The anchor text is part of a hyperlink. It is the part of a link that is visible on the website. The choice of anchor text is important for the overall concept of a website and has an impact on the ranking on Google.
The anchor text is what the user clicks on in a link. Mostly it is a word or a phrase of several words, which is highlighted in color as link text. An anchor text often consists of an apt keyword that fits the theme of the linked website.
When using links that have a positive effect for one’s own site, one must differentiate as follows:
Links that are part of one’s own website and enhance its content. Here we distinguish between external and internal links.
Links that lead from other pages to your own (backlinks) and are evaluated by Google as an indication of the relevance of individual websites or domains [https://seo-content.org/domain] for a topic.
Links on one’s own website serve primarily as support for the content. If you as a webmaster have influence on the backlinks, you should use it. Because the content of anchor texts to the own website have meaning for the Google ranking.
Anchor texts and SEO
Google analyzes not only individual anchor texts of backlinks, but also their connection with the content of the site. Quality and number of backlinks are included in the Google ranking. If obvious “money keywords” are chosen as anchor texts – i.e. keywords with a high search volume and competition, which are often unrelated to the linked page – they stand out negatively. Spam eventually leads to devaluation. Particularly since the Penguin update, Google’s ranking factors have focused on distributing link texts as naturally as possible. For example, the anchor text can create a link to the text containing the keyword, to the brand or to an exact URL. The technical terms for this are:
- Exact Match: the anchor text is a keyword that exactly reflects the theme of the linked domain.
- Partial Match: The link text contains a keyword variation that matches the theme of the website.
- Brand Match: The link text contains a brand name.
- Domain Match or URL Match: The link text is the Internet address.
For search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing, anchor texts in websites are of great importance. The relevance of anchor texts for SEO becomes apparent when one considers that with the right keywords for anchor texts, the Google robots also grasp the importance of the content of one’s own website.
Backlinks as relevance signals
In the early days of the web, it was primarily the number of backlinks that ensured a good search engine ranking. At that time, SEO mainly consisted of placing as many links as possible on one’s own page. When it came to link texts, so-called “hard linking” was popular – and even still effective: SEO back then simply consisted of using as link text the keyword for which the respective sites or domains were to rank.
Over time, at the latest after the Penguin update of Google’s algorithms, more emphasis was placed on a natural link profile – as a signal that the site in question is not being artificially pushed by link spamming. Because the more links are natural, the more different the link texts will be – this logic is followed by Google’s evaluation principles.
The backlink profile of a website should be as varied as possible and thus appear organic. This eliminates the suspicion that it is spamming. A natural backlink profile proves itself through different anchor texts. These consist, for example, of the title tag, the decisive keyword, the domain or an exact URL, the brand name or, in certain proportions, a natural text that has no relation to the content.
In order to improve one’s own rankings, it is advisable to check which anchor texts are used to link websites that thematically match one’s own site or blog. This is because Google’s algorithms trust that the majority of backlinks have relevant anchor texts. The Google Search Console offers webmasters and marketing agencies useful tools to analyze keywords and frequently used anchor texts.
External and internal links on your own website
When it comes to the links placed on one’s own website, it is again important to distinguish between external and internal links. A good internal link structure helps Google to better recognize the structure of the website. The most important thing here is the appropriate keywords. Therefore the rule of thumb applies:
- Internal link texts are hard.
- External link texts are soft.
This means: The internal link structure of a website should be done as far as possible exclusively with main keywords. This helps the Google robots to better recognize not only the structure of a site but also the thematic weighting of the individual subpages. Keyword-related internal linking supports Google’s robots in content analysis. This proves to have a positive effect on the rankings of the individual pages. When linking to external websites, blogs or online stores, on the other hand, variations are required (so-called “soft” linking).
Anyone who works with a content management system will quickly notice that they often use the title tag of an external website in the generic generation of a link text. This also highlights the importance of the title tag for your own site.
For images used as links, Google Robots analyze the Alt tag. The corresponding rules for text links apply.
Naturalness is a virtue – also in the selection of link texts. Single keywords are very helpful if used in moderation. An important distinction here is internal and external linking. Finally, a link profile of backlinks to one’s own website that looks as natural as possible ensures plus points with Google. If you take the time to study the anchor texts of these links, you will often come across valuable optimization potential.
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