What is the anchor text?

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What is the anchor text?

The anchor text is the visible text in which you can click on a hyperlink. In modern browsers, it is usually blue and underlined, like this link to the Tech Yaari homepage.

Code sample

<a href="http://www.example.com"> Example of anchor text </a>Optimal format

Optimal format

The SEO-friendly anchor text is concise and relevant to the landing page (that is, the page to which it is linked).

Defined anchor text

The anchor text is the visible characters and words that are displayed in the hyperlinks when linking to another document or location on the web. It usually appears as underlined text in blue but changes the colors and styles of the links on your website through its HTML or CSS.
The anchor text can provide both search engines and users with relevant contextual information about the content of the destination of the link.

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In the previous example of the link code 'Techyaari' is the anchor text for the link.
Search engines use external anchor text (the text that other pages use to link to your site) as a reflection of how other people see your page, and by extension, what the pages are about. While website owners cannot normally control how other sites link to theirs, "you can make sure that the anchor text you use within your own site is useful, descriptive and relevant" (Source: Google)

If many sites think that a particular page is relevant to a particular set of terms, that page can achieve a good ranking even if the terms do not appear in the text itself.

Anchor text types

Exact match

The anchor text is "exact match" if it includes a keyword that reflects the page to which it is being linked. For example: 'link building' linking to a page concerning link building.

Partial match

Anchor text that includes a variation of the keyword on the linked page. For example: 'link building strategies' that link to a link building page.

Branded

A brand used as anchor text. For example: 'TechYaari' linking to an article in the TechYaari Blog.

Naked link

A URL that is used as an anchor 'www.Techyaari.com' is a naked link anchor.

Generic

A generic word or phrase that's used as the anchor. "Click here" is a common generic anchor.

Images

When an image is linked, Google will use the text contained in the alt attribute of the image as an anchor text.

Good SEO practices

The SEO-friendly anchor text is:

  • Succinct
  • Relevant to the linked page
  • Low keyword density (not overly heavy keyword)
  • Not generic
Keep in mind that you often have no control over the anchor text that other sites use to link to your own content. Therefore, most of these best practices will govern the best way to use the anchor text within your own website.

Succinct anchor text

While there is no specific length limit for the anchor text, it is a good idea to keep the link text as concise as possible. However, at the end of the day, the terms you choose to include in your anchor text should take into account two main factors:

  • What is the most concise and accurate way to describe the linked page?
  • What word or phrase would encourage users to click on a link?

Target page relevance

As the search engines have matured, they have begun to identify more metrics to determine the rankings. One metric that stands out among the others is the relevance of the link or the way in which the topic on page A relates to page B if one is linked to the other. A highly relevant link can improve the likelihood that page A and page B classify queries related to your topic.
The relevance of links is a natural phenomenon that occurs when people connect to other content on the web. It is determined by:

  • The topic of the source page.
  • The content of the anchor text on that source page

Links pointing to content related to the theme of the source page are likely to send stronger signals of relevance than links that point to unrelated content. For example, it is likely that a page about the best lattes in Seattle will convey a better signal of relevance to Google when it links to a cafeteria website than when it links to a site with images of baby animals.

Links pointing to content related to the theme of the source page are likely to send stronger signals of relevance than links that point to unrelated content. For example, it is likely that a page about the best lattes in Seattle will convey a better signal of relevance to Google when it links to a cafeteria website than when it links to a site with images of baby animals.

Search engines pay attention to the different variations of anchor text that are used to link back to the original article and use them as additional indicators of what that article is about, and for which search queries may be relevant. This, in combination with the processing of natural language and other factors such as the source of links and the hierarchy of information, make up most of the relevant indicators of online links. To ensure that your links send strong signals, keep your anchor text as descriptive as possible on the destination page.

The density of anchor text keywords

With the update of the Penguin algorithm, Google began to look more closely at the keywords in the anchor text. If many of the incoming links in a site contain exactly the same anchor text, it may start to look suspicious and may be a sign that the links were not acquired naturally. In general, it is still a best practice to obtain and use specific anchor text for keywords and topics when possible. However, SEOs can get better results by searching for a variety of more natural anchor text phrases instead of the same keyword each time.

In that sense, an important note: do not overdo the internal links that contain many keywords. Internal linking is undoubtedly a good recommended practice, but be careful with the anchor text that you use to link your own pages. If too many links to a page use the same anchor text, even if they are on their own site, Google could detect spam behavior.

Final words
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