Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.

How to Optimize Anchor Text For SEO

A graphic that says "how to optimize Anchor Text for SEO."

What is anchor text? It’s clickable text in web content that links to another page. This could be a related page on your website or someone else’s site. 

You might not realize it, but details like anchor text matter. 

Why? Because we’re working with a more intelligent, complex algorithm and hundreds of Google ranking factors.  

Anchor text seems like a small detail when there are so many other SEO factors to consider, but it impacts things like your user experience and authority in the eyes of search engines. It’s worth paying attention to. 

That’s why I’m about to review how to optimize your anchor text for SEO.  

Ready to learn more? Let’s go! 

Key Takeaways

  • Anchor text is the clickable text you see in a hyperlink. 
  • There are different ways to optimize anchor text with keywords: branded text, text that matches the URL exactly, or partial match text.  
  • Anchor texts play a role in helping users navigate your site and give Google’s algorithm a good idea of who your content is relevant for. 
  • By using internal links and anchor texts correctly, you can improve your website’s user experience and search engine optimization. 
  • Make your anchor text descriptive and ensure it’s no longer than five words. 

What Is Anchor Text in SEO?

 Here’s an example of anchor text from my blog: 

Examples of anchor text.

Anchor text is important to SEO because it signals to both your website’s users and search engines. When used correctly, it allows you to share credible information from another website or link internally to relevant content. 

It also plays a role in helping users navigate your site and gives Google’s algorithm a good idea of who your content is relevant for. 

If you look at your site’s code, you’ll see a line that looks like this: 

The code for an anchor text.

This is the part of your site that Google sees. 

There is a section that tells your web browser and search engines which link to follow. 

Here’s how that translates to what’s on your page: 

Comparing live anchor text to the code behind it.

When a user clicks on the link, it takes them to the indicated page, but there’s another reason you’ll want to use anchor text: SEO. 

Why Is Anchor Text Important for SEO?

An infographic explaining the importance of anchor text for SEO.

Anchor text is important to SEO because it provides context and relevance to search engines and searchers alike. Using relevant anchor text signals to Google, Bing, and others that the link offers valuable, relevant content to online searchers.  

The are other benefits to using anchor text, like: 

  • Internal links help search engines understand the hierarchy and relationships between your website pages and provide a more organized website structure
  • If an authoritative site links to your content via anchor text, this gives your content added credibility and authority. 
  • Using clear, descriptive anchor text helps visitors, too. It provides clear expectations so the user knows what they’ll find if they click through. Using optimized anchor text can increase rankings for those keywords. Just be careful to avoid over-optimized anchor text.  

Note: Over-optimized anchor text is something to avoid if you want to maximize ROI from your content marketing, as, sadly, when algorithms change, many brands see massive traffic dips.  

Different Types of Anchor Text for SEO

When it comes to search engines, digital marketing experts like to leave no stone unturned and that includes defining anchor text for SEO. 

There are many types of anchor text you can use. Below are the main types with examples. 

1. Exact Match

An exact match anchor text is when you use anchor text wording as the targeted keywords for your entire page. For example, using “free SEO tool” as the anchor text to link to my SEO tool Ubersuggest. 

Here are a few more examples: 

  • Denver, CO Weather points readers to a page about the weather in Denver. 
  • Technical SEO as anchor text directs readers to a page about technical SEO.  
  • Link building sends you to a page about, yes, you guessed it, link building. 

In the early days of SEO, using exact match anchor text several times on a single page almost guaranteed your post would do well. But, they were overused to such an extent that Google penalized overuse.  

It’s still a good idea to use some exact-match anchor texts. However, you should generally mix them with other types to avoid over-optimizing anchor text. 

2. Partial Match

Partial match anchor texts include your keyword along with other words. I like to use this type of anchor text the most. It looks like this:  

“Stay informed about the latest changes to the Google algorithm.” 

It’s an especially useful method because I can still include my keyword without coming across as spammy. Google can still follow my link and better understand the content on my page without suspecting me of trying to manipulate its algorithm. 

Since this isn’t seen as a manipulative linking practice, it’s a highly recommended way to boost the authority of your page. But, like other strategies, you don’t want to overuse them.  

I also recommend avoiding sentence-long anchor texts. These dilute any keywords you use and can confuse the user. 

3. Branded

Next, you have branded anchor texts that rely on a brand’s name to establish authority.  

Here’s an example from Ahrefs using branded text:

An example of branded anchor text.

If you’re including a link to another company’s website, this is a great practice. 

For example: “Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso.” 

This is another safe and effective way to build a stronger anchor profile, as it signals to Google that you’re pointing toward other high-quality tools, products and services. 

Of course, you also want to try to find other brands to help you with your link-building efforts in this way. 

4. Naked Link

This type of anchor text is easy to use–but also not the most effective. It’s commonly used for sources, such as an image or a quote. It is simply the URL pasted into a post in all its naked glory. 

For example: 

  • A survey from shows that 45 percent of marketers think adding anchor text helps their website ranking. 
  • According to, Facebook users spent an average of 35 minutes a day on the network. 

You can see why this isn’t a good idea. When reading content, it’s pretty disruptive to have your attention diverted away to a reference suddenly. It can also affect accessibility as the above links would sound like gibberish on a screen reader.  

It might also lead your visitors to believe you’re not as technically inclined, ultimately making them doubt your authority. 

Additionally, these links don’t provide any contextual info about the linked page, which can reduce the user experience. 

Whenever possible, avoid this type of anchor text. 

5. Generic

“She said.” “This page.” “Here.” 

You’ve probably seen a lot of generic anchor text, which can sometimes make it easier to create content that flows or prompts a call to action. 

Use this type of anchor text when you want to draw your audience’s eye to a credible source or useful tool. Highlight parts of the sentence to show users where you want them to go. 

See what I did there? The “useful tool” link takes you to AnswerThePublic, but there’s no way of knowing that. Visitors don’t know what they’ll get until they click through. 

If overused, this type of anchor text may come across as dishonest. Users generally like to know what they’re clicking on. This type of anchor text also doesn’t help Google learn about the content you’re linking to. 

6. Latent Semantic Index Keywords (LSI)

While this next option may sound complicated, it’s really just the method that search engines use to predict what users will type into the search bar. When I type “what is anchor” into Google, the search bar provides a series of other popular search options to choose from. 

Examples of LSI keywords.

Using LSI keywords as anchor text creates search-friendly elements of your site that Google can instantly recognize as relevant to a unique search. 

While there’s debate over the validity of this approach (Google’s John Muller, for example, says Google has no concept of LSI keywords), it’s not a bad idea to implement it to help readers understand the link context. 

Of course, you want to make sure you can naturally use these keywords in your content and anchor text optimization. Be sure to only choose the relevant keywords—“what is anchor baby” and “what is anchorman rated” likely wouldn’t be in the same article. 

7. Images

Image anchors make images clickable. They can help users navigate in and around your website, though be warned: they can make websites less accessible. 

Links on images can move your audience to a new site when they just want to resize something to see it better or scroll through your post. Not exactly user-friendly. 

Most commonly, you’ll see this approach with a call to action button that is clickable, much like an ad. Here’s an example from Starbucks on social media: 

Call to action anchor text from Starbujcks.

And here’s the alt text for the image from the sites code: 

Alt text in the code.

In these instances, Google will read the alt tag of your image as the anchor text. 

If your alt tag isn’t optimized, Google will read it as a “NoText” anchor, which you should avoid. 

This method is a great way to vary your anchor text SEO methods and try a non-traditional approach. 

As long as your user knows they can click on it, feel free to include one in a blog post or on your site. 

Anchor Text Optimization Best Practices

Are you ready to try out different anchor text strategies on your site? 

Keep these best practices in mind. 

1. Stay on Topic

The unfortunate truth is that there’s a lot of misconception about what good anchor text is. 
When it comes to SEO in your linking practices, relevancy is high on the list for getting Google to rank your site.  

They don’t want to get a bad reputation by providing users with irrelevant responses to queries.  

That means your anchor text SEO strategy should consist of words and phrases that closely match the topic of your link. 

Say, for example, you run a company that offers content marketing services to small businesses.  

You would need to add a link if you want visitors to your site to navigate to a blog post you created about the importance of content. 

In that link, you need to select a word or phrase as your anchor text related to your blog’s content. Otherwise, Google will see that hyperlink as manipulative and potentially penalize your site. 

Here’s an example of what that could look like in your content: 

Example of anchor text related to an idea.

I’ve used the anchor text “how to structure your URLs in the image above.” 

Here’s what you would see if you follow that link: 

An example of a relevant blog post attached to anchor text.

On the other side is a blog post that’s an exact match to the topic I introduced. That’s vital because Google isn’t the only one looking for relevance here, the reader is, too. 

Imagine what would happen if, instead of a helpful blog post, I linked to a page selling sunglasses. 

You would be confused and probably wouldn’t want to follow another link on my blog. You probably wouldn’t come back and read my content because visitors might view it as manipulative. 

If you want to establish trust with your website’s visitors, they need to know that you’re using sources and linking practices in their interest. 

Additionally, research shows that having at least one keyword anchor that signals relevancy increases the chance of your content ranking higher. 

A pie chart showing relevant keyword anchor supports rankings.

That means Google values a keyword-relevant anchor text that provides a good idea about the topic of your content. 

As long as you try to keep at least some of your anchor texts relevant, Google will have an easier time categorizing your content and ranking you accordingly. 

2. Incorporate Variation

When it comes to creating a strategy for anchor texts that helps SEO, it’s best to use several different types of anchor text to avoid triggering Google’s spam filter. 

That flies in the face of the typical advice you see that focuses on which anchor texts you should use according to specific ratios. 

In most cases, you can choose whatever anchor text feels relevant for the context. Monitor how your pages perform and do what works best to boost your SEO and organic rankings. 
You can always check out what your competition is doing if you are struggling! Keep in mind that while a tactic might work for one brand, it’s no guarantee it will work for you. Plus, it’s incredibly tedious to try to exactly match another brand’s strategy. 

Instead, you should create a more natural distribution for your anchor text optimization

An infographic showing the value of natural anchor text distribution.

3. Keep Anchor Text Concise

As well as using natural language and avoiding keyword stuffing, you need to keep your anchor text concise. Between two and five words is the ideal, but using one word anchor text works too, especially with brand names. 

Here are some examples: 

See? All these links are simple, concise, and non-distracting. They tell your reader what to expect when they click on the link, which improves the user experience and avoids confusion. 

This is where you can start creating a baseline for your anchor text SEO strategy. 

You can use Ubersuggest to see what anchor text other websites use in their links to your site. To do this, log in to Ubersuggest and navigate to the Backlinks button in the left pane. 

Enter your own website domain in the search bar. Boxes with different data points and reports appear, including one for your backlink’s anchor text. 

Another good idea is to start using Semrush to track the different types of anchor text linking to your website. You can find these details under the backlinks tab in the Semrush dashboard. 

From there, scroll to the section that says “Anchor Text.” At the bottom, find the link that says, “View All Anchor Text Distribution”:  

Anchor text results in Ubersuggest.

Now you can see which terms other brands use when they link to your site. 

Remember, Google largely uses anchor texts as a signal of content relevancy and domain authority, so these anchor texts are vital to your SEO. 

In my case, most anchors to my site are either my name or something marketing-related. 

That’s good because my name is my brand, and I help businesses grow through digital marketing. 

These anchor texts took years to build, but because of the content I produce and the relationships I’ve built, they help my SEO and, in many cases, help my articles rank on the first page of Google. 

With enough time and the right approach to backlinking, you can build this type of backlink anchor base for your brand and see excellent results, too. 


What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the clickable text that you see in online content that takes you to a new page. It is often underlined or colored blue. Like this.

Why does anchor text matter?

Google uses anchor text to determine if a link is relevant and valuable. It’s not the most crucial ranking factor, but it does impact SEO. Additionally, readers use anchor text to determine if they will click a link.

What are the different types of anchor text?

The types of anchor text are:

  • Exact match: Use the same keywords as the targeted keywords for your page.
  • Partial Match: Include the keyword along with other keywords.
  • Branded Anchor Text: Add a link to the name of the brand.
  • Naked Anchor Text: Uses the entire URL as the link.
  • Generic Anchor Text: Phrases like “click here” or “this page.”
  • Latent Semantic Index: Also known as LSI, these are keywords that search engines predict users will search for when they are searching for a particular word or phrase.

What are some tips for optimizing anchor text?

Some best practices for anchor text SEO are: stay on topic, keep a consistent structure, incorporate variation, and test and track your anchor text. When possible, use keywords–but don’t overdo it.


That concludes my anchor text guide. 

Anchor texts are important. While they won’t make or break your SEO efforts on their own, they are a ranking factor. Additionally, they impact reader trust. 

Experiment with different types of anchor text optimizations and monitor what drives clicks on your site. If you keep your target audience in mind and prioritize helpful anchor text, you’ll likely stay in Google’s good graces.  

Consulting with Neil Patel

See How My Agency Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO - unlock more SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing - our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
  • Paid Media - effective paid strategies with clear ROI.

Book a Call


Unlock Thousands of Keywords with Ubersuggest

Ready to Outrank Your Competitors?

  • Find long-tail keywords with High ROI
  • Find 1000s of keywords instantly
  • Turn searches into visits and conversions

Free keyword research tool