Anchor Text

An anchor text is also called reference or link text and belongs to the area of off-page optimization. It is a clickable text that can be found on the internet in the form of a hyperlink and leads you to another page. You can recognize an anchor text by the fact that it is underlined and highlighted (sometimes in color) in the body text.

How to mark an anchor text in the body text
This is how an anchor text is marked in the body text

Behind the anchor text is information that leads you to the linked website. This is what is stored in the invisible area for an anchor text:

This is hidden behind the anchor text
This is what is hidden behind the anchor text

So in the backend, you can either put a URL or an <a href> attribute, as long as you work with the HTML code. You can see the code, for example, in the source code of a page and look at the <a href> attribute of the link text there.

With a right click on the page you can display the page source text
With a right click on the page you can view the page source code
This is how the page source text looks like
This is how the page source text looks like

You can view the URL of the anchor text using the mouse-over effect. This works by hovering your mouse cursor over the hyperlink. The URL should appear in the lower left corner of your browser window.

Mouse-over effect of the anchor text
Mouse-over effect of the anchor text

An anchor text has two positive effects for your website. On the one hand, it indicates to your users that there is more information to be found here. You can reinforce this, for example, with the help of a call-to-action. It also gives the user an insight into what to expect in terms of content. On the other hand, it is essential with regard to search engine optimization. Further links, no matter if internal (on your own site) or external (to another domain), are an important signal for the search engine algorithm. Anchor texts help the crawler to understand the content and analyze the page. They also provide information about the relevance of the linked content. Therefore, the crawler evaluates the anchor texts during crawling and includes them in the Google ranking.

What types of anchor texts are there?

Anchor texts can be divided into different types, similar to keywords. It depends on what intention you are pursuing with your anchor text. A distinction is made between the following:

Depending on the goal you are pursuing, you can optimize your link text for the corresponding intention.

What is a good anchor text – what should you pay attention to?

Since search engines always evaluate links as recommendations, anchor texts have a special significance. They give the user an insight into the content that awaits him on the linking page or can direct him specifically to a linked website. They also support the web crawler in its work, which can improve the ranking. Therefore, it is important that you think about how you set your anchor texts.

There are several criteria you should consider:

  1. Only ever link to thematically relevant pages. It is clearly about quality instead of quantity.
  2. Use the same anchor text only once per page. You don’t have to link from one and the same keyword to the same landing page every time.
  3. Don’t put too many links on one page – of course this varies depending on the length of the text.
  4. Find a good mix of internal and external links.

There is also another point that is particularly important: Is the anchor text about an internal or an external link, i.e. a backlink? Here, too, there are different requirements for the link text.

The most important rule here is that the anchor text for backlinks should always appear as natural as possible. That means it should blend in well with the text, not stand out too much, and flow smoothly with the rest of the body text. With hard keyword links, this is usually not successful. Especially important is it since the Penguin update. This ensured that Google pays more attention to the fact that backlinks are not artificially generated or the quality was influenced or manipulated. The link texts should therefore vary here and fit naturally into the text. This also has the consequence that backlinks are usually linked with as few words as possible. The content of the linked page should also offer the user added value. In the anchor text, you should therefore not promise anything that is not fulfilled in the end on the external website, as this can annoy your users and also sends bad signals to the search engines.

For internal linking, you can also link with hard keywords. Nevertheless, the link text should naturally fit into the reading flow. Unlike with backlinks, there are no limits to the number of words you can use. Nevertheless, you should not necessarily link entire sentences internally. With internal links, you are therefore bound to fewer principles than with external links, but you should still pay attention to thematic relevance. The linked content should also offer added value for internal links and the anchor text should reflect what the user expects without suggesting something that he will not get.

Thus, a distinction can be made between hard and soft linking. The anchor texts of the backlinks are rather soft links, while you can link harder internally. That means you can use keywords more often internally and optimize the anchor text for search engines. But be careful with hard links and external links. This can even lead to ranking penalties.

Anchor texts and their influence on the CTR

Link texts can have a direct influence on the click-through rate of a page. You can use anchor texts to direct your website visitors to other pages. For this purpose, it is a good idea to work with call-to-actions. In addition, it helps to give the user a small insight or a short preview of the content of the linked page to create an incentive to look at it as well.

Tip: Use A/B tests with different link texts to find out what your users respond to best.


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