A chance for you to be honest — that clickable texts in a hyperlink, do you pay any attention to them, or do you randomly single out a group of texts and use them as anchor texts?
Best SEO practises demand that the anchor texts you choose must be relevant to that particular post or page it’s linking to, rather than a generic group of texts you singled out.
Blue is the standard color of anchor texts, but there’s no harm in changing its color to your preferred color of choice. You must also want to take note of the fact that the keywords in the anchor texts are among the signals that Google and other search engines use to determine what that particular web page or post is all about.
So What Exactly is Anchor Texts?
If you’ve ever tried linking your content to another piece of content on your website or from outside, then most probably you know what’s meant by the term anchor text.
Quite simply, it’s the highlighted part of a text that’s linked to another article or piece of content.
Anchor texts occur in links, as the visible and clickable text that will be linking to another article or page as specified by you.
In HTML, an anchor text appears like this:
OUR HOME PAGE
OUR HOME PAGE is the anchor text here. It’s the text that our readers will be clicking on to be directed to our home page.
Why are Anchor Texts Important?
There’ll always be a place for anchor texts in the world of content marketing so long as backlinks still play a crucial role in SEO. So learning about them is undoubtedly going to help you win big in terms of SEO.
Before the Penguin update, anchor texts were one of the ways Google could tell how relevant a particular web page or post was with regards to a specific search query.
But as time went, blackhat marketers would start to take advantage of the whole idea by spamming and over-optimizing their web content. So, as we speak, anchor text is one of the most natural ways Google can tell if you’re a spam site or not.
But that’s not to say that anchor texts are losing their SEO value. Not even remotely.
Their value might have dropped a little, but they’re something worth looking to if you’re working on optimizing your website for SEO.
Anchors Texts Before the Penguin Update
Before Penguin, there was so much value in sprinkling anchor texts all over a piece of article. You bulk up an article with anchors texts and your position in the SERPs drastically shoots up.
But search engines would soon realise the effect of this and make some necessary changes that would see to it that any site that pulls this trick on them would be severely penalized.
Some people would even use the same anchor texts for all their backlinks and still rank high for it. And then came the update.
Anchor Texts after the Penguin Update
The first Penguin update would see to it that the role of anchor texts in SEO take a 360. Link building was given a complete overhaul that would completely turn its game around.
Any site that had attempted to trick them by using low-quality backlinks or plastering anchor allover was marked as spammy and penalised for it.
You must be wondering how Google was able to determine if a particular website was cooking backlinks or spamming their way to the top of the SERPs.
A no brainer:
Anchor Texts were the First Giveaway.
It’s simple logic, a naturally written web page would NOT feature the same Anchor Text all through, NOT 100%. Say, you were to backlink your site using the anchor text “web designing in Singapore.” It would make sense if one or two of your backlinks feature the keyword, but if you were using the same anchor text five or more times, then it would be pretty obvious that there was something fishy going on with you.
The Penguin made Google smart enough to analyse anchor texts to determine whether or NOT that particular webpage should be penalized.
This was nothing complicated compared to the other changes made at the time.
This is critical as your site is likely to suffer the same penalty should you try to over-optimize your website for on-site SEO as we speak.
How Penguin Parses Backlinks
Penguin has to analyse the backlinks you place on your site to determine where you fall in the ranking ladder. And this is precisely how they go about it:
i. You write your content and backlink a few of the anchor texts.
ii. Google goes ahead to index the backlinks, but that’s NOT where it ends.
iii. The new backlinks you created will be entered into their database for that specific website for some serious link profiling.
iv. The same procedure is repeated with every new backlink that appears on your site, and the trend continues.
The next stage is the most important of all.
After your link has been analysed and profiled, the next thing that search engines do is compare it to your on-site optimization for that particular keyword.
So if the site that you’re linking to is optimized for something else other than the keyword in your anchor text, then Google will automatically mark you as a spam site and penalize you for it.
For instance, say your anchor text is “online marketing in Singapore,” but the content you’re linking to is talking about Green Tea, Google will automatically conclude that’s a spam page and reward you by dropping you further down in the SERPs.
It’s effortless for Google to tell if a particular backlink is forced. And when they do, all your attempts to rank are flushed down the drain.
The point is to both write and backlink naturally. Meaning, it’s NOT necessarily a must for you to run onsite SEO for every single piece of content you publish.
Again, the keyword you use doesn’t have to exactly match the keywords you’re optimizing on that particular webpage. So if the article you’re writing is about “the art of content marketing in Singapore” and it just so happens that the anchor text you’re using is an exact match, then Google will mark it as a spam site and penalize you for it.
Not all anchor texts are the same. And the key to creating a more natural anchor text profile begins with you understanding the different types of anchor texts.
As the name suggests, branded anchors feature the name of your brand. In our case, it’s an equivalent of featuring mediaonemarketing in an anchor text that we use.
Branded anchors are the safest of all the types of anchor texts. They’re particularly important if you have a branded domain name that you’d wish to mention in an article
They’re however NOT safe if they’re precisely matching your domain name — just like we aren’t allowed to link to our home page with mediaonemarketing as the anchor text. You might want to read the latter part of this article to learn more about this.
Generic anchors encapsulate random call-to-action texts such as click here, visit our website, follow the link, and so forth.
For instance, to direct you to another page that has the information you need, we may be forced to use the term click here in a sentence. So it becomes, click here to read more about…
“Click here” is a generic anchor in this case.
Naked link anchors
Naked link anchors are posted as links and NOT texts. You have the links linking to themselves. For instance, to link to our homepage, we might find it fit to just provide our link www.mediaonemarketing.com.sg.
This is a naked link directing our site’s visitors to our homepage.
No Text Anchors
This is a new trick that will not be landing you in any trouble with Google. Instead of providing an anchor text, you simply fill up the space with something else. This could be an image, a tag, or you could just leave it blank.
Or better use the text ‘no text.’
Brand + Keyword Anchors
This is another safe trick you could pull to build a more natural anchor profile. It’s the same trick we used while picking a name for our agency.
We’re a marketing firm that could have done just fine with the name MediaOne, but we purposefully chose to add the word marketing at the end.
Now when we combine our brand name with a keyword; what we get is a brand + keyword anchor.
For instance, we may decide to use something like mediaonemarketing SEO tactics. This anchor text has our brand name and keyword, which makes it a brand + keyword anchor.
Latent Semantic Indexing better acronymned as LSI represents all the keywords that are nothing but a variation of your primary keyword.
To find an LSI to your main keyword, enter the keyword into Google and scroll to the bottom of the pages. All the LSI variations to the keyword will be provided there.
Partial Match Anchors
Partial match anchors are almost similar to LSI, save for the part where you’re the one creating the variations instead of relying on tools.
They’re considered the most natural way of creating anchor texts, which makes them way safer than LSI’s and other types of anchors.
Exact Match Anchors
These are the most powerful and sensitive of all the anchors on the list. They can tremendously propel your rank in the SERPs — and at the same time, they can easily earn you a penalty. So you’re expected to be extra careful while working them into a piece of article.
By exact match what is meant is that you’re using your target keyword as your anchor text. Happens when your anchor text matches your target keyword to a T.
Keyword Relevancy or Anchor Text Co-occurrence
Instead of using keyword rich texts in the anchor texts you create, why not use them concurrently to create some relevancy around them.
Search engines simply check backlinks for relevancy before determining where to rank you. So why NOT serve it directly to them in a way that’s more natural.
Simple, find a way to use your target keyword and the anchor text you’re using in the same sentence. Bonus point if you can move the keyword closer enough to the anchor text.
Example 1: For Generic Anchors
The anchor text: Click here
Target Keywords: SEO in Singapore.
Sentence: To learn more about SEO in Singapore, click here.
Example 2: For Branded Anchors
The Anchor Text: Mediaonemarketing
Target Keyword: Link Building.
You can learn more about link building by contacting Mediaonemarketing today.
Example 3: For Naked Link Anchors
Target keyword: web development companies in Singapore
Here are the top web development companies in Singapore: https://mediaonemarketing.com.sg/top-web-development-companies-singapore/.
Branded Anchor Texts
Google is more concerned about the overall well being of your site. They want you to put in the work and grow your brand.
They’re interested in this as it makes their work easier. Come to think of it, if all the websites that exist offered quality and were relevant enough to serve online users with what they need , then Google wouldn’t see the need to analyse individual websites for quality.
But since people can’t be trusted, they have devised a way to tell apart a site that qualifies to be a “brand” from a pool of spam sites.
They simply check your webpage for branded anchors, and should it turn out that they’re above 70%, then it will be officially marked as spam.
I bet you’re surprised by the amount of weight anchor texts carry. Most people are, and the more you get to learn and understand the finer details of SEO, the more you’ll be shocked by the trivial discoveries.
With these details, you should be able to make the necessary calibration to your overall content marketing strategy or figure out what you’ve been doing wrong.
For more info concerning anchor texts or help in optimizing them for SEO, kindly reach out to us today with your query, and we’ll be glad to help.