How to Choose the Right Anchor Text to Link Back to Your Site
The Penguin update to Google’s algorithm continues to update and change how companies design their websites. It affects all your SEO design choices.
Your site will take heavy penalties if you don’t evolve and adjust with those updates. This also means you have to choose the right anchor text for link-building. No longer can you use the same phrase for links over and over again.
Not sure how it works? Let’s break down how Google’s Penguin update works. Then we’ll follow up with the kind of anchor text you can use to optimize your pages and links.
Penguin Makes You Choose the Right Anchor Text
Google’s Penguin update launched back in 2012 and saw a major update in 2016. Its core design is about rooting out sites that use spam tactics and poor linking strategies.
Before Penguin released, companies could use the same anchor text as many times as desired. Companies back then used anchor text that was an exact match to the keyword they wanted to rank for and then spammed it throughout a page.
With Penguin, this is no longer possible. You have to choose the right anchor text and spread them in an organic manner throughout the page.
You can do a quick online test to see how well your site’s doing. From there you can determine if you need to rethink your strategy and alter how you use anchor text.
What kind of anchor text should you focus on? Consider the following recommendations:
Exact and Partial Matches
A part of your SEO work is determining which keywords to focus on. If you use anchor text that is the same as your keywords, that’s referred to as an exact match. This is the most important type of anchor text and the one you should prioritize.
Partial matches are when you use slight variations. It can use the exact keywords but adds a few words to it. This variation, which uses a string of keywords, is a long tail anchor.
Exact matches are crucial because those are the keywords you want to rank high for. You can’t rely only on exact and partial matches too much though because Google will penalize you.
Too many exact matches will look like you’re spamming. Google will knock you down the rankings if it looks like you’ve spammed the same keyword phrase too many times.
This is where the next couple of anchor text types come in.
This is as simple as they get. All you have to do is use a proper brand name as your anchor text. Branded anchors should be a little common throughout your page but not as often as exact and partial keyword matches.
You can also put a spin on branded anchors by adding long tail key phrases. A few extra words will add emphasis to the link.
Benign Anchor Text
These are generic anchor text that doesn’t relate to your keywords. Adding one or two of these to your pages is fine. Putting at least one will add diversity to your links and keep your site on good terms with Google’s algorithms.
Some examples of benign anchor text include phrases like click here and contact us. These are often used as a call to action. As a matter of fact, you’ll see one in action down below.
Latent Semantic Indexing
LSI refers to anchor text that uses words and synonyms related to the target keyword. If your keyword is SEO assistance, for example, you can use LSI anchor text like SEO tips or SEO guide.
This technique allows you to rank for multiple keywords at the same time. You’re still focusing on the main keyword but you’ll also hit the niche target with those alternatives. You’ll also have the benefit of not getting penalized by Google’s Penguin algorithm.
You can use the Google search bar to find related words. Google even has tools to help you do so. You can’t go wrong using Google’s own resources to choose the right anchor text.
Use LSI anchor text to your advantage. You can get creative as long as the words still relate to the page’s content and your target keywords. LSI anchor text also lets you write natural flowing content since you don’t have to stuff the same phrase over and over again.
No Text Links
No text links don’t use anchor text at all. Instead, these are links that use an image as their anchor. You can get away with some creative ideas using no text links.
Google looks into the image’s ALT tag as the anchor text. This means you should be careful when adding images with links. Don’t forget to edit the ALT tag description or Google won’t pick it up as something meaningful.
Even when you have images and the right ALT tag description, make sure to add a text description below it. Captions, even when they aren’t hyperlinked, help Google’s detectors understand the page’s content and intent.
Naked anchors are when you put the raw URL as a link. There’s no anchor text and no alternative keyword phrase. You can do slight variations like capitalizing some of the words.
Advice about naked anchor links differs from one SEO expert to another but one thing is clear: you should use naked anchors more often. Your priority should still be exact matches and brand anchor text but naked anchors follow right after.
The main benefit of a naked anchor is that visitors click on them more often than other types of anchor text. In an instant, visitors see where the link is taking them and this increases user engagement with the page.
Anchor Text is Only the Beginning
When you choose the right anchor text you’ll rank higher and avoid penalties. That is only the beginning though. Search Engine Optimization is getting more complex over the years.
You can start by getting a free SEO analysis.
This will let you know where your site stands. From there, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you get started in restructuring your site.