing.

What anchor text ratio do they have on their backlinks?

What is their on-page SEO like?

Go ahead and take a look at your competitors content. Take note how often the target keyword is used within the content and where it is placed.

If you are in any doubt use a mix of anchor texts, too many of one kind may trigger a signal to the search bots that the links were not earned naturally.

If you are working in SEO you will be aware that link building to influence the search engine results pages is a big no no. Google guidelines make it clear that you must earn links, so making things appear as natural as possible is a big must to achieve top keyword rankings.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the most common questions asked when researching anchor text.

How do you use anchor text for SEO gains?

The easiest way is to take a look at what your competitors are doing. The top sites are ranking there for a reason, take a look at their anchor text profile and compare it to yours. Does it look different? Now you know how to optimize your website backlink profiles using anchor text. Definitely use exact match anchors, but be sure to mix it up to make it look as natural as possible.

What is rich anchor text?

A rich anchor text profile will be heavily using exact match anchors, or many anchor texts filled with target keywords. If you use too many rich anchors (exact match anchors) this will be seen that you are trying to game the system and your website could well be penalized.

Is anchor text really important?

The anchor text used on backlinks has a massive impact on search engine rankings, it is a very important part of SEO and rankings. You will find that using your target keywords as anchor text will help improve search engine rankings.

Learn more

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