Shiver me timbers! In case you didn’t know, the term anchor text has nothing to do with ships, boats, or anything else sea or water related.
It’s not something that pirates say just before they get tied up to the kedge and thrown overboard for being a royal pain in the butt.
It also isn’t something that sailors say when they want to get a girl back to their cabin while they’re still on shore leave.
Not by a long shot.
So what does the term anchor text really stand for?
Something quite different, actually.
When you search via Google the phrase “anchor text”, a whole lot of different results will appear in front of your eyes. Some of them will be useful, and others – well, they’ll look just plain ol’ insane. Like they were written by a madman who walks around in a wooden barrel, shouting nonsense at the sky!
Metaphorically speaking, these pages will claim that if you don’t correctly use anchor texts in your posts, your website will basically explode. It will start to rain cats and dogs outside, and everyone you know and love will be immediately taken hostage by an evil alien overlord.
Yes, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture.
Even though anchor texts play an important role in your overall SEO strategy, they certainly don’t have the power to wreak such havoc on your life. At least, not in that kind of sense.
As with anything else you search in Google, you’ll come across controversial links that basically say that everything you read so far on that particular subject is lie, and that this is the only source that you’ll ever need to truly understand and learn whatever it is that you’re searching for.
It happens. That’s life.
Regardless what you search for in Google, you’ll always come across such results that cry wolf and push complete nonsense in front of people who are actually in need of real and intelligent information.
Despite the fact that some of the results you’ll find in SERP will say this, and others that, most of them will agree upon the same thing – rich anchor texts have the ability to really influence your rankings.
That’s why we at AltusHost have decided to write about this particular subject on our blog and feed you, our dear and respected readers, with intel that will help you better understand everything you need to know about anchor texts:
So, What Are Anchor Texts Really About?
For those who are not familiar with this concept, an anchor text represents those sets of clickable words that are selected to link one page to another.
Their main job is to nicely tie in two web pages together while giving the users a glimpse of what to expect on the external (or internal) link that’s being presented to them.
It’s like a portal that website owners, web admins, and digital marketers use to bring additional value to a particular page by linking another credible source to the story that has the power to complete the picture in the visitor’s head about the concept that’s being laid down in front of him/her.
Anchor texts influence ratings. Search engines use anchor texts as indicators to help them learn more about a particular site and topic that’s covered on that linked page. Anchor texts feed them with necessary intel that helps the engines instantly understand for what kind of keywords and how should they rank a specific link in SERP.
That’s why anchor texts are extremely important for SEO. It has been proven by a lot of industry experts, anchor texts weigh heavily in Google’s algorithm.
Anyone who knows anything about how Google works, understands that SEO is all about generating links. If you want to rank high in SERP, you need to do your best to get as many links as possible to organically point back at your site.
Thanks to that, the whole process of learning how to create intelligent anchor texts cannot be ignored.
Even though this all sounds pretty straightforward, there’s no real rule behind using anchor texts. You can use one, two, three, four – as many words as you like to represent your link on a different page.
Naturally, this creates confusion. It creates questions in people’s heads that tend to keep them second-guessing their practices. But let’s talk about that later. Let us first cover the essential and learn:
Types of Anchor Texts
Before I start to explain how to correctly use anchor texts on your pages, let’s first get this one thing out of the way – the types of anchor texts.
Depending on the purpose for which they’re created, there are a couple of major different types of anchor texts:
Exact Match – what you see is what you get. This type of anchor text is built around the exact keyword phrase for which we want to rank in our article.
Partial Match – a practice where the anchor text is built around the keyword phrase for which we want to rank in our article, but in an alternative or more descriptive manner.
Branded Match – a practice when you link a specific brand name.
Rough URL – when you just place the URL next to the text.
Generic – I personally hate this type of anchor text. It’s unimaginative, and it usually doesn’t work. It’s when people link such cheap phrases as “click here”, “read more”, “this post’, “this article”, etc.
Synonym – well, this is pretty self-explanatory. When you use another word, similar to your targeted keyword (or just a part of it).
Author – when your name, or the person who wrote the text, is the anchor.
So, now that we got that in the clear, let’s dig in a bit deeper.
Google Penguin Pities the Fool
Like I said, there’s no real rule to using anchor texts in your writing. However, since old-school SEO marketers were famous for doing everything and anything to manipulate Google into giving them better rankings, the guys behind the world’s most popular search engine got tired of being played as fools, so they’ve decided to put an end to this ridiculous spammy behavior.
That’s why, back in 2012, they’ve launched an updated version of Google Penguin that detects spam in search results.
This update instantly pulverized every site and publisher that’s being overly aggressive with its exact match anchor text links. Naturally, people started to freak out and completely clean their sites and links of every little thing that could be seen as garbage in Google’s eyes.
Even though it didn’t really change all that much, this update got people trippin’, which immediately got a lot of website owners and admins to abandon their black hat SEO tricks, and focus on developing a clean white hat strategy for their online business.
What Does This All Mean? Should You Still Focus On Anchor Texts, And If So, How?
I’m going go on a limb here and say that anchor texts still count. At least from my angle. Judging by some of my recent results, I still strongly believe that anchor texts continue to influence ratings for the better. Even those exact match ones, if they serve the right purpose and actually feed your links with additional information that’s valuable to your reader.
I think, as same as everything else concerning SEO, you need to focus on relevance here. You need to make sure that your anchor text aren’t manipulative to the reader and engines. If they truly boost your linked post with additional information – I believe you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
At least that’s what I can say from my very own experience.
But don’t just take my word for it. I’ve read a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of content from various type of experts on this particular subject, and judging by all the case studies I found on credible source like MOZ and Search Engine Journal, It’s possible to positively influence site rankings using significantly few exact match anchored links if they are from highly relevant pages on relevant sites. Next to that, it’s still possible to rank for difficult queries quite quickly, even though you have a young domain.
Also, in order to naturally use anchor texts to your advantage, you should focus on making your anchor texts a variation of your brand name and website URL. They’re the ones that bring in the best results.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you have anything to add or ask on this subject, feel free to write your thoughts in your comments section below.
That’s it for now,
See you soon again!