what is-an anchor text

Last Updated in November 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny

Reading Time:4 minutes

The term “anchor text” is a search engine optimisation (SEO) term used to describe the actual visible and clickable text in a hyperlink.

Anchor text is one of several factors which determine how important a particular page will be within the context of a given search query. For example, Google uses anchor text as part of its overall ranking algorithm and other considerations such as PageRank, number and quality of external backlinks etc. In addition, Google has stated that they do not use outbound link keywords for their ranking algorithm because this could mean that spammers would have to stuff their pages with lots of keywords to rank well. Some have demonstrated this by creating blogs filled with nothing but spammy anchor text, and they rank well. Of course, there is little gain for them to do so because Google will eventually devalue their rankings, but this emphasises how important anchor text is.

Why do we care about it?

Anchor text plays a critical role in SEO as it influences your site’s click-through rate (CTR), which ultimately affects the number of visitors. It also reflects upon the relevance and importance of any particular page to a given search query; that is why Google uses the anchor text as an indicator of what users are looking for when performing searches. Also, crawlers can use anchor texts as a means for indexing content on pages.

Seems easy enough, right? Just use relevant keywords as your anchor text, and you should be done. But, unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than Google has been known to penalise web admins for using particular types of anchor texts that could be described as manipulative (paid links).

Also, if you use words like “click here” or “visit us”, the Google algorithm will think that this is an attempt to manipulate rankings, especially if you do this for every link on your website. This would mean that every single page needs unique content to rank well.

Is there anything wrong with using specific words like “discounts”, “sale”, etc.? It doesn’t seem manipulative at all! Of course, it’s not manipulation unless you do it for a large portion of the links on your site, but Google does factor this into its algorithm.

If you are reading this article, we presume that you probably want to know how to use anchor text properly to get better rankings and more traffic to your website. Therefore, we will also show you how we did with our website and why we could pull it off successfully.

When planning out an SEO campaign for your website, it is essential to remember that no single technique will work universally. Depending on the site we’re working with, we can deploy different types of link-building and anchor-texting strategies to rank higher than our competitors.

How do anchor text influences search engine rankings?

Google uses many different ranking factors when determining the position of any particular web page in its search results. It isn’t easy to pinpoint and quantify each element, and there are too many to mention in detail here.

While Google does not disclose all of its exact methods, we can assume that it uses several parameters such as link metrics (PageRank), relevancy of content to the query, popularity/authority within specific industry verticals etc. However, I like to think that outbound links play an extremely critical role in your rankings and overall website authority (and yes, this includes anchor text).

What is an exact match anchor text?

The term “exact match anchor text” refers to a particular link with the exact keywords as what’s being used in the search query. For example, if someone is searching for “online photography courses,” a website would be wise to include a link on their page containing the phrase ‘online photography courses. Matching the exact phrase should result in better rankings than using other types of anchor texts.

What about the partial match?

In addition to using exact match anchors, Google also allows web admins to use partial matches. This means including some words from your targeted keyword phrase within your outbound link. In our opinion, this should not be used very often because it shares many of the negative characteristics associated with over-optimisation and unnatural.

What is a branded anchor text?

Branded links can use your company name or brand as the anchor text. They do not have to include a keyword to provide value to a user’s search experience and give users familiar with your brand more reassurance when clicking through to your website.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

When writing outbound links, you should make it easy for crawlers to understand what topic your content is about. Also, including keywords may help Google return better results if someone was searching specifically for that topic. In theory, this also helps you rank higher in SERPs because Google will trust that people are interested in the particular issues they’re linking from.

What does anchor surrounding text mean?

Anchor surrounding text is the words that appear both before and after an inbound link. This can also include other linking text within the page’s content.

This type of anchor text provides users with more context about what their click will take them to, even if they did not originate from that particular site. As a result, it becomes pretty apparent how brands can get away with using their name as anchor texts for their internal links without falling foul of Google’s over-optimisation penalty.

What is Naked anchor text?

A naked link is a hyperlink that uses only the anchor text without any surrounding words. Google does not like naked links because they don’t provide enough context about what users will find if they click on them – thus making them more challenging to evaluate for ranking purposes.

Many site owners use this type of linking strategy to artificially boost their website rankings via paid links to increase the volume of traffic they’re generating. These types of sites are also called ‘spamdexing,’ which is short for spamming + indexing. While it can help you get traffic in the short term, it is rare that these types of links survive long-term and usually requires lots of maintenance work.