While you might be unfamiliar with the term 'anchor texts,' you have undoubtedly seen these before. These are the bits of text that have a link embedded in them like this. These stand apart from the other text in color, and clicking on these will redirect you to another site (For example, this anchor text redirects you to the Wikipedia entry for 'anchor text').As any good Dallas digital marketing agency will tell you, anchor texts serve the same function that footnotes do in a research article.
If you think of the entire blog as a highway that runs on and on till the end, these anchor texts are like signals that guide you to exits. Of course, you don't completely exit the main blog when you click on any anchor text. You just get taken to another site that has some relevant information.
Before we move on with this guide on how to work with anchor texts to improve SEO, let's understand a few basic things about anchor texts first.
What is the Use of Anchor Texts?
Anchor Texts add credibility to your blog. If you directly link to the sites from which you have obtained information, this allows the reader to go and check that information as well. They do not have to take your words at face value but rather get the chance to double-check your sources and determine their validity.
But the value of anchor texts goes beyond that. Anchor texts give your search engine an idea of what your content is about. For example, if you put in an anchor text that mentions 'free SEO tools', Google will know that's what your blog is focusing on.
Seems easy enough, right? So, why waste time and effort reading this detailed guide?
This is because the entire process of using anchor texts became a whole lot more complicated when Google released its Penguin Algorithm.
Before this, getting a backlink and a high SERP ranking was pretty uncomplicated. Blackhat SEO techs could easily get you to the top of Google ranking by simply getting you tons of backlinks in a directory or by stuffing your blogs with keywords.
Penguin completely changed the game, which is exactly why you need the help of a competent digital marketing agency in Dallas. Such a company will employ dedicated and experienced SEO professionals who will know all about Google's latest algorithms and how to make them work in your favor.
Google has been trying to improve the relevance of its content for a long time. This is why they decided to stop focusing on the number of backlinks that a site could get. Instead, they started focusing on the E-A-T features of the content. E stands for Expertise, A stands for Authoritativeness, and T for Trustworthiness.
Unless your content has these three factors, there's no chance of ranking high on the SERP. In other words, the quality of the backlinks matters more than the quantity now.
So, what does this have to do with anchor texts?
Anchor texts bear the backlinks to another page. Thus, Google cracked down on them as well. To prevent keyword stuffing, over-optimization of anchor texts was strictly forbidden.
For example, say your keyword is 'Dallas digital marketing company', and in an article about a digital marketing company in Dallas, you keep on adding hyperlinks to each phrase that mentions 'Dallas digital marketing companies'.
This may seem like a good way to rank high in the SERP, but it isn't. According to the Penguin algorithm, this is considered spamming. You don't need that many hyperlinks with the same keyword. Google understands that you are doing this to manipulate the algorithm.
So, what can you do instead?
Here's How to Use Anchor Texts to Optimize Your SEO:
These tips are designed to help you use anchor texts to enhance your content and improve your SEO rankings. However, bear in mind, that they won't work unless you have some killer content to start with.
Don't Use Exact Match Anchor Text Exclusively
As mentioned already, if you directly use your keyword as your anchor text, Google will know that you're trying to trick the algorithm.
This is exactly what is known as over-optimization by the Penguin Algorithm. However, you can use these if you don't overdo it.
The thing is- exact match anchor texts only sound off the alarm when you stuff your blog with them. Using them occasionally isn't a big reason for concern. So, what you ideally need to do is sprinkle some of these in while using the other options predominantly.
Instead, Use Partly Match Anchor Text
What are partly match anchor texts? You might be wondering. Partly match anchor texts refer to those anchor texts which have the keyword along with other relevant text.
For example, in an article about 'free SEO tools,' instead of highlighting just the keyword, you can highlight 'How to use free SEO tools' or 'some free SEO tools'.
By using partly match anchor texts, you can sneak the keywords into your anchor texts without sounding off the Google alarm.
This is because Google genuinely believes that you are providing some relevant information with these partly match anchor texts. Using these is not considered to be a manipulative ploy to trick the SEO parameters by Google.
Use Branded Anchor Text
Say you are referring to a particular service offered by Semrush. Semrush will not be your keyword. In this situation, you can use Semrush directly as your anchor text.
For example, you can use 'Semrush keyword research tool' as your anchor text and add the link to that exact tool.
This, too, does not sound off Google's spam alarm. This is because 'Semrush keyword research tool' cannot possibly be your keyword. Hence, this cannot be considered to be keyword stuffing.
Placing too many branded anchor texts is a sure-shot way to lose your readers. However, nothing can add more credibility to your content than branded anchor texts.
How to solve this dilemma? The digital marketing agency in Dallas suggests that just like exact match anchor texts, you must sprinkle some of these without overwhelming the Google algorithm.
Don't Use Naked Anchor Text
Naked anchor texts do not contain any keywords or brand names. The very first anchor text in this article ('like this') is an example of a naked anchor text.
Naked anchor texts aren't very useful (except for establishing what anchor texts are). This is because they give Google no idea regarding what the link or the article is about. Similarly, naked anchor texts are very distracting for the reader.
The reader keeps getting escape links without having any idea where they lead to. The thing is, you never really need to use naked anchor texts. You can easily reframe any sentence to either include the keyword or the source name of the linked website.
Don't Use Entire Sentences as Anchor Texts
The best Dallas digital marketing agency or top ones around you suggest not to use anchor texts like super long-tailed keywords. Anchor texts aren't meant to serve that purpose. Also, highlighting an entire sentence as a hyperlink just confuses the audience. They don't understand which part of the sentence is relevant.
For example, let's say you hyperlink the entire sentence, 'There are several free SEO tools that enable you to perform keyword research and also judge site performance.'
Which part of this sentence is supposed to stand out?
- Free SEO tools?
- Keyword Research?
- Judge Site Performance?
Using entire sentences as anchor texts is no different than using naked anchor text. Either way, this leaves the readers clueless.
By now, you have an idea of the DOs and DON'Ts of anchor texts. What you need to remember is that you need to use anchor texts in moderation. Using any one kind in abundance (apart from partly match anchor texts) is bound to look like over-optimization in Google's eyes.
After all, the process of adding hyperlinks needs to seem like a natural part of blog writing. Anything that looks like it has been artificially forced into the content will turn off both readers
Sudeep Banerjee is the Founder & President of B3NET Inc. which is a web design & Development Company in Orange County, California. With his 26 years of expertise in Digital Marketing Agency in Dallas, SEO & Paid Marketing, he is looking forward to reaching new heights of success. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn