Google has a sophisticated algorithm for ranking websites. Dodgy SEOs used to employ a range of dirty tactics to boost website rankings, such as keyword stuffing and spam backlinks. Nowadays, Google is able to recognise these hacks and penalise sites that use them.
One of the most notorious updates released by Google is known as Penguin. This algorithm update changed the way backlinks affects SEO and how they evaluate a page’s rank. Therefore, anchor text, internal links and backlinks have become important features of SEO.
What is anchor text?
So, you may be wondering what is anchor text and what does it have to do with links? In short, anchor text is the text you see in a paragraph or sentence that links to another page of your site or a different site altogether. It’s the hyperlinked (underlined and clickable) text that you see every day on websites.
Google looks for hyperlinked text and uses it to assign ranks to websites – the more links pointing to a certain web page, the more important it must be and so gets given a higher rank. But Google also looks for spammy links and will penalise the overuse of anchor text and links, so it’s important to get it right.
Anchor text can also help users navigate your site. If you have related content, you can send users to other articles or videos that might give them more information or clarity on the subject. By sending users to other pages on your site, you’re keeping them active on your website for longer, which is also good for SEO.
Different types of anchor text
SEO is a complex but important job. With decades of development on the internet and natural evolution, it’s no surprise that there are many types of anchor text. Some of these are more useful than others, so learn to recognise each type and use them properly.
- Exact match anchor text – This is when you use the exact same words as the targeted keywords for the page you’re linking to. Google penalises overuse of exact match anchor text, so use it sparingly.
- Partial match anchor text – Here, you include a keyword of the page you’re targeting along with other words in a sentence. This method is great because you can target specific keywords without being spammy; Google doesn’t view it as manipulative.
- Branded anchor text – These rely on a brand’s name to establish authority. Using branded anchor text is an effective way to show Google that your page is serious as you are directing users to other high-quality websites. Google rewards helpful sites.
- Naked anchor text – This is essentially just the website’s name. If you’re talking about xyz.com and use “xyz.com” as the anchor text, Google considers this a bit unhelpful. It can also be disruptive to try and read a long URL in the middle of a paragraph. It’s always better to use words related to the page that you’re pointing to, rather than the URL itself.
- Generic anchor text – These are simple and generic hyperlinks that flow nicely in a sentence or paragraph. Generic anchor texts are seamless and unlike naked anchor texts, they aren’t disruptive. They are phrases such as “this page” or “find out more”. As useful as they are, use them sparingly as they can become repetitive and boring.
How to write good anchor text
Firstly, the anchor text needs to be directly related to the web page you’re linking to. For example, if you’re writing about building an audience on social media and you have another article that perfectly summarises the best times to post for maximum engagement, then you can link to that article with a sentence such as “Building an audience requires you to post when your followers are most active.”
Anchor text needs to relevant, so stay on topic. Your anchor text should contain words or phrases that closely match the topic of the page to which you’re linking. They should act as indicators of what content or information to expect when you click on the link.
Using keyword-relevant anchor text is the best way to gain trust – both from your audience and from Google. Using relevant anchor text will allow Google to easily index your content and rank your web pages.
The next thing to bear in mind is variation. Using exact match anchor text is great once or twice, but Google will penalise your site if you use it too much. The same happens if you constantly link to brand names. Use different types of anchor text for the best SEO results.
Using a variety of anchor text types will prevent you from being penalised, but it will also make your content more unique without disrupting the readability of articles. There is no set ratio of types of anchor text that you should use – it depends on you, your site and the language used in the articles.
Lastly, once you’ve created some anchor texts in your article, make sure that they link to the right page. Click on each anchor text and see that it does indeed open the correct web page. This will prevent you from being penalised by Google for spam links that don’t relate to your keywords.
Anchor texts are important SEO features of any web page. Google may police the use of anchor texts quite severely, but if you use them correctly and don’t abuse them, your site will benefit from Google’s SEO algorithm.
If you keep your anchor text relevant and link to other useful content (whether on your own site or other websites), Google will see this as you trying to genuinely help your readers. It will boost your rankings, so remember to use a few types of anchor texts and always link to high-quality sources.
Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.
Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.
Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.
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