What Is An Anchor Text? A Complete Guide

In this post we are going to be talking to you about Anchor Text.
What Is An Anchor Test? A Complete Guide

What Is An Anchor Text? A Complete Guide

What is anchor text, and how is it going to improve your rankings in the search engines?

So what is anchor text?

Anchor text is the text inside of a link on the web, so anything between those A tags.

If you know what HTML is or if you're using a WYSIWYG, or what you see is what you get, or a visual editor inside of WordPress.

It's the link that's highlighted or a different color.

That is what link text or anchor text is, so the actual words that you are linking on.

So what does anchor text have to do with SEO?

Well, before we get into the SEO aspects, it's essential to realize that anchor text is critical for user experience and for accessibility reasons. That's part of the reason why it's driven such a big part of the Google algorithm.

Because often, people will say SEO will follow user experience. And this case, it definitely does.

So what do links have to do with user experience?

Well, it's really important when you are quickly browsing a site to be able to find the links you're looking for.

Let's give a good example.

Let's say you're trying to find the About Us page on a website.

Do you want to hear something that says click here if you're quickly browsing to read about us? And if click here were the anchor text, would that be easy to find? Or would it be easier to find if it said read about us, and then about us was the anchor text?

So a quick glance-- which one are you able to find quicker, click here or about us? It's pretty obvious it's about us.

So really, that's what drove Google to encourage people to start linking on actual keywords, as opposed to the click here kind of more generic words.

So really, when it comes to user experience, you want to have descriptive link text about what you are linking to and when it comes to accessibility-- same thing.

Think about someone who's visually impaired or someone who is blind on your website.

They're going to have a screen reader reading them off the links as they attempt to navigate your site.

If you have a bunch of clicks here or read more links for everything and nondescript text, you're a jerk.

Think about it from their perspective.

They're going to hear ten times, click here, click here, click here, click here.

Not one of those things helps them find what they're trying to link to.

So honestly, as silly as it might sound to think about accessibility when you're writing your site, it is so frickin' important because those users are important.

But even more important is going to be Google, for you, probably as a business owner. And Google cares about accessibility, whether you do or not.

So I encourage you to think about accessibility for those users.

But if you don't, think about it for Google and your business, and use those best practices.

OK, so let's go back to the SEO side of things again, the thing you probably care most about, and how does anchor text kind of fit in with SEO.

So one of the things that Google is going to be doing is when you link to something, they want to learn about what you are linking to based on the words that you use when you're linking to it.

So, for example, going back to our About Us. If you are now linking on the term about us, they know the page you're linking to is about you, about your blog, right?

Whereas clicking here, they have no idea what it is without first going to that site.

So think of it just like your for your users, you want to give the descriptive, obvious text to Google, right?

So it's the same kind of concept.

When it comes to best practices for links, Google actually talks about these in their SEO starter guide, which we're going to link to in the blog post.

But it's very important when you kind of are doing SEO for Google that you listen to Google.

That might sound counter-intuitive or silly, but Google will actually tell you what they want you to do.

In this case, one of the things they said is used descriptive text.

So again, that keeps coming back to that example. They specifically say, do not use text like click here. And they want you to use text, again, like about us-- what the page is about.

They also want you to use short, concise words when you're linking.

So you don't want to link on an entire paragraph or an entire sentence.

They want you to link one to two or a few words.

Again, thinking back to user experience, that screenreader. Do you want the computer to read you an entire paragraph for you to figure out what you're about to click to? Or do you just want it to say, about us?

So please, be nice to your users.

Don't try to keyword stuff inside of your anchor text. That's not best practice by Google. Another thing that they tell you to do is make sure that your links are obvious. And that's more of a visual or a theme thing.

So in your theme, make sure your links are either underlined or a different color than the rest of your text.

Don't have them blend in with the rest of your text.

Kind of an obvious one, but a lot of people will do that because maybe they don't like a really bright blue link, right? But that's great for the user. They want to be able to spot it quickly.

So Google finds that much more preferable.

And then finally, the best piece of advice they give is to think about anchor text for your internal links.

So many people, when they think of links and SEO, think about people linking to your site externally. Sure, external links are super important, but internal links are almost more important, especially when it comes to anchor text.

The reason why is because you have full control over the anchor text when you are linking to your site.

You are the author, in this case, not a third party linking to you.

If you have direct control, do things right.

Don't do it the incorrect way, which might end up happening once people link to you. And don't worry about the stuff you can't control. This is something you can, and that's what Google is telling you to focus on.

So those four pieces of advice when it comes to linking are basically what we live by.

So if you do kind of listen to other SEO experts, and go to other websites that are not named Google when you're trying to follow SEO advice, that's fine.

Just keep in mind they're going to be giving you kind of some interesting advice a lot when it comes to anchor text.

Something we've seen as we kind of browse around the internet or listen around to the other SEO experts they talk about four different types of links that you should have to your site, partial and exact matches.

Generic is things like click here. And then naked, which is just the URL itself. So I guess really five if you're going to count those generic ones.

And they actually tell you to kind of do a mix of them is what you're going to hear. So what is partial?

Let's say the blog posts we're trying to go after right now is this blog post that we're talking about, right?

What is anchor text? In this case, the keyword would be what anchor text is, right? But a partial match on that might just be the word anchor text or link, something that's like a similar term.

So that's what a partial match is, linking on something that's not the exact keyword but close enough.

Exact would be literally linking on the phrase, what is anchor text to this blog post? It's a little more challenging to do right.

And then again, as I was saying before, generic would be linking purposely on the term, click here.

Like not doing it by accident, which you probably have done, but going out of your way to do that. And then branded is now let's say instead of linking on what is anchor text, you link on the brand itself.

So branded would be Mediavine in this case. So linking on the article as Mediavine.

Now the insanity is you're going to hear some other SEO experts will tell you to do a variety of all those kinds of links.

We're going to flat out tell you do not do branded or generic.

Google flat out tells you not to do it, so we're going to give you that same advice. It is a bad user experience.

The advice they're kind of giving you is when there are external links pointing to your site, and Google wants to see a variety of those to make sure you're not doing unnatural linking.

Unnatural linking means you bought links.

If you bought links, chances are someone went on a forum, they spammed a bunch of forum pages with that same link to your site.

So Google's looking-- is this person being a spammer, right?

That's what they're trying to do.

And in that case, you might end up seeing a heavy variety on exact keywords, right? So you might see what anchor text is linked to this article a million times on the internet is. That's not natural.

When I link within my own post to this post, you're going to see my link on a variety of terms, anchor text, link text, whatever it may be, whatever is going to fit more naturally into that sentence.

You're probably never going to see me talk like a robot and link; what is anchor text? And that's fine.

That's actually how we would encourage you to link anyway, a match of kind of those exact and partial.

Just do a little variety of the two of those, and you'll be fine.

Definitely try to avoid the generic and the kind of branded approaches. And definitely don't even do naked.

That's not even a link you should ever be worried about.

Again, those three are really more about your external links, and that's something, again, you can't control.

So don't hyper-focus on those.

Listen to Google.

Focus on your internal links, good, clear, concise anchor text, and you'll be fine. Basically, that's our mantra for SEO. Relax, do what Google says. Don't over-think it.

So thank you, guys. That's kind of our intro to anchor text.

What Is An Anchor Text? A Complete Guide What Is An Anchor Text? A Complete Guide Reviewed by Admin on March 22, 2020 Rating: 5

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