Anchor Text SEO: ALL YOU NEED to learn in 2018

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional
13 min read

There’s a lot of conflicting information regarding anchor text on the market.

One site orders you to focus as heavily on your own keywords as possible.

Another orders you to stay as a long way away from any type of anchor text and backlinks as you possibly can.

And another says anchor text doesn’t matter.

What are you currently likely to believe?

Knowing what anchor text can enhance your SEO strategy isn’t always easy – particularly when you’ve got a dozen conflicting messages attempting to tell you how to proceed.

But in 2018, it’s necessary to optimize your anchor text to attract more attention from se’s.

To give you a hand, let’s begin from the beginning.

Here’s what anchor text is, how it can help (or hurts) SEO, and what that can be done to help keep it optimized.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text may be the clickable words that come in place of a web link.

For example, this is anchor text.

Anchor text enables you to add links inside your content contextually. In addition, it gives readers – and se’s – an improved indication of what they’ll find on the far side of the link.

The anchor text usually relates back again to keywords linked to the contents of the hyperlink.

However, not absolutely all anchor text is established equally.

Let’s check out the different forms of anchor text you will probably find online.

Exact Match

An exact match anchor text is once the anchor text directly matches what or phrases linked to the link’s contents.

Here’s a good example of anchor text in a article.

anchor text in post

If the writer was hoping to focus on the keyword “chatbots,” this might be a precise match.

Partial Match

A partial anchor text match appears whenever your targeted keyword is at the anchor text, but it’s no exact match.

Check out this example.

series on guest posting anchor text

Say the marketer’s targeted keyword was “guest posting.”

Using “a string on guest posting” isn’t a precise match, nonetheless it does still are the keyword.

This means it’s still targeting the keyword you’re attempting to rank for, nonetheless it seems more natural.


Branded anchor text is once the anchor text features the business or individual’s name.

Here’s a good example.

branded anchor text

This kind of anchor text is generally used when you’re linking to a company’s homepage.


Usually, anchor text is somewhat hidden within this content.

However, generic anchor text typically sticks out and is actually a web link.

Here’s a good example.

generic anchor text

This sort of anchor text usually associates with a proactive approach.

Generic anchor text can be sometimes called “natural” anchor text.


Images may also be anchor text.

This text occurs once you click on a graphic, also it brings you to a web link.

However, the specific anchor text linked to the image may be the alt text that you include.

LSI Keywords

LSI keywords, or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, are words or phrases that closely keep company with the keywords you’re attempting to target.

These may be different names for exactly the same principle or product, or other keywords closely related.

Here’s a good example.

LSI keywords anchor text

The keyword “micro-influencers” relates to influencer marketing, without having to be a partial match.

Blog Title/Post Title

When the name of the anchor text you’re linking to may be the name of your blog title, page title, or content title, that is simply called Post Title anchor text.

Check out this example.

post anchor text

Like the example, this type of anchor text usually appears when marketing a training course, referencing a particular post, or revealing a full page.

Naked URLs

A naked URL doesn’t have any anchor text at all.

Instead, it’s only a link to a full page featured on your own site.

Naked URLs may support the “www” or could just be “”

Here’s a good example from Sprout Social.

naked URL anchor text

The anchor text because of this link may be the link itself.

This can still interest keywords because subdomains typically include keywords.

They may also interest branded keywords, like the company name in the domain.

How does anchor text influence SEO?

Anchor text helps internet search engine crawlers and readers identify what the contents of the hyperlink contain.

As a lot more websites connect to a specific page with various types of anchor text, the internet search engine can begin to obtain a better notion of what sort of content the website provides.

In a means, anchor text is similar to a keyword that others use to spell it out your articles.

However, it isn’t not difficult to just use anchor text directly linked to the keyword you’re attempting to rank in serach engines for.

In days gone by, Google relied heavily on anchor text.

Unfortunately, this allowed marketers, writers, and webmasters to accomplish something called “Google Bombing.”

This resulted in pages ranking for keywords that weren’t linked to the content that has been appearing.

The most well-known example of that is in 2007 whenever a seek out “miserable failure” would result in articles about President George Bush.

In fact, now once you search “miserable failure,” you obtain results concerning the Google Bomb.

google bomb search result

Google taken care of immediately this error in anchor text with the Penguin Update, that they launched in 2012.

Like most updates, the internet search engine released Penguin to greatly help identify spammy listings and take them off from their rankings.

There are two particular triggers for Penguin.

First, links that appear to be purchased, producing a amount of similar links appearing on low-quality websites round the same time.

Second, links that may actually use keyword stuffing.

This stuffing implies that if your anchor text matches your keywords too directly, it could penalize you.

Julie Joyce from LinkFishMedia described anchor text’s importance to SEO by saying, “A niche site which has 75% exact match anchors must look unnatural… when I overdo it also it works, it doesn’t stick.”

The idea is that when an internet site is linking to your articles naturally, it’ll work with a more diverse keyword.

While keyword stuffing can help you obtain results quickly, any change in ranking is only going to be wiped away when Google discovers this plan.

So, in the event that you can’t connect to the keywords that you’re attempting to target, how in the event you use anchor text to boost your SEO?

Let’s have a look.

How to optimize anchor text for SEO in 2018?

When attempting to control your anchor text, there’s one thing you would like to remember – relevance.

To show Google your anchor text and link isn’t black-hat, you should prove it’s natural – even though it really is strategic.

Let’s have a look at ways to do that.

1. Only include links when anchor text fits naturally.

One of the largest reasons Penguin was initially introduced was to avoid site owners from adding anchor text simply for SEO purposes.

This means they’re on high alert for anchor text that doesn’t look like it fits.

With the Penguin Update, sites who over-optimized their anchor text saw severe penalties that hurt their website traffic.

To avoid this, you need each anchor text you include to match naturally within this content.

For anchor text to be SEO friendly, it must be succinct and relevant.

You want your anchor text to spell it out the contents of the hyperlink as accurately as you possibly can in as few words as you possibly can.

Here’s how:

accurate anchor text matches URL

Using the anchor text “take up a blog” then links right to a page about how exactly to start out a blog.

It’s direct, to the stage, and only features three words.

However, additionally you want to stay away from a precise match to your keyword normally as you possibly can.

Are you confused?

You don’t need to be.

When attempting to decide what things to use for anchor text, think about what section of your sentence might spark your reader’s interest probably the most.

For example, when there is a statistic in your sentence, this might be considered a great spot to include your anchor text.

Check out this example from the Kissmetrics article.

statistic in anchor text

Both readers and internet search engine will know you’re linking back again to that site since it backs up your claim – not because you’re attempting to stuff results for that keyword.

The same idea pertains to quotes.

As mentioned, anchor text ought to be direct also to the idea.

If you’re linking to a whole quote, normally, this is much too miss anchor text.

Instead, make your anchor text the individual’s name or the resource you pulled the quote from like Oro Inc does with this blog.

named anchor text

Here, we’ve two items of anchor text.

First, her name is anchor text pointing the reader to her Twitter. Second, there’s anchor text pushing the reader to Kate’s blog.

Again, this may show that you’re using that connect to support your computer data or claims.

Relevance can be crucial for anchor text and links.

First, the anchor text you decide to display on your own website will influence what Google believes your page is approximately.

While it’s okay to possess a few links that could seem out of context to search engines, you want the majority of your anchor text to be inside your industry.

If you’re in the finance industry and suddenly you have anchor text about baking cakes, this may be considered a red flag to Google and Penguin.

When adding links and anchor text, first think if it’s necessary.

Does it provide value and help to make your argument stronger?

Or are you currently just attempting to squeeze in another connect to meet some imaginary quota?

Don’t add links simply for the objective of adding links.

Instead, work links into your articles as naturally as you possibly can.

2. Be sure you diversify your forms of anchor text.

Anchor text variation may be probably the most significant factors with regards to using links for SEO.

When all of your links are one style, this may result in a red flag.

For example, if the only real anchor text you utilize during your entire website is exact match keywords, it could look like you’re not putting genuine thought into what you’re linking to.

A natural link profile includes many kinds of links.

Let’s check out what you need your optimal anchor text profile to check like.

It’s necessary to start by saying an anchor text profile should look different based on if you’re a national or local website.

Your homepage and internal pages of an internet site may also look different.

Let’s cover a national page first.

Serpstat recommends you break down your anchor text distribution such as this.

anchor text distribution

The most your anchor text ought to be branded.

In fact, over 1 / 2 of your anchor text ought to be branded. This consists of anchor text that’s branded with a keyword.

You also needs to observe that exact match anchors are incredibly small.

In fact, you merely want exact match anchors to create up about 1% of one’s entire link distribution.

A partial match should only be about 2%.

Maybe surprisingly, naked links also needs to constitute a sizeable chunk of one’s link distribution.

Now, let’s have a look at how your sub-pages should compare.

SEOJet reduces an internet site sub-page link distribution like this.

sub page link distribution

Notice how branded anchor text is a lot, much smaller compared to the homepage portion.

For sub-pages, “page title” anchor text had a substantial influence at the top ranking pages.

This influence typically occurs because titles on pages usually are the keywords you’re targeting, however they aren’t viewed as “exact match” anchor text.

This enables you to easily target keywords inside your anchor text without penalties for seeming unnatural.

But you’ll also note that “exact match” keywords are employed a lot more frequently within sub-pages than they’re on homepages.

Now, let’s compare this to a local homepage anchor text profile.

local homepage average ATP

For an area homepage, your anchor text profile could be a lot more diverse.

Unlike the national page, you merely need about 20% of one’s anchor texts to be branded.

But you’ll also observe that your exact match keywords should be incredibly low.

An internal local page must have exactly the same anchor text profile as a national page.

Keep at heart these percentages are simply recommendations.

You could find a different distribution brings you greater results.

3. Avoid low-quality or toxic websites.

Google loves high-quality websites.

When considering who to rank near the top of their results lists, they’re likely to push sites to the very best they believe fit their list of important factors.

This means gaining high-quality links from awesome pages – and avoiding the ones that might hurt your “cool” factor.

Let’s breakdown what bad links are.

what exactly are bad links

Mostly, bad links are links that Google believes you’ve gained unethically, either outgoing or incoming.

On the outgoing side, you have a lot more control over who you’re linking to.

However, you have to be careful of broken links or people leaving spammy links in your comments section.

If you don’t monitor your comments, they could become bogged down with low-quality backlinks that hurt your reputation.

But the true problem occurs if you have bad incoming links.

Unfortunately, these could be more difficult to regulate.

Because you can’t delete these links from your own website as if you can with low-quality outgoing links, you’ll have to find and eliminate your association using them through Google.

If you’re not paying proper focus on where your backlinks are via, you can ruin your credibility without even knowing it.

Now, let’s discuss ways to find these low-quality links.

The Moz Spam Analysis tool is a proven way you can examine the standard of websites you connect to.

moz spam analysis tool

The Spam Score, which their Open Site Explorer features, offers you a ranking of every link.

The tool uses 17 different flags to recognize links that could be viewed as spam, including things such as content strength, when there is contact information on the page, or if the domain name contains numbers.

If a domain has less than four flags, it really is considered a solid link.

However, if you can find a lot more than seven, this may be regarded as a bad link and really should be regarded.

If you can find links with over ten warning flag, this may be severely damaging to your web reputation.

Google enables you to disavow any low-quality links that you think is hurting your web ranking.

When you disavow a web link through Google, you’re letting the internet search engine know that you don’t desire to associate your site with that link.

To disavow your backlinks, you would like to begin by locating the low-quality links that might be damaging your website.

If you’ve done this already with the Moz Spam Analysis tool or another backlink tool, it is possible to move on to another step.

Through the Google Disavow Tool, it is possible to upload your set of links to disavow.

disavow links

Keep at heart that normally it takes a couple weeks before you begin to see your links disavowed.

Let’s think about this research study IMPACT did on Udemy.

udemy backlinks

Upon performing a keyword audit, they discovered that just over 67,000 domains were linking to Udemy 6.35 million times.

If you break this down, this means that every site was linking to Udemy 94 times.

Unfortunately, this probably isn’t accurate and may talk about a red flag for Google.

With a little bit of additional digging, they discovered that one website alone was linking to Udemy over 400,000 times.

udemy referrer domain

This sort of unnatural linking might not be Udemy’s fault or intention, nonetheless it can still cause severe damage with se’s.

When determining high-quality and low-quality links, you’ll also desire to consider something called co-occurrence and co-citation.

Co-occurrence happens by using similar keywords to other sites over the web.

These act like LSI keywords.

However, it could influence your SEO by enabling you to rank in serach engines for terms you might not have already been targeting.

Co-occurrence goes hand-in-hand with co-citation.

Co-citation happens when two different websites mention exactly the same brand but usually do not connect to that brand or website.

Those two sites then get connected through the mutual reference to the third website.

Both co-occurrence and co-citation will help you become connected with other high-quality websites.

4. Go deep together with your anchors.

Another critical facet of anchor text and backlinks is what content you’re linking to.

Google really wants to note that you’re linking to valuable pages inside a website.

Not only does this improve relevance, but it addittionally seems more natural than if you’re just linking to a homepage or product page.

When deciding what things to link to, pick the most relevant page possible.

If linking to a study, quote, or statistic, pull the actual page that information came from – not just the homepage.

Always choose shareable content over surface-level generic pages.

Here’s an example from Moz.

moz blog anchor text

While the anchor text says “Moz blog,” you’ll note that the hyperlink pushes back again to a particular blog – not only your blog page.

This sort of specificity pushes both Google crawlers and readers deeper in to the page, creating more relevance and creating a more genuine impression.

It seems a lot more natural to connect to this type of in-depth, specific content and can enhance your credibility with Google.

However, it really is okay to possess a few of your anchor text rebel to a surface-level page.

For example, if you’re likely to link to a particular brand, it’s okay to possess that link push to the company’s homepage.

You don’t want these types of links to create up nearly all your distribution.


As with any SEO factor, you need to include anchor text and links inside your content as naturally as you possibly can while providing clear value to your readers.

If you’re merely stuffing links into your articles, it is possible to severely damage your reputation with Google.

This could make the already uphill battle to getting web traffic even more complicated.

Understanding anchor text and adequately optimizing each link might help enhance your ranking while also driving traffic to your page.

Keep these four optimization tips at heart when creating your site and backlink strategy.

What anchor text strategies are you currently using in 2018?

About the writer: Neil Patel may be the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional

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