Anchor text optimization techniques: The beginners guide

What are the anchor text optimization techniques we have? and why do they really matter to SEO?

If you have not heard about anchor texts before, you probably don’t know their importance and whether they affect SEO or not.

In this post, I am going to show you the importance of anchor texts, how they can positively or negatively affect SEO and how to improve your link structure.

For the sake of newbies, let me quickly explain what anchor texts are…
What is Anchor Text?

An anchor text is any clickable text (a text covering a hyperlink) that can link to any page within or outside a domain.

In other words, any word or group of words that lead you to another web page, document or resource when you click on them is an Anchor text.

Take for example: If while writing this post, I want to refer to another page on this website, “Easy ways to rank your website on Google“. The phrase “Rank your website on Google” becomes an anchor text of “” which is a hyperlink.

The code structure is always like this:

<a href=””>anything can go here</a>

and this is how it is translated:

Anchor text optimization

There are basically six types of anchor texts, we will talk about them one after the other.

  1. Exact-match anchor text
  2. Partial-match anchor text
  3. Branded anchor text
  4. Naked links
  5. Generic anchor text
  6. Image attributes

Let’s see what makes them different…1. Exact-match anchor text is those that feature the exact keyword of the page it links to.

Earlier on, using this kind of anchor text multiple times on your pages almost guaranteed that your post will perform well. Until people start to overuse them, then Google starts to penalize them.

2. Partial-match anchor text may contain the keyword of the page it is linking to but coupled with other words. For example, “running a home business” may be linking to a page that talks about home-based business.

3. Branded anchor text is when a brand name is used as an anchor text. For example: ‘Facebook’ can be linked from this page if I have something to say about Facebook products for instance.

4. Naked links have the URL of the page which it is linking to as an anchor text. Something like this:

5. Generic anchor text is when you use any phrase that is not in any way related to the page it points at. For example: “click here” or “read more

6. Images do not really have an anchor text, but Google uses the text in the “alt” tag as an anchor text.

<a href=”” ><img src=”” alt=”anchor text”></a>

How anchor texts affect SEO?

Good question! Now, let me explain! When Google launched penguin back in April 2012, anchor texts was one of the primary targets.

Because in the earlier years of SEO, the uses the anchor texts became the easiest way to determine how relevant and reliable a web page is, website owners was now abusing it, by overdoing it.

Some websites focusing on “exact-match” anchor text got their ranking running down the hills when Google’s penguin stood up, as a result of overuse.

When the exact match is used several times on the web, it seems suspicious, that’s when Google fights back!

So, what should you do?

All of these anchor texts are good, important and useful. But don’t overuse them. Use each one when you necessarily have to. For instance, when you want to draw your audience interest to a source or a helpful tool, you could use generic anchor texts such as:

  • Click here
  • Read more
  • More info here
  • Check this out, etc.

How to optimize anchor text to favor SEO

Believe it or not, there are different ways the use of anchor texts can become either useful or useless. I will show you how to use them the right way.

1. Don’t go off-topic

Of course, the page you link to and the page linking from should be related to each other. So, anchor texts should be related and flow naturally with your content.

If your contents continue to be relevant to your target keyword, the chances of ranking higher increase.

2. Use keywords in the anchor text

Keywords in anchor texts are great, but here is the thing: when you focus so much on using the exact-match anchor texts (using only the exact keywords on anchor texts) more than required, it starts looking as if spammy, and will soon get penalized.

Don’t use the exact keywords on anchor texts. instead, let the keyword be accompanied by a couple of other words.

3. Do not restrict yourself to one type of anchor text

I have listed about six types of anchor texts you can use on your website. I don’t really advise you to stick on only one type of anchor alone because you will still be penalized.

SEMrush has advised that the proper distribution of anchor text should look like this:

Final thoughts

Avoid the use of exact match anchor text generally for they can attract penalties. If you must use them, you should be more careful about how you use them.

Naked anchor texts and Branded anchor texts are the best you can use.

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