SEO for Beginners: The Importance of Anchor Text in Link Building

Link building is an important part of Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the process of acquiring links from other websites and using it on your own. These links inform search engines such as Google that the website offers quality resources. The more high-quality inbound links you produce, the higher your chances are of landing on the first page of the search engine results.

For you to better understand the importance of link building, let’s first take on the basics. This guide will show you how links are made, how search engines perceive them, and what they can determine by interpreting them.

What is Anchor Text?

It all starts with an anchor text. This refers to a word or a phrase within an article that’s linked to another piece of content on the internet. When viewed in HTML, an anchor text would appear like this:

<a href=“https://miromind.com/ultimate-local-seo-guide/”>Ultimate Guide To Local SEO</a>

On a blog post, for instance, it will come out as: Ultimate Guide To Local SEO. That visible and clickable text is what is considered as your anchor text.

The letter a found at the start and end of the link tag informs search engines when a link to a different piece of content follows and when it ends.

Href is short for hyperlink referral, and the text enclosed within quotation marks is the URL that the link is referring to. Aside from a webpage, it could be a photo or a file that’s downloadable.

What Do Links Mean to Search Engines?

Now more than ever, building high-quality links is fundamental to creating a thriving online presence. Search engines use these links to:

  1. Discover new websites
  2. Determine a web page’s ranking

Though it has always been a necessary factor in Google’s understanding of relevant content, the practice wasn’t always as solid as it is today. Before, one could do anything with their anchor text to nab the top spots of a search engine results page. You could have used the exact keywords for all backlinks, and you would still rank high.

All of that changed when Google released the first Penguin update in 2012. It reshaped the link building game forever.  Penguin now scours the web for low-quality link building practices. With the help of anchor text, Google is able to pinpoint websites that use artificial backlinks and spam to rank. Those who are caught will be given the appropriate penalties.

It goes without saying that SEO and link building are constantly evolving. To compete in the digital era, one has to be aware of these changes and be ready to adapt when necessary.

Types of Anchor Text

 

Now that you know why link building is important, let’s look into several kinds of anchors. Listed below are seven basic examples of an anchor text.

Title tag

This type of anchor mirrors the page title. For links that lead to a sales page, you can use the meta title or main H1 tag as the anchor. But for blog posts, the title of the article itself will do. Let’s use this piece as an example. The title tag anchor would be SEO for Beginners: The Importance of Anchor Text.

Exact match

As the name suggests, this anchor text emulates the exact key phrase you’re using to rank the web page. If your target keyword, for example, is link building, then the exact keyword anchor should be link building.

Latent semantic indexing

Aside from using your entire main keyword, you can use variations of it as an anchor text. Let’s say you’re targeting SEO practices. LSI anchors could be: best SEO practices 2018, search engine optimization, and how to do SEO. All you have to do is look up the main keyword on Google, and use the related searches as LSI.

Partial match

This is somewhat similar to an LSI in that the anchor is a variation of your keyword. But instead of using a tool to come up with the anchor, you create your own. If your target keyword is anchor text, you use something like read this anchor text guide and check out this anchor text article.

Generic

This type of anchor is more of a call-to-action. Click here, go here, and this website are a few examples.

Naked URL

It refers to a URL that’s used as an anchor. An example would be: www.yourwebsite.com.

No-text anchors

You may also build links without any text in your anchor. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using an image. Another is leaving the link tag blank.

Anchor Text: SEO Best Practices 

 

You can’t always control what other sites use to link back to your content, but you do have full control over the anchor text you use on your own web page. Before anything else, remember that your anchor text needs to be:

 

Concise

Relevant to the page that’s being linked

Low in keyword density

Not generic

Listed below are the best practices that ensure your anchor is always SEO-friendly.

Concise anchor text

There isn’t a limit to the number of characters you can use for the anchor text; however, it’s best to keep things short. Always strive to be brief yet specific. Keep these factors in mind when you’re creating the anchor text:

  • A short and precise way of describing the linked-to page
  • A word or phrase that entices users to click on the link

Link relevancy

To rank high on search engines, you need to make sure that your page is related to the page you linked to. These are the factors that determine the link’s relevance:

  • Topic of the source page
  • Content of the anchor text on the source page

Using a highly-relevant link enhances both pages’ likelihood of ranking for queries that are related to the topic. Search engines look at the anchor text variations used to link back to the original piece. They use it to determine what the post is about and what search queries may be related to the piece. To make sure that the link is relevant, the anchor text must be descriptive of the target page.

Keyword density

Ever since Google updated its algorithm, they have been looking at keywords in the anchor text. When your platform has far too many inbound links that have the same anchor text, search engines might see it as a sign that links weren’t acquired naturally.

It’s best to utilize keyword- and topic-specific anchor text. SEO strategies may also reap better results when there’s a variety of natural anchor text phrases present.

Though internal linking is a fundamental practice, it shouldn’t be overdone. When many of your site’s pages use a single anchor text, Google might consider it as spam.

To ensure that you aren’t using underwhelming practices or overdoing everything, keep track of your anchor text. Start a Google sheet if you want to, and list the anchors you use. Remember what you’ve learned in this guide, and you will gradually scale your link building outreach while avoiding Google red flags.

Tell us about your project

Let us help you get your business online and grow it with passion