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SEO 10 min read

The Complete Guide To Anchor Text Optimization To Boost Your SEO

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Jigmit Gwari photo

Expert reviewed by Jigmit Gwari

SEO Product Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 12 Jan 2022

When other sites on the internet link to your company’s website, search algorithms can determine that you have authority within your industry. Think of it as a virtual stamp of approval for your site’s credibility. The higher your authority gets, the higher your firm’s web pages appear on your targeted search engine results page (SERP.) 

Where precisely do these powerful links appear? Well, these links most commonly show up in blog posts, guest posts, or numerous other forms of content found on a website, in the form of anchor text. 

Anchor text optimization could be the answer if you want to take your link-building campaign to the next level. In this article, the growth marketing experts at Galactic Fed break down anchor text optimization, including the different types of anchor text your firm can deploy and where. 

We also provide a step-by-step guide to optimizing your anchor text to boost your search engine optimization(SEO,) driving traffic to your website organically. 

Are you relatively new to link-building and not sure where to begin? Have no fear! We’ve pulled together an introduction to link building that will give you the foundations needed to develop a comprehensive backlink strategy, together with our top six backlink audit tools we use here at Galactic Fed daily. From understanding link juice to setting appropriate link velocity goals - you’ll be an expert in no time. 

Right, let’s get started with clarifying what anchor text is: 

What is anchor text? 

Anchor text is a visible and clickable word or phrase that links to another webpage or another location within the same web page. On most browsers, anchor text appears blue and underlined. Achor text commonly appears in a branded color on a company’s website, too. 

Here is an example of anchor text on the Galactic Fed website, circled in red:

In this case, our anchor text ‘Digital Marketing Series’ links to Galactic Fed’s collection of blogs and articles on all things digital marketing. This is an example of internal anchor text in contrast to external anchor text. We will explain the difference between these two types of anchor text later in this article.

What is anchor text optimization? 

Many CMS platforms such as WordPress and Drupal offer out-of-the-box functionality for adding anchor text throughout your company’s website, making the initial step of getting anchor text up on your site straightforward. 

The next step is optimizing your anchor text.

Why?

Because anchor text impacts your search engine rankings. 

Simply put, anchor text allows Google to determine what your web page is about and whether it is relevant to the chosen keywords. 

Previously, building an optimized anchor profile and ensuring it ranks with Google was as easy as selecting your keywords and using those exact keywords to anchor links back to your site. 

In response to some companies using dodgy link-building practices to rank, such as over-using anchor text, Google updated its algorithm in 2012 to combat them. 

Internal versus external anchor text 

The key difference between internal and external anchor text is that enhanced internal anchor text improves your site’s overall SEO. In contrast, external anchor text increases the authority of your web pages and website as a whole. With greater authority comes greater SEO, so external anchor text indirectly increases your site’s overall SEO.

Benefits of optimized internal anchor text

Enhancing the internal anchor text on your website can boost your site’s user experience as a whole while helping Google crawl and discover other pages on your site. Internal anchor text also helps distribute link equity, boosting the ranking power of your company’s website. 

With optimized internal anchor text, you’re likely to see an increase in page views together with improving your keyword rankings for a particular web page.

Benefits of optimized external anchor text

The main benefits of optimized external anchor text are that it shares sources related to the subject matter with the reader while improving the authority of your site in the process:

Source: Search Engine Journal

Good external anchor text improves the credibility of your company’s website while boosting the visibility of your content through sites you’re linking to and from. 

Types of anchor text 

There are six primary types of anchor text your firm should be aware of and use to boost your SEO. Ensuring your firm uses a selection of different types of anchor text is a popular link-building strategy, as is focussing on optimizing the different types of anchor text your firm is already utilizing. 

1. Exact-match anchor text 

Your anchor text is an ‘exact match’ if it includes a keyword that pairs with the web page that it links to. An example of an exact-match anchor text would be the phrase ‘backlink audit’ linking to a page that talks about backlink audits.

2. Partial-match anchor text 

As you may have guessed, partial-match anchor text refers to a variation of the keyword or phrase being used to link to a relevant web page. For example: ‘backlink audit tools’ could link to a page about backlink audits.

3. Branded anchor text 

Branded anchor text is extremely common. This type of anchor text uses the brand name as the anchor text to link to the brand’s blog or any other web page relevant to a specific brand. 

4. Anchor text if the form of images 

When an image appears on a website as a link, Google uses the text within the image’s alt text as the anchor text. 

5. Naked link anchor text 

Naked link anchor text is becoming less common as it’s viewed as less user-friendly and less accessible when used in some instances. This type of anchor text refers to a URL used as the anchor. For example, ‘www.galacticfed.com’ is naked link anchor text. 

6. Generic anchor text 

Another type of anchor text falling out of fashion is generic anchor text. This particular type of anchor text uses a generic word or phrase as the anchor, such as ‘click here.’ Many accessibility experts advocate for a shift away from generic anchor text, suggesting descriptive exact-match anchor text in its place as it’s easier for people using screen readers to comprehend where the link will take them.

Where to place anchor text 

Every company should have an anchor text strategy covering where and why specific external and internal anchor text is deployed. As a strong starting point, Galactic Fed recommends focussing on placing optimized anchor text within:

  • Relevant guest blog posts, and 
  • Resource pages. 

Relevant guest blog posts

Anchor text within a guest blog post should use your company’s target keywords and appear within the body of the content as exact-match or partial-match anchor text.

Resource pages 

A resource page can offer an excellent opportunity to place exact or partial match anchors using the title of your resources such as a white paper, blog post, or e-book.

Anchor text optimization: a step-by-step guide

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of all things anchor text, you’re ready to optimize your company’s anchor text strategy. Here’s Galactic Fed’s four-step guide to doing just that:

Step one: Perform an anchor text audit of your site 

Ensure your site doesn’t link to or from spam sites through any of your existing anchor text. Google is clear that it doesn’t favor websites it finds using unnatural anchor text, so it isn’t worth it:

‘Make sure that any site that you link to is high quality, reliable, and respectable.’

Step two: Choose the correct type of anchor for your content 

As a general rule, try to use a good mix of anchor text types and avoid relying only on exact-match anchor text to keep your website from getting a penalty from Google. 

For example, anchor text within a company or person’s profile should take the form of branded, naked, or generic anchor text, as illustrated on The Ronald McDonald House Charities directory profile on the Better Business Bureau website:

Source: Better Business Bureau

Step three: Diversify your company’s link profile 

Make sure no anchor text takes up a significant proportion of your company’s link profile. 

A diversified anchor text ratio should have at least half of their total anchors listed as ‘other.’ 

Aim for your top-ten anchors to make up no more than 30% to 50% of your total anchor text links while ensuring those top-ten consist mostly of brand and generic terms.

Step four: Utilize image anchors 

Companies sometimes overlook anchor text within images. Don’t miss this powerful opportunity to optimize your anchor text strategy. Google Images is the most powerful search engine after Google itself. 

Optimize the alt text of all relevant images on your site to boost your SEO. 

Drive traffic to your site with an optimized anchor text strategy 

Congratulations, you are now an anchor text optimization pro! We hope our tried and tested hacks and tips help you get started with optimizing your site’s anchor text today. If you are still a little hesitant about tackling your anchor text strategy on your own, reach out to us here at Galactic Fed. 

We have a whole team of anchor text experts who can assist your firm, helping you reach more customers online organically. Book a free 30-minute consultation and learn how we can help skyrocket your growth.

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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