Anchor Text Diversity

Advanced SEO Skills: Diversity Anchor Text

The words used in a clickable text link on a page in your browser have long been a key Google ranking factor for more than 20 years.

That text in the link has been dubbed anchor text. To web users and searchers, these (blue) text links provide topic meaning in a very succinct manner. When anchor text synchronizes with high quality content that resonates naturally with those keywords, it can greatly help your SEO success.

The html code for anchor text links might look something like this: A key part of advanced SEO involves strategic use of anchor text.

anchor text explained

Why would a text link be so vital, and how should a content strategist manage their text links on masse across a big website? Well, this topic definitely takes us into the topic of advanced search engine optimization. It’s a key optimization matter to strategize, yet there are other matters that affect how Google interprets those text hyperlinks.

Google, Bing, and Duckduckgo have downplayed anchor text relevance in their algorithms to reduce spam/manipulation. However, without such anchor text keywords, search engines can get confused when interpreting your content. That’s why we need to be sure we have built in our signal focus redundant ways.

If you lack anchor text links as backlinks from other websites, then your rankings will suffer too. Onsite or offsite, anchor text is very important.

It is believed that more Pagerank, trust and authority juice passes through a text link in the main body copy toward the upper part of a document. Less of these ranking juice passes in text links or other links in menus that appear on every page.

This means we must manage our anchor text strategically.

Before you assume that anchor text is your site’s big ranking problem, consider that your real problem might be content quality, engagement, backlinks, and promotion. However, we do need to optimize anchor text to really ramp up our potential.

High Rankings and More Rankings

When several of my clients passed 2 million visits to their websites via search engines, they achieved that because of how I diversified the link text. I did this deliberately to provide sufficient focus so Google knew what the key topics of the site were, yet allowed the site to rank for hundreds of thousands of other keyword phrases.

Here’s the thing: anchor text provides focus when used expertly.  Search engines still use the rest of your content to interpret what your content is about. An advanced level SEO consultant knows this and will optimize those other factors in concert with anchor text optimization.

If you used the same limited set of keywords consistently across your marketing pages and blog pages, and in creating links to your site, Google may look dimly on that. It depends on how much they trust your site. Yet this is one type of over-optimization that can make your content look spammy and unnatural.

This means some care in selecting your anchor text and strategy in using the words within the hyperlink is wise. It’s wise to use many variations, synonyms and related words too as additional cues for Google to digest.

Google and Bing do look beyond the obvious meaning of a keyword phrase. Any 2, 3 or 4 word keyword phrase can have many different meanings. Single keywords especially need additional cues for Google and Bing to interpret what the searcher meant.

Google’s Algorithm Reads into Meanings

They’ve developed new parts of their main algorithm to understand that meaning (Hummingbird, BERT, and more). This provides SEOs an opportunity to match how they interpret meaning. Building in variety and subtlety in keyword use in anchor and paragraph text and headings, allows us to enrich the meaning of our content allowing us to qualify to rank for phrases to more Google searchers.

If Google gives you limited exposure on a keyword search, it means they feel your site is only relevant for one specific interpretation of that phrase (to select audiences). You may rank near the top for that keyword phrase, but Google feels your content isn’t what most people are looking for.

This is yet another problem that your advanced SEO is tasked to solve.

Google and Bing’s ranking algorithms are very smart. Just because you use a lot of the phrases in your company and links doesn’t mean it will help your rankings. That is noise that they can filter out.

Types of Anchor Text

You might understand anchor text more deeply by understanding types or categories.

Types of anchor text links.
Types of anchor text links. Screenshot courtesy of ahrefs.com

10 Types of Anchor Text

  1. Branded Anchors (AI Marketers)
  2. Domain Name (ai-marketing.com)
  3. General Phrase Anchor Text (Google SEO optimization)
  4. Page Title Anchor Text (best advanced SEO techniques)
  5. Full URL (http://ai-marketers.com)
  6. Brand + Keyword Anchors ( AI marketers advanced SEO services)
  7. Exact Match Anchors (advanced search engine optimization)
  8. Partial Match Anchor Text (AI SEO software tools)
  9. Image anchors (links on an image containing an alt tag which uses keywords)
  10. Synonyms and related words (high level search engine optimization)

How Often to Use Anchor Text

Google looks dimly on overuse of exact match keywords and treats it as overoptimization. And it’s a kind of overoptimization they really don’t like. That’s because Google is very dependent on anchor text especially within backlinks to your site.

Two criteria here: the number of exact match text links and the ratio of your anchor links compared to the total number of text links on your page. Just creating more text links to reduce the ratio doesn’t mean Google won’t dislike your attempt to manipulate your rankings.

As a general rule you want to be conservative to avoid automatic algorithm penalties and so you don’t dilute your keyword and pagerank distribution strategy. Sometimes you might need to use your SEO software to analyze your anchor text use, and adjust to keep Google happy.

This graphic from ahrefs study https:// ahrefs.com/blog/anchor-text/ suggests that top ranking sites tend to be more liberal about using exact match phrases in text links.

top ranking site use of anchor text
Screenshot courtesy of ahrefs.com

And top sites tend to rank for a bigger variety of keyword phrases. And this is what generates most traffic.

Average number of keyword phrases that sites ranked on.
Screenshot courtesy of ahrefs.com. Average number of keyword phrases that sites ranked on.

Natural use of anchor text is very low so it’s important to use it in your paragraphs or menus where it’s most powerful and relevant. That takes us into the realm of SEO copywriting strategy.

Shaping anchor text and crafting the meaning that passes with pagerank between pages is key part of SEO at an advanced level.

High level SEO extends from a thorough SEO audit or digital marketing audit which provides the core reference for your complete search engine optimization. Definitely find an SEO consultant with good copywriting and content strategy skills. Acquire one with an executive level understanding of Google’s ranking algorithm which means focusing on issues that matter and not elements with little influence on ranking and traffic success.

AI Marketers provides digital marketing services (content, SEO, social media, PPC) for software companies, manufacturers, hotels, recruiters, travel companies, publishers, sports equipment retailers, building supplies companies, window and door companies, Realtors, investment companies, IT companies, clean energy, consumer products, branding consultants and many more.

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