We have some text out on the web. It says “This is a great search engine called Google”. The code here consists of:
- An “a” tag that represents the link,
- The “href” attribute that indicates the URL the link points to,
- And then the link text that’s surrounded by the opening and closing “a” tag. In this case, “a great search engine called Google”—this is the anchor text.
There are two basic types of links that can be pointing to your pages: internal and external links. And the idea here is that the anchor text you use on both matters when you want to rank your site higher in the search results.
Internal links are those that link from one page on your site to another. These are helpful to users and search engines since they help them discover more content on your site.
In terms of search engine optimization you can think about internal links as a way to “distribute” the SEO value of your most valuable pages to less valuable ones.
External links are those that exist on other sites different from your own, that are pointing to pages on your site.
Let’s take a look at another example.
- Let’s say we own a website: “yourwebsite.com”
- There’s also a different website that we don’t own: “differentwebsite.com”
- We have a page on our website about blue barracudas. It’s on the URL “yourwebsite.com/blue-barracudas”
- We want that page to rank number one on Google for the term “blue barracudas”
A good internal link would be, for example, a link with the anchor text “Blue Barracudas” in our “About Us” page (e.g. “look at our other great page on anchor text blue barracudas”).
A good external link would be on a blog post on “differentwebsite.com” about types of barracudas that links to your blue barracudas page with the anchor text “check this great page about blue barracudas.”
Both internal links and external links are valuable elements of your anchor text profile:
- The process of creating external links is called “link building” (such as through guest posts on other sites, for example).
- Creating internal links is a process called “internal linking”.
Most of the times, you want to start with the internal linking part because you can 100% control this (you or your webmaster can make the changes directly and you can control when this is done).
Building links externally is much, much more difficult because you have to get other webmasters to link to you.
Next, let’s go over the types of anchor text you can use to link to your site.
Types of Anchor Text
Now that you understand what anchor text is, let’s talk a little bit about the different types of anchor text. There’s a bunch of different ways that you can link different documents on your website.
Exact-Match Anchor Text
An exact match anchor text is consisted of exactly the target keyword that you are trying to optimize for.
If you’ve done your keyword research and you know what type of keyword you want to rank for—exact match keyword anchor would be exactly that keyword.
For example, let’s say I am Nike.com, I am selling shoes, and I am trying to get a page on my website ranking for the keyword “cheap shoes.”
When I’m setting up some of my anchors, an exact match anchor for my page about cheap shoes would be, you guessed it, “cheap shoes”.
In the screenshot below, you can see the “a href” tag, whatever URL I want to link back to, and my exact match anchor text.