Link building is an art which you master over time. Basically, you need to understand what goes into building quality backlinks that have the potential to generate results. Great content and relevance matter without any doubt but you cannot ignore the significance of anchor text. Essentially, this is the clickable text in the link that takes the user to another web page. Having the correct anchor text in your content and ensuring an optimal distribution can take you to the top of the search rankings. And if you are able to master this skill, nothing can stop you from making your SEO strategy a success. Not using anchor texts optimally, on the other hand, can get you penalized and topple your website down the rankings.
What’s the big hype about anchor text!
The importance of anchor text can be judged from the fact that it is one of the key parameters that Google considers for determining a backlink’s relevance. If relevance is missing, the backlink will be of no value. All the good work that you may have invested into building the link will be wasted. The release of Penguin in 2012 made anchor text all the more important as the algorithm prioritized anchor text to determine the quality of links. If the distribution of anchor text fails to appear realistic, be ready to get axed. Conversely, you can see this as a good approach to elevate your search ranking if you do it properly. Hence, it becomes vital to understand what you can do for optimizing the anchor text usage for building quality backlinks.
Understanding the types of anchor text
Even before you learn all about anchor text optimization, you need to know the various categories of anchor text. This is because a relevant mix of these categories is required to achieve relevance and efficacy. Here are the different types of anchor text that you can use within your content:
- Exact-match keywords- A targeted keyword
- Partial-match keywords- A targeted keyword along with some other text
- LSI keywords- A keyword variation which is closely related to a targeted
- Branded- A brand name which has a link placed on it
- Page/blog post title- Title of a page or blog post
- Website name- The site’s name, such as yoursite.com
- Naked URL- The site’s URL
- Generic- Words/phrases such as Reach more, Click here
- No text- An image
Some tips for anchor text optimization
If you want to achieve real and sustainable results with your SEO plan, you need to do everything right. While the content must be good, backlinks to promotional pages should be avoided. Similarly, building backlinks to spammy and irrelevant sites will get you in a fix. You may be avoiding some of these backlink mistakes but results could still be evasive. If that is the case, you need to have a look at your anchor text strategy. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that it is in place.
Tip #1: Keep it natural and versatile
Google prioritizes user experience over everything else when it comes to allocating rankings. Every part of your website, including backlinks and the related anchor text, should provide real value to the user if you want to win the SEO game. Therefore, you must ensure that links are put only where the users would expect them to see them. Anything that appears unnatural and stuffed is seen as a negative factor by Google and may result in a ranking dip. As Google’s algorithms get smarter, they can easily detect multiple repetitive and keyword-based anchors and penalize your site for them.
Tip #2: Ensure relevance to content
Now that Google relies on natural language processing technology, it can recognize relevance well enough, just like humans do. It can easily make out whether an anchor text is relevant to the content of the web page it points out to. Once again user experience comes into play as a ranking factor because anchors and links that are irrelevant to each other spell doom for the UX you deliver. There is no way you can fool Google with spammy links, so you must absolutely ensure relevance for every single anchor text you have in your content.
Tip #3: Avoid over-optimization
Another thing that you should be careful about is avoiding overly-rich anchor text because Google does not appreciate it. Overuse of anchor text indicates manipulation of backlinks, which is sure to attract penalties and put your website off-track. The best approach is to keep the anchor text natural by. A relevant mix of different anchor text types covers you to a considerable extent. Focus on using variations instead of exact match keywords for keeping things more natural.
Tip #4: Distribute anchors in right proportions
When it comes to the usage of anchor text types, there is a recommended proportion that you can use for optimization. As already said, you should avoid overuse of exact-match and partial-match keywords in the first place. The recommended stats for anchor text usage are as follows:
- Branded anchor texts- 50%
- Naked URL- 10-20%
- Website name- 15%
- Page/blog post title- 10-15%
- Generic- 1-5%
Tip #5: Use deep-level pages for anchors
If you stick to only top-level pages (such as home page and landing pages) for anchors, don’t expect sustainable results. The key to success lies in using deep level pages that are relevant as well (such as rich and informative blog posts). This makes your anchor text cloud more natural and versatile. Further, these links will fetch the users to the deep level pages of the website and they are likely to stay longer and explore other pages as well. The longer the user stays on the website, the lower will be the bounce rate and the better it is for the ranking of the site.
Finally, remember that placement of anchor text within the content also makes a difference. Make sure that you position your anchor text at places that are likely to get maximum attention of the user. The first few paragraphs, headings and imagery are the “hotspots that are most likely to get you clicks and engagement. Following these easy tips can help you get the best results with fewer backlinks, so you end up ranking higher with lesser work!
[Image via: Google Images]