We usually link one page to another through a word or a small text known as anchor text. Find out its relevance for SEO and the best guidelines to follow when building it.
What is anchor text?
An anchor text is a word or a set of words on a web page, which you can click on to access another page. Simply put, it is the visible text on which you can click on a hyperlink.
It is easy to recognize it since in the browsers we use today, it is normally highlighted in blue from the rest of the text.
However, you should note that although anchor text usually links to another web page, it can also serve to initiate download documents such as PDF files and images.
Why is it important for SEO?
The text chosen for the anchor text is fundamental for various reasons. First of all, it informs the reader about what to expect to find once they click on the link.
The anchor text is practically an advertisement about what will appear after clicking on it, so you should carefully choose the words.
On the other hand, anchor text tells Google’s algorithms what your content refers to. These algorithms use the anchor text to understand the linking topics and check that you are not spamming.
Types of anchor text
There are different variants of anchor text that you can use. Here’s a list of them, each with a brief explanation.
Exact-match anchor text
It is perhaps the most important type of anchor text since it improves and optimizes the page ranking.
In this case, the anchor text will contain the keyword that reflects the page you are pointing to. For example, you could use the anchor text “inbound marketing” to link to an inbound marketing page.
Partial-match Anchor Text
It would be an anchor text that contains a variant of the keyword that represents the page to which it links. For example, “email marketing strategies” would be a partial-match anchor if it addresses a page on email marketing.
Branded Anchor Text
It uses your brand name as the link text to another page. These anchors can also contain the brand name with a keyword.
Generic Anchor text
It does not contain a keyword but a phrase like “click here,” “keep reading,” “more information,” etc. These anchors are not recommended for SEO since they do not contain information about the page they link to.
The anchor text is created by copy-pasting the link from the URL to which it is directed. As its name implies, the URL is entirely visible to the reader.
When linking an image, Google will consider the alt attribute as the anchor text. This is one of the reasons why you should not forget to add an alt attribute to the <img> tag in the HTML code. It’s a key practice for image SEO.
Anchor Text Best Practices
When building an anchor text, it is crucial to follow the following guidelines:
Carefully choose the pages you link to
Be careful not to have toxic links on your sites, as Google pays special attention to it. Linking to low-quality pages that give false information, promote hate, or engage in spamming practices may result in a Google penalty.
Create a concise anchor text
Although there is no specific maximum length for the anchor text, it is best to be as brief as possible.
But ultimately, it is vital to take into account the following factors when choosing the words to include in the text:
- What is the most concise and accurate way to describe the page you link to?
- What is the word or phrase that would prompt users to click on the link?
Make sure the words in the anchor text are relevant.
The words included in the anchor text are of high-relevance. Using too many exact match anchors can play against you, but these texts must be related to the topic of the page they link to (hence the use of a generic anchor text, as previously explained).
As we discussed before, keep in mind that Google uses anchor text as information to understand what a page is about. It gives search engines a clue as to whether the page is worth indexing. So, choose an anchor text that makes sense with the linked content, and provide a positive experience to the reader.
Using random keywords for anchor text to have a diversity of words on your site is not recommended. It may end up being qualified as clickbait, and the readers would not be happy. And, of course, Google would notice this.
Remember that Google is always moving forward in the same direction: providing the best user experience. And offering optimized anchor text to readers is one of the ways to achieve this.