What are the different kinds of Anchor Text?
There are several different kinds of anchor text that need to consider, including exact match, phrase match, partial match, and more. Depending on the intent of your anchor text, and the SEO value that you are trying to grab, you may want to consider each one differently.
Exact Match Anchor Text
Exact match anchor text is when the anchor text is the keyword that reflects the targeted page. For example, a hyperlink with the anchor text “on-page optimization” should be linking to a page about on-page optimization.
From an SEO perspective, if utilized correctly, exact match anchor text is the most valuable practice. In the past, there have been some discrepancies between whether or not this practice can negatively impact keyword rankings and traffic. However, as long as there are no instances of unnatural links or anchor text stuffing, exact match anchor text can be a valuable targeting tool.
In regards to best practices for exact match anchor text, you should only use this form of anchor text once per page and only when it is natural and relevant.
Phrase Match Anchor Text
Phrase match anchor text is when the keyword is present, but the anchor text is not the exact phrase. For example, a hyperlink with the anchor text “on-page optimization tactics” that represents a glossary page about on-page optimization is phrase match anchor text.
From an SEO perspective, this is the next best option. The anchor text still contains the targeted keyword and is still relevant to what is on the page.
Some SEO’s actually prefer using phrase match anchor text because not only does it capture the targeted keyword, but it captures any related and longer variations of the keyword as well. For example, the anchor text “on-page optimization tactics” contains the keyword “on-page optimization” and “on-page optimization tactics”.
Partial Match Anchor Text
Partial match anchor text is when all words in the targeted keyword are included in the anchor text, but it is not an exact match. Not to confuse this with phrase match, they are very similar.
For example, a hyperlink with the anchor text “optimizations for on-page SEO” contains the words on-page and optimization, but not together; therefore technically it does not contain the keyword.
Depending on the keyword, this kind of anchor text still has a lot of SEO value. Most of the time, Google and other search engines have the ability to pick up semantic versions of the keyword (sometimes referred to as Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords).
Image Alt Text as Anchor Text
Image alt text is the text that Google attributes to each individual image. People who experience partial to full blindness and utilize voice readers use image alt text as a way to “read” images.
From an SEO perspective, image alt text is the anchor text of the image. Alt text can be extremely valuable because it is another way to send Google a signal of attributing a certain keyword to a page.
Best practices for inserting keywords into your image alt text is using a natural description that includes the keyword but also describes the image as best as possible. For example, an image that shows a list of on-page optimization tactics should contain the alt text “A list of the top 5 on-page optimization tactics”.
Branded Anchor Text
Branded anchor text is anchor text where the underlined word is the brand name. For example, if we are talking about “on-page optimization tactics from Directive” (us), the anchor text would be “Directive” rather than “on-page optimization tactics”.
From an SEO perspective, although it is relevant to our brand, it is not relevant to what the page is discussing. Therefore, it does not provide very much (if any) SEO value.
Branded anchor text, although not very valuable, is the type of anchor text most used. The reasoning is because, in order to use exact match anchor text, you have to actively understand the SEO value behind it to use it. Branded anchor text is a little bit more obvious. You want to reference their site, so you use their brand name to reference them.
Random Anchor Text
Random anchor text is anchor text that contains a random word that is not related to the targeted keyword or destination web page. For example, “click here” or “learn more” are examples of random anchor text that is seen throughout many websites.
From an SEO perspective, this form of anchor text provides no value to the website. Internal linking is an extremely valuable tool that many SEOs use to generate targeting indicators for Google, and this form of anchor text is what they try to avoid.
A naked URL is the anchor text that contains on the URL. A good example of a naked URL is: Directive Consulting (https://directiveconsulting.com) is a B2B Search Engine Marketing Agency.
Instead of using “Directive Consulting” as the anchor text, the URL is used as its own anchor text. From an SEO perspective, this does not provide any value to your website, and can actually be considered a negative in Google’s “eyes”.