Anchor Text Definition: The anchor text is the text part of a hyperlink. This is the text that a user of the website will see in their browser and what they will click on to follow the link.
In the rest of the article, we are going to look at the best practices for anchor text, learn about exact match anchor text as well as some manipulations of it, and find out how search engines like Google want to see anchor text types distributed.
Search engines and users alike generally want to see anchor text that describes the content that is being linked to in some way. For example, simply having anchor text that says “Click Here” or even just “click” is considered poor practice because it gives others no information on what is on the other end of the link without further context.
Exact match anchor text is that which is designed to boost the exact keywords that the owner of the page being linked to wants to target in search engines.
For example, if this page was having backlinks built to it and the main goal was to get organic search engine traffic for the title, the backlinks would use the anchor text, “what is anchor text in SEO.” This could be done within the flow of a sentence, but it is still an exact match anchor text if the string is intact and in full in the link.
Although it may seem intuitive to target the exact keywords you want and have already optimized your pages for to use as anchor text in your backlinks, this can eventually have a negative effect if used too much.
Google’s spam filter can pick up on this because it would not be likely for fully natural backlinks across multiple websites to all use the same anchor text, especially if said anchor text is clearly beneficial to the receiving site’s SEO.
There are a number of ways in which anchor texts can be manipulated for blackhat SEO. It is advisable to avoid these since search engines do attempt to figure them out and will eventually penalize your site for it.
Some of these methods are even used maliciously by competitors of websites to hurt their reputations by making it look like the owners are engaging in them. This is known as “negative SEO.”
Targeted anchor text backlinks happen when the owners of websites or the SEO companies they hire create a high number of backlinks with highly targeted anchor texts with the express purpose of increasing search engine ranking, usually by using exact match anchor text.
Keyword stuffed anchor text is that which tries to include as many keywords as possible in the anchor text of the hyperlink in order to get the target page ranking for a very high number of potential combinations of search terms.
Spam anchor text, rather than trying to target relevant keywords, has no relation to either the sending or the receiving site, and is used to just get clicks with anchor text that is known to be successful, like “buy viagra.”
Even though search engines make their desired practices clear, ironically, the best way to ensure a successful backlink profile when it comes to anchor text is to ensure a variation of types that mimics what one would expect naturally – including naked URLs, a variety of keyword combinations, and some generic anchor texts.