The term ‘anchor text’ refers to the text which is clickable in a hyperlink. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices prescribe that anchor text be appropriate to the page that you’re linking to as opposed to generic text. The blue anchor text which is underlined is the most commonplace because it is the Internet standard, even though it is indeed possible to change the colour as well as the underlining by way of HTML code. The anchor text keywords are one of the many signals that search engines make use of to determine the theme of a page on a website.

Search engines make use of external anchor text (which is text that another website utilises to link to your site) as an indication of how other people view your page. By extension, external anchor text shows visitors and search engines what your pages may be about. Although website owners usually don’t have any control over how other sites link to theirs, it is possible to ensure that anchor text you make use of within your own website is useful, descriptive as well as relevant.


If several websites are of the impression that a page is pertinent for a provided set of terms, that page could manage to rank well on the Search Engine Results Pages even if the specific keywords don’t appear in the text itself.

The anchor text is also identified as the link label or link title. The terms contained in the anchor text help to determine the ranking that the page will get by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Links that don’t have anchor text are commonplace on the web. These are called naked URLs or URL anchor texts. Various browsers will show anchor text in different ways. Proper usage of anchor text can assist the linked page to rank for those keywords in search engines and assist in your digital marketing efforts.

Examples of good and bad anchor text

There are several types of anchor text. These are the following:


Anchor text falls into the category of “exact match” if it contains a keyword which mirrors the page that it is linking to. For example ‘link building‘ is an exact-match anchor text if it links to a page about link building.


A partial-match anchor text includes a variation of the keyword which is on the linked-to page. For example, ‘link building strategies’ would be a partial-match anchor text if it linked to a page about link building.


A branded anchor text is a brand name that is used as anchor text. For example, ‘Moz’ – which links to an article on the Moz Blog – would be an example of branded anchor text.

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


A generic piece of anchor text is a word or phrase which is used as the anchor. “Click here” is a common – but extremely ineffective – generic anchor.


Whenever an image is linked to another page, Google will use the text contained in the image’s alt attribute as the anchor text.

With the Penguin algorithm update which Google rolled out, the research engine giant began to look more carefully at keywords in the anchor text. If an extremely large number of a site’s inbound links have the identical anchor text, this can start to appear suspicious. Thus, it may be a sign that the links weren’t acquired naturally.

This means that it’s still a best practice to get and make use of keyword- and topic-specific anchor text whenever possible. However, SEO experts will get better results by striving for a variety of more natural anchor text phrases as opposed to the same keywords each time.

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