If you want to achieve success in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, you’ll need to make the most out of each link you manage to build. And when it comes to unlocking the potential of link building, anchor text is undoubtedly one of, if not the most significant element.
That said, you also need to keep track of Google’s updates regarding anchor text best practices because today’s perfectly optimized anchor text can be tomorrow’s figurative “anchor,” dragging your site down the SERPs.
Knowing this, it is not difficult to conclude that implementing the right anchor text optimization tactics can lead to great results, both in reaching the top of the search engine result page and achieving high website authority.
We talked to our associates from a leading New York web design company to learn how to improve our own anchor texts, and we’ll share our findings below.
Top 7 Anchor Text Best Practices
Check out what web design companies from NY consider the best practices for anchor text optimization!
Keep Your Anchors Natural and Versatile
Google wants to show its users websites that offer real value. Having this in mind, it is easy to understand why the placement of our links should feel natural. Links should be where users expect them to be, and the anchor text should provide valuable information about what the link leads to.
The indexing algorithm is brighter than ever and will only get more competent in the future, so unnatural keyword stuffing in your anchors is likely to lead to diminishing returns — it is only a matter of time.
Experts say that the best approach is to use relevant links from pages and websites with high domain and page authority and link them over informative anchor text that clearly shows the reader what they can expect.
Make Sure That Each Anchor Is Relevant to the Content on the Page
Relevance of anchors to the rest of the content on the page is another non-negotiable best practice. Improvements in Google’s algorithm, primarily due to its use of AI, have made it imperative for SEO marketers to follow the search engine giant’s guidelines.
Google’s “crawlers” can understand the meaning of the content of each web page, and Google places a huge emphasis on relevance, so placing irrelevant anchors (both in terms of link and text) could get you penalized in the search results.
For Google, it has been all about delivering an unmatched user experience lately, which is why the company is not willing to compromise on many UX requirements, including this one.
Spammy, overly rich keyword-based anchors are something Google does not look kindly upon. Therefore, you should always think about whether you’ve over-optimized your anchor text and try as hard as you can to keep it natural.
The easiest way to do this is to spread your rich keywords across your inbound links proportionally (we’ll get to this in more detail a bit later). From time to time, you may also try using anchor texts that slightly differ from your keywords in meaning and form.
Capture Users’ Attention with Smart Positioning
This tip is not related to the content of the anchor text or the link itself but instead deals with the positioning of the anchor. The idea is to place your anchors where they are most likely to capture the readers’ attention.
Usually, this means placing your anchors within the first few paragraphs (ideally the first 100 words). You can also use images, headings and sub-headings, as these are almost guaranteed to grab your users’ attention as well.
In the end, it is all about generating engagement and high click-through rates, so you may also want to experiment with your anchor placement and see what works for you.
Don’t Ignore Deep Links
A piece of the anchor-text-optimization SEO puzzle that is easy to get wrong has to do with the depth of your anchor links. Namely, many SEO strategists tend to focus on top-level pages with their anchors. These include product pages, landing pages, the home page, etc.
An excellent way to gain an advantage here is to focus on some pages on deeper levels, such as blog posts. Google particularly appreciates deeper-level links because they tend to be richer in terms of content value. As we explained earlier, the thing that Google cares most about is providing value to the user.
Produce Relevant Guest Posts
Guest blogging is one of the key ingredients of any successful link-building strategy and, by extension, any digital marketing strategy as a whole. Relevant guest posting is the best way to get results when it comes to anchor text usage.
The key things to pay attention to here include the relevance of the website you’re contributing to, as well as its authority. According to expert insights we collected, Google includes the websites you link with into the equation when determining your ranking, so it is very much the case of “you are who you associate with.”
On that note, be sure to check your outbound links as well, and make sure that you’re not unintentionally directing your users to low-quality websites either.
Use Different Anchor Types
The last piece of advice we’ve got in terms of best practices for anchor text optimization involves using different types of anchor text and using them in the right proportion. Distributing your anchor text types optimally is one of the key components of a successful SEO strategy.
The reason for this is that if you overuse one anchor type over others, Google will quickly catch on and penalize you by dropping your website’s rank. Therefore, it is crucial that you target anchor text diversity in your link-building efforts.
According to the experts, the following distribution matrix is ideal for boosting your website’s search ranking:
- Branded anchor — ~50%
- [yourwebsite.url] — ~15%
- Naked links — ~15%
- Blog post title/Page title — ~10%
- LSI partial match — ~5%
- Generic anchor — ~5%
- Exact-match anchor — ~2–3%
Aside from these, you can mix and match other anchor types such as no-text anchors and natural anchors as you please. Moreover, avoid low-quality links, especially broken ones, as these can get you in trouble quickly.
As always, the best way to go about this is to perform a thorough analysis of your competition and your niche to get a clear idea about the anchor text distribution that would provide the best results.
Anchor text optimization is an SEO strategy that you must keep evolving and fine-tuning to align with Google’s algorithm changes. The idea is to keep the anchor texts leading to and from your website natural and versatile, as this is the thing that matters most to Google when ranking your site.
It is a good idea to perform periodic audits and weed out the anchors that might have grown to damage your SERPs while also looking at the ones that are performing well.
In short, well-placed and well-thought-out anchors will keep you on Google’s good side, and all it takes to stick to the search engine’s guidelines is an honest and genuine effort to offer the best experience to your users.
Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.