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Best Practices for Anchor Texts to Maximize SEO Benefits

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Backlinks are a powerful ranking signal that can help improve your search visibility. But what about anchor text? In the previous article, Quality Backlinks: Your Doorway to Ranking, Reputation, and Revenue, we explained how backlinks help improve ranking and establish the credibility of a site.  

In this article, we will talk about the importance and types of anchor texts used in SEO.

To help you better understand anchor text, we have explained here what anchor text is, its uses, the common types of anchor text, and the best SEO practices for using anchor text in your SEO strategy. In this article, we will cover the following aspects of the anchor texts:

Anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink linking to another page

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink linking to another page (or blog, article, etc.). When the anchor text is clicked, it redirects the reader to another online source. It also tells more about the linked page to the search engines. It should also indicate to users what kind of page they will be taken to when they click the link.

For example, the anchor text’ rank tracking tool”should be used to link to a website or article that provides information about rank tracking tools. It is the visible part of a link on a given piece of content and is also known as a link label or link turtle.

<a href => eslrankspro</a>

In other words, anchor text is made up of one or more clickable words that act as keywords and describe the referred link. These keywords are one of many signals used by search engines to know and understand the topic of a web page.

Anatomy of a hyperlink
  • SEO professionals use anchor texts to optimize search results. Search engines use the anchor text for indexing to ensure the link is relevant to the source. It generally appears as blue underlined text, indicating that it contains hyperlinks; however, users can change their website’s link colors and styles through HTML or CSS. Think of anchor text as text bridging two pages.

A high-quality anchor text has two significant features.

  • Linking two pages together naturally.
  • Provide the user with additional resources that may help their reading.

Different Types of anchor texts

1.  Exact Match Anchor Text

The exact match anchor text is the simplest type of anchor text used for SEO ranking. It has the same keywords highlighted as targeted keyword of a web page.


Exact match anchor texts for eSearch Logix’s SEO services will be eSearch Logix SEO services


It is easy to set an exact match keyword as it is just the same label and the required link.


It may appear as a link-building scheme to search engine bots and human users. It may not entice users to click through.


It is the most effective type of anchor text for SEO. It tells Google that the linked page is about the exact keyword used for its SEO. However, it is important to use exact-match anchor text sparingly, as too much of it may appear Spammy.

2. Partial Match Anchor Text

The partial match anchor text has all the words in the query but not an exact phrase. It includes keywords for a specific page without any localization. It usually enables an anchor text to be a long keyword.


Here are some partial match anchor texts for eSearch Logix’s SEO services:

  • Search engine optimization services
  • SEO company


  • The benefit of using it is that the keyword does not need to be modified to fit the link.
  • Unlike exact match anchor text, it does not provide a bad impression as a link builder.


When you use partial match anchor text, you are essentially telling Google that the linked page is about a specific keyword or phrase, even though the anchor text itself does not contain the keyword or phrase in its entirety. This can make your website look like you are trying to manipulate search engine results pages (SERPs).

3. Branded Anchor Text

 Branded anchor text simply uses the brand name as anchor text. When brand anchor text is used, the visitor is redirected to the brand’s homepage if the brand is clickable.


For example, here we have placed a branded anchor text simply by highlighting the brand name, “ESL Ranks Pro,” and if it is clicked, the visitor is redirected to the ESL Ranks Pro main page.

  • ESL ranks Pro for tracking website performance.
  • Track your rankings with ESL Ranks Pro.


  • It helps boost brand awareness for visitors.
  • It enables visitors to learn more about the brand by clicking through the link.


The use of branded anchor text is limited to links to the brand and other important topics that the user might need.

4. Naked Link Anchor Text

The naked link anchor text appears as a bare URL pasted within the content. It is usually added at the bottom of the article by the readers for reference, and it usually contains some words that are related to the content that people expect to see.


ESL Ranks Pro’s ranking tracker ( is one of my favorite site audit tools.

Track your site’s ranking across 150 countries.

Studies reveal that Google loves naked URLs or naked anchor texts. The reason is that they are straightforward and transparent, and consequently less spammy.

5. Generic Anchor Text

The generic anchor text is also regarded as regular anchor text because it does not provide any textual information related to the end link. The readers need to understand or predict the content they may read after clicking the link on the basis of the surrounding text within the content.


Click here

Learn more

Visit this page.


It can be used to create a more natural-looking backlink profile.


Most of the time, when generic anchor text is used as a CTA, it is suspected of being spammy. For instance, ‘Click Here’, which is the common anchor, or “See More” is a good example.


When using generic anchor text, it is crucial to use different variations in the anchor text. It will prevent your anchor text from being repetitive and appearing spammy to the search engines.

It is also recommended to use generic anchor text sparingly, as it can be seen as spammy.

A good rule of thumb is to use generic links for around 60% of your links, and the reset of 40% of your links should use other types of anchor text, such as partial match anchor text and branded anchor text.

 6. Image Anchor Text

Image anchor text is an anchor text that uses images to redirect visitors to a specific URL. It is very simple to link to an image. For this, one needs to change the alt tag in the HTML code to the anchor text. It is important that anchor text be included in the alt attribute of the image. It is mostly used to provide external links, especially affiliate links and other promotional links.


It is appealing, and most web visitors are likely to be drawn to click the image.


Image is not a relevant keyword to be used as a search term for the search engine.


Here are a few tips to create images:

  • Use keywords that are relevant to the image and the page it is linked to.
  • Keep the text short and concise.
  • Use natural-sounding language.
  • Vary the anchor text for each image.
  • Use an image as anchor text by declaring an alt image text to make it keyword-focused.

7. Random Anchor Text

Random anchor text is a kind of anchor text not specified or related to the link or hyperlink. It is often used in link analysis tools that randomly generate anchor text in similar categories. They usually come with phrases that are not typically generic, such as “click here.” However, they are not related to keyword objects either.


  • Read more
  • Find out more.
  • Visit our website.
  • This article
  • The following link


They are not accounted for in keyword stuffing, and hence, they do not hurt the rankings.


It is not as effective as other kinds of anchor text for SEO purposes.

It can make your content look unprofessional, especially if it is not relevant to the page.

What are the benefits of Anchor Text for Search Engines?

Google emphasizes anchor text to determine what the page is all about. It helps Google decide its rank successively. The anchor text is treated like a special link for search engines. Search engines link the text of the link to the linked page. Here are some of the prominent advantages of using anchor text:

Shows relevance between two web pages

Shows relevance between two web pages

Whether it is a website, blog, or article, the anchor text shows relevance between two pages. When anchor texts are properly executed, they help to enhance the user experience and encourage the users to take actions such as clicking, subscribing, buying, etc. However, one must consider significant rules when using anchor text to get optimal results. Using a descriptive anchor text provides better context for the user about what they can expect from the page before even clicking through the anchor text link. Providing relevant links to anchor text helps to build page authority and reputation.

Provides a contextual path across various web pages on a site

When Google crawls a website, it follows the link between web pages. The anchor text of the links helps Google understand the meaning or context of the links and the relationship between the pages. Google uses this information for ranking pages in its search results.

For example, if a page about “best pizza in Italy” has an anchor text of “read our review,” Google will understand the page is about a review of the pizza in Italy. This information will help Google rank the review page higher in search results for queries related to “best pizza in Italy.”

In this way, anchor text provides a contextual crawl path across different web pages; however, rankings in search change in migration even if the URL doesn’t change. Changes in the content or layout can affect the rankings. Google’s ability to crawl pages is either improved or diminished if the content or layout changes drastically. The internal link changes have an impact on Google’s ability to crawl across different web pages, which publishers should pay close attention to.

Flows of page rank between web documents

Anchor text can flow PageRank between web documents in two ways:

Directly: When a user clicks on an anchor text link, the page rank of the source page is transferred to the destination page. The amount of page rank transferred by Google is determined by many factors. Some of them are the number of links pointing to the source page, the page rank of the source page, and the relevance of the anchor text to the destination page.

Indirectly: When a search engine spider crawls a web page, it follows all of the links on the page. As the spider follows the links, it passes on some of the page rank from the source page to the destination page. How much page rank is passed on is determined by the same factors as direct page rank flow.

The more relevant the anchor text is to the destination page, the more PageRank that will be transferred. For example, if the anchor text contains the keyword “SEO”, then more page rank will be transferred to the destination page if the destination page is about SEO.

However, it is important to note that Google has stated that anchor text is not the only factor that is considered when ranking web pages. Other factors, such as the content of the page, the number of backlinks, and the quality of the backlinks, are also important.

Provides purpose of the page to the search engines

Provides purpose of the page to the search engines

Anchor text provides the purpose of the web page to the search engines, as it is used to link to other sites. They are used along with keywords as an important ranking factor. There are situations in which websites undergo penalization due to unusual proportions of the anchor text links.

There are no such procedures to determine the best anchor text based on the current Google update in 2022. Though it provides guidelines for determining the number or amount of anchor text, it is also debatable. Most SEO professionals believed that studying the search engine result pages helped discover the best anchor ratios for each niche.

Provides relevance between web pages and targeted queries

Provides relevance between web pages and targeted queries

Anchor text provides relevance between the web page and targeted queries, as the search engines use it as a ranking factor. Many times, SEO and link builders manipulate the anchor text on the targeted websites. Such manipulative techniques are noticed by Google’s algorithm, and they may get your site penalized.

Anchor texts are dependent on the text surrounding them. The keywords are associated with meanings that are built up within the content subheadings or articles. When users see anchor text relevant to their query or the content they are looking for, they are more likely to click on it and be taken to the desired page.

Helping search engines index your website

Helping search engines index your website

Search engines use anchor text to help them index your website and understand what your website is about. When you use relevant anchor text, you are essentially telling search engines what the linked page is about. This can help your website rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. When you use anchor text that includes keywords, you are more likely to get backlinks from other websites. This can help improve your website’s ranking in search results

How to optimize your anchor text for SEO?

What is one common factor in backlinks, internal links, and external links that you all need to optimize your link profile?

Yes, it is indeed anchor text.

Anchor text is an important ranking factor as it provides valuable context to search engines about the web pages your links point to. Additionally, anchor text ratios are also important to establishing a ‘natural-looking’ link profile. Here are some tips to effectively optimize your anchor text for SEO

Tip 1: Keep it relevant

anchor text should keep it relevant way

It is much clearer now that Google rewards relevancy. It is important for Google’s own reputation, as they don’t want to get a bad reputation by providing users with irrelevant responses to queries. This means the anchor text should consist of phrases and words relevant to your embedded link.

In the above example, we have taken meta-descriptions and their relevance in SEO as an anchor text. When users click it, there is a blog post on the other side that’s an exact match for the topic.

However, if you link the above anchor text with a page that was selling towels, it will confuse users, and you will probably not like to follow any other link on the given blog. You may even not like to come back to the website, as it may appear manipulative.

Irrelevant anchor text

Keep in mind that Google is looking for relevance because readers want relevant content. If you want to establish credibility in the eyes of website visitors and search engines, you need to understand that you are keeping the users interest in mind while pursuing the content and linking practices.

Tip 2: Incorporate variation

Variation is a key to making anchor text appear unique and not spammy in the eyes of search engines. It is advised to use a variety of anchor text phrases in a balanced manner, such as long-tail keywords, synonyms, and related terms.

One must avoid using too many similar anchors on the same page, as it appears spammy to Google and even the users. In fact, it may make your site penalized by Google.

One of the best ways to incorporate anchor text variation is by practicing link diversity. There can be many ways to implement it, such as linking from various domain extensions, domain authorities, and using a blend of “follow” and “nofollow” links.

For incorporating variation, you should track anchor text in a spreadsheet or by using a link-building tool. Also, SEO experts can begin by establishing the baseline methodology for anchor text practices. Once the baseline strategy has been made, they can represent different variations of the anchor text to evaluate which suits best for SEO and organic rankings.

Tip 3: Keep the anchor text natural

Natural anchor text usually has one kind of link, but it can have any number of words to improve the readability of the content without over-optimizing the keywords.

As search engines get smarter at using AI-driven natural language processing (NLP), it is crucial to create organic sound anchor text to rank higher on search engines. Instead of finding a place to fit your chosen link, consider the type of content contained in linked pages and determine what kind of anchor text will suit it the best. It will help you analyze the new research and identify its most important findings.

For instance, instead of “SEO Best Practices”. You may use anchor text “how to improve your SEO ranking” Also, avoid using same exact anchor text again and again as it will look spammy.

Tip 4: Don’t use empty anchor text variations

Empty anchors are links to your website from other sites that have no anchor text. They are not as useful as links with anchor text because they don’t provide any information to search engines about what the link is about. It means they won’t help your website to gain higher rankings in search results.

Tip 5: Avoid over-optimization

Over-optimization is the method of using the same keyword repeatedly in the anchor text. It is observed by search engines as an unnatural and spammy practice and can hurt your rankings.

Over-optimization is the method of using the same keyword repeatedly in the anchor text.

For instance, a page title anchor should be used sparingly, as using it too much may be seen as over-optimization and can make your website penalized by Google.

Tip 6: Start guest posting

Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to increase the SEO value of your website

Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to increase the SEO value of your website by publishing posts on other websites. It allows you to link back to a landing page with the same content or blog post from your own site and should include appropriate anchor text that contains keywords for search engine optimization.

Tip 7: Avoid linking to spammy websites

Avoid linking to spammy websites

It is important to be cautious while linking your content. You must avoid linking your page to spammy links in a hurry. Such links can be identified by their low-quality content, irrelevant anchor text, and suspicious linking patterns. In addition, they may come from unreliable sources or be associated with spammy keywords and phrases.

Tip 8: Keep your ratios consistent

Keep your ratios consistent

There is no general rule with regard to the anchor text ratio. A good starting point can be the 70/30 split between branded and non-branded anchor text. This means that 70% of your anchor text should be branded, such as the website’s name or logo, and 30% should be non-branded, such as keywords or phrases that describe your content.

You can then adjust the distribution based on your specific requirements. For instance, if your goal is to boost brand awareness, you may want to use more branded anchor text. On the other hand, if you are targeting a competitive keyword, you may want to use a more keyword-rich anchor. It is equally important to vary the anchor text within each category. For instance, if you are using branded anchor text, don’t use your website name or brand name again and again. Instead, you may try using the company’s logo or tagline.

Here are some more tips for creating a good anchor text distribution:

  • Use a variety of anchor text types along with branded and non-branded anchor text, such as naked URL anchor text, keyword anchor text, and descriptive anchor text.
  • Use a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords that can help you rank for more targeted searches.
  • Be creative and unique, and avoid using anchor text from other websites.
  • Test and track your anchor text strategy in regular intervals to determine what is working and what is not.

Tip 9: Make sure to commit anchor text to top-level pages

Make sure to commit anchor text to top-level pages

When you commit an anchor to top-level pages, it is a way to indicate to search engines that these are the most important pages on your website. The reason is that top-level pages are usually those that are indexed and have the most authority. 

If you commit anchors to sub-directories, it will dilute the SEO value of your top-level pages. It will give the impression to search engines that there are other pages on your site that are also important, and they will spread the SEO value around the page.

In addition, if a link to a sub-directory does not work properly, it can damage the SEO value of the top-level page and make it appear manipulative or spammy in the eyes of search engines.

As the search engines will see the link is broken, they will assume the top-level page is not as important as it appears.

For these reasons, it is best to only commit anchors to top-level pages. This will help you improve the SEO of your site and ensure that your most important pages are getting the most attention.

Tip 10: Place anchor texts at places where you get the most attention from readers

Anchor text should be commonly placed close to the keyword or phrase it’s referencing. The reason is that readers’ web visitors are more likely to notice and click on the information in this area of a webpage.

So there will be high chances of getting it clicked by the users if they get what they were looking for. Here are some tips on how to place anchor texts where readers pay the most attention:

  • Anchor texts should be placed at the beginning of a sentence. This is because readers are more likely to notice the beginning of a sentence, and they are also more likely to read the entire sentence once they have started reading it.
  • Place anchor texts in headings and subheadings. Headings and subheadings are typically the most prominent elements on a page, so they are more likely to be noticed by readers.
  • Place anchor texts in bold or italics. Using bold or italics will make the anchor text stand out from the surrounding text, which will make it more likely to be noticed by readers.
  • Place anchor texts near related keywords. This will help search engines understand the context of the link and the relationship between the two pages.
  • Use a variety of anchor text formats. Don’t just use the same anchor text format over and over again. This will make your anchor text look spammy, and it will be less effective.

Here are some examples of anchor texts that are placed in places where readers are likely to pay attention:

  • “Get started with SEO today” (placed near the keyword “SEO”)
  • “Visit our SEO blog” (placed near the keyword “blog”).

Tip 11: Find broken anchor text links by auditing your site

Make sure to periodically audit your website for broken links and anchor text. If a link is not working appropriately, it can have a bad impact on the search engine rankings of other pages on your site that do have properly clicked-through links.

Selecting the perfect anchor text requires analysis and practice. However, one must follow systematic consistent approach to optimize their site effectively. 

A Google penalty can strike webmasters website owners like a lightning bolt, leaving them puzzled about what to do next.

A penalty is a manual restrictive measure taken by the Google Spam team for violating Google’s Webmaster guidelines; it results in a website’s organic visibility declining rapidly. There are many reasons for which Google sticks to penalties.

When it comes to anchor links, one can get penalized if the anchor text appears to be unnatural or manipulative. This can include:

Excessive use of exact-match anchor text

If you use the same exact text over and over again and again, especially for commercial keywords, it may look spammy to Google; instead, one must use a variety of different anchor text phrases.

Using anchor text irrelevant to the linked pages

The anchor text should accurately describe the page that you are linking to. For instance, if you are linking to a page about SEO best practices, you should avoid using the anchor text “subscribe here.”

Buying links or participating in link schemes

One must avoid buying links or participating in link schemes, as it is penalized as per Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Remove or disavow unnatural links.

For removing or disavowing unnatural links, you need to contact the site owners and asking them to take down the links or edit the anchor texts.

Disavowing means requesting Google to ignore the links and if your request is accepted, the Google won’t count them for ranking purposes. You can use Google Disavow tool to submit a list of domains you want to disavow. However, one should use this option as last resort after trying to remove the links manually.

Tips to avoid getting penalized by google for anchor links

Wrap Up

Anchor text is an important part of on-page SEO. It helps search engines to understand the context of the linked page. It is important to create natural and relevant anchor texts to avoid Google penalty. One should also preferably use a variety of anchor text, and natural language for optimizing anchor text. Also follow the effective strategies for optimizing your anchor text to reap maximum SEO benefits out of it.

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