The Need to Know Guide to Anchor Text

Even if you’re new to the concept of SEO, you’ve probably seen anchor text in web pages.


Even if you’re new to the concept of SEO, you’ve probably seen anchor text in web pages. It’s typically in blue and underlined such as this link to the SEO Scoop homepage.

To put it in place, it’s either set manually by adding a piece of code or by highlighting it and adding a link using the content management system such as WordPress.

The code for the link shown above looks like this:

<a href=>SEO Scoop homepage</a>

Anchor text can influence how well your page performs in the search engine results. For this to happen, the ideal format of anchor text is to use it to provide links to pages that are relevant to the page you’re creating.

Although anchor text is typically blue, you may also have your colours and styles set up in CSS or HTML to display it as another colour that is in alignment with your website’s colour theme.

Anchor text can be written to provide the reader with the context of the link. For example, you could add a description of what the anchor text is linking to. Your readers would find this valuable and this is something that is judged by Google with regards to understanding what topic is relevant to your site.

Search engines also use anchor text to provide links through to your pages. Although you may not be able to control all the anchor text that links through to your pages, you can control the anchor text that you use within your own site to your pages. You can keep the text you use descriptive, useful and relevant according to Google.

If many sites are linking through a particular page with a certain term, this can result in the page ranking well even if you cannot find those words in the text itself.

Different types of anchor text

Exact match. When it’s an exact match, the keyword will be one that is in alignment with what is on the page. For example, ‘SEO’ linking to a page about SEO.

Partial match. This is when anchor text uses a variation of the keyword on the linked-to page. For example, ‘building links’ linking to a page about beginners guide to building links.

Brand name. Sometimes a brand name is used as anchor text. For example ‘SEO Scoop’ linking to an article on the SEO Scoop blog.

Naked link. A straight URL used as an anchor such as ‘

Generic word. A generic phrase or word used as an anchor such as ‘click here’ or ‘more info’.

Images. When an image has a link, Google will refer to the text that is in the image’s alt attribute for the anchor text.

Best practice for anchor text SEO

The most important factor to apply here is to pay attention to anchor ratios. Using a controlled balance between brand match and naked url anchors in addition to keyword related anchor text is critical. Using only 1% of your content as exact match anchor text is critical to not over optimising.

If you discover that your anchors are not set up with optimal ratios, then try Link Pillowing. This strategy involves utilising guest posts that are low cost to balance out your exact matches with some brand or more generic anchors.

More recently, Google has become far more intelligent. They can now detect which keyword is most suitable for your article/link by determining the content around it. An example would be:

Specialist SEO agencies based in the UK would be a great starting point if you’re looking for search engine optimisation.

You could then use the anchor as “specialist seo agencies” if you were actually looking to target “seo agency uk”, “seo agency”, “search engine optimisation” etc.

Anchor text relevancy to the target page

As search engines have evolved, webmasters discovered how to manipulate them. This has led to search engines increasing their metrics. It helps to determine where sites and pages rank in their listings. One of the metrics now used is link relevancy or how well related the topic of page 1 is to the topic of page 2. If the link connecting the pages is highly relevant, it can help both pages to rank better.

Keeping anchor text succinct

Although there is not a specific length limit of characters or words when using anchors, it’s best to keep the link text to the point as much as possible.

In summary, anchor text done the right way can help with SEO results. If you would like to find out more about our SEO services, contact us for a no obligation chat today.