Link Types

Anchor Text

Glossary  |  3 mins

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When you place a link into a piece of content, the anchor text refers to the words that include the link to the referenced website. Common anchor text might include actions such as ‘click here’, ‘let’s get started’, or ‘sign up today’ – or it could be much descriptive, such as ‘buy to let mortgage’. Your anchor text should always relate to the page being linked to in some way, hinting to the reader where this link will take them when they click on it. For example, if your anchor text says, ‘call us today’, when a reader clicks on it the link should take them to the contact page.

Anchor Text, Branded

Branded anchor text is as described: the anchor text that uses the brand or business name to take the user to the website or page, which is generally the homepage in most instances.
For example, Hive19.

Anchor Text, Exact Match

When you’re writing content specifically to rank for certain keywords, exact match anchor text can be very helpful. If you sell parrots in Peru, anchor text such as ‘parrot sellers in Peru’ would be very clear and concise for the viewers and search engines. This is helping the search engine to understand the content being linked to, within the context of where it is being linked from in much the same way that describing images with alt text can help categorise information on the web.

However, this is one of the most abused tactics for link builders, and it’s not advisable to use it too frequently, so try to find a good balance! Including the words around the anchor text is often a safer, more natural way to describe the page being linked – depending on the context.

Anchor Text, Long Tail

The phrase ‘long tail’ refers to a type of keyword that is longer than a couple of words. Long tail keywords are often an entire sentence, a question, or a phrase that users might search for. ‘How fish sleep underwater’ is an example of a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are less competitive, so although there may be less traffic for the term, you could potentially rank well for it.

Anchor Text, Naked URL

Naked URL anchor text is the most rudimentary way a backlink can be used in a piece of written content. It’s basically the target URL pasted directly (hence ‘naked’) into the page. These days, naked URLs are usually reserved for lists of sources at the bottom of articles and academic writing.

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Anchor Text FAQs

Is anchor text important for SEO?

Though it may seem like a relatively small element when building a web page or writing a piece of content, backlink anchor text is important to SEO. Search engines will use a given link’s anchor text to determine how web users view the page the link is pointing to, and therefore, what the page is about.

If a high number of links sharing similar anchor text point towards a given page, thereby showing a search engine that people think the page is relevant to these terms, the page can rank well for the keywords used in the backlink anchor text. In some cases, this is true even if those keywords aren’t included in the target page.

Generally, you won’t have direct control over the anchor text used to link to pages on your website outside of guest post based link building. However, by publishing lots of high quality, authoritative content, you’ll increase the chances of links with the right kind of backlink anchor text developing a healthy, natural link profile.

What is the most common type of anchor text?

The jury is still out on this one. There’s somewhere between 1.6 billion and 1.9 billion accessible websites on the internet, each with a varying number of pages. By the time you’ve finished reading this page, hundreds if not thousands of websites will be published and retired. With these numbers, any kind of reliable study on the frequency of anchor text types simply isn’t possible.

Having said that, when SEO was first gaining traction as a marketing discipline, it was generally accepted that generic anchor text; “click here”, “read more”, etc, was the most common type.

However, as more and more businesses follow Google’s advice, making anchor text concise and relevant to the target page, we’re likely to see an uptick in partial match and exact match contextual link building as companies strive to remain competitive on SERPs.

Questions to ask your link builder