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!
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.
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.
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.
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.