A Dummy’s Guide to Anchor Text
September 7, 2016 9:37 am |
To put it as simply as possible, anchor text is the clickable part of a link displayed on a web page. Most commonly it is underlined and blue like this example. “This example” is the anchor text and when clicked takes the user through to another page or site.
Most of the time, anchor text provides an ever so slight insight as to what to expect when redirected to another page, without the need to show a full URL which can appear long and not very clean. URLs and anchor text are configured in the following way:
<a href=”destination URL”>anchor text</a>
So for our example mentioned above, the tag would look like this:
<a href=”http://example.com/”>this example</a>
The tag defines both the anchor text and the destination and conceals the final URL from plain sight, making on page copy cleaner and easier to read.
How Should Anchor Text Be Used?
Arguably the biggest aim is to provide a description or a snippet of information regarding the hyperlink’s destination. Not only does this provide usefulness for users, it is also a ranking signal for search engines based upon the words included within the anchor.
With that being said, webmasters should avoid creating sentences using only linked words. The main reason for this is that whilst PageRank may no longer be viewable, it does still exist. This means that for every link present, a bit of authority is taken and the more hyperlinks, the less ‘link juice’ will be passed on, affecting the authority of the page.
Search Engine Manipulation
Search engines see anchor text from backlinks as an indication of what the page entails. For example, if a whole bunch of incoming links were comprised of the anchor text “web design”, the more likely a page would be to rank for that term.
This meant anchor text was a no-brainer in the past. It was simply a case of using whatever keywords you were trying to get to the top of Google. Predictably this lead to high volumes of spamming and in some cases using completely irrelevant words based on search volume rather than the content of the page.
The search engines rethought their algorithms and reduced the significance of anchor text to try and combat this problem and in April 2012, Google introduced the world to Penguin – a new algorithm with the goal of ridding SERPs of spam.
Link profiles containing high volumes of the same anchor text are considered unnatural and as such don’t rank as well as sites with a varied profile after the inception of this update.
Types of Anchor Text
There are several different types of anchor text that can be used. Remember that a diverse and ultimately “good” profile will have a mixture of some of these.
Exact Match: Anchor text comprises of the specific keyword or phrase that you want the search engine’s to pick up. Say this post is targeting “anchor text” for example.
The Web Design Group tells you all about anchor text.
Branded: The hyperlink contains the name of the brand or company that is being linked to.
The Web Design Group is a digital agency specialising in online marketing.
Partial/Phrase Match: The clickable link comprises of a keyword phrase, or keyword within a phrase.
The Web Design Group offers PPC consultancy and marketing.
Generic: Hyperlink text is an unspecific but mostly actionable phrase without target keywords.
The Web Design Group provides specialist SEO services. Click here to view.
Naked URL: The destination URL is visible as it would appear in the browser.
Visit https://www.twdg.co.uk/testimonials.php to see what others have had to say about the Web Design Group.
LSI Keywords: Synonyms or closely related words to the targeted keywords.
The Web Design Group offers a whole range of website creation and layout packages.
Author: Especially with articles, author name can act as the anchor.
Curt posts about Google AdWords Extended Text Ads.
Diversity and Percentages
Backlink diversity can be the difference between ranking fantastically well and unbelievably poorly. There are no set guidelines however for the percentages of each type of anchor text other than links should be built naturally.
This means that backlinks should flow in copy, serve a genuine purpose regardless of the content and of course, anchor text shouldn’t seem forced. Following these rules should stand you in good stead as long as you are able to mix it up.
Just like anchor text percentage, there are nothing set in stone surrounding length. If you want anchor text to be a single word or a whole sentence, it’s completely up to you.
You should however make the text relevant to some degree. For example, our previous example statement of “The Web Design Group tells you all about anchor text” should never have a link inserted into somewhere strange such as “you all about”. Instead we’d use one of the example types shown above or sometimes the whole sentence if it flows with surrounding copy.