Anchor Text SEO – Guide To Build Natural Anchor Text Backlink Profile
Did you know anchor text influences your ability to rank on Google and other search engines? While most marketers understand that link building is a crucial factor to boost search engine ranking, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right word for linking out and into your website.
In the early days of SEO, marketers used to play with the Google algorithms by stuffing anchors and using other spammy activities. However, search engines have become smart. They carefully notice what words you choose to link and how often you do so. Therefore, you must be concise in your anchor text without sounding spammy.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what is a natural anchor text, its types, and how you can create them to boost your SEO strategy. We’ll also talk about why exact match keywords anchor text is risky. Let’s get started!
What Is a Natural Anchor Text?
As the name suggests, anchor text is a word or phrase that you add a hyperlink to when linking to a source. In other words, an anchor text is a word, phrase, or image that you click to move from one page to another. It simply links two different internet destinations together. A natural anchor text profile is when you use different types of anchors in a good ratio.
Google can penalize you if you’re linking to a source unnaturally just to obtain a link.
Because Google doesn’t want to mislead its users. So, it makes sure searchers are getting the most relevant results. Imagine what will happen when a user visits your site by clicking on an external source and your content isn’t what that user was really looking for? They’ll leave your site immediately, which eventually leads to an increased bounce rate and has a direct effect on the Google RankBrain algorithm.
So, marketers and SEO experts need to be aware of unnatural and exact match keyword anchor usage. Search engines notice when a huge exact match keyword anchor text is linking to another site.
Simply put, they will understand whether the content is written for gaining rankings or helping readers. If your link-building strategy isn’t helping you boost your SEO, work towards building a natural anchor text profile.
Types of anchor text
There are a variety of anchor texts people use online for SEO and other purposes. Before talking about building natural anchor text, let’s take a quick look at some of the most useful types of anchor text:
1. Branded anchors
It is a clickbait link where the text is the name of your brand or website. For example, ‘Semrush’ will take you to Semrush’s website. Branded anchor texts are great for building brand awareness. Just make sure not to over-optimize.
2. Naked link text
Naked anchor text is a clickable URL pasted into the copy. People often have these links at the bottom of a page in the form of references. Google doesn’t mind naked anchor text as they don’t sound spammy. An example of a naked link text would be https://linkmajesty.com.
3. Generic anchors
Phrases like “click here”, “learn more”, “info” and “reference” are a few examples of generic anchors. They don’t contain keywords or unique terms. It’s difficult for readers to know what they can expect to find by clicking on the link.
4. Exact match link text
These anchor texts play a key role when it comes to SEO. An exact match link text is when you use the precise keyword of the page you want to link to. For example, if you want to link to this blog post and decide to hyperlink with the term “anchor text”. You’ll earn an exact match link text because that’s what this post is all about.
5. Partial match anchor words
A partial match anchor text is when you use a keyword but also add some words to make it a long keyword. For example, the true benefits of link building will take you to a page where you can read some real benefits of having a link-building strategy. Here “benefits of link building” is our targeted keyword. But we added “the true” before our targeted keyword which makes it a partial match anchor.
6. Related anchor text
You’re likely to have a variation of targeted keywords on a page. While related anchor text doesn’t include a precise keyword phrase, they’re similar to partial match keywords. When you keep your backlink anchor text profile distinctive with related anchor text, the chances of getting penalized by Google decreases.
Let’s back to our previous example: If you choose the anchor text “advantages of building links” instead of “benefits of link building”. This type of anchor text senses similar but in different words. These are called related anchor texts.
7. Long-tail anchors
There’s not much difference between a long-tail anchor and a partial anchor. However, long-tail anchors may contain more words. In a long-tail anchor, you can add your branded or related keywords along with your targeted keyword. An entire headline or heading could be a long-tail anchor. Some content creators link to a whole sentence.
8. Random Anchor Text
As the name suggests, random anchor text is a generic, random phrase that isn’t related to a targeted keyword. However, they’re not as generic as “click here”. It’s hard to show an example of a random anchor text because it could be anything. It happens when you got natural backlinks from random websites.
9. Image anchors
When you link an image, Google uses the text in your image’s alt attribute as the anchor text. This is why it’s important to add image alt tags. We’ll further talk about the importance of image alt tags at the end of this blog.
How to create natural anchor text backlinks
The secret to success lies in understanding Google’s best practices and trying not to trick algorithms. You must understand that Google algorithms pay attention to what’s going on around anchors to put things in perspective.
These bots don’t just read the anchor text, but also scan the surrounding content. Remember, one of the top priorities of Google is to offer a flawless user experience and highly relevant information. This is what you should do when creating or linking content: prioritize user experience. Don’t mislead your readers in an attempt to trick search engines. Here is what can do to create natural anchor text backlinks:
1. Don’t get links from toxic sites
Google pays attention to sites you use to get backlinks. If you use a toxic site or site that spreads false information or is involved in spammy activities, it can seriously impact your backlink building efforts.
So, remove the list of unhealthy or hate-promoting websites from your backlink profile by using disavow tool. Sites with traffic of 10k or more are probably safe.
2. Pick anchors that make sense for the link
It’s critical to stay relevant when it comes to link building. It doesn’t sound good when an anchor doesn’t relate to the topic. An important thing to consider here is that Google uses anchors to learn what your web pages are all about and their importance.
3. Look at the surrounding text
If we look at the past updates from Google, we come to know one thing: search engines develop strategies in favor of natural human language (NLP). When someone reads a piece of content, they don’t just watch out for links.
Rather they read the surrounding text to anticipate what they’re likely to find on the other side of the link. This is why Google bots read the entire sentence as they scan the anchor text. While it’s important to keep your anchor text relevant, don’t use the same anchor words in a body of text when you’re building links on different sites.
4. Distribute Different Types of Anchor Text Wisely
Earlier we talked about various types of anchor text and they impact your SEO. You have the freedom to use different types of anchor texts.
Nevertheless, be sure to distribute them considerately. In other words, use them randomly. For example, you can use 25% to 35% partial match anchors, 20% to 40% branded anchors, and 20% to 30% generic, naked, and other anchors.
This is how you can distribute them in a way that produces maximum link-building results. To learn more about the anchor text distribution, take a look at your top competitors’ sites.
Analyze how they’re building a natural anchor text profile.
5. Be sure to create image alt tags
It’s important not to ignore image alt tags because they not only help your impaired audience but also tell Google what your images are all about. Statistics show that 31% of Google SERPs show images which means your images can be a source of organic traffic.
Image anchors are beneficial as they help you diversify your anchor text profile. So, don’t forget to write descriptive alt text for the image link. Keep your alt text accurate and precise.
6. Focus on guest blogging
Guest blogging is a key part of a successful SEO strategy. So many marketers use guest blogging as a part of their anchor and link-building efforts. You don’t have to stuff your guest blogging bios with keyword anchors and backlinks. All you need to do is use guest blogging from reputable, relevant websites to boost your overall SEO results.
Why exact match keyword anchors texts are risky
Search engines don’t want you to manipulate search rankings using unnatural means. The extensive use of exact match keywords sounds unnatural to search engine bots. Here are some reasons why exact match keyword anchor texts are risky:
- A high percentage of exact match keyword anchors may lead to a penalty.
- Exact match anchors don’t sound natural.
- Exact match anchors don’t encourage people to click.
- Too many of these anchors look like advertising and spam.
Anchor text is a valuable part of your website SEO health. While anchor text is an important ranking factor, it guides your website visitors and helps them find more relevant content. So, be sure to make good use of them.