As any business knows, search engine optimization is crucial for building a stronger and more productive marketing strategy. However, there are so many components related to SEO that it can be easy to miss some of the smaller details.
One such piece is anchor text.
When trying to optimize your website, anchor text counts for a lot more than you may realize. Fortunately, we’re here to help you understand how it works and why it’s so valuable.
Let’s dive into the power of links and anchor text in your SEO practices.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is any text on a webpage that contains a hyperlink to another page. This text is often blue and underlined to show that it is a link. This anchor text and they links they contain can be a powerful tool in signaling to search engines about the linked page is about.
However, while the concept is easy to understand, there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye. There are various types of anchor text, and each one can be used in different ways.
The primary point to understand is that the word or phrase being hyperlinked is now considered a keyword. When surveying and ranking your web pages, Google will pay close attention to your anchor text to see if it’s related to the content in the link. As we’ll discuss later on, it’s crucial to use anchor text strategically to ensure that your pages get sorted appropriately.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different kinds of anchor text you can use:
- Random – Our example above is random anchor text because the word “here” doesn’t relate to the link’s content
- Naked URL – The anchor text is a URL instead of a keyword (i.e., https://biziq.com)
- Branded – The text is related to a particular brand, such as BizIQ
- Phrase Match – Rather than being a specific keyword, the anchor text is a keyword phrase. For example, “anchor text optimization” vs. “anchor text”
- Exact Match – The anchor text is a specific keyword, such as “SEO Marketing”
- Partial Match – While the anchor text is embedded in a keyword or phrase, it doesn’t encompass the whole thing. For example, BizIQ SEO marketing services
- Image Links – Pictures on your website should have alt text to help Google know what it’s about. If you use your images as links, the alt text is considered the anchor text
How to Use Anchor Text in Your Site
As we mentioned, the value of anchor text is that it can help Google and other search engines learn more about your page’s content. So, before adding hyperlinks to your site, you need to know where and how to deploy them. Fortunately, the same strategies work for both inbound and outbound links. Here are some of our top recommendations:
Avoid Random Anchor Text (Except for CTAs)
Since anchor text is treated as a keyword, you want to treat it as you would any other keywords on your page. So, linking to random text can confuse search engines and make it harder to index your pages correctly. There is an exception to this rule, though. If you have a CTA (i.e., click here to subscribe!), anchor text is necessary.
Pay Attention to Image Alt Text
Many companies don’t utilize image alt text as much as they should. However, Google pays close attention to these keywords, and they can be used as anchor text when linking pictures. When optimizing your website, you need to be thorough and vigilant.
Keywords Only Matter for the Linked Content
Let’s say that you have a page devoted to dog food, but you link to a study about a particular breed (i.e., French bulldog). Even though your page is about dog food, the anchor text should be related to the study. Doing this will provide the proper context for Google so that it can index the links correctly. Overall, the search engine only pays attention to the anchor text, not the entire page, so make sure it’s relevant.
Optimizing Your Anchor Text
Once you discover the value of anchor text, it’s natural to want and optimize every link within your pages. However, Google penalizes over-optimized websites, so you must be careful about where and how you place the anchor text. Here are some top tips for anchor text optimization:
Stay Relevant as Much as Possible
Use keywords to help you determine where to place your anchor text. Latent semantic index (LSI) keywords can help you figure out which ones work best. While Google doesn’t rely on these, they can provide some inspiration. For the uninitiated, LSI keywords are the recommended search results based on your query. For example, if you type “SEO marketing” into the search bar, other options are “SEO marketing company,” “SEO marketing definition,” and so on.
Use Partial and Exact Keywords
To avoid over-optimization, don’t limit your anchor text to exact match keywords. Instead, use extra words to provide more context and make your links less spammy.
Match the Link Content’s Keywords
Let’s say you’re linking to an internal page with the header: “How to Maximize Your Facebook Ads.” That header can act as a perfect anchor text on the page from which you’re linking. Doing this will establish consistency and make it easier for Google to determine context.
Use Branded Anchor Text for Outbound Links
You don’t need branded links for internal anchor text since users already know who you are. However, adding a brand name to outbound links can help you build authority. Just make sure to link to reputable sites (i.e., HubSpot’s Top Facebook Ad Strategies), so Google doesn’t think you’re being spammy.
Do You Need Help with Your Site’s SEO?
As you can see, search engine optimization is a complicated process, so it helps to have professionals on your side. BizIQ’s SEO experts knows how to optimize everything on your website, from images to anchor text to backlinks. Let us help you build more reliable site traffic!
Contact us today to find out more.