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Do you want your website to be toward the top of search engine results pages (SERPs)? Search engine optimization (SEO) is an excellent method to do this, but if you really want to amp up your SEO efforts, try making use of anchor text diversity.
If you are interested in search engine optimisation, you are undoubtedly aware of the significance of backlinks in your website’s ability to rank in search engine results.
What you may not realize is that the anchor text that makes up those backlinks has a big influence on your SEO success.
Just as a linked website’s Domain Authority and subject relevancy influence how Google views you, your backlink profile’s anchor text diversity could affect your SEO performance.
Below, we are going to take a look at anchor text and how it is viewed by search engines and hopefully give you a sense of how important it is to match anchor text variations to your topics appropriately to keep you at the top of the SEO community.
What Is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the visible letters and words shown in the clickable text that hyperlinks link to another page or site on the internet.
It normally displays as blue text with an underline, but if you want, it is possible to modify the colors and styles of links displayed on your own website using HTML or CSS.
Anchor text can give useful information about the content of the link’s target destination to both search engines and human users.
External anchor text (text used by other pages to connect to your site) is used by search engines to represent how other people see your page, giving them a rough sense of what your pages are likely to be about.
While webmasters often have little influence over how external sites link to theirs, you have full control over your own internal links. That means you can ensure that the anchor text on your own site is informative, descriptive, and relevant.
Types of Anchor Text
There are several different types of anchor text that you should be aware of if you want to optimize your site and achieve higher rankings.
Let’s look at the most important anchor texts to help you with your link-building.
Exact Match Anchor Text
Exact match anchor text is a term used to refer to when the target keywords used on the target page and in the anchor text are the exact same.
Anchor text that uses exact match keywords is very clear and legible for users, but if you are not careful, it can lead to keyword stuffing and over-optimization.
Partial Match Anchor Text
Partial Match anchor text refers to anchor text that includes a related keyword to the topic of the target page rather than the exact same keyword. Partial match text is important as part of any strategy to diversify your anchor text.
Generic Anchor Text
Generic anchor text refers to anchor text that is not directly related to the relevant keyword or brand name and instead just uses a generic phrase. For example, “click here” is perhaps the most commonly used example of generic anchor text.
Naked Link Anchor Text
Naked links, or naked URLs, are a type of anchor text that has had no modification to the URL and is not part of the plain text of the page. For example, www.google.co.uk is a naked link. As a general rule, these are less useful for SEO.
Branded Anchor Text
Branded anchor text is used by many sites with significant business needs. This is a term that refers to linking using text that is simply the company name or brand name of the target website.
Image Alt Text
When you use an image as a link, Google simply uses the text in the image’s alt text as the anchor text for the link. This means that you have to take care of the alt text for SEO purposes, even though it is not directly visible to users in the same way that, for example, brand name anchor text is.
Why Does Anchor Text Matter?
SEOs understand the significance of internal and external links. But what about the text that accompanies those links? Is it even necessary for you to pay much attention to those words? The answer is unequivocally yes. Anchor text matters a great deal.
Anchor text is a ranking element; it contributes to search engine optimization by giving more information about a linked web page. As a result, it is a powerful relevance signal. That means it might have an impact on page rankings.
Anchor text is important for SEO since it tells Google what topic a page is focused on. Using anchor text as a ranking indication is a point clearly covered by numerous Google patents, indicating that it is something Google engineers consider important.
Failing to make use of anchor text or just using generic anchors such as “click here” instead is usually regarded as a bad SEO technique by most SEO professionals.
What Is Anchor Text Diversity?
Anchor text diversity describes the variety of anchor texts used to link to a website. It refers to the number of distinct phrases, words, or characters featured in clickable links on other websites that link to your site. The more variety in the anchor text, the better it is for your SEO.
Anchor text can be overused, which can harm a site’s link profile. For starters, it is essential that you do not always use the same specific anchor text.
This can lead to search engines seeing it as an attempt to artificially influence and manipulate search engine results for one page, which can lower a site’s rating.
This is why anchor text diversity is such an important component of your SEO approach, and you should not overuse the exact match keyword.
Other websites that link to yours do not necessarily link in the same way using the same words on every website. That is why a broader range of anchor text is good for your backlink profile since it seems more natural and organic to the Google crawlers when they crawl your website.
The most difficult aspect of managing the anchor text in your backlink profile is that you have no influence over how other websites choose to use anchor text and keywords when linking to your own pages.
Link building is difficult, and the additional requirement of being careful about anchor text may make it feel even more exhausting.
However, you should already be expecting to check over every single backlink you obtain, whether naturally or through outreach, to ensure that each one benefits you rather than harms you.
The Perils of Over Optimization
If you use the same anchor text keyword over and over again in your links, this repetition tells search engines that you might be trying to manipulate your site’s ranking with a focus on stuffing a particular page with an exact phrase match.
While it is important to include a target keyword or search phrase in order to get results for search queries, web pages with too many usages of an exact phrase match get marked as spam by search engines.
This problem may be prevented by employing a wide range of anchor texts, which convinces search engines that the page is being naturally linked to. This increases the website’s reputation and authority, which may eventually result in improved SERP rankings.
Another advantage is that diversity in the anchor text helps to prevent over-optimization. Websites often include an excessive number of exact match or partial match anchor texts to rank for a specific keyword or phrase.
Search engines may penalize you for this, which might result in a reduction in ranks or perhaps removal from the search results entirely.
How to Make Use of Anchor Text Diversity for SEO
In order to attract non-branded search traffic and support your backlink profile, you need to use a range of different anchor texts for each linked page. This means striking a balance between keywords and diversity in your linking to maximize your SEO.
Relevance in links is essential. Google cares a lot about branded keywords in link text, whether you are writing a blog post or a product page. If your hyperlink text is not relevant to the topic, it will not count for as much in the search engine rankings.
However, anchor text diversity is not just about the actual text in the links pointing to your page. Google also checks the context to make sure it is relevant.
So if the specific anchor text in your internal linking is not a direct keyword match, but the sentence surrounding it is… that is worth quite a lot.
In general, you should be aiming for about 30-40% direct match anchors, about 30-40% partial match anchors, and then the remaining percentage made up of naked links, generic terms, related phrases, and others.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.