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Anchor Text in SEO

How to Optimize Your Anchor Text Strategy For SEO

Anchor text is a key component of backlink and internal links. In SEO, the main intention of backlink building is to gain higher rankings on Google search. So, the anchor text in SEO helps in attracting and encouraging the users and people to click on a backlink.

Basically the anchor text is the words and phrases that are hyperlinked to a specific URL.

If the anchor text is topically relevant to the web page, It passes more ranking juice for the backlink.

It is essential to effectively develop an anchor text strategy for your backlinks.

You must not make your anchor text too much over keyword optimized. Adding the exact keyword as the anchor text can hurt the overall SEO performance. At the same time, the anchor text must not be too spammy.

The main objective behind adding anchor text to a link is to help people find more resourceful information by reading valuable content. So, your job is to utilize anchor texts for guiding people to gain more relevant information. This could also enhance the overall user experience of your website.

You should not try to please google by inserting exact keywords in the anchor and sales intent words like “Buy” in your anchor text.

Google Penguin was an algorithm update that aimed to take down all those websites which used spammy anchor texts to gain rankings.

See, always remember that Google is for people and users. They give prominence to those things which add value and help users. You might be aiming to get rankings for the web page but Google is not bothered about you!.

What Google cares about is the people. And when people start to find your anchor text very helpful to obtain more information by clicking on links, It sends a positive signal to the Googles algorithm.

Now with this concept in our mind lets try to understand how we could optimize the anchor text effectively so that in the long run it subsequently leads to higher rankings to the web page.

A combination of diversity and specificity must be strategically applied while creating the best anchor for the backlinks and internal links.

Diversity is important is because you just can’t repeat the same anchor text to all backlinks on the web page.

For example, If the brand name is “digital alpha”, then that brand cannot just have digital alpha as the anchor text to all of their backlinks.

And if suppose a brand wants to rank for the keyword “start a blog”, then they cannot just add the same text “start a blog” to all of their 1k backlinks.

Next, I’m coming to the specificity part. For example, you got a great blog post around “facebook remarketing”. Then it will be much better if your anchor text looks something like “best step by step facebook remarketing guide”. So, the user will understand that the link will redirect to an informative facebook remarketing article. Such type of anchor text will add immense value to readers.

In this case, an unspecific anchor text like “facebook ads guide” for the link pointing to facebook remarketing article might appear to be too broad and unspecific for the users. So, Google might not pass more juice and weight to such links that contain broad and unspecific anchor text.

Also, you must ensure the anchor text are not too much longer as well. It is better to keep it simple and precise.

A few don’t’s that you must never try with your anchor text

  • The very old classic example of a bad anchor text is including hyperlinks in your comment section. It often looks very spammy when comments contain links with keyword enriched anchor text. These days many comment moderation software like Disqus and Akismet will directly filter and mark comment links as spam. They also keep a note of the author who published such comment links. And Eventually, in the eyes of Google, the reputation of such commentators who post links in the comment section would get hurt. Thus it could lead to a drop in the rankings. To be frank there is no need of putting links in the comment section of the blog post. Because many websites allow adding a link to the author profile itself in the comment section.
  • Including unrelated random words as your anchor text is not a good idea. Because Google does scans the content above and below the anchor text. And they try to relate your anchor with the overall content of your web page. So, don’t try to add some random words as the anchor text.
  • Don’t try to repeat the same anchor texts multiple times (repeating exact brand names and exact keywords multiple times) for the backlink. Adding too many hyperlinked anchor texts in your content to get rankings can hurt your website rankings. As a general thumb rule, you can add around 5-6 links containing anchor text for every 1000 word of content that you would write.

There are generally mainly 4 types of anchor text and they are as follows:

  • Branded anchor text
  • Exact keyword anchor text
  • Partial anchor text
  • Generic anchor text

Branded anchor text:

These are the anchor text of a link that contains the brand keyword. Google does love brand mentions. Google regularly monitors brand mentions by using its inbuilt sensors and algorithms. Because after all, Google knows that brands are the solutions. But you must keep in mind that “too much is too bad”. So, don’t try to over-optimize the anchor text with your brand terms. But ensure that you have a decent amount of brand mentions for your website with the help of anchor text.

Usually, when you do blog commenting, you can obtain a branded anchor text. You can do it by mentioning your brand name or business name in the author profile field.

Brand mentions can also be obtained when the author of content decides to add an anchor text that contains the brand name.

For example, when I was doing quora marketing I used to answer a topically relevant question to promote my best blog posts. And in that process, I used to obtain a partially branded anchor text which looked as shown in the screenshot below.

Quora Marketing Anchor Text
Google Search Console Anchor link reports

Exact keyword anchor:

These types of anchor texts are not good from an SEO perspective. Because it can look a bit spammy when all of the links contain the exact keyword. In fact, after the Google Penguin update, many websites lost their ranking. Because their backlinks anchor text was the exact focus keyword of the web page.

Because as you know things can look very spammy when the internet space gets filled with just too many keyword-based texts.

So, suppose your blog posts focus keyword is “best SEO agency”. And you have built 100 backlinks for the blog post. Then please don’t add the exact keyword “best SEO agency” as the anchor text to all of the 100 backlinks. Because Google Penguin update would take down those websites which have exact keyphrases as the anchor text. Ultimately the website with exact keyword anchor will lose the rankings.

Partial anchor text:

 These types of anchor text would usually contain the close variation of your focused keyword along with other related words. From an SEO perspective, it is always the best idea to add partial anchor text for your links. Because not only it is safe to add them but it could also pass more juice by having keyword enriched words and branded words in the anchor text.

When related words are present in the anchor text it can also become like an LSI based anchor text.

Generic anchor:

When the anchor text contains generic common words like click here, refer, read, here, now, it becomes a generic anchor text. From an SEO link building perspective, it’s safe to use Generic anchor text. Because it does not cause any harm to your rankings.

The other type of anchor texts is a naked URL anchor, author profile name anchor, title tag anchor, LSI keyword-based anchor, etc.

In a naked URL anchor, there won’t be any hyperlinked text. Instead, the exact URL of the backlink itself is the anchor.

Similarly, in the Author profile anchor, the name of the person will appear as the text. And in LSI keyword-based anchor, one would include related terms and phrases as the anchor text.

Which type of anchor text is best to use and most effective for SEO?

Google loves to see the essence of the mixture in your anchor text. So, from both the user’s point of view and SEO perspective it will be better to include a CTA, brand name, relevant keyword and generic terms and words in the anchor text.

Once, I had the opportunity to ask the famous SEO expert “Neil Patel” about anchor text best practice. And to my surprise, Neil also replied to me saying that it is better to mix things up with the anchor rather than having no diversity and focusing only on one branded term.

Neil Patel Suggestion

So, in that sense, you must try to include your brand name, partial keyword and generic terms while creating an anchor text.

I hope you got some great ideas to create an anchor text effectively while you build backlinks for your SEO campaigns. If you think that the article was helpful and informative, please do share it on social media sites with your friends.

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