What is Anchor Text? How to optimize Anchor Text for SEO?
If you have been involved with SEO, you might certainly know anchor text. It is one of those different terms relevant to the process of raising the SERP ranking of any website.
With so many different aspects of SEO, you might not pay attention to some things. Anchor text can seem unimportant at face value. That’s the reason why people often don’t have second thoughts.
This post will walk you through what anchor text is, its important role in SEO, and some best anchor text optimization practices.
Are you ready to start? Let’s dive right in.
Table of contents
- What is Anchor Text?
- Anchor text and Backlinks: What’s The Difference?
- Types of Anchor Text
- How to Efficiently Optimize Your Anchor Text?
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is a text that the reader can see and when clicked on the text, the user is redirected to a new link. In today’s browsers, anchor text is usually blue (or something different from the surrounding text and follows the site’s identity or theme). In SEO of Magento 2, the anchor text is usually highlighted and underlined.
Anchor text and Backlinks: What’s The Difference?
It’s crucial to identify the difference between follow and nofollow links as this article is about anchors in the context of search engine optimization.
When it comes to the HTML side, the only difference is that a nofollow link has an additional piece of code. In the following example, a nofollow link would be like this:
Meanwhile, according to Google algorithms, that small piece of code creates a big difference.
- Nofollow: Tells Google not to consider the backlink as evaluating SEO value for either page. Since the first day of March, 2020, Google has started to consider nofollow links a hint in assessing a site’s position in SERP.
- UGC (User Generated Content): Shows Google that the link (and the entire content) was put on this page by users.
- Sponsored: Shows Google that this link was created after some agreements between you and a publisher.
- Follow: Tells Google to give credit to the page you are linking to and take account of it as scanning your links.
Types of Anchor Text
1. Exact match anchor text
This is the most vital anchor type for your SEO ranking. It shows exact main keywords and money keywords that a page is about to target, often enriched by the localization factor.
It is a powerful anchor text that includes important SEO value and increases a page’s ranking. Nevertheless, exact match anchors should not be used extravagantly.
An immediate and huge influx of exact match anchors could appear to be spammy in the eyes of search engines. It doesn’t seem that all websites linking to your page would have the same exact match anchors. A little variety is highly recommended because it looks more natural.
Obviously, it’s ideal when your anchors match your targeted, high-volume keywords, but they should be different.
With a naked URL, there is no textual anchor at all, except a bare link that is present on a page.
For instance: https://www.mageplaza.com/magento-2-seo-extension/
URL anchors don’t bring any SEO benefits to your website, so if you see one pointing to your website, go to a webmaster and request to get it changed.
3. Partial/ Phrase match anchor text
The partial or phrase match anchor type also contains a keyword for a certain page, but this time without any localization. Besides, it includes some other words that generate long-tail versions of keywords.
4. Zero/ Generic anchor text
Zero or generic anchor texts means entirely unrelated (to a linked page) phrases which are a link label. These might consist of click here, here, read this or other random words that show scarcity or evoke actions. These anchors don’t offer any extra SEO value.
5. Branded anchor text
These are anchors that contain your brand name. They can show up as a brand name with a keyword.
6. Image anchors
Do you know that including ALT text to your image description is significant? Your ALT text for images is what Google assumes as the image’s anchor (in case the image is part of a link)
Image anchors are healthy as they help extend your anchor text profile. Moreover, they can boost your SEO for Google images. You will want to generate a descriptive ALT text for the image link.
7. Long-tail anchors
Long-tail anchors are like partial anchors, but they include more words. They open you a chance to contain your keyword with some relevant, descriptive, branded, or generic ones.
Sometimes, long-tail anchors can contain a whole subheading or headline for a link. Or writers can link to an entire sentence. While you don’t want to create long-tail anchors all the time, they can be beneficial for SEO.
How to Efficiently Optimize Your Anchor Text?
Keep it natural
Google wants your content and your anchor text to be natural and concentrated on giving benefits to users. It’s unnatural for loads of links to all use the same anchor text.
What you need to do is to take advantage of filler words and other tips for changing those keywords. And using synonyms is a smart trick. Thanks to its latent semantic indexing, Google can identify the relevance of anchor text to a subject even if it doesn’t contain a specific keyword.
Moreover, you can combine the length of your target keyword anchor text. Utilizing long-tail keywords and even longer phrases that incorporate a keyword is an incredible way to keep things natural.
What’s more, if your content is in English, your anchor text should be in that language too. You won’t want to be crowbarring in main keywords that cannot be understood.
Vary branded and URL anchor text
It’s great that you can always employ the same brand name or URL for branded/ URL anchor text links. It’s the name of your company and your website that you’re linking to. However, it’s still better to change up these anchor text links.
For URL anchor text, there is a wide range of ways to keep things new and fresh. You can flexibly use the elements of any URL that you add to your anchor text, for example:
It’s impossible for you to change up branded anchor text in a similar way. Meanwhile, you can mix it with the target keyword or topical anchor text. Rather than lots of links to “Mageplaza”, we might use “Mageplaza extensions” or “Mageplaza leading extension builder”.
Do not neglect your image ALT tags
Image ALT tags are crucial because they can:
- Aid impaired readers understand the content of an image
- Tell the Google bots the content of an image
- Work as anchor text
Image ALT tags should be descriptive and like a natural sentence. You’d better select one main keyword and include it in a descriptive sentence about a specific image.
We all know that both internal and external links can benefit SEO. We also realize that Google doesn’t want pages to create or contain links only for that reason. They want links to be helpful and bring more relevant benefits to users.
It’s not good if your anchor text has no relation to the page or the website a link leads to. You won’t want anchor text like “outstanding kitchen equipment” to link to a page about the best SEO techniques for 2021. That page will bring no benefits to a user who searches for kitchen equipment and will be considered negative by Google.
Do not link to or get links from toxic websites
Google pays attention to which websites you link to. If you link to a website that contains fake information, promotes hate, or joins spammy practices, Google can penalize your site. Even if a website has good intentions, the link can end up lowering your ranking position.
It’s known as the co-citation principle. It’s important to eliminate hate-promoting websites from the equation, check a website’s Alexa ranking, and only link to websites with a score of about 100k.
Notably, Google also knows that sometimes you have to link to “toxic” websites as a reference. This might be because it is the only source, or you need to debunk the information. In this case, you can employ a nofollow link to show Google that you don’t promote this website and don’t want it counted against my SEO.
Avoid utilizing keyword-rich anchors for internal links
You should not use exact match anchors for internal links. Google knows that you might not have control of what other websites do, but it does understand you can manage your own internal links.
If you apply exact match anchors for internal links, Google will think you’re trying to maneuver the system and penalize you. Instead, you can leverage long-tail anchors, related anchors, or generic anchors for internal links.
Anchor text plays an integral role in your site’s SEO health. According to Google, anchor words help it understand which websites are having spam operations and which are legit. Anchor words also show your users where they can look for more information and what is on the other side of your links.
It’s your task as a marketer to pay attention to your sorts of anchor text, which words you select, and even the surrounding words. As with everything related to SEO, moderation and diversity are significant. Remember to diversify your types of anchor tags and only link to highly related trustworthy pages.
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