When it comes to SEO, internal linking and using optimized anchor text is an often overlooked practice that may be holding your website back from ranking well in the search results.
Read our latest article to learn what anchor text is, why it's important, and how to optimize it for SEO.
Anchor text is the hyperlink that displays on a web page and points to another webpage. It typically displays as blue text in most browsers, but it can also be styled differently depending on your preference.
A good way to optimize anchor text for SEO best practices is to use keywords or phrases that are related to the content of the target page.
Anchor text should be relevant to your content and consist of keywords or phrases that are related to the topic you're writing about. This will help with search engine optimization, as it will make the link more relevant in a way that Google can understand what the page you're linking to is all about.
By providing Google with that context, it can better understand what phrases that destination page should rank for, using your anchor text as a signal in its algorithm.
Below we'll walk through the different types of anchor text that are used across various websites.
Branded anchor text is an example of keyword-driven anchor texts. These are phrases that include the brand name, such as "Acme shoes." This helps to strengthen your site's credibility and build up its reputation online through links from external websites.
Exact match anchor text is often used as a way to increase rankings for specific keywords. For example, if you want your page to rank higher in the search results for "Acme shoes review" then use an anchor text with that exact keyword phrase.
Similar to exact match, partial match anchor text is a way to increase rankings for specific keywords. The difference is that partial match anchor text will often include other keyword variations that only partially include your target keyword, such as "acme shoe shops near me".
Related anchor text is used to link to other parts of your website. For example, if you have a "men's shoes" category on your site and want this section linked from the homepage then use related anchor texts such as:
This type of anchor text links two pages together without using keywords that are specific to one page or another. It will help users find what they're looking for while also adding in descriptions about other products or sections on your site. This helps keep visitors more engaged with everything you offer because it keeps them guessing and browsing through different areas instead of simply leaving when they don't find an answer right away.
The last type is random anchor text. This type of anchor text isn't contextually relevant and may include phrases such as "click here" or "buy now".
Typically, you want to stick with exact match or partial match anchor text when optimizing for SEO. This ensures Google has the most relevance to determine how your destination pages should rank in its search engine.
While branded or random anchor text aren't necessarily bad, they should be used sparingly for specific use cases.
Now that we've covered the different types of anchor text, let's dive into how to optimize your anchor text for SEO.
Choosing a good keyword to use for your anchor texts is crucial because it will be the most prominent part of your content.
You should focus on using long-tail keywords, which are phrases that have more than two words and generally are three or four words in length.
The anchor text should properly describe what your destination page is all about while including the target keyword phrase that you want it to rank for.
However, you want to avoid overstuffing. Don't simply include a target keyword to include it for SEO. It should appear natural to the user.
Using the URL as anchor text is generally not a good idea because this does nothing to give your content any context.
A better strategy would be using keyword phrases that are related to what you're linking to, which will help improve sales conversions and click-through rates.
While I did mention to incorporate longer-tail keywords into your anchor text, you should try to keep them as short and succinct as possible. This is to provide Google the best relevance - if your anchor text is too long, it starts to lose context.
It's also best practice for your users. The shorter the anchor text, the more likely the will be to click through to your next page on the website. Aim to keep your anchor text between 1-7 words.
When you are linking to another page or website, it's best practice to format that text differently from the normal content. This is so Google and other search engines can recognize which words should be linked - without any formatting, they will just assume a sentence of text is the same as anchor text and not clickable.
Doing this also helps your user experience by making sure readers know what links are actually supposed to do something for them!