SEO basics: What is Anchor Text and how it Affects your Positions

With the evolution of search engines and their algorithms, we’ve seen a change in what counts as “good content,” and how people find that good content. How can you tell if your SEO is doing its job? Well, anchor text has been one major indicator to watch out for.

Anchor text is the text that appears at the end of a hyperlink. This text helps search engines determine what content is linked to your website. If you want to rank for specific keywords, use anchor text that has those words in it.

Most marketers are aware that link building is one of the many important components in improving your search engine rankings in Google’s view. 

The terms you choose to connect out and in to your site, on the other hand, matter a lot! Anchor text is what such phrases are called, and Google’s algorithms pay more attention to them than most newcomers (and even some seasoned marketers) think.

Keyword stuffing anchors used to be a way to scam the Google system back in the day. Google has taken note and is now closely monitoring not just the phrases you choose to link to, but also how frequently you use them and the context in which you use them. It’s crucial to keep your anchor text clear and simple, but don’t over-optimize to the point that it seems spammy.

Yes, the technical specifics are difficult to grasp, but the fundamentals are simple enough for everyone to grasp and use.

You can fine-tune your SEO and see your ranks improve by optimizing—but not over-optimizing—your anchor phrases and understanding best practices. Google may punish your site if you “break the rules” by focusing too much on keywords and not enough on the actual content. (This isn’t good.)

What is Anchor Text and Why Does It Matter?

SEO is a complicated topic with hundreds of little elements. One of these features is anchor text.

An anchor is a piece of text that you click to travel from one online destination to another; it physically connects two separate web pages. 

Anchors may begin downloads and connect to documents like as PDFs or Google Drive files, in addition to linking to websites. That’s why you should only click anchors from sites you know and trust, and then linger over the link with your mouse – but don’t click! – to make sure the URL appears authentic. 

Here’s an illustration:

Webinomy is a comprehensive toolkit for digital marketers.

The term “Webinomy” is the anchor text in the statement. We may be certain that the anchor leads to the Webinomy site rather than an unknown harmful file by lingering our cursor over it. 

The anchor text you pick is significant for many reasons:

  1. Before your readers click the link, it informs them what to anticipate. Because anchor words represent THE promise of what’s on the other side of the link, they need to be very relevant.

  2. It informs Google’s algorithms about the nature of your content. Google’s algorithms look at your anchor selections to make sure you’re not spamming them and to figure out what you’re linking to in your material. 

Understanding HTML Anchor Text

Anchor text HTML is really easy – it’s the coding we all learned in middle school while we were perfecting our Angelfire sites and Myspace accounts.

Here’s how it appears in the WordPress text editor on the backend:

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You can see how the link changes to just show the anchor text on the frontend when you go to the visual editor:

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Backlinks and Anchor Text

Because this topic is about anchors in the context of search engine optimization, it’s important to differentiate between nofollow and follow links at this point.

The only difference on the HTML side is that a nofollow link has an additional piece of code. A nofollow link might look like this in the example above:

<a href=”https://www.semrush.com/analytics/backlinks/”rel=”nofollow”> Backlink Analytics Tool </a>

However, in the view of Google’s algorithms, that little bit of code makes a huge impact.

  • Nofollow: Tells Google that the backlink should not be considered for calculating the SEO value of each page. Since March 1, 2020, Google has begun to use nofollow links as a factor in evaluating a website’s SERP rank.

  • Sponsored: Informs Google that this link was received as a result of a deal you made with a publication.

  • UGC (User Generated Material): Informs Google that the link (together with the rest of the content) was added by people.

  • Follow: Tells Google to credit the website you’re linked to and to consider it when analyzing your links.

The concept of no-follow links is actually more of a backlinks debate, but it’s worth thinking about when choosing your anchor words (we’ll go over more specifics in the best practices section below). 

Get a better understanding of your competitors and customers.

Using the Domain Overview Tool

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How to Use Webinomy to Find Anchor Text

Webinomy can help you figure out what anchor texts are being used on your website in a variety of ways. 

First, you’ll see anchors being utilized on your website (or any individual pages) if you use the Domain Overview Tool. Let’s have a look at the product page for the Playstation 5 on their website using the tool: 

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Backlink Analytics is used to generate the top anchors in Domain Overview. If you click “View details,” you’ll be sent to this page: 

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Backlink Audit may also be used to build up a system for monitoring your backlink portfolio. Backlink Audit keeps track of your backlinks, and one of the ways it does so is by looking at the anchor text. So, if you want to see whether you have any potentially harmful anchor text, open your Backlink Audit campaign and navigate to the Audit page. Select “money” and “compound” from the anchors drop-down filter. 

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Let’s take a closer look at anchor text now that we’ve covered how to discover it using Webinomy. 

The Ten Different Types of Anchor Text and How They Work

Of course, “easy” isn’t a word that comes to mind when discussing search engine optimization and Google algorithms. There are at least 10 distinct forms of anchor text, according to Google. 

The following is a list of Webinomy anchors:

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Anchor Words That Aren’t Specific

There is no text addressing a term in a generic anchor. Instead, the reader must depend on the context cues in the surrounding material to figure out what’s on the other side of the link.

Although generic anchor text may seem spammy, it is really very effective. Why? It frequently contains actionable language, a clear call to action, or draws immediate attention to the link.

Examples of generic anchors include:

  • To learn more, go to this page.

  • This blog

  • Read more

  • This may be downloaded.

  • Over here

  • Author information

  • More info

  • This page

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Personalized Anchor Text

Branded anchors include your company’s name and are excellent for increasing brand identification. They’re also a solid bet for not being tagged as spam. 

If your company has public individuals affiliated with it, such as a CEO, journalist, influencer, or well-known author, Google may classify any links including their name as branded anchors.

But be careful not to over-optimize to the point of keyword cramming. It’s a tight line to walk, but concentrating on the brand name and avoiding extra keywords, places, and so on is the way to go.

Examples of branded anchors include:

  • BillHartzer.com is a website run by Bill Hartzer.

  • According to the news agency Reuters,

  • Webinomy

  • According to Julia McCoy of The Write Blog,

  • According to CT News Junkie,

Link Text That Is Exact Match

The exact term that the website you’re connecting to is targeting is included in exact match anchor text. We’d receive a perfect match link text if someone linked to this blog post and used the phrase “anchor text” as the hyperlink text since that’s the keyword we’re after.

It’s recommended not to over-optimize and keyword things, since this might lead to a poor user experience, similar as the example above.

The following are some examples of exact match anchors:

(All of the preceding examples presume that the link beneath the text is aimed to the precise phrase.)

Anchor Words with Partial Match

Your keyword phrase is combined with additional generic, random, or stop words in partial match anchors.

Examples of partial-match anchors:

  • If you’re linking to a website on “SEO tools,” here are some useful SEO tools.

  • Here you may get running shoes by searching for “running shoes.”

  • “Keyword strategy” is the focus of this informative keyword strategy tutorial.

Anchor Text that is Related

A page with a version of the target term is linked to by related anchor words. Related anchors are similar to partial match keywords, except they don’t contain the exact keyword phrase. 

To assist Google’s crawlers better grasp what your links are about, you’ll want to create some relevant anchors. Furthermore, they diversify your link profile, making Google less likely to penalize you for spammy links.

Examples of related anchors:

  • Yemen’s water shortage If you’re linking to a website on the “Yemen cholera pandemic,” use the phrase “Yemen cholera epidemic.”

  • Adidas Yeezy Boost is aimed at those who want to “purchase running sneakers.”

  • “Facebook content strategy” is the objective of social media marketing.

Anchor Text at Random

Random and generic anchors are grouped together by certain link analysis algorithms. Random anchor words, on the other hand, might contain phrases that aren’t nearly as general as “click here,” but aren’t necessarily connected to the target term.

Examples of random anchors:

  • An in-depth report

  • New style

  • The ground rules have shifted.

It’s difficult to come up with instances for random anchors since they might be anything and are subjective based on the target keywords for each page.

Text for a Naked Link

Naked anchor text is just a URL put from the browser bar into the content — yet it is clickable! If someone adds references at the bottom of their piece and lists your link as a source, you could notice connections like this. 

Naked anchors aren’t beautiful, but Google loves them since they’re less likely to signal that someone is attempting to rank for a term by using spamming tactics.

Examples of Naked Anchors:

Anchor Words with a Brand + a Keyword

Your brand name (or branded phrase) and a keyword are two examples. They can assist you optimize for the term without seeming spammy to Google while also helping you establish brand awareness.

Examples of anchors with a brand and a keyword:

Anchor Links for Images

Perhaps you’ve heard that include alt text in your picture caption is crucial? Your alt text for photos, on the other hand, is what Google interprets as the image’s anchor (when said image is part of a link).

Image anchors are beneficial to your anchor text profile since they diversify it. They may also help you enhance your Google image SEO. For the picture link, you’ll need to put some descriptive alt text.

Perhaps most significantly, alt text serves as an image description for folks who use screen readers, so make sure your alt text is succinct and appropriately explains the picture.

Examples of image anchors:

  • Apartment cat trees at a reasonable price

  • Link-building strategy advice from Webinomy

  • Travel accessories from LifeStraw

Anchors with a long tail

Partial anchors are similar to long-tail anchors, except they include more words in them. These allow you to combine your term with other keywords that are relevant, descriptive, general, or branded. 

Long-tail anchors may sometimes include a complete subheading or header for a link. Occasionally, authors will link to a whole phrase. While you don’t want to employ long-tail anchors all of the time, they may help with SEO. Furthermore, you have no influence over what other websites do.

Examples of Long-Tail Anchors:

  • On the Webinomy blog, you can learn more about keyword research.

  • Why is duplicating content detrimental to SEO?

  • Do you remember when Amazon was just a secondhand bookstore? 

What Effect Does Anchor Text Have on SEO?

Anchor words have always been utilized by Google to figure out what web pages are about so that it can rank them for the correct keywords. An whole part of the original Google document is dedicated to anchor text. Here’s an example:

In our search engine, the text of links is processed differently. The text of a link is usually associated with the page that the link is on in most search engines. In addition, we connect it to the page that the link leads to.

Anchors, according to Google, give more objective descriptions of a link than the sites themselves can provide through metadata. It everything makes sense. Backlink anchors (should) originate from unbiased third-party sources.

Anchors, according to Google, also assist the algorithm in crawling portions of material that don’t or can’t provide a copy for indexing on the internet. For example:

  • Images

  • Programs

  • Apps

  • Databases

  • Documents

Anchor text used to have a significant impact in search engine results – maybe a little too much. 

An Anchor Text History Lesson from SEO

Prior to 2012, advertisers manipulated the Google algorithm by using a large number of exact match anchor keywords. To rank better in the SERPs, individuals tried putting many keywords in a single link or even burying keywords in white text at the bottom of web pages in the early days — it was the Wild West out there!

You may rank first for keywords if you use keyword-rich anchors to refer to your site – even if your site has nothing to do with the anchor text subject.

Google assumed that if numerous sites used the same anchor text to connect to the same page, it must be relevant, hence it should rank well!

In April of 2012, Google eventually caught on to the misleading tactic and issued the first of its Penguin upgrades, which targeted “black hat SEO” such as spamming anchor text. According to Google, the upgrade impacted 3.1 percent of websites.

While it wasn’t a major change, it did demonstrate to SEOs that Google was considering apparently minor things like anchor text.

Is it possible to have too many exact match anchors?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, just as there isn’t one for most other SEO principles. It’s critical to employ user-friendly anchor language so that the user understands what kind of website they’ll be sent to.

Webmasters and marketers, on the other hand, don’t always have control over backlinks; if another site connects to yours, you may not be able to do anything about it.

In summary, Google still considers anchor words and utilizes them to assess the content of your website, but if you attempt to game the system using anchors, you can expect Google to notice. 

Google, on the other hand, is always improving and can now recognize that many domain names include keywords. Exact match domains are what they’re called (EMDs). 

Keep in mind that Google is constantly deploying new algorithms and updating current ones. You could wake up one day to find that Google has modified its algorithm to recognize the difference between branded and exact match anchor text for EMDs. You never know what may happen.

Always keep your anchors relevant, minimize over-optimization, and prioritize providing a nice experience for Google users.

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How to Make Anchor Text More SEO-Friendly

When we speak about anchor text optimization, we’re talking about Google’s best practices, not how to manipulate the system to your advantage. 

Google’s BERT upgrade, which employs natural language processing to interpret and rank sites, was published in October of this year. What does this imply in terms of anchors? We can’t be certain since Google’s algorithms are as well guarded as nuclear codes.

However, it’s possible that Google is now paying more attention to context cues around anchors. Google’s crawlers may examine and analyze the surrounding words and phrases more than they have in the past, rather than just the anchor text.

It also implies that Google places a greater emphasis on the user experience and responding search queries than on anything else. That is precisely what marketers should do.

That’s why “optimizing” anchors entails making everyone’s experience better.

Linking to or earning links from toxic websites is not a good idea.

Google is interested in the websites you connect to. Google may penalize you if you link to a site that publishes inaccurate information, encourages hatred, or participates in spammy behavior. Even if a site’s intentions are noble, the link might nevertheless harm your score. 

The idea is known as the co-citation principle. It’s a good idea to exclude hate-promoting websites from the calculation, examine a site’s Alexa rating, and only connect to sites with a score of 100k or less.

Google now recognizes that you may need to link to “poor” sites as a reference from time to time. Perhaps they are the sole source of knowledge, or you need to disprove it. In such instance, a nofollow link might be used to notify Google, “I don’t recommend this site, and I don’t want it to hurt my SEO.”

Make that the anchor words are appropriate.

The importance of relevance cannot be overstated. While a large number of over-optimized exact match anchors might sound spammy, you also want your anchors to be relevant to the subject on the other side of the link.

Remember that Google utilizes anchors to figure out what web pages are about and how significant they are, so it can rank them correctly in keyword searches. You’ll want to use anchors that make sense for the link and will assist your readers have a great experience.

If you start using odd terms for anchors solely for the purpose of variety, you can wind up with clickbait, which will annoy your readers.

Wisely distribute various types of anchor text

When it comes to anchor text, randomness is a good thing. Generally, you should aim for:

  • Branded anchors account about 30% to 40% of all anchors.

  • Anchors with a partial match of 30% to 40%

  • Generic, related, naked, random, precise match, and other anchors account for 20% to 40% of the total.

Nothing is fixed in stone here; have a look at some of the most popular websites in your field. Look at their outgoing and arriving anchors to get a sense of what they’re like.

Pay Attention to the Text Around You

The latest BERT update from Google revealed that the search engine is changing its approach to emphasize genuine human language and context.

You don’t only glance at the anchor text while reading anything online to determine whether or not to click the link. You read the lines and paragraphs around the hyperlink to figure out what’s on the other side, right?

We may presume Google is doing the same thing. The majority of marketers do not use a whole phrase as their anchor. However, it’s worth noting that the Google bots will examine all of the words in the statement as well as our anchor text. 

On that topic, even if you’re connecting to distinct sites each time, you may want to avoid utilizing the same anchor words across a body of content. Google may still punish you for this over-optimization.

Image ALT tags are important for a variety of reasons. They:

Image ALT tags should be detailed and sound like a natural statement. Keyword stuffing in ALT tags used to be standard practice, but Google rapidly caught on, so keep your keywords to a minimal here. 

Select one primary term and use it to create a descriptive description about the picture. 

Continue Guest Blogging

Guest blogging as an anchor and link-building tactic has been dismissed by several marketers. People were keyword stuffing anchors and hyperlinks in their guest blogging biographies, as is customary. 

While you should not do so, you CAN enhance your anchors and general SEO by guest writing on highly relevant and reputable websites. 

Limit yourself to sites that are authoritative and relevant to your field. If you post on content farms, Google will undoubtedly notice since it has already been labeled for spam a dozen times.

Last Thoughts

Anchor text is crucial to the SEO health of your website. While anchor text is one of several Google ranking variables, it also informs your users about further resources and what’s on the other side of your links. 

Anchors cannot be overlooked while planning a link-building strategy. 

As a marketer, it is your responsibility to pay close attention to the sorts of anchor text you use, the phrases you pick, and even the surrounding terms. Diversity and moderation are important in SEO, as they are in most things. Don’t clutter your anchor tags with keywords, and only link to sites that are very relevant and credible.

Get a better understanding of your competitors and customers.

Using the Domain Overview Tool

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The “what is an anchor text in reading” is a question that has been asked before. Anchor texts are words or phrases that point to your website. These anchor texts help your website rank higher in search engines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does anchor text affect SEO?

A: Anchor text is the text that appears next to your link. It can boost or decrease your SEO depending on what you write for it.

What is anchor text and why is it important?

A: The anchor text is the title of a website or an advertisement. An ad with a long and relevant anchor text would typically be more noticeable than one without, and the value in that increase can vary depending on how often people search for specific words/phrases related to your product or service.

What is anchor text and why is it important for SEO standpoint?

A: Anchor text is the small piece of text that accompanies each link on your website. This can be an important feature for SEO since its what users see when they click through to a site, and Google prefers using anchor text whenever possible in their search results.

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