Anchor text are links in content that you can click on.
They are usually underlined and in a different color — usually blue — to tell you that it is a link to something else that you can visit. Anchor text is supposed to be descriptive to tell the reader something about the link they will be clicking on, and it can give search engines context.
Anchor text and SEO
Using anchor text in your website’s content is important for your search engine optimization (SEO), especially if you have internal links to other related pages on your site. The anchor text gives search engines context to help them make sense of your internal links; for external links, it will help search engines determine the topic of the page you are linking to. When you use anchor text for external links, while providing context is important, make sure you are not using your focus keyphrase for it. Using your focus keyphrase for anchor text makes it harder for Google to identify which page is more relevant and should rank highest.
Types of anchor text
There are a few ways that you can set up your anchor text.
- Branded links: A link with your brand name as the anchor text, like Bellevue Public Relations.
- Site name: A link with the name of the site, like BellevuePublicRelations.com.
- The URL: Just using the URL for your site, like https://bellevuepublicrelations.com/.
- Keyphrase: Using your keyphrase as the anchor text. Only do this for internal links. You can also use the keyphrase variants as anchor text and related keywords that are not a direct match.
- Article titles: If you are linking to an article, you can use the title for your anchor text.
- Image links: You use the alt text of your image as the anchor text instead of using written content. This is a good way to add some variety to your anchors.
- Generic links: These links include “read more” and “click here.” They are not really helpful for your SEO, so you should avoid these when you can.
Improve your anchor text
Now that you know a little more about the purpose of anchor text and how it can help your SEO, let’s take a look at some ways you can improve your anchor text on your site.
Your writing needs to sound natural in general, and this includes your anchor text. When you add links to your content, it needs to be part of the natural flow of the text. This is along the same lines as fitting keywords into your writing; it needs to be a natural part of the piece, not forced. If you are stretching a sentence to fit anchor text into it, then the link should probably go elsewhere in the writing or be left out entirely.
You can always use the URL as the anchor text if need be; while it may not look as nice as anchor text molded into the content, it is obvious what exactly you are sending your reader to, which is appreciated by search engines.
Match the text with the content
When you click on a link in a text, you expect that the link should take you somewhere related to the anchor text. So, if you were to click on anchor text talking about meta descriptions and were instead taken to a page about social media, that would confuse you, and you might doubt the validity of the original source you were reading as a result. Make sure you are not tricking your readers, because it will hurt your organization in the long run. Additionally, link relevancy is something that is used by search engines to determine rankings, so using more relevant and specific anchor text is good for your SEO.
Make links obvious
Make sure the link is obvious to your reader by making it a different color and underlining it. Blue underlined words in content are instantly identifiable as a link, but you can choose to make your links a different color than the standard, so long as they clearly stand out to the readers.
Google looks closely at the keywords you use in your anchor text, so it is important to have variety in your internal links. If your site has too many internal links with the same anchor text, it can look suspicious to Google, and it may appear like your links were not placed naturally. While keywords are important to use as anchor text, when using anchor text for internal links, strive for more diversity in your anchor text and make sure you do not use too many links to the same page with the same anchor.
Branded keywords are one exception to this; search engines do not typically penalize you for using a branded keyword as anchor text in multiple pieces of content. If you have public figures linked to your brand, such as the CEO, an author, or a prominent influencer, search engines can identify those names as branded anchor keywords.
One good way to add some diversity to your anchors is by including them in the alt text for your images. Alt text is included in pictures to help visually impaired people who are using screen readers. The alt text is supposed to be highly descriptive and flow like a sentence. While people used to abuse alt tags to keyword stuff, Google caught onto that quickly and will penalize you for doing so. With that in mind, make sure you do not over-optimize your alt text, but it is a good place to put your anchor text. Typically, the alt text will describe the image itself and have a link to the image source or to something related to the description. These are commonly seen as the captions in photos on websites, and they are a great place to put an anchor link.