What is anchor text?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - anchor text

The term ‘anchor text’ denotes to the text that is clickable in a hyperlink. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices recommend that anchor text be suitable for the page that you’re linking to. This is rather than the anchor text being generic text. The blue anchor text that is underlined is the most commonplace as it is the Internet standard, even though it is certainly possible to alter the colour as well as the underlining by using HTML code. The anchor text keywords are some of the numerous signals that search engines use to determine the theme of a page on a site.

Search engines utilise external anchor text (that is text which other website utilise to link to your website) as a sign of how other people view your page. As an extension, external anchor text shows visitors as well as search engines the possible subject of your pages. Even though website owners normally don’t have any control over the manner in which other sites link to theirs, it is feasible to ensure that anchor text you use within your own website is useful, descriptive in addition to being relevant.

If several sites feel that a particular page is relevant for a given set of terms, that page could rank well on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) although the specific keywords may not appear in the text itself.

The anchor text is also categorised as the link label or link title. The terms which are in the anchor text assist with determining the ranking that the page will get from search engines such as Google, Yahoo as well as Bing. Links which don’t have anchor text are a dime a dozen on the web. These are called naked URLs or, alternatively, URL anchor texts. Various browsers will display anchor text in different ways. The proper use of anchor text can help  the linked page to rank for these keywords in search engines.

Examples of good as well as bad anchor text

There are a number of types of anchor text. These are:


Anchor text falls into the class of “exact match” if it includes a keyword which reflects the webpage that it is connecting to. For instance, ‘link building’ is an exact-match anchor text if it links to a webpage that talks about link building.


A partial-match anchor text contains a variation of the keyword that is on the page which is linked to. For instance, ‘link building strategies’ is partial-match anchor text if it links to a page that talks about link building.


Branded anchor text is a brand name which is used as anchor text. For instance, ‘Moz’ – which links to a piece on the Moz Blog – would be an instance of branded anchor text.

Naked link

As mentioned previously in this piece, a naked link is a URL which is utilised as an anchor.


A generic anchor text is a word or phrase that is made use of as the anchor. “Click here” is a common – but highly ineffective – generic anchor.


Every time an image is linked to a new page, Google will utilise the text included in the image’s alt attribute as the anchor text.

With the Penguin algorithm update that Google instituted, the search engine giant began to look more carefully at keywords in anchor text. So if an exceptionally large number of a site’s inbound links have the identical anchor text, this can begin to appear suspicious. This means that it may be a sign that the links weren’t obtained naturally. Thus it’s still best practice to get – and use – keyword- and topic-specific anchor text when possible. However, SEO experts will get more optimal results by striving for a variety of more natural anchor text phrases as opposed to the same keywords each time.

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