Anchor text is significant for search engine optimization. However, not all web experts understand it.
In SEO, placing good anchor text in backlinks and internal links balances under and overoptimization. A good anchor text must not include a non-contextual text, generic terms, or even a brand name.
Let’s first look at what anchor text is and understand how it works:
What is the link anchor text?
Basically, it is the clickable part of the hyperlink. It is visible and colored blue and underlined in modern browsers. You can change the color and style in your CSS or HTML.
It provides search engines and users relevant information about the content of the link. Using the correct anchor text can get people to click on your link. It also signals search engines in the context of the link.
The anchor text describes the article that is linked to. With a descriptive anchor text, you can get as many visitors to click the link. When the URL and the anchor text correlate, it tells search engines that the article is relevant.
When you link to a page, the anchor text provides credibility to the page you are linking to. This is why it is significant to use the right anchors to that page.
There are two kinds of links that point to a page: internal and external. You need to use relevant and correct anchor text for both the links in order to rank on top of the search results.
Internal links are links from your site to other sites. It helps visitors and search engines to discover more content on your site.
In SEO, the internal links distribute the most valuable SEO of your page to less valuable. External links are links on other sites that point to your site.
Both these links are valuable to your anchor text profile. Link building is the process of creating external links. Examples are guest posts.
Usually, webmasters prioritize internal linking because they can control it 100 percent. Internal linking is the process of creating internal links. On the other hand, link building is harder because you have to get other sites to link to you.
Internal linking provides benefits such as:
- Helps build SEO.
When a search engine like Google finds your site, it follows the links to learn more pages on your site. If you don’t link to other pages on your site, Google will take time to find them individually. If you can make it easier for them to discover your pages, the higher will be your ranking.
- It provides structure to your site.
Internal linking makes your site effective. You can arrange your content logically because internal linking SEO fixes the information on your site based on hierarchy. Doing this, you’ll improve user-experience because readers are going to find the information they need fast.
The inbound links or backlinks are links that come from other sites to your site. It measures the quality of a site.
Types of anchor text:
Branded links: A link that carries your brand, company name or website name.
Naked URL: It points to the URL of your website.
Generic Anchor: Generic anchor text includes “click here,” “source,” “website,” and so on.
Images/ No anchors. Getting links from images. The Alt text of the image is the anchor text.
Partially matching keywords.
SEO Best Practice for anchor text:
An SEO-friendly anchor text is not generic, succinct, relevant to the page, and has a low keyword density. When it comes to the anchor text that you use, you need to ensure that it is relevant to the site.
It must offer value to the readers. It must sound as natural as possible. Don’t use it if it’s not natural.
Don’t use the whole sentence as anchor text. It must be succinct and easy to understand.
The anchor text must be accurate, concise, and describes the link to the page. Think of the right words to use that would encourage users to click it.
Avoid generic anchor text to get people to click on your link. Don’t spam it by including too many keywords.
Avoid words that aren’t related to the page being linked to. Never use words that aren’t related to the page just to entice clicks from users.
Use contrasting colors in hyperlinking the anchor text. Underline it too so that people will not miss it.
The anchor text density ratio is as follows:
75 percent is branded anchors
15 percent is naked URLs
5 percent is generic anchors
4 percent is LSI anchors
1 percent is exact match anchors
You must follow this ratio in each page that you want to rank in search results. Following this ratio will get you rid of Google penalties.
Why is anchor text important for SEO?
Anchor text is important for SEO because of the contextual relevancy of the link. A relevant link is significant to the site, the search engines, destination site, and the visitor.
Context: It signals the search engines what the link is all about.
Connection: It establishes the connection between the on-page content of the host site and the link.
Relevancy: It relates to the on-page content of the destination URL.
Contextual relevancy: The relevancy and context are equal to SEO.
Link building is very important because it is the ranking factor used by search engines and a powerful way to boost your inbound marketing efforts. It is important because major businesses are more capable to promote their brands.
In this regard, Google has to find a more valuable way to see if it is attractive to visitors. Google needs to measure this relevancy in several ways. It checks how long visitors spend on a site, its shareability on social media, or its bounce rate.
If you have more links coming from other sites, more people love your site. This is actually the main reason why Wikipedia is found on the first page of the search results despite different keywords. It earns about 10 million backlinks each day.
The Study of Anchor Text Ratios
Do you need to use keyword-rich anchor text?
Let’s check these three scenarios to see if it works:
Website A: It has 200 backlinks that use keyword-rich anchor texts (several keywords).
Website B: It has 200 backlinks that have no keyword-rich anchors. It uses generic and branded links.
Website C: It has 200 backlinks with the combination of keyword-rich anchor texts, naked URLs, branded anchors, and generic anchor text.
Which website do you think would rank the highest for a particular keyword on Google?
Website A looks spammy. It’s nearly impossible that 200 webmasters are going to link to a site using the same keyword-rich phrases. It looks suspicious on Google.
Website B seems natural. However, there’s no hint on what type of topic it offers, or why it is worth clicking to. You could consider it but this site wouldn’t rank you well on search results.
Google will love Website C. It has varied anchor texts.
How to build anchor text ratios for your website?
The answer depends on the type of your site. You also need to consider the following:
Optimization varies on the type of pages (home page, contact pages, service page, etc).
Whether you are using a Phrase Match Domain (PMD) or Exact Match Domain (EMD).
Importance of branding to you.
The kind of backlinks (earned, influencers, digital?)
Anchor Text Ratios for Home Page
Concentrate on brand building.
Use different link building strategies to build your brand.
Take note of naked URL anchor texts.
Keep in mind that the homepage is the identity of your business. Although you are going to use it t sell your products or services, a good homepage must talk about the real business, and how it can provide value to the readers.
For the homepage, focus on the branding aspect of your business. This would boost your SEO.
Here is the right ratio: 30 to 40 percent branded terms (brand name + branded keywords), 25 to 30 percent LSIs and phrase match keywords, 15 to 20 percent naked anchors (URLs), and 15 to 20 percent generic anchors and the rest is exact match keywords.
Anchor Text Ratios for Service Pages and other pages
Start with precision-targeted link building campaigns like guest postings.
The focus should be on the nature of the page.
Add more weight to LSI and phrase match keywords.
Your service pages and other inner pages must sell your service. From “branding” you can focus on “sales.”
In order to garner sales, the focus must be on the intention of the searcher. It must reflect the relevant keywords.
The right ratio for anchor text in the service page is 40 to 45 percent LSIs and phrase match keywords, 20 to 25 percent branded terms, 20 to 25 percent generic anchor texts, 10 to 15 percent naked anchors, and 10 to 15 percent exact match keywords.
This page shows a higher percentage of targeted anchor text. There are more links with exact match and phrase match links to product pages.
You need to lower down the number of targeted links and add variable anchor text. With product pages, you need to stay at 7 exact match links to 3 phrase match.
How to handle anchor text over and under optimization issues that impact your SEO?
Handling Anchor Text Over-optimization Ratios
Build other kinds of links to dilute the percentage. You can start building links with other anchor text types. For instance, build URLs and branded links.
Delete low-quality links if it is possible. Request the webmaster to delete these links. You can disavow it too.
Purchase links with brand/ domain anchor text from sites.
The diversification of anchor texts can prevent over-optimization penalties. Here are some tactics to follow:
Analyze it with SEO tools like Cognitive SEO, Majestic SEO, and SEOMoz PRO. It can show you all your site’s inbound links and associated anchor texts. Once you have the data, categorize it as:
- Branded keywords
- URL keywords
- Un-optimized words or phrases
- Long-tail SEO keywords
After categorizing, check how many times each individual text is used.
Repeat the analysis on your competitors and other sites in the industry using the data collected. This will give you insights if your anchor text distribution is different from others in the niche.
For example, if you are using an anchor text distribution of 50 percent brand words and URLs, 25 percent long-tail keywords, and 25 percent un-optimized phrases, you will have an idea if you are using a different balance. It can help you make adjustments if you see that your competitor’s anchor text distribution works better.
After reviewing how your anchor text variation scores and your competitors, you need to make changes. But before that, check these factors:
- Focus on branded or un-optimized anchor text variations than long-tail keyword phrases as anchor text to appear more natural.
- Big and popular brands use more branded anchor texts in their profiles. Small companies and startups need to create search volume around these phrases.
- Some industries can support a higher percentage of long-tail keyword usage in their anchor text distributions.
Handling Anchor Text Under Optimization
Build many keyword-rich anchor text links with LSI based keywords and synonyms. It can improve trust and relevancy.
Anchor text is an SEO element that plays a huge role in Google rankings.
The relationship between anchor text and SEO is important. However, you need to remember that it becomes important due to backlinks.
Taking into consideration the anchor text optimization to your link building effort can manage all the optimization issues. It can’t hurt your organic rankings if you know the right optimization strategy.
While we know that different anchor text matters, it’s not the only thing that you need to keep in mind. The most important thing is to generate authoritative, relevant links to boost your sales and ranking the natural way.
The process of determining your site’s anchor text distribution must come from your own intuition and experience. Practice can help you identify undesirable anchor text trends and find solutions before it can give you over optimization penalties from Google.