Interlinking is a well-known search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, but are you linking the best anchor text for the job? Do you know how to choose anchor phrases that improve your search engine page results (SERP) ranking? Here’s what you need to know about the different types of anchor text and how to choose the most advantageous anchors for your brand.
What Is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the word or phrase you use to link to another page. Search engines use anchor text to extrapolate the context of the linked page, which means that anchor text may be an important ranking factor. Essentially, the phrase you use to link to a page tells search engines what that page is about. For example, if you have a clothing website and write a blog about winter outfit trends, you may want to link a phrase about sweaters to your website’s primary page on the topic. This reiterates to search engines that your main sweater page is, in fact, about sweaters. Apply this concept broadly to your entire website and use every anchor phrase intentionally to optimise SEO.
Types of Anchor Text
Not all anchor phrases are created equal. Explore these different types of anchor text:
1. Exact Match
An “exact match” is when the anchor text used to link to a page is a mirror image of the page title or the topic the page is about. In the above example of the clothing store, linking the anchor text “sweaters” to the primary page on sweaters would be an exact match.
2. Partial Match
A “partial match” is exactly what it sounds like — a phrase that contains either a part of the keyword or contains the keyword along with other words in a phrase. Using the same example, a partial match for the primary sweater page might be “easy-to-clean sweaters.”
3. Generic Anchor
A generic anchor generally has very little, if anything, to do with the page it’s linking to. A commonly seen example of generic anchor text is “click here.” Ideally, you’re using generic anchors as little as possible or eliminating them altogether.
4. Anchor Images
Images can also be linked, and when they are, search engines use the image’s ALT tag as the anchor phrase. It’s important to create ALT attributes for linked images that adequately describe the page the image is linking to.
5. Naked Link
Naked links are rarely used anymore because they distract the reader from the content the link is embedded within. A naked link is a URL inserted in-line with the page’s text; for example, agilemarketing.com.au/website-design/.
6. Branded Anchor
A branded anchor includes all or part of the brand name of the company or website. Using the example above, the web design URL might be linked using anchor text that says “web design services from Agile Marketing.”
How to Choose the Right Anchor Text
Selecting the best anchor phrases for your related pages is both an art and a science. Make sure you:
Make It Concise
Your anchor text isn’t limited to a certain number of characters like your meta title and descriptions are, so you can choose the length of your link. However, it’s a good idea to keep your anchor phrases as succinct as possible and avoid using long-tail phrases to link out to other pages. Ask yourself if your phrase describes the page it’s linking to accurately and if it would encourage readers on your page to click the link. Look for ways to keep your anchor text short and sweet, and revise content as needed to trim lengthy anchor phrases down to more manageable links. Move links to other anchor text on the same page if needed.
Make It Relevant
Link relevancy is arguably the most important factor when it comes to selecting anchor text. A link to a page is relevant if the page relates to both the anchor text used for the link and the page it’s linking from. Look specifically at the source page topic, as well as the context of the anchor phrase on the source page. When search engines deem a link as relevant, it can improve the ranking of both the source page and the linked-to page for searches related to those topics.
Make sure the page you choose to link out to is relevant to the source page in content. If it’s entirely different, but you happen to have a phrase in your source page that would make a good anchor for it, the link isn’t going to do much for you and may in fact hurt your SEO efforts. For example, linking to a page about website design using anchor text about blogging is unlikely to be effective for readers or search engines. The two pages should at least be related enough that it would make sense for a user who arrived at the source page to also want to visit the linked-to page and expand their knowledge on the topic.
Make Sure It’s Not Spammy
In the past, it was a common SEO technique to link to your most valuable, high-density keywords. Now that search engine algorithms have become exponentially more complex, they’re taking a closer look at the keywords used in anchor phrases. If inbound links to a page all contain the same high-value keyword, search engines may begin to consider it spam if they suspect that the links weren’t acquired organically. This is true even when the links are from pages on your own site to other pages on your site.
Using the clothing brand example again, say that nearly every other page on the website had the word “sweaters” linked to the main page for sweaters. This can alarm search engines and potentially cause you to incur a penalty. Pepper keywords in anchor phrases naturally and use exact-match anchors for lower-density keywords. Partial-match anchors are a good blend of both keywords and natural language.
Confused About Interlinking? We Make It Easier
Interlinking with high-value anchor text in a strategic way that promotes your best content, engages readers, and appeals to search engines is a tall order. Get help developing your brand’s digital marketing strategy and leave the details to the professionals. At Agile Marketing, we offer comprehensive services that include the most up-to-date best practices for interlinking and anchor text.