What is anchor text?
Anchor text links two web pages together using clickable words or phrases within a hyperlink. Anchor text helps web visitors understand what they are clicking on and why. Just as a ship’s anchor keeps it steady, anchor text helps tie web pages together. Anchor text is also commonly known as link text, a link title, or a link label.
Why is anchor text important?
Anchor text contributes to a website’s user experience (UX). When users see clear and detailed anchor text, they immediately know where a link will take them, making it easier to explore.
Relevant, descriptive anchor text improves website accessibility and ensures website compliance.
Enhances the user experience
Anchor text is helpful for people who use screen readers or other assistive tools to navigate the internet. By explaining what the location is for, anchor text ensures that all content is accessible to users. It’s so important that there are laws that enforce it, from the Accessible Canada Act in Canada to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States.
Improves search engine rankings
For search engines, anchor text signifies what the linked page is about and how it relates to different pages on your website. The correct anchor text can help you climb the SERP page by making links easy to crawl and index.
For example, the anchor text, “best HR software,” tells Google that the following page concerns the best HR software. Generic anchor text like “Learn More” gives the user no context for what they are about to click on and why they should click on it.
7 kinds of anchor text
While anchor text takes many forms, some types serve a unique purpose. Anchor text types are not mutually exclusive; they can be mixed and matched.
1. Exact Match
Exact match anchor text incorporates the precise term the website it links to is trying to rank for. Anchor text is the visible and clickable text displayed as a link and directs users to another webpage when clicked. In the case of exact-match anchor text, the link’s text precisely matches the keyword or phrase being linked to.
If your target keywords are “Tiller’s anchor text guide for B2B marketers,” your exact match anchor text should be “Tiller’s anchor text guide for B2B marketers.”
2. Partial Match
Partial-match anchor text includes only a portion of the target keyword or phrase while still conveying its main topic or meaning.
Partial-match anchor text can make your link profile appear less manipulated and more aligned with how people naturally link and share content. This can be particularly important for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, as search engines tend to reward websites with diverse and organic link profiles.
If your target keywords are “anchor text guide for B2B marketers”, a partial match anchor text could be, “Check out Tiller’s anchor text guide for marketing.”
3. Phrase Match
Phrase-match anchor text hyperlinks a phrase that includes the target keyword(s) in a specific order with additional words before or after the keywords to create a complete and coherent phrase. Phrase-match anchor text enables more flexibility than exact-match anchor text because it allows for variations in wording while still conveying the main topic or idea of the linked content.
If you have a webpage about “anchor text guide,” use phrase-match anchor text like “A best practice anchor text guide for B2B marketers.”
Branded anchor text incorporates the brand name of a website, company, or organization. It involves using the brand name as the hyperlink’s clickable text. Branded anchor text promotes brand awareness while linking to relevant content.
For the brand name, Tiller: “Read through Tiller’s anchor text guide.”
As the name suggests, generic anchor text doesn’t include any keywords or points of reference. Users must take context clues from the surrounding content to understand where they click and why. Generic anchor text can poison your user experience because it often doesn’t provide enough context for users and search engines to understand the link’s relevance.
- “Click here for more information”
- “Read more here”
- “Learn more about it”
“Naked” anchor text refers to URL links that are copied and pasted as the anchor text.
Naked anchor text is often underneath images or articles as reference links.
Other than running your website’s aesthetic, naked links generally lack context, disrupt the user experience, and hold poor SEO value.
7. Image Anchor
Image anchor links, or alternative or “alt text, ” describe an image or media. Image anchor text shows up when an image isn’t loading and describes images for people who use screen readers or have visual impairments. Alt text helps these users understand the content and purpose of images on a webpage, ensuring a more inclusive and accessible browsing experience.
Search engines also use alt text to index and understand images, contributing to SEO strategy.
- Alt text for a palm tree logo → “Palm tree with coconut logo”
- Alt text for a picture of a cactus → “Cactus-shaped cat scratching post with pink flowers”
- Alt text for a book cover → “Cover page of a book that says the search for happiness starts here”