Anchor text is the text that contains a clickable link on a webpage. This is anchor text. Anchor text requires thought and attention in link building and is something that should be looked at through a data driven lens. In this article we will highlight different types of commonly used anchors, how to create your own anchor text data specific to your niche, and what the future of anchor text will be. Enjoy!
Different Types of Anchor Text
Branded Anchor Text
Branded anchor text uses the exact name of your business. i.e. Mad Mango Marketing
Exact match anchor texts use the exact target keyword of the page it is linking to as the anchor text. i.e. Search Engine Optimization Services
Similar to the exact match anchor text, partial match includes the target keyword of the page it is linking to but it is mixed along with other words. i.e. Website Menus impact on SEO
Naked anchor texts use the exact URL of the target page as the anchor text. i.e. https://www.madmangomarketing.com/
Long-tail anchors are longer than partial match anchor texts and contain more words/phrases that are relevant to the target keyword. i.e. Average Price of Search Engine Optimization
Generic anchor texts use generic words or phrases. i.e. here, read more, learn more
Latent Semantic Index keywords or "LSI"
LSI is the name of the method that search engines use to predict what users will type into the search bar. LSI is what happens when I type in “What is Search Engine” and Google populates guesses as to what the rest of my query will be. The benefit is debatable to say the least.
These are some of the common names you will read or hear about as you familiarize yourself with SEO. At the end of the day, creating anchor text that tells the user what to expect when they click a link to any page, internal or external, is the best approach.
Build Your Own Data
Do not rely on aggregated data from around the web if you can avoid it. Instead, use software like ahrefs to analyze your closest competition. This will make your research much clearer and impactful for your specifically desired rankings.
Ahrefs will show you the exact percentage split that your competition uses. Search for the terms you want to rank for and put the link of the ranking page into “site explorer”. Look at the spread that they have and mark how many fall into each of the categories above. This is in no way a guarantee, but it more likely than not shows what Google will tolerate & rank.
The more competition, the less webpages you will need to compare due to a higher link count. If you are in a service space many of your competitors may not even have a backlink to a ranking page.
What to do if you are local?
Local businesses should be most focused on local links. These rarely present the opportunity to dictate how your link is placed. Luckily, what the data shows to work the best are Branded and Naked anchor text. This makes sense from a user and search engine point of view when pointing to your homepage so keep all links pointing here Branded or Naked.
For your content and service pages you should take the advice above if you are engaging in a link building campaign that goes past your local area.
Does Anchor Text Optimization Have a Future?
Search engines are getting crazy intuitive! It would make sense that someday soon Google would discard obviously built links with questionable anchor text (especially exact match). The issue lies in the fact that people will always need to refer to off site content when they don’t have the time or expertise to explain or present a concept. A backlink is giving credit, that will never go away. This ambiguity means other metrics need to be taken into account like the value of the content on the rest of the site, site traffic, and even the backlink profile of the site itself.
For the foreseeable future, anchor text will still be a variable considered when ranking your page or site.
If you are looking to dip your toe in the water experimenting with anchor text the first thing you should do is learn the percentage split your competitors are using and match that. Once you have this base established, let Google get used to reading your site like this for a couple months and start making adjustments favoring one type of anchor text over another. Compare quarters at a time if you are in a site with low traffic and months at a time for higher visited sites. Find what works for your site, monitor and adjust slowly.
If you are interested in starting an SEO campaign for your site, or considering hiring a professional SEO agency, you may find yourself wondering how to structure your site’s menu. This is something you should absolutely address and fully think through before any content creation begins. If you just start hucking up content without giving your site layout any thought you could end up with a lot of things you need to move around or reorganize at a later date.
In this blog, we will explain some basic steps to help you select a menu layout for your website. Most websites will follow this order:
The first thing you will want to do, as with any SEO endeavor, is to see what the leaders in your industry are doing. If Google is giving a site a #1 listing for a money word in your industry, odds are Google likes this page and website as a whole.
Visit 3-5 sites for each main keyword you want to rank for. Look at how they have their menu laid out. Is it easy to get around? Are you able to find what you need? Do they break up their menu by products, services, service areas? All 3? Or something more unique?
This step may be best served if you have a pen and paper nearby so you can write down the structure of these highly performing sites and look at them all together to pick up trends.
In this step we are less worried about pages like “contact us” or “about us” as these should be on every site's main menu.
While you are writing out the layouts of these sites you may start to notice a pyramid type structure, reflecting the “levels” mentioned above. This is done on purpose.
Your home page should touch on everything you do (level 1). The pages in the menu fall under that (level 2). When you click on a page like “our products'', odds are this page has links to more pages that expand on these products (level 3). On these individual pages you may find links to blogs or content they have put out (level 4) that supplement what is discussed on this product page.
Most well made, SEO sites will have this pyramid-type structure where the pages below expand on a section of the page above.
2. Think like your users
This step is at the heart of all SEO work and all search engines. SEO work and search engines exist to help users find what they need. Are your customers B2B? Are you dealing with the public? B2B businesses will benefit from loading up their pages with hard numbers and facts because their site visitors are high intention and care about the details. If you sell a product to the general public, easy access to beautiful imagery or product reviews will be way more useful.
Just because the sites we researched in step one are laid out a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t find a better way to convey information to your customers. Think how can I copy these leaders but do an even better job.
3. Keyword research
The next step now that we have our competitor research done and a plan based around user intention is to identify which keywords you want each page to rank for. For the pages in the level 2 you want to shoot for high volume/high intent keywords like “toilet installation” if you are a plumber, for your page about your bathroom work. You are going to want to include this keyword on your page a few times and in a header or two. You will also want to sprinkle some synonyms to this keyword so Google doesn’t think you are keyword stuffing.
The pages underneath this “toilet installation” page (level 3 & 4) should have much more specific keywords. Maybe you install 5 brands of toilets that you know are the best around. Your toilet installation page (level 2) should mention these brands and then link to a page (level 3) about this brand and their model toilets. For these pages we can shoot for keywords with lower volume like “(brand name) toilet installation”. We can later create a blog (level 4) along the lines of “common issues with (brand name) toilets” which will feed the beast we are building at level 2.
The key here is to have a keyword focus for each page and have the lower pages link upwards to signal relevance and complete knowledge of this product or service.
Start writing! Most web builders offer a simple interface to update your site’s menu. Google will be crawling your site from the top down so you will want to spend your time in accordance with this.
Don’t just throw up paragraphs and think you’re done. Stylize these pages so that they flow with a mixture of words, images, videos & more. Make your page easy on the eyes and break up your copy to make it less intimidating, especially if you’re in a B2C space.
Establishing a clear pyramid of pages is going to make Google and the other search engines love your site because it makes it easy to crawl. Use pages on levels 3 & 4 as a vehicle to add longtail keywords to your level 2 pages. Your level 1 and level 2 pages are always going to have the easiest time ranking and drive the most business so start creating lower level content to support these money making pages today!
All blogs are written by our incredible staff here at Mad Mango Marketing. Your Connecticut SEO, App Development, and Online Advertising experts.