Anchor text refers to the clickable, hyperlinked text that links one web page to another. It serves an important purpose for both website visitors and search engine optimization. Proper use of anchor text enhances user experience and helps search engines understand the relevance of linked content.
For users, anchor text provides context about what information the link leads to. Descriptive anchor text enables visitors to make informed decisions about whether to click on a link. For example, anchor text such as “tips for writing better anchor text” indicates that the link likely points to an article with advice on anchor text optimization. This gives the user helpful information upfront.
For SEO, anchor text is a ranking signal that helps search engines determine what the target page is about. If a page linking out uses anchor text like “baking recipes,” search engines can infer that the receiving webpage contains baking recipes. This assists in categorizing the content of the target page.
However, anchor text needs to be natural and avoid excessive keywords. Over-optimization looks spammy to search engines and detracts from user experience. A healthy anchor text profile incorporates a variety of anchor text types, including:
- Branded – The brand name, like “Example”
- Brand + Keyword – Brand plus descriptive term, like “Example recipes”
- Exact Match – The exact target keyword, like “baking recipes”
- Partial Match – Variation with the keyword, like “best baking recipes”
- Related Keywords – Related words, like “cookie recipes”
- Generic – Non-descriptive, like “click here”
A few best practices for anchor text optimization include:
- Use concise, relevant text: Anchor text should briefly describe the content users will find after clicking
- Avoid over-optimization: Don’t stuff anchor text with keywords or overdo exact match anchor text
- Vary anchor text types: Incorporate a healthy mix of branded, partial match, related keywords, etc.
- Consider the surrounding context: Nearby content provides additional clues about the linked page
- Use images thoughtfully: Craft descriptive alt text for linked images
- Check for issues: Audit anchor text regularly to fix problems
By optimizing anchor text properly, websites can provide a better experience for visitors while also signaling relevance to search engines. Monitoring anchor text profiles through regular audits enables catching any issues early. With thoughtful anchor text that adds value for users, websites can leverage anchor text as an impactful on-page SEO technique.