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One of the areas of search engine optimization (SEO) that is often overlooked by clients is anchor text. Anchor text is the term for the visible, clickable words that link to another webpage. Though it might seem like a minor thing, the user experience and SEO performance of your website can be greatly impacted by the usage of relevant and descriptive anchor text links.

We’ll go into what anchor text is, how it’s used in SEO, best practices for optimization, and why it matters for your digital marketing efforts in Thailand and beyond in this informative guide.

What Is Anchor Text in SEO?

Anchor text refers to the clickable words used to link one web page to another. In this example from Ahrefs, the blue words are the anchor text:

Anchor Text Example

As search engines like Google crawl your website content, the links embedded within the content and the Anchor text that is used is also considered. Your anchor text settings offer important background information about the subject matter of the linked page.

When you link to a page on your website with the anchor phrase “best pizza in Bangkok,” for instance, Google is alerted that the destination page is probably about the finest pizza places in Bangkok. Relevant anchor text enhances Google’s understanding of the organization and connection of your website pages.

Internal and External Link (Anchors)

An Internal Link is a link between two pages of the same site. In SEO this is commonly used to point search engines in the direction of the page that should rank for a given Keyword. For example this blog is related to SEO, however when mentioning a ‘money’ keyword we are targeting in our campaign such as “SEO Company Bangkok”, we would link to the relevant sales page.

An External Link is where a website links to a different website. This is often the case when one company is recommending another i.e. If you’re looking for a reputable SEO company, get in touch with Phoenix Media. Or if they are citing a Statistic or information, such as a blog around CDN’s may reference “a CDN can significantly improve website speed” which is a topic we have covered previously.

What Are the Different Types of Anchor Text?

There are several popular types of anchor text that you may wish to include in your SEO strategy, including:

Exact Match

The linked text in exact match anchor text is your target keyword directly. Linking, for instance, using the anchor text “best Bangkok hotels” if that’s the keyword term you want to target.

Phrase Match

Like exact match, phrase match anchor text includes the whole target keyword phrase together with a few more words either before or after. One such example is “click here for the best Bangkok hotels list.”

Partial Match 

In partial match anchor text, your target term appears just partially in the linked text, as in “top hotels in Bangkok.”

Branded

An example of this could be check out the Phoenix Media blog, branded anchor text only utilizes the name of your business or website as the link text.

Generic

The context of what is being linked to is not provided by generic anchor text words like “click here,” “read more,” or “learn more.”

Naked URL

A naked URL is one in which the anchor text contains the entire web address, as in https://www.phoenixmedia.co.th.

Image

The alt text of an image used as a link acts as the anchor text describing the link location.

Anchor text distrubution
If you are actively sourcing links with Anchor text, a natural profile will likely have more non-targeted keyword anchors.

 

natural link profile
Example of how a natural link profile may look.

 

Optimizing the SEO of your website can be accomplished by naturally combining these various anchor text types, paying special attention to relevant descriptive phrases.

The secret is to blend many anchor text types naturally, as we’ll go into further detail later in the article.

What Is the Difference Between Keywords and Anchor Text?

It’s easy to confuse keywords and anchor text since they are closely related SEO concepts. A keyword is simply a word or phrase that you want your website to rank for in search engines. Anchor text refers to the specific words that are hyperlinked.

An example makes this distinction clear. Let’s say your target keyword is “best Bangkok hotels” you may use that exact phrase as anchor text to link to your hotel guide page. Or you could use partial-match anchor text like “top hotels in Bangkok’s city center.”

Both examples are optimized for the target keyword “best Bangkok hotels” But they use different variations of that keyword phrase as the actual anchor text link.

How Should Anchor Text Be Used for Best SEO Practice?

Now that we understand what anchor text is and how it relates to keywords, let’s go over some best practices for using anchor text as part of an effective SEO strategy:

Use relevant, descriptive anchor text

The text you use for links should accurately describe what the destination page is about. This is beneficial for both users and search engines.

Natural anchor text

While including your target keyword in some anchor text is recommended, overusing the same exact keyword phrase can appear unnatural to Google. Mix it up with branded anchor text, related keyword phrases, page titles, and more.

Optimize alt text for images

When using an image as a link, the alt text (alternative text) functions as the anchor text. Use descriptive alt text to explain what the image shows and where the link goes.

Pay attention to surrounding text

Search engines don’t just look at the anchor text itself – they also analyze the words around the link for better context. The sentences before and after can clarify what a link is about.

Conduct an anchor text audit

Use SEO tools to analyze your current internal and external anchor text distribution. Look for any over-optimized exact match instances or generic anchor text that needs improving.

Anchor Text vs Hyperlink

While often used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference between anchor text and a hyperlink:

Hyperlink refers to the actual HTML code that creates a clickable link from one web page to another.

Anchor text is the specific visible text that is hyperlinked and clickable by users.

For example, the HTML code:

<a href=”https://www.phoenixmedia.co.th/services/”>SEO services in Bangkok</a>

The full code is the hyperlink, while “SEO services in Bangkok” is the anchor text portion that users see and click on.

 

Things To Avoid With Anchor Text

Using descriptive and relevant anchor text is recommended for SEO, however, there are some practices around anchor text that you’ll want to avoid:

Overusing Exact Match Anchor Text

Going overboard with anchor text that exactly matches your target keyword can appear unnatural and spammy to Google, especially if you are doing any kind of Link building. Vary your anchor text by using phrases, partial matches, branded terms, and related keywords.

Hidden Text Links

Never try to hide links from users by making the link text the same color as the background, using CSS to hide links, or obfuscating links in other ways. These “hidden links” are against Google’s guidelines.

Broken Links

Broken links create a poor user experience and can hurt your SEO performance. Regularly audit your site to find and fix any links that are no longer working or redirecting properly.

Irrelevant Anchor Text

The anchor text you use should accurately describe the content of the page it’s linking to. Using irrelevant or misleading anchor text phrases can confuse users and search engines.

Generic Anchor Text

Search engines and human visitors are left with little to no information about what will happen when they click a link when generic anchor text like “click here” is used. Your SEO attempts and the user experience on your website may suffer as a result.

Neglecting Nofollow

When linking to sponsored content or advertisements, be sure to use the nofollow attribute to prevent passing any PageRank value. Forgetting this can potentially lead to a Google penalty.

Keep in mind also Google’s viewpoint on anchor text. They have underlined the need for concise and descriptive anchor text that gives website visitors important context. Following these tips supports your audience’s browsing experience and also conforms to SEO best practices.

Start Optimizing Your Anchor Text

Optimizing your website’s anchor text is an easy way to give your SEO efforts a meaningful boost without complex technical changes. By using descriptive, relevant, and naturally varied anchor text, you provide clear signals to search engines about your content while enhancing the user experience.

While anchor text may seem like a small detail, it’s an important part of a holistic SEO strategy. At Phoenix Media, we carefully analyze and optimize anchor text for all of our clients’ websites and digital marketing campaigns.

Want to take your website’s SEO performance to new heights? Get in touch with our SEO team today for a free consultation on taking your anchor text game to the next level.

  • Published on : Friday May 24, 2024

About the author

As the managing partner for Phoenix Media, Rob brings over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and running successful agencies in the UK, Australia and Thailand. Starting in a sales role he has covered all aspects of the agency from sales and service to technical ad operations. Reach him directly on rob@phoenixmedia.co.th

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