San Diego SEO + Digital Marketing
Call Us: +1 617 792 3502

What is Anchor Text?

How to use anchor text

Anchor text is a type of link commonly used in the content portion of websites (as opposed to the navigation bar or footer). When you are writing a paragraph you may find it useful to link a keyword or phrase to another page, either to your own website or an external site. Anchor text are those specific words you have chosen to attach a hyperlink to.

Search engines put a lot of value on anchor text. Since the links are located right inside the “meat and potatoes” of your website, the content portion, the search engines assume it must be important. It looks at the keyword or phrase you have chosen to be identified and associates that keyword/phrase with the link. Choosing valuable keywords is important.

Example of bad anchor text

“Click here to check out our totally awesome new page on the Basics of SEO.”

In this example, the word “here” is the anchor text and has nothing to do with the Basics of SEO. This is useless anchor text.

Example of good anchor text

“Check out our totally awesome new page on the Basics of SEO.

In this example the phrase “basics of SEO” have been selected as the anchor text. This is a much better way to link text. Now the search engines are associating the phrase with the link.

Alt Tags for Anchor Text

Sometimes you just can’t make the sentence flow correctly with your targeted keywords. Here’s an example.

“SEO is totally awesome. Check out our page to learn the basics.”

In this case it might be difficult to decide exactly which word you want to attach your link to. Perhaps the keywords you are targeting don’t fit eloquently in the sentence. Of course, you want to write content that is easy to read for your human visitors. Google bots are secondary. In this case you can use “Alt Tags” in your anchor text. These work exactly like alt tags for photos. The alt tags attribute a different keyword or phrase to your anchor text than what your visitor sees.

Here is a partial screen shot from Wikipedia’s page about Ice Cream. You can see they use a lot of anchor text on this page (everything in blue). Every one of their anchor links has alt tags that reference the title of one of their Wiki pages. You can see in the example, the article references the word “sweeteners” but when you hover over the word you can see that the alt tag says, “sugar substitutes”. If you click the link, it takes you to Wiki’s page about “Sugar Substitutes.” In this case sweeteners sounded better in the sentence (to humans) but the Google Bots saw, “sugar substitutes.”

Partial Match Anchor Text

Partial match anchor text is when just one word or a portion of your anchor text phrase contains your keyword (rather than the entire thing) or the targeted keywords are all there, but not in order.

Let’s take sugar substitutes as our example again.

Direct Match:sugar substitutes” the keywords match exactly.

Phrase Match:icecream sugar substitutes” the exact keywords are used in a phrase with the word icecream.

Partial Match:find a substitutes for your sugar” both words are there but they are out of order.

Partial Match:ingredients include sugar” one of the keywords is in the anchor text phrase.

SEOmoz did a ranking factor study that showed partial matches were significantly more power and had more correlation between the number of partial match anchor text than exact match anchor text. With statements like that, partial match anchor text may be well worth considering.

Here is SEOmoz’s video explaining more about Partial Match Anchor Text vs. Exact Match Anchor Text

Dos and Don’ts of Anchor Text

  • Do use anchor text to point to other pages on your site or relevant external sites.
  • Don’t use anchor text just because you can. It’s a helpful way to point your visitors to relevant information without losing the flow of your sentence.
  • Do select keywords relevant to your site’s content.
  • Do not link to words like “click here.”
  • Do lower your bounce rate by using anchor text to help your visitor find other relevant information on your own website.
  • Don’t encourage your visitors to leave by linking to a lot of external pages. Keep external page links limited and try to focus them lower on the page. Use TARGET=’_blank’ to open a link in a new browser window when appropriate.
  • Don’t try and fool your visitors by linking to something they weren’t expecting.
Leave a Reply

Organic SEO

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Pay Per Click Management (PPCM)