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Why Anchor Text is Critical for Backlink Success

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Why Anchor Text is Critical for Backlink Success

Read time 12 min read
Anchor text backlinks

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Does Anchor Text Matter in Backlinks?

Anchor text backlinks are critical for SEO. The more backlinks you have the greater your success. Internal linking enables you to transfer link authority between pages. Your homepage probably has more links than any other. Internal backlinks distribute the homepage authority achieved through your backlink profile. The keywords you use for your anchor text SEO influence your keyword rankings. Your anchor keywords tell Google which pages require rankings for specific keywords. 

The same principles are also applicable to the links pointing to your website. Strategic anchors including keywords allow you to pass authority between websites and influence your keyword rankings. This is an essential part of SEO. Your anchor texts are more than highlighted words with a link to your page. You need to consider the different types of anchors before determining your best strategy. 

How to Create a Backlink with Anchor Text

Before you create a backlink, you need to determine the best type of anchors for your website. A minimum of 10 different types of anchors has been identified by Google. Your anchors are important for both Google algorithms and SEO. 

Generic Anchors

A generic SEO link anchor text does not include a reference to a keyword. To receive context clues, your readers rely on the copy surrounding your text. Generic anchors can be powerful because they generally include a straightforward CTA or call to action and actionable language to draw attention to your link. Examples of a generic anchor include:

  • Read more
  • More info
  • Download this
  • Click here
  • This page
  • About the author
  • This blog

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: victoriousseo

Branded Anchors

A branded anchor includes the name of your brand. You can use them to build brand recognition and avoid being flagged for spam. The process is more complicated if you use an EMD or exact match domain including your targeted keyword. Google does offer you more leeway before receiving a penalty. 

You will most likely be caught if your intention is over optimization. If your brand is associated with public figures including prominent author, journalist influencer or CEO, your links can be identified by Google according to the name of the branded anchor in addition to your website. Examples of a branded anchor include: 

  • According to (name of company or agency)
  • Name of individual or company.com

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: Neil Patel)

Exact Match Anchor Text Backlink

Exact match anchor texts include the specific keyword for the page targeted by your link. If you link to this article with the hyperlink Article Anchor Texts, it is considered an exact match backlink since the targeted keyword matches your link. Earning exact anchor matches are important but Google gives this type of backlink more attention. If you use too many, you can be penalized for spam. Examples of exact match anchors include:

  • Used books
  • Link building
  • New electronics
  • Running shorts

For these examples to qualify as an exact match anchor, the exact phrase must be targeted in the link after your text. For example if the keyword for the page is “digital marketing agencies in India” this would be an exact match anchor text backlink:

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: W3training school)

Random Anchors

Certain tools for link analysis place generic and random anchors in the same category. The words included in random anchors are usually less generic than click here but are not generally connected to your targeted keyword. Examples of random anchors include:

  • New style
  • In-depth article

Selecting good examples of random anchors is difficult because they can be almost anything. Your generic anchors are determined by the target keywords on every page. 

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Partial Match Anchors

Partial match anchors include stop, random or generic words in addition to your keyword phrase. Examples of partial match anchors include:

  • If the page you link to is targeting SEO tools, Useful SEO Tools is a partial match
  • The words Keyword Strategy is a partial match for a keyword strategy guide
  • The words Running Shorts partially match buy running shorts here

For instance, if the keyword was “local SEO tips” this would be a partial match anchor:

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: SpyFu)

Naked Link Anchors

When you paste a URL directly into your browser bar, it is considered a naked anchor even though it is not clickable. Naked links are generally used as sources at the end of articles. Although unattractive, Google prefers naked links since the chance of spam practices for keyword rankings are not as likely. Examples of naked links include: 

  • https://www.(name of the organization, business or individual)
  • www.(name of the organization, business or individual)

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: OnPage Champ)

Related Anchors

Related anchors contain words linking to a specific page using a variation of your targeted keyword. This is similar to a partial match anchor without the specific keyword phrase included. Related anchors are important for anchor text meaning in SEO. This is because Google crawlers have a clearer understanding of your links. Your risk of being cited for spam decreases because your profile is more diverse. Examples of related anchors include: 

  • If you are targeting ABC running shorts, buy running shorts is a related anchor
  • If you are targeting a hurricane in Florida, Florida natural disaster is a related anchor. 

Image Anchors

Including ALT text with your image descriptions is a good option since Google reads this as an image of the author or part of your link. This type of anchor is beneficial because your anchor text profile is diversified. Your anchor text SEO also improves for Google images. Your image links should include a descriptive ALT text. Examples of image anchors include:

  • ABC cruise accessories
  • Affordable furniture for apartments

Brand + Keyword Anchors

This anchor includes either a branded phrase or your brand name and a keyword. You can optimize for a keyword without appearing spam to Google. You will also be increasing your brand recognition. Examples of brand + keyword anchors include:

  • Perfume at ABC
  • Running shorts at ABC

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: SpyFu)

Long-Tail Anchors

Long-tail anchors are a good option for SEO link anchor text because you can include more words than with a partial anchor. You can include your targeted keyword in addition to branded, descriptive, related or generic keywords. Your long-tailed anchor links can include complete headings or subheadings. You can also link to complete sentences. This is very useful for your SEO. Examples of long-tailed anchors include:

  • Remember when gas was less than a dollar per gallon?
  • Why duplicate content negatively impacts your website and SEO

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: SpyFu)

Anchor Text Meaning in SEO and Anchor Title

Your anchor title text will appear every time a user places their mouseover a link. Even though your anchor title is not as important as your text for SEO, it is extremely visible when your link is described and what it points to. The text around your link shows what your link points to. There are two key factors regarding the context of your page, the title and content. 

Page Title

Your page title appears on the left side of the browser as an indication of what your page is about. Your link will impact your page. If the page containing the link has a relevant title tag, the quality of your link will improve. 

Content Body

Your content body is found in the written content of your webpage where you place your links. Place your links in the upper content with a description of what your link is about. 

How to Use Anchor Text in Backlinks for the Best Practices

Anchor texts influence your keyword rankings and increase traffic. The results on the first page of Google receive 95 percent of all clicks. If you are first you receive 32.5 percent, second 17.6 percent. The best way to reach the top is with good SEO link anchor text. Use your anchors naturally and do not force backlinks. Use a variety of anchor backlinks with a focus on your branding. High-quality backlinks are critical for your success. 

You need to appear as a trusted resource. This helps ensure high-quality sites will use your information and source your brand. You can achieve high-quality backlinks with the distribution of top-quality content on websites connected to your niche. If you sell athletic clothing to millennials, research the top keywords. Create an athletic clothing guide for millennials using anchor backlinks. Your guide can then be sent to influential bloggers for the best website for your niche. 

Some of these sites will most likely link to your guide. You must include text for the anchors you want them to use. If your guide is free, you can link directly to your guide as opposed to the actual anchor or page. Your backlink anchor needs to point to deeper pages on your website. Once your readers see your excellent content, they will most likely look through your entire website and eventually make a purchase. 

Link to several high-quality websites including those with well-known brands and great content. Monitoring your backlinks enables you to receive better results through optimization. There are even free tools available online to monitor your backlinks. 

Does Anchor Text Matter in Backlinks

If your text is poor, it will negatively impact your website. You need to avoid the following practices to ensure a good anchor text link code. 

  • Linking to low-quality sites will not benefit your readers and you will not receive any backlinks. Your links will be viewed as spam by Google. 
  • Limit your exact match anchors or the Google algorithm might see your website as spam.
  • Generic anchors are not valuable links. 
  • Using excess keywords or anchors on your website will disrupt the experience of your users and be viewed by Google as spam. 
  • Use more than one type of anchor because diversification is key. 
  • Do not purchase backlinks. This can go wrong in so many ways including messing with Google. 

How to Use Anchor Text in Backlinks for SEO

Anchors are an important part of your SEO strategy and should not be used for experimentation. Unless you have the budget to pay for ads there is no way to reach the top of the SERP easily or quickly. Not only are ads expensive, but they also do not appeal to the majority of users. Most are interested in high-quality content for specific topics. Annoying ads can easily backfire. Always use the best SEO tools available. Whenever possible, include an SEO professional on your team. 

An SEO professional can track algorithm updates from Google to provide you with advice on the best and most current SEO practices. This will enable you to fully understand SEO and anchor backlinks in general. You will also be able to help ensure your content and brand both appear at the top of the SERP. 

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How are Search Engine Rankings Influenced by Anchor Backlinks?

External anchors are used by Google to understand your page and determine your keyword rankings. According to Google, numerous techniques are used for the improvement of search quality including proximity details, page rank and backlink anchors. This means if an article contains a link for running shorts in an anchor, Google expects the linked page to be connected to running shorts. This means Google will be more confident your page deserves a higher ranking for running shorts. 

If Google does not find the connection, your page ranking will decrease. The chance of more than one website having a link to the same page using the same anchors without a connection to running shorts is between slim and none. This is one of many reasons your backlinks are critical for both your ranking and SEO. Unfortunately, SEO is a lot more complicated than that. Google takes all necessary steps to help eliminate manipulative anchors. 

Everything began when Google introduced the first version of its Penguin algorithm in April of 2012. One of the main targets of Penguin was anchor backlinks. Some of the overly-aggressive sites using links for exact match anchors watched their rankings crash overnight. Google stated this only impacted 3.1 percent of all users conducting search queries. Google did not stop here but continued to fight manipulative backlink anchor spam with numerous Penguin updates. 

The majority of SEO professionals are currently recommending using exact match backlink anchors sparingly. A maximum of one to five percent is now recommended. One of the questions most frequently asked is if creating specific backlink anchors is recommended for the future. First of all, there is no way to be certain what the primary keyword target for web pages will be in the future. What is important is creating anchors with rich keywords and phrases now. 

Several reasons back up this statement. When you consider the average traffic flow to popular websites, 22 percent comes from the keyword you are targeting through your links. This means using just one type of backlink can increase your website traffic. Imagine what can happen if you use a variety of backlink types. If you do not have any backlinks on your website you will be missing out on better rankings from Google, the ability to reach the top page and consumer traffic. 

Understanding the different types of backlink anchors and the purpose each one serves is incredibly important for your SEO. The ability of Google to understand the intent of queries has significantly improved. This means the emphasis of search engines is on more than just the content of your website. Backlinks provide your website with authority for your niche, improve your Google rankings and improve your bottom line by delivering more potential customers. 

According to the most recent studies, using a combination of backlinks including long-tail variations combined with targeted keywords is responsible for most of the traffic received by modern websites. To share information or sell products or services, backlinks are necessary to increase your website traffic. If you need to track your backlinks so you know how much traffic is coming through them and such, there are tools for that. For example:

Anchor text backlinks

(Image Credit: Ahrefs)

Final Thoughts Regarding How to Create a Backlink with Anchor Text

The topic of backlink anchors is complicated. There are a lot of individuals in the industry insisting exact match anchors are the best way to increase ranking, traffic and SEO. The issue is there are just as many experts stating a different type of anchor works better. The general consensus of opinion seems to be your best option is to use a combination of different backlink types provided they are high-quality. You can conduct an analysis of backlink ratios for websites with the top rankings. 

This does not mean your findings will be accurate or successful. This is because you are unable to control the backlinks used by the majority of building strategies. Depending on your current market niche, the number of available strategies may be limited. Your best option to create natural and effective backlinks is using high-quality sources. Paying for backlinks is never a good idea. Google is not crawling for anything complicated. 

They want to see high-quality backlinks as opposed to spammy or manipulative anchors. You will not reach the first page overnight. Take your time and remember fewer high-quality backlinks are far more beneficial than a large number of inferior anchors. 

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An exact match anchor is one that mirrors the keyword the page links to. There is also anchor text that includes variations of the keyword.

The blue, underlined text that links you to another website with relevant information is the most common type of anchor text.

  1. First off, place your cursor in the text editor in your desired anchor text location.
  2. Click insert /
  3. Remove anchor in the links section of the insert ribbon tab
  4. You’ll see the insert an anchor window
  5. Assign a name to the anchor and click OK

Anchor links do work on mobile, however, sometimes they go to the desired page and simply stay at the top instead of navigating to the desired portion of the text.

A keyword rich anchor is when your link actually contains the target keywords instead of a general “click here” or “link” ect.


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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.


One thought on “Why Anchor Text is Critical for Backlink Success

  • I do local SEO for my Income Tax business website. Leaving anchor text is very powerful. You need your website and back links to age too.

    Owner CEL Financial Services
    IRS Registered Tax Preparer
    Registered bonded California CTEC Tax Preparer
    Please visit my website for all your Fillmore Income Tax needs.

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