Anchor text used to be a way for SEO experts to manipulate Google’s algorithm into ranking the inbound website higher on SERP’s. Anchor text is the highlighted text that when pressed leads to another website (the inbound website). This text tells the algorithm what the inbound website is about. If this anchor text has the same keywords as the inbound website this website is likely to start ranking higher for those keywords (at least when it’s done often and the links are from high quality websites)
This is largely what resulted in the Penguin update which aimed to calculate and analyze a websites inbound link profile. There was a time when keyword-rich anchor text was a best practice in SEO, whereas today it is a risky practice that must be done with caution. There are two elements of a link, the anchor text, explained above and the destination URL, which is the URL the link takes you to. Simple.
Types of Anchor Text
- A naked link is quite simply just the URL itself.
- Example: www.google.com
- This type of link is the also quite straight forward whereby the name of the company is the anchor text.
- Example: Google
- In this type the name of the company along with one of the company’s keywords makes up the link.
- Example: IMPRiNT SEO Services
- The pages desired keyword to rank for is the same as the anchor text. This is one of those links that you should avoid at all costs. Google’s algorithm does not exact-match link see the example below.
- Example: Digital Agency Santa Monica
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)
- This is complicated sounding type of link is essentially the same as related keywords. So keywords that yield the same result but worded slightly differently.
- Example: What is a Geneticist —> What does a Geneticist do
- This type of link flows naturally with text and doesn’t fit any other category. Safest, most trustworthy, should be the go to for anchor text.
- Example: Not all bears are dangerous and there are many ways to tell bears apart, but to be safe call your local wildlife department and stay indoors.
- Junk linking is very outdated and is the least recommended form of using anchor text.
- Example: Click here, Visit this website, Here, Learn more
Goals of Anchor Text
- The primary goal is to provide more information for Google’s crawlers so that it makes it easier for them to appropriately index the websites at hand.
- Another goal is to anticipate and answer a readers question. If the text is not accurate your wasting the readers time by having them press the link.
- Its also a good way to site the source of referenced information without the need for footnotes or endnotes.
Proper Destination URLs
There’s ways to increase the effect of your linking, below are some useful tips:
- Its always advised to link to internal pages and not home pages. Internal pages are more specific which is what Google wants your anchor text to be too.
- It’s always best to link to resource websites that are primarily informative rather than websites selling products or services. Its not absolutely necessary but always have more of the former, if you must include the latter.
- Co-citation occurs when there is an inbound link to your website and one to another website. Google will associate your website with the quality of the other website, so its a good idea to have your inbounds links next to high domain authority inbound links so your website is held in a higher regard.
When Not To Link
There are also certain very common linking errors which need to be avoided. Never include a link in the following:
- Headings should never include a link, this is pretty obvious.
- Subheadings too should never include a link, this is a common mistake you’ll see all over the web.
- Bullet point lists should also never include links, the only exception to this rule is if every single bullet point contains a link.
Remember that anchors and links are there to serve a purpose and that purpose is definitely not to improve the rank of your website. Out of all the different types of anchors the most recommended ones are without a doubt the branded and sentence fragment anchors. Remember to never use a junk anchor or a keyword rich anchor.