How to choose the best anchor text? A comprehensive guide

Anchor text is a vague term at first glance, but at the same time, it triggers curiosity:
What’s the relation between anchor and SEO???

Searching on the internet becomes an inseparable part of daily life, and you constantly read content to get more information.
When you read through lines, you face hyperlinked words or phrases in different colors (maybe bold, or in different formats too). Clicking on them takes you to another page. These words are anchor text.

Anchor text is a word or phrase that presents new content by linking you to another page.
In the following article, I’ll provide a complete guide about anchor text. It includes definition, importance, types of anchor texts, how to choose the best anchor text and some additional tips.

How to choose the best anchor text?

What is Anchor text?

Anchor text is a clickable words or phrase in a hyperlink. It provides an opportunity to link your users to another page inside (or outside) your website.
In HTML code anchor text is the same as below:

How to choose the best anchor text?

But users see it the same as below:

How to choose the best anchor text?

If you want to see the HTML codes of any page, right-click the page. Then select view page source in the menu appears. Another page open in your browser. On the opened page the whole HTML codes will show.

Why is anchor text important for SEO?

If you want to find by users and search engines, don’t overlook the importance of anchor text. It provides context and relevance to both users and search engines.

When users click on an anchor text link, they expect to take to a page related to the text they clicked on. Similarly, search engines use anchor text to understand the content of the page linked to and its relevance to the search query.

Another reason anchor text is crucial for SEO is helping to distribute link equity throughout a website. Link equity or link juice is passing the value of one page to another through links. By using relevant and descriptive anchor text, you can help search engines understand the content of the page link to and pass link equity accordingly.

Types of Anchor text

Efforts to accept by Google’s algorithm caused experts to examine different types of anchor text. Some of these anchor texts are more useful, and others can be good to some extent. Let’s talk about it.

Exact Match Anchor Text

In this type of anchor text exactly use the keywords you want to rank. This strategy was widespread in past SEO.

Assume you have a website for chocolates. To rank it, you should use the same keywords in your anchor text. For example: the best milk chocolate brand. It is an exact match.

Although exact match anchor text is a very good choice, but it should be noted overusing it can cause penalization by Google.

How to choose the best anchor text: Exact match anchor text

Partial match Anchor Text

Since exact match anchor text can’t be use too much, partial match anchor text is a good choice. It is a combination of core keywords in addition to some extra words.

For example, “online digital Marketing Services” links to a page about digital Marketing. Partial match anchor text should contain one of the main keywords at least. 

Partial anchor text provides more data for both users and search engines. Users know more about the page will link to, and search engines also understand it better. Actually using partial match anchor text is a good idea. It cause your content doesn’t seem spammy and penalizes due to overusing match anchor text.

Just pay attention! Don’t confuse users and search engines with long partial anchor text. If you use long partial anchor text, Google confuses about the content on the page you pointed at. So, Google gives up your content and doesn’t crawl it.

How to choose the best anchor text: Partial match Anchor Text

Generic Anchor Text

If you want to know the worst type of anchor text, I will say it is the Generic type.

This type of anchor text doesn’t make an information chain for search engine bots. Search engines don’t understand where this link will lead. So, logically save its crawling energy and give up such anchor text.

On the other side, a generic anchor text is like entering to unknown place for users. No one likes to click on ambiguous anchor text that isn’t clear where it ends up.

How to choose the best anchor text: Generic Anchor Text

Naked Anchor Text

As the name implies, naked anchor text doesn’t have any contextual information. It just point to source and use a URL instead of meaningful words. For example:

Based on https://www.example.com remarks, people just use 10% of capacity of their mind.

According to Google’ John Muller remarks, search engines including Google don’t count this URL as anchor text. It’s just a normal link but doesn’t add to quality of content. Although sometimes we need to use a URL in content, but don’t use it if your main goal is getting traffic.

Latent Semantic Index Anchor Text

Latent semantic index or LSI refers to synonyms or conceptually related to the main keywords.
In the coffee maker case, there are other words related to the coffee maker and usually, these words constantly repeat in content. Google recognizes this relationship.
For example, if the page you are going to link users to is about ‘coffee maker,’ then LSI anchor text would be words such as Espresso, cup, coffee, kettle, coffee beans, and so on.

How to choose the best anchor text: Latent Semantic Index Keywords

LSI anchor text is a good idea. It makes your content natural, and you will get rid of using some artificial anchor texts in your content.

Branded Anchor Text

Branded anchor text uses a brand name as anchor text. Usually, it’s an external link takes users to the brand’s page. By referring users to a high authority brand Google considers it as a good signal. It’s a sign of giving value to users. So, use high-quality brands in your content but don’t overuse a brand name.
Overusing a brand isn’t a good signal for Google and seems unhealthy.

Branded Anchor Text

Image Anchor Text

Image anchor text is clickable information about the image and it is visible for readers. If users click on image anchor text, they will lead to another page. In the other words, anchor text for an image makes it clickable.

 On the other hand, always it recommend to use alt tag for images. Because Google can’t understand the visible appearance of images, and by using alt tag it becomes readable. But what’s the difference between alt tag and image anchor text for images?

 Alt tag or alt text is an HTML attribute to provide more information about images for Google. It’s not visible to readers usually. But if the image fails to load, readers can see it. The difference between image alt tag and image anchor text is that the first one isn’t visible to readers, but the second one is visible and clickable.

In the below tweet John Muller was asked about the relevance of such links for SEO.

How to choose the best anchor text: Image Anchor text

How to choose the best anchor text?

Answering this question is very simple: To choose the appropriate anchor text, straightly go to the main point in a concise and specific way.

Make it natural and don’t use words or phrases with complicated and sometimes irrelevant sentences! It’s better not to use complete sentences as anchor texts and optimize it SEO-friendly.

Below are some tips to select the best anchor texts:

Choose clear, concise, and descriptive anchors

An anchor is a visible text that appears as a hyperlink, and it should accurately reflect the content of the linked page.

Using vague or generic anchors such as “click here” or “read more” can be confusing for users and may not provide enough information about where the link leads. Instead, use specific words or phrases that accurately describe the content of the linked page.

Optimize anchors for users, not search engines

It’s important to keep in mind that you should be doing it for users and not just for search engines. While having relevant words in anchors can help with SEO, it’s equally important to make sure that the anchor text is clear and descriptive for users.

By using descriptive language, making links visually distinct, and avoiding misleading users, we can create a better user experience.

Don't use the same anchor text more than once

Using the same anchor text repeatedly can be seen as spammy by search engines and may result in penalties or lower rankings. When creating links, it’s important to use varied anchor texts that accurately reflect the content of the linked page.

To avoid using the same anchor text multiple times, consider using synonyms or related phrases instead. This not only helps with SEO but also provides a better user experience for visitors to your website.

Make sure about the right anchor text distribution

A good anchor distribution means using different types of anchor text in your post. Some people over-optimize their anchor texts by excessive use of one type of anchor, especially exact match. It is harmful to a good SEO. So to avoid it, utilize different types of anchors in a specific blog post.

Use brief anchors

Anchor text should be short and brief and not a complete sentence. Using a sentence as an anchor text makes it difficult for search engines to identify the relevance of the linked page. It can also appear cluttered and unprofessional.

Ensure to use relevant anchor text

Search engines become smarter and they find ways to find out how anchor texts are related to page content. If the search engine determines that the anchor text and the target page are well related, both the linking page and the target page will have a good chance for crawling and ranking.

Also, the relevance of the overall theme of the website is important. If a coffee shop’s website links to a similar website about how to make different types of coffee, it will be better in Google’s view than linking to irrelevant sites like sports sites!

Without relevancy, your anchor text will be unnatural. It will damage user experience and waste your efforts for ranking.

Heads up! Errors should be avoided in anchor texts

When it comes to writing anchor texts according to SEO standards, there are mistakes that should be avoided. These include:

Using generic phrases

Regarding the use of generic anchor text, a user asks a question from Google’s Lizzi Sassman:

Question: Is there any difference if an internal link is under the word “here” or if it is linked in a keyword?

Answer: It doesn’t matter if it’s an internal link to something on your site or if it’s an external link pointing to something else, “here” is still bad link text. It could be pointing to any page and it doesn’t tell us what the page is about. It’s much better to use words that are related to that topic so that users and search engines know what to expect from that link.”

Besides SEO discussion, generic anchor texts don’t create good space in your content. They are unpleasant and away from writing art.

Overusing exact match keywords

While it’s important to use keywords in your anchor text, overusing them can be seen as spammy by search engines. Instead, try to use variations of your target keyword or use related phrases that still convey the same meaning.

Including too many links

Including too many links in your content can make it look cluttered and overwhelming for users. Try to limit the number of links you include and focus on linking to high-quality sources that add value to your content.

Using irrelevant anchor text

Your anchor text should accurately describe the content of the page you’re linking to. Using irrelevant anchor text can confuse both search engines and users and may even hurt your rankings.

Using false and deceptive phrases

clickbait anchor text to draw users to click on links is not a good idea. You will lose the authenticity and value of your content.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create effective anchor texts that not only improve your SEO but also provide a better user experience for your audience.


Anchor text is an old but complex topic in SEO. Many active people in this field believe that anchor texts should be used according to the content of the page linked to it, but recommend that be cautious in using anchor texts as much as possible.

You should use different methods in link building. If you only use an anchor text model for your site, it is not out of mind that your site will be penalized by Google in the future, because Google’s algorithm is constantly changing the review criteria.

If users are not redirected to relevant pages by clicking on anchor texts, they will most likely stop clicking on other anchor texts created on your site and their trust in your site will be lost over time.


What's anchor text?

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink that directs users to another page or website. It is usually underlined or appears in a different color than the surrounding text. The purpose of anchor text is to provide context and information about the target page.

Why is anchor text essential for SEO?

Anchor text is like a road sign. It tells search engine bots and users where they will lead after clicking on it. Therefore it’s important to select them sensitively and intelligently.

Is there any difference between optimizing anchor text in internal links and external links?

Actually no. But anchor text in internal links is more sensitive. Because by using internal links we want to show our other pages to search engine bots and should be more sensitive about anchor text selection. In addition, internal links are fully under our control and we must be careful to don’t lose this opportunity with wrong anchor texts. But it doesn’t mean overlooking anchor text in external links.

What is very important in anchor text discussion?

The most important thing in anchor text study is knowing the context well.
Now you maybe say ok. But what does happen then?

All of us know the time has passed to select the exact match keyword as anchor text. So, you must focus on ISL or partial match anchor text. (Using branded anchor text in its right place is a good choice.) And ISL and partial match anchor text need a good understanding of your context.

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