SEO is like a puzzle. There are dozens of little pieces that need to come together in order to make your page rank higher. It all counts - the keywords, titles, images, links, design, loading speed and so much more. So, to outrank your competitors and stand out from the rest, you need to make all the pieces of the puzzle highly optimized. One such piece, that is often neglected, is the anchor text.
Anchor text, when optimized, can improve your ranking. All you need to do is learn how to make it more powerful and search engine-friendly. Below, we’ll explain what anchor text is and how to optimize it like a pro. Let’s get started.
(Image Source: Pexels)
First things first, let’s define anchor text and explain what it is.
Anchor text is a highlighted and underlined piece of your text, that is clickable and leads to a page. Simply put, it’s a link designed to fit into the text, without corrupting the text quality.
A regular clickable link looks like this:
But, you don’t want your readers to be seeing that. Instead, you can use the right anchor text and turn it into something natural and integrate it with the rest of the content- like building a content calendar.
Link building is a huge deal for SEO and anchor text is a huge deal for link building. Why? Because Google not only pays attention to the links you place in your content, but it also cares for the text you use for a link, when and how you use it, and how it fits the rest of the text.
If your anchor text is just keywords stuffed to boost your ranking, Google will penalize you. Plus, the reader probably won’t click the link if the anchor text is unnatural or ambiguous.
On the other hand, if you use the right anchor text, here’s what you gain:
- readers know what to expect when they click, so they’re more willing to do it
- Google algorithms recognize your text as valuable and informative and boost your ranking
So, it’s important to learn what it takes to optimize a link just enough to satisfy the average reader and Google algorithms.
There are different types of anchor text that you can use to optimize your page completely. Below is a list of the most important ones that you should be aware of.
- Exact match: exact words as the keywords you’re targeting for the page e.g. free copywriting course
- Partial match: combines the keyword with other words e.g. free copywriting course application
- Branded anchor: contains the name of the brand e.g. Forbes Billionaires
- Generic: invites users to take action e.g. click this link
- LSI (Latent Semantic Index Keywords): predict what your target audience will type into the search bar e.g. how to use anchor text
- Naked: the entire web address copied to the content e.g. https://udemy.com/blog/best-copywriting-courses/.
The last three types are generally frowned upon because they can be disruptive or feel unnatural to the reader. However, you can use them scarcely if you find a way to make them as natural as possible.
Anchor text optimization is an important skill to master. That is why we’ve prepared this list of the most important optimization steps that you need to apply every time.
The link is an integral part of your text, something your page visitors initially came to your website for. So, the anchor text shouldn't have any impact on the text quality.
But, if you don’t make it sound natural, you’ll discredit yourself. Let’s compare:
But, you need to make sure you know how to optimize your meta titles as well, or else...
But, you need to make sure you know how to optimize your meta title so click here to learn all about it.
This is one of the most common mistakes you can see online- the anchor placement is unnatural and it doesn't flow with the rest of the text. You can find a write my paper service to help optimize the text flow and ensure there’s nothing that sounds strange in your content.
Keywords are important for SEO but Google has a very strict policy when it comes to anchor text keywords. Their Penguin algorithm scans your text to find keyword-heavy anchors. If you place the same or similar keywords in too many of your anchors, Google will penalize you. In fact, Google sees over-optimizing as one of the top 5 counterproductive SEO strategies.
So, try to use different keywords and only place them in a small number of selected anchors to avoid keyword stuffing. You can use a keyword finder to determine what keywords are most important and should be included.
Your anchor text should be 2-5 words long and clearly indicate what the linked page is about. Anything longer than 5 words would be too much to the average reader and Google may recognize it as spammy.
To make sure you're doing it right, try eliminating all unnecessary words and ask yourself- is there a more accurate or concise way to say this? Here's an example:
Keep in mind that rules of SEO are the same for everyone.
Keep in mind that the rules for performing SEO properly are the same for everyone.
If this feels like a difficult job, you can find yourself a writer online and have them write it for you. You can also practice conciseness in writing with a friend or a colleague.
(Image Source: Pexels )
Imagine this- your page visitor is reading your text and sees the anchor text. They click expecting it to lead to another page of their interest. Instead, they wound up somewhere completely different.
The result? They feel tricked.
Google is also going to check link relevancy to see if your anchor text truly matches the content it is linking to. To ensure it does, try to describe the target page as much as possible in your anchor text. This, combined with how relevant the page you’re linking to is to your page, will play a role in your ranking.
It’s important to mix things up, especially when your page contains a lot of backlinks. If all of your anchor texts are of the same type, Google might see it as over-optimizing and penalize you.
You want to create a combination that will make them all sound more natural and avoid irritating your readers.
Every individual piece of anchor text on your page needs to be unique and different from the rest. You don't want to repeat it since it will be considered spammy or keyword stuffing. Google will penalize you and your rank tracker will signalize a decrease in rankings.
So, instead of repeating the same keyword or anchor text combination, mix it up:
copywriting course 🡪 copywriting training, copywriting education, lecture about copywriting
This way, you'll keep your content dynamic and the Google algorithms will be satisfied.
Your anchor text needs to be written wisely to ensure the algorithms and the readers are happy. But, you also need to make sure the surrounding text is optimized as well.
According to Google, the text that surrounds your link and anchor text will be taken into consideration when assessing the overall relevancy and matching of the user's intent.
So, if your anchor text isn’t a keyword, consider placing one nearby. Or, provide as much context as possible to ensure the users and the algorithms know exactly what the link is about and what to expect on the page they’ll open.
This way, you’re providing maximum anchor text efficiency and staying on the right side in the eyes of Google.
No matter how badly you want to use the best keywords you found in your anchor text, sometimes it's just impossible to do it naturally. So, instead of forcing it and ending up with something that sounds strange, just choose the next best natural keyword and place that instead.
Here’s what we mean:
We know it’s hard to find the best copywriter LA, but...
Instead, just use:
the best copywriter in LA
and you’ll still end up with solid results.
Optimizing anchor text for SEO may sound tricky at first. We’ll admit, it’s a handful of work, especially if you’re placing a lot of links on the same page. But, with the right guidance and determination, you’ll master this skill. Then, you’ll be able to apply it to all your future anchors.
Hopefully, the guide we’ve put together helps you learn all about anchor text optimization and teaches you how to write them seamlessly. If it does - start optimizing your anchors today!