Anchor texts and backlinks are the lifeblood of content marketing. Without them, it will be hard for Google to see the relationship between your content and the industry you serve. They help search engines understand the nature of your business and how your website relates to other websites in cyberspace.
Let's just assume you know nothing about anchor texts and you're new to SEO. You wonder what they are and why you need them. Anchor texts are words or phrases in a content with hyperlinks in them. Often displayed in blue colours and underlined, clicking them redirects you to another page or website.
When done incorrectly, an anchor text can rear its ugly head. It will pull your rankings down and contribute to your stress. That's why there are rules to follow when you're applying anchor texts. These rules ensure that you don't go overboard and that you conduct your linking strategy in consideration for Google.
For your enlightenment, we'll give you a simple overview of what an anchor text is and how it influences your SEO campaign:
Optimising Anchor Texts
The good side of anchor texts will give you better search results. They can attract the right users to your website and help you earn the traffic you need. But incorrect anchor texts are another story and one you definitely don't want to happen in your campaign.
Before the Penguin algorithm was even invented, the best signals for indexing and crawling websites were anchor texts. Google scrutinised websites and their relevance by looking at the anchor texts on the web content. Since Penguin, anchor texts have become grounds for penalising or sanctioning a website.
Blogging platforms usually allow you to highlight texts and create hyperlinks. This makes it easier for you unless you have to add a no follow tag to a link. At which point you need to go to the source code and follow this format:
All anchor texts use the tag and closed by a tag. This tag is used by HTML programmers to build links from one page to another. Its most important attribute is the href which makes sure the link is cloaked under words or phrases. Below is a sample anchor text:
Digital Muscle is a top SEO company in Australia
As you can see above, the text was hyperlinked to one of our pages. You don't see a naked 18.104.22.168 link and you're directed to that particular page as soon as you click it.
Kinds of Anchor Texts
But you might ask, is a naked link an anchor text? Which one has more value as far as SEO is concerned? Check out below to understand the different types of anchor texts and how they are used.
PROS AND CONS
This anchor retains the exact text of your target keyword. For instance, if your keyword is “SEO Company in Australia,” then this text will be linked to a target site exactly as it is. No deleted, substituted or excess words. Exact anchors are two-faced, however. While they can increase your site's search results performance, too many exact anchors can lead to penalties. If you must incorporate it into your SEO strategy, do so in moderation.
These are URLs that come as they are. No anchor text is needed. You simply place the link as-is without having to cloak it behind words or images. Naked links are good but they have a lesser value compared to anchor texts.
Partial match anchors are hyperlinked to long tail keywords or phrases containing your root keywords. These anchors are highly recommended because they are less likely to be understood as keyword frequency abuse. This is an example partial match anchor: “Work with a quality SEO company in Australia.” Our root keyword here is either SEO company or SEO company in Australia. We've linked our website to a sensible phrase that search engines and users can easily understand.
Branded anchor texts use your company name as facade text, which contains a link to your website. When using branded anchors, instead of the keywords “SEO company in Australia” for instance, we will use Digital Muscle. Our company name will then be linked to our website or web page. It's a relatively safe link building strategy. If the brand anchor is exactly the same as the domain name, this could be detrimental to your strategy.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
This type of anchor text refers to variations of the keywords you're using. We usually use “SEO company Australia” and “SEO services Sydney” as variations of our target keyword “SEO company in Australia.” Any of those keywords can be used in a given content and linked to pages of our website. If keywords are related, it's easy for Google and search engines to understand your niche or target market.
Image anchors link images instead of texts to a website or page. Everyone who adopts this anchor strategy should pay attention to image alt texts. Search engines index the content on alt texts and use them to assign categories for the images they're associated with.
Zero or Generic Anchors
Experts seem to disagree on the value of zero or generic anchor texts. What makes them ideal for any link building strategy is that they sound more natural. They also add variety to and dilute any “contrived” element on your content. Caution: use zero or generic anchors on unimportant links such as external sites or minor pages. This type of anchor starts with signal words like “Click here,” “This site” and “Read more.”
Incorrect Anchor Texts
Incorrect anchor texts can ruin your site's credibility. Links influence Google's indexing behaviour. That is why not monitoring the links going in and out of your site is a recipe for disaster.
In the past, everyone abused the use of exact anchor texts. Just put your keywords on every paragraph of your article, link them to your homepage and you're good to go. But the SEO status quo has changed since then.
Thanks to Penguin, the algorithm responsible for putting anchor texts in the limelight, link building has become more natural. Recent Penguin updates prevent SEO cowboys from abusing exact anchor texts. A minimum of one wouldn't hurt. But exceed that frequency and your site's going to drop.
How do you know if your anchor text strategy is correct? Are there ways to build links that make Google happy? Below is a list of do's and don'ts:
1. Do not overuse exact anchor texts; settle with one where applicable.
2. Limit linking to sites totally not related to your industry.
3. Do not stick to one type of anchor text; variety is the name of the game.
4. Use generic or zero anchors for unimportant websites but never for your homepage and key pages.
5. Use anchor texts for your long tail keywords or phrases containing your root keyword more frequently.
6. Add a nofollow attribute to external links if you don't want them to affect your search rankings:
SEO Strategy Matters
SEO is an ever evolving industry where algorithm changes are as frequent as your trips to the hair salon. It's kind of a bummer sometimes especially when you want to learn more about the industry. The trick? Just keep up and listen to Google.
And while you're at it, you might want to build a solid link building strategy every time you publish content. It doesn't have to be a high level strategy. We all know Google doesn't care how much you spend for marketing your website.
Just focus on a consistent strategy so as not confuse search engines. For instance, create 2-3 partial anchor texts and link them to internal pages. Perhaps you can set up at least 1 exact anchor text on the bio section. You may also include nofollow generic anchor texts into the mix.
Visit this site to know more about SEO strategies.
Don't forget that quality links are just as important too. Do your research first before creating hyperlinks to external websites. More importantly, standardise your linking (i.e. only link to external websites with a DA of 50+).
But then you're busy and don't have enough manpower to help you identify incorrect anchor texts on your web content. It's pointless discussing these concepts if at the end of the day you're not going to apply what you've learned. You're serious about SEO and growing your business, right?
If you're loaded with work and other business commitments, then let us help you. Digital Muscle, a premier SEO company in Australia, is always happy to be of services. We exist to give each and every client a great SEO experience. We're here to help you grow your website and your business.
For more information about the best and most affordable SEO services, just drop by