In our last article, ‘Link Anchor Text: A Marketer’s Guide‘, we looked into why the distribution of your website’s link anchor text, or link anchor profile, is an important off-page factor Google uses to determine your website’s relevance with regards to a particular search query. John Mueller from Google has gone on record to remind webmasters how important the link anchor texts (and image alt text) are to Google to help it determine context.
In this article, we will look at the various types of link anchor text your site needs to have to help improve your organic search rankings.
Types of Link Anchor Text
1) Branded Anchor Text
This one is quite obvious – this occurs when you’re using your brand name as an anchor text. For example, using the anchor text CloudRock to link back to our blog page.
2) Naked Link Anchor Text
This occurs when you are using your naked URL to link to your page. For example, www.cloudrock.asia/sg is a naked link anchor text.
3) Generic Anchor Text
A generic anchor text uses a generic term as an anchor. ‘Click here’ or ‘learn more’ are examples of common generic anchor text that you see everywhere.
4) Exact-match Anchor Text
An exact match link anchor text refers to anchor text that is exactly the same as the keyword you are hoping to rank. For example, you are using an exact-match anchor text if you used the anchor text ‘vacuum pump’ to link to a page that you’re trying to rank for the keyword ‘vacuum pump’. Once the darling of SEOs everywhere, the over-optimisation penalty has made us cautious of using too many exact match anchors to point to our sites. Use this with caution.
5) Partial-match Anchor Text
A partial-match anchor text refers to an anchor text that contains some variation of your target keyword within. For example, using the keywords ‘vacuum pump specifications’ to link to a page about vacuum pumps.
6) Brand Name + Keyword
This is a variation of the partial match anchor text where it includes your brand name as well as your target keyword. For example, ‘CloudRock SEO Company’ is an example of this type of anchor text.
7) Long Tail Link Anchor Text
Another variation of the partial match anchor text, the long tail anchor text simply has more keywords in the anchor. These are usually four words or more long and contains your target keyword as well.
8) Page Title Anchor Text
This occurs when you use the title of the page as the anchor text. This is usually used when linking to an article or blog post.
9) Image Anchor Text
Images can contain anchor text but we normally refer to them as the image alt tag. This is the text that Google crawls to determine what the image is about since it can’t really decipher images that well.
10) LSI Anchor Text / Synonyms
LSI refers to Latent Semantic Indexing. It’s a concept that arouses some debate in SEO as to its effectiveness. Some swear that it works for SEO, others say LSI doesn’t work, while some even suggest that Google may not even be using LSI in its algorithm. But for our purposes, it is another type of link anchor text that you can use. This involves using synonyms of your target keyword in your anchor text. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the key phrase ‘flower shop’, your link anchor may be ‘flower shop’, ‘florist online’, ‘flower store’ and so on.
11) Co-occurrence Anchor Text
I’m not sure if we can consider this a type of link anchor text per se. There is a technical definition to the word ‘anchor text’, and this can be seen as more of a link building tactic. But I felt that this is relevant for the purposes of this article as this is a type of link anchor text that you can build to increase your performance in the search engines.
Instead of using exact match anchors, this entails that you place your link very near to your target keyword, but use generic or branded anchor texts instead. As an example, consider this sentence, ‘If you want to learn more about link building, click here to visit CloudRock’s blog.’ The assumption is that Google is smart enough to figure out the context of the link without you having to use an exact match anchor.
Considering that you run the risk of a penalty when you use exact match anchors, some view this type of anchor text the safer option. Another upside is that this type of anchor text is easier to get when you’re doing guest posting. Most website owners won’t let you use exact match anchor text, but wouldn’t mind if you use a generic anchor text.
Finding Optimal Anchor Text Ratio
If you have read our last article, you would already know that Google will look at a website’s link anchor text ratios to determine if it is ‘over-optimised’ or if the site is using manipulative link building practices to try to rank. In our next article in this series, we will give you an insight into the process we use to determine the optimal link anchor text for our SEO clients.