How to Use Anchor Text in 2016

Anchor Text SEO | 2016 - 2017

How to Use Anchor Text for SEO in 2016

Anchor Text SEO | 2016 - 2017

How to use anchor text to build your best SEO campaign ever (and pitfalls to watch out for!)

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor Text HTML

Anchor text is the text you turn into a hyper-link, which shows up in blue (or whatever color you have set for your links on your page within your CSS). For readers, it is just a way to browse through your content and click through to another relevant page without having to halt the flow of making your point. Anchor text is an essential part of your SEO strategy too, and one you should never ignore.

Anchor Text and Google

Anchor Text Backlink Profile

Notice how there are very few “Keyword Anchors” this is good. 

When Google looks at your site, part of what the algorithm looks at is your link profile (Backlinks). This is what sites you are linking to, what sites are linking to you, and what words you are using for those links.

Your link profile indicates whether you are incorporating links organically (that is, in ways that are useful and valuable to your readers and which happen naturally in writing) or if you are artificially stuffing links into your text to please the algorithms’ bots instead of your readers.

If you use your anchor text right, you can really boost your SEO rankings; if you use it badly, you can get penalized and see your page drop to an undesirably low ranking.

The Different Types of Anchor Text

There are several different kinds of anchor text you can use. Ideally, you want a good balance of anchor text types. When the search engines algorithm looks at your backlink profile, they want to see a natural mix of anchor text from backlinks. Whether you are running a link-building campaign or naturally created, you must have a clean mix of backlinks with a well balanced mix or anchor text.

The Different Types of Anchor Text used for SEO

Anchor Text Backlink Text Examples

Types of Anchor Text List

  • Exact match anchors
  • Naked link anchors
  • Generic anchors
  • Branded anchors
  • Image anchors
  • Keyword anchors
  • Latent semantic indexing (LSI) anchors
  • Long anchors
  • Partial match anchors
  • Co-occurrence anchors

Anchor Text Link-Building that is Good to Use in 2016

  • Branded Anchors – #1 for 2016
  • Naked link anchors
  • Generic Anchors

Anchor Text Considered OK to use in 2016

  • Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) anchors (Ok Within Reason)
  • Long Anchors (Ok within reason)
  • Partial Match Anchors (Ok within reason)
  • Co-occurrence anchors (Ok within reason)

Anchor Text Considered Spammy and Sketchy in 2016

  • Exact Match Anchors (Use Rarely, if at all and Don’t Abuse)
  • Keyword Anchors (Use Rarely, if at all and Don’t Abuse)

Exact Match Anchors

Here are a few examples of Exact Match Anchor Text in our industry

  • SEO Sacramento
  • Web Design El Dorado Hills
  • Inbound Marketing Sacramento
  • SEO Folsom
  • Web Design Sacramento
  • Web Design Folsom

Exact match anchors are like fine liquor: they are wonderful and potent and if you use them too much your page might find itself face down in a back alley where Google will never find it again. Exact match anchors are when your anchor text exactly matches with your main key word for your page. Obviously, this makes exact match anchors a really powerful SEO tool, since they communicate to the search engine that your links are highly relevant to your content. At the same time, with the first sign of bad backlinks, your site will be penalized, the same way it would be for keyword stuffing.

Naked Link Anchor Text

A few examples of Naked Anchor Text


Naked link anchors are where the link is the URL itself. These are good to include – readers can see where the link is pointed without having to click and open a new tab. When you’re trying to get a good mix of anchor text types on your website, naked link anchors are a good tool to have to increase variety.

Generic Anchor Text

A few examples of Generic Anchor Text

  • Click Here
  • Visit Website
  • Here
  • Over Here
  • Website

Generic anchors are links with words like “click here.” These anchors do not do much for proving relevancy, but they do indicate that your text is user-focused and that you’re not just stuffing links. Generic Links are good to use in some cases when you are targeting a particular keyword and you have multiple anchor texts in one page. If you are using exact match or branded anchors, it is also a good idea to link to a location with a generic anchor text as to not look so spammy.

Branded Anchors

Examples are your brand name

  • Front Street Media
  • Front Street Media El Dorado Hills (Combination of Branded and Keyword)
  • Front Street Media Web Design (Combination of Branded and Keyword)
  • Front Street Media SEO (Combination of Branded and Keyword)

Branded anchors are when you put the name of the company whose site you are linking to in the link text itself. Branded anchors are great for SEO because they help to establish and strengthen your brand. After all, you’re not just building a company; you’re building a company identity. And that means you have to focus on branding.

Image Anchor Text

  • Linking an Image (pretty self explanatory)

Image anchors are where you don’t even use text for your link anchor; you use a picture. This helps with engagement and also with usability on your website, since readers can use pictures as anchors to help with mental organization when skimming an article.

Keyword Anchor Text

A few examples of Keyword Anchor Text

  • SEO Company in Sacramento
  • Web Design Company in El Dorado Hills
  • SEO Company in Folsom
  • Graphic Designers in Folsom
  • Logo Design Company in Folsom, CA

Exact match anchors are when you use your main keyword as your link text. Keyword anchors are when you use other keywords as your link text. These are awesome for SEO, but again, be careful about over stuffing them.

LSI Anchor Text

A few examples of LSI Anchor Text: Target Keyword: Web Design

  • Top Web Design Companies
  • Web Design Examples
  • Web Design Projects
  • Web Design Patterns

LSI stands for “latent semantic indexing,” but it’s really not complicated, despite the name. LSI is just other ways of phrasing your keywords or key phrases. So if you rearrange the words in your key phrase, or replace a word with a synonym, you’re using LSI. LSI anchors are a really good way to prove the relevance of your links without getting penalized for using the same key phrases over and over again.

Long Anchor Text and Long Tail Anchor Text

Examples of Long Tail & Long Anchor Text

  • Long Tail: Top Web Design Company El Dorado Hills
  • Long: Was Rated Top Web Design Company in 2016
  • Long: Recently Voted best Graphic Design Company in Folsom, CA
  • Long: A local well know web design and graphic design company in El Dorado Hills, CA

Instead of making an anchor that is just a couple of words long, you can use an entire sentence as anchor text. This is a huge boost to link variety, but just make sure that your long link has key words in it to indicate relevance.

Partial Match Anchor Text

A few examples of Partial Match Anchors

  • Free Web Design Builders
  • Free Web Design Tools
  • Free Web Design Hosting Companies

Frequently our key words are actually phrases, and not just single words. Partial match anchors, as the name indicates, are when the anchor text partially matches with your main key word but is not an exact match.

What Percentage should you use?

  • Branded Anchors: 60-80%
  • Naked link anchors: 10-20%
  • Generic anchors: 5-10%
  • Image anchors 5-10%
  • Latent semantic indexing (LSI) anchors 5-10%
  • Exact match anchors: -5%
  • Keyword anchors -5%
  • Long anchors -5%
  • Partial match anchors -5%

Co-Occurrence Anchor Text

Because the search engine bots are getting smarter and smarter, it is becoming more and more rewarding to write good, interesting text that uses sentence structure variations that wouldn’t have had good SEO results in the past. Co-occurrence anchors are an example of this: you can use a generic anchor such as “click here,” and if you have put a key word close by, it will be read as a co-occurrence anchor and that keyword will actually be connected to that anchor text.

2 thoughts on “How to Use Anchor Text in 2016

  1. Jeffrey Bowdoin says:

    Great article Brenan!

    I think this is becoming a more important topic these days, but one that doesn’t seem to be covered much. I also would add that I think you need to focus on doing almost entirely branded anchors if your site ever got hit with a penalty.

    Other than that I think keyword rich anchors are fine as long as they are natural and varied. Just something that shouldn’t be over done so you don’t get an over optimization penalty.

    • Brenan Greene says:

      Thanks Jeff,

      Absolutely, we have seen this many times where sites have saturated their link portfolio with over optimized keywords. Things can get pretty bad after that happens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *