If you have been doing SEO, then you are familiar with the term anchor text. These are underlined/highlighted words on websites that transfer you to another page or site when clicked. The link inserted within these words is then called a backlink. Along with mobile friendliness, content, and social signals, these selected strings of words are among the factors that influence search engine optimization (SEO) in the present day and will most likely continue to affect website rankings in the future. So how does anchor word selection affect your backlink building strategy?
The 2018 status quo
We may be in the middle of 2018, but most digital marketers and SEO strategists are already preparing for the 2019 rankings. Their philosophy is quite simple: optimize now, rank (higher) later. This basically means structuring your site to be SEO-ready by employing link building service companies or by performing SEO yourself, so that by 2019, your website and other pages will be among the top results in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, before you dive in and start considering which link building services best to employ so you can get ahead of the game, let’s take a quick recap on what SEO and backlink building techniques passed search engine algorithm standards and helped sites gain a spot in the top results of SERPs. Specifically, for anchor text usage, we look back at the link building strategies most used in the year 2018.
Aside from giving you an overview of the types of anchor texts and how to create them, our Anchor Text Guide for 2018 article shared some ways on how to make it to the ranks without relying on artificial backlink building, spam-filled content, and abusive keyword use, which should be avoided, especially if you’re using an external link building service agency. To recall, we shared the following strategic methods of anchor text use:
- The use of a certain ratio of anchor text types within a website’s page or content to ensure natural distribution and avoid over-optimization. Here they are again for your convenience: exact match keywords, other words that are related to the exact keyword, branded company name or domain name, naked URLs, and finally random text such as “read more”, “here” or “in this guide”.
- Making use of strategic placement of the target keywords you want to rank for, by putting them as close as possible to the anchor text used.
- Tactical use of anchor text type-content matching, where the site linked to the anchor text (e.g. naked URLs for profile links) is optimized for online searches by the most appropriate format of anchor text used. For instance, if you are linking to a page within a site about off-site SEO services, you might want to make the anchor text “SEO companies” or “link building companies” for instance.
Anchor Text Percentages
According to an article by Gotch SEO, here are the anchor text percentages that will not get your website penalized. Take these with a grain of salt and always do your own trial and errors to determine the best anchor text percentage mix for optimizing your website:
Branded Anchors: 70%
Naked Link Anchors: 20%
Generic Anchor Text: 5%
Partial Match Anchors or LSIs: 1-5%
Exact Match Anchors: Less Than 1%
Forecasts for 2019
Fast forward to the present where businesses are inclined to seek help from link building companies and other digital marketing agencies to predict the future of SEO and link building. In terms of anchor text usage and other SEO strategies, news about upcoming algorithm updates is much crucial now more than ever. A stiff competition for stronger online presence drives webpage makers and SEO link building strategists to read the trends while simultaneously thinking outside the box.
Apparently, future anchor text usage mainly dwells on the best practices carried out and leveled-up to ensure maximum adaptability. After all, the move of Google and other search engine platforms will always be geared towards user experience and response to the latest innovations. This includes:
- Age of AI. Anchor texts act as bridges that contain backlinks to your sites’ pages. With artificial intelligence seen to continuously rise in the New Year, SEO faces a new wave of queries. Voice search broadens the playing field and is now causing a shift in keyword, and ultimately, anchor text usage. These days, ranking on SERPs entails not only figuring out a user’s search intent but also tailoring your articles for faster AI fetching and scheming, as in the case of voice search. As an example, adding “near me” as an anchor text is an effective means to gain a spot among local search ranks.
- Associated links. The use of natural links that establish the connection between sites has always been a favored off-site SEO strategy. For the year 2019, expect a higher standard to be enforced by search engine algorithms when it comes to building links associated with your anchor text. Both inbound and outbound links will be under scrutiny. It is therefore favorable for your anchor text to be connected to “deeper” links, i.e. links that go beyond homepages and product pages. Quality and authoritative content attached to your anchor text will gain you more points in the SEO scene. In the same manner, external links attached to your anchor text will also influence your site’s ranking. Very high authority sites remain to be the reliable sources encouraged to impart relevance and credibility to your anchor text’s link.
- Keyword research. For your anchor text to win your user’s attention and mouse click, a catchy and relevant keyword acting as the anchor text is always a good idea. In 2019, investing in an improved keyword research is a must. Specifically, better use of latent semantic indexing (LSI) anchors is advantageous. The variety created by these synonymous terms hits two SEO goals: to be natural and to rank for a target keyword. Do not forget, however, to keep effective SEO link building in mind, as your LSI anchors will be rendered useless if the pages and sites they link towards (or back to) are devoid of authority.
SEO is a game changer influenced by many factors, and effective anchor text usage is one of them. With this in mind, it is important to note that getting a spot in the top results of SERPs will always be dependent on the ever-changing search engine algorithms. Hence, your best bet will always be to make the search engine see your website as a resource and destination that is worthy of a user’s time and attention.
Going for a strategy that uses anchor text hinged on keywords that are well-thought-of and linked to high-quality content is one way to do this. It shows that you are not trying to trick the algorithm to give you a higher ranking.
Additionally, keeping up with recent technological advances, like the rise of artificial intelligence and the development of voice search, can clue you in on effective and strategic anchor text use, especially for local search engine results. All in all, as the ball continues to roll down the path of digital innovation, your strategies need to be more resilient and adaptive in this fast-paced era of modernization.