All About the Anchor Text: What is It and How Should You Write It?

Links are bridges that let you hop from one webpage to another with a simple click. Sometimes, the URL is included in the text, but more often, they're neatly wrapped in what we call “anchor text” to make the reading experience seamless.

In this article, we’ll discuss anchor text — why it matters, and how to use it to supercharge your SEO game. 

Defining Anchor Text

Anchor text — aka link text — is the clickable text you see in a hyperlink on a web page. It tells you where the link will take you. Usually, anchor text pops up as blue underlined text on a web page unless you use different colors and styles using HTML or CSS.

When you've got images that work as links, Google looks at the alt text of those images as the link's anchor text.

Why do anchor texts matter? Consider the anchor text as a hint for both search engines and people. Search engines use the anchor text from other websites that link to yours as a signpost. It helps them figure out what your web pages are about, even if those specific words aren't in the text itself.

Having relevant and descriptive anchor text can boost your website's ranking on search engines. Plus, it makes the whole user experience smoother because people can see what they're clicking into.

You get to decide how descriptive your anchor text is. And remember, the more descriptive, the better. 

For instance, if you see "skincare routine" as the anchor text, you instantly know the linked page is all about routines and rituals for your skin. But if it just says "Click here," you’re not providing any clues about the linked page, not helping the search engines and your readers get what they're looking for.

SEOLeverage ensures your anchor texts are descriptive enough to provide relevancy signals to search engines like Google.

8 Types of Anchor Text

Before we explore the best practices for creating anchor texts, familiarize yourself with the different types first.

1) Branded

Branded anchor text is just the brand name as the link, with no extra words. It's handy for citing sources or taking folks straight to a website.

2) Brand + Keyword

This mix adds your brand name with an extra keyword or context. It helps users and search engines know the context.

3) Exact Match

An exact match anchor text uses the exact keyword the linked page targets. 

4) Partial Match Keywords

It’s just like an exact match but includes a keyword variation plus other words for context.

5) Related Keywords

This is like a partial match but without the actual keyword. It gives context without overloading on the same keyword.

6) Naked Link

A naked anchor text is just the URL itself as the anchor text. It’s usually seen as reference links at the end of articles. However, remember to use naked links sparingly, as they can clutter things up.

7) Generic

The generic anchor text is super basic as it does not contain keywords or hints. Readers need to check the surrounding text to get the context.

Examples are “Click Here” and “View More.”

Use generic text carefully, as it can look spammy and doesn't help users or search engines much.

8) Images

When an image acts as a link, its alt text is the anchor text. The alt text should be descriptive and not stuffed with keywords.

How to Write Anchor Texts: Best Practices

Check out these general guidelines for creating solid and relevant anchor text.

Write anchor texts that can stand alone.

Using exact match in your anchor text does a stellar job telling readers where that link will transport them. That's precisely why both Google and users are big fans of them.

By doing so, users instantly grasp what awaits them. They don't have to scan the surrounding text for clues. It's all about making navigation smoother for your readers.

Avoid over-optimizing your anchor text.

It's wise to include the target keyword you want a linked article to rank for in your anchor text. But don't use the exact match phrase for every single link.

Google might see it as too much and view it as over-optimization. While this doesn't often lead to penalties, Google might ignore those exact match links, missing out on valuable link equity.

Make it relevant to the page and surrounding text.

People who click on your links want to know where they're going. That's where relevant anchor text comes in. Both Google and your site visitors read it to understand what a webpage is all about. 

In addition, the words around your anchor text matter. Imagine you're reading an article, and you come across a link. You don't just glance at the anchor text; you read the whole sentence or paragraph to decide if it's worth clicking. 

So, when picking your anchor words, think natural — what fits best and makes sense?

Use anchor text variations.

When you're creating internal links to your own content and resources, think variety. Use different versions, like synonyms, and describe your content from various angles in those anchor texts. 

When it comes to outgoing links, never use the same anchor text for links on one page. This might raise some eyebrows with search engines like Google as they might look spammy. 

Keep things fresh by mixing up your anchor text while giving readers a clear idea of where that link is headed.

Anchor text acts like a guide for users and search engines in navigating the web. Keep your anchor text natural and relevant with SEOLeverage.