How To

How to Optimize Anchor Text for SEO

Among the endless number of marketing tips and tricks, optimizing anchor text may be one of the most important. Using internal and external links in your content can promote your brand, build trust and create more authority. However, the words you attach links to — called anchor text — matter as much as the links themselves.

Below, we’ll explore what anchor text is and the best ways to optimize anchor text for search engines. Then, you can start optimizing your links for search engine optimization (SEO) to help your website rank higher! 

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the words that house the hyperlink to another page. Most anchor text is a different color than the rest of the text on the page, making it easy to decipher. 

There are several kinds of anchor text, including the following:

  • Generic: Including generic anchor text is when you attach a link to a generic phrase, such as “contact us” or “click here.”
  • Branded: This is a branded term used as anchor text.
  • Exact match: This anchor text matches the link exactly. If you’re linking to a page about digital marketing services, the exact-match anchor text would be “digital marketing services.”
  • Partial match: A partial-match anchor text phrase includes information about the page you’re linking to but with some variation. For example, the partial-match version of “digital marketing services” would be “benefits of digital marketing services.”

There are different reasons to use different types of anchor text, and each one has a place on your site. The key is using the right anchor text along with SEO practices. 

Why does anchor text matter?

While anchor text may not seem as important as using the right keywords or building a well-designed website, it’s a crucial element of online marketing. 

Google has refined its algorithm to spot under- and over-optimized anchor text. To rank as high as you want on search engine results pages (SERPs), you must consider the anchor text you use across your website.

Aside from SEO, anchor text matters to your audience. If you use irrelevant or misleading anchor text, you’re pointing your audience in the wrong direction, which impacts your brand’s trustworthiness. Using proper anchor text tells users what to expect with every click.

Best practices for optimizing anchor text for SEO

Fortunately, anchor text optimization is relatively easy to understand and implement. The best anchor text will fit the following characteristics.

1. Use relevant phrases

Anchor text must be relevant. If you link to a page about the various types of apples but use “benefits of eating pears” as the anchor text, both Google and your audience will be confused. To rank well and be authoritative, your anchor text should reflect the link’s content in some way.

On a similar note, think about the kinds of external links you’re including in your content. Do not link to spammy websites that promote false information or hateful content. These “toxic” websites will also have a negative impact on how you perform on SERPs and how your readers view your credibility.

Place links on the most relevant phrases to urge readers to click without “tricking” them into clicking.

2. Be succinct

The most impactful anchor text will be short. A long sentence isn’t effective as anchor text because it negatively impacts readability. Remember that anchor text will be a different color than the rest of your text, so a wall of blue, underlined text would be an eyesore.

Keep your anchor text to only a few words maximum to avoid making your content appear hard to read. Think of it as a chance to use your creativity to convince your reader to click on the link in only a few words.

3. Write naturally

Often, you’ll see recommendations to use keywords in your anchor text. While doing so is generally best practice, you also want to prioritize natural anchor text. That’s because using the same anchor text over and over throughout your website will appear spammy to Google.

In general, incorporating anchor text naturally is ideal. If you can weave in keywords, you’ll have an effective anchor text phrase, but your first job is to ensure it reads naturally. Only placing links on keywords will come across negatively to Google.

4. Be descriptive

While ensuring your anchor text is succinct, it’s also important to be clear. If you use vague anchor text, readers will be confused about why you’re telling them to visit a link. There’s still a place for generic anchor text, like in your call to action, but most of your anchor text must be descriptive.

Rather than end a section with a link on anchor text that reads “learn more,” you should place the link on a few words of relevant text within that section. An example would be a statistic or fact you sourced from the link. This way, your audience doesn’t have to take the time to work out what the link means.

Ultimately, the ideal anchor text will be relevant to the link, short yet descriptive, and not overly optimized with keywords.

Rank your website and start adding anchor text with GradeMyWebsite

If you want to evaluate your rankings, GradeMyWebsite can help. Our free website checker lets you see where your website ranks, along with key metrics like: 

  • Traffic
  • Backlinks
  • Keyword rankings
  • Server information

Enter your URL here to get started on your evaluation, then try out the keyword strategies listed above!

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