Published on March 25th, 2024 Importance of Anchor Texts in Link Building, seo

Importance of Anchor Texts in Link Building

Keywords have always been an important part of SEO. Keywords define your content by showing primary ideas and topics in a short phrase. Anchor texts present the same idea when giving backlinks. The phrases or words that are hyperlinked to redirect you to another URL. The importance of anchor texts in Link Building is on the surface, the same – to identify the content of the link you have gained or given out. The depth of it is somewhat different. Here is what SEMrush says about anchor texts. anchor texts

“Anchor text (also known as link text) is the visible text of a link. This text tells people and Google something about the page you’re linking to. Place anchor text between elements that Google can crawl.”

With Google’s definition, it is clear that the importance of anchor texts goes beyond users, it helps Google decipher your link as well. 

There are several different kinds of anchor texts that Google talks about. In this blog, you will learn these and their effects on Link Building. 

Before that, you should know that all anchor texts have one thing in common

“Good anchor text is descriptive, reasonably concise, and relevant to the page that it’s on and to the page it links to. It provides context for the link and sets the expectation for your readers. The better your anchor text, the easier it is for people to navigate your site and for Google to understand what the page you’re linking to is about.”


Types of Anchor Texts


  • Branded Anchor Texts 

Branding is important in all kinds of businesses – offline and online. Branded anchor texts for link-building are a way to build your branding in the digital world. These types of anchor texts are a great way to bring eyeballs to your website. 

anchor texts on AHREF

We studied branded anchor texts on AHREF taking as an example. You can see that the top 5th number of referring domains comes from a branded anchor text. 

When you click on the anchor texts, you can see the quality of referring domains as well. 

Observing the domains and their ratings

Observing the domains and their ratings, you can see that they go as high as 90, which needless to say – is beyond amazing. 

To pick up a more well-known brand, we took Nestle as an added example. Nestle is of course an established brand, hence its data can give us a more valid insight about using branded anchor texts. 

Here, the top anchor text regarding the number of referring domains is the branded, Nestle with the e-acute symbol (é). Moreover, the 3rd one is Nestle without the e-acute symbol. 

Clicking on the anchor text, we saw that the highest DR falls at a whopping 96. 

From AHREFs, we see that branded anchor texts give some heavy backlinks. However, we should see what Google thinks about it. 

Google does not have a clear rule about using these kinds of anchor texts. However, it does keep on iterating that anchor texts should be natural and show – in some ways – the content that is expected to be in the backlink. Stuffing of branded anchor texts is not something Google will enjoy. So, as long as you use them wisely, there is no harm. 


  • Naked Anchor Texts/Links

Naked Anchor Texts are called so because the URL does not have phrases or anchor texts to cover them up. Adding a URL is a good way to share the website or the link without any added fluff. They are mostly used on Social Media – they are very natural and have nothing to cover. 

With as an example, once again, we look at where they stand with a naked link as a backlink. 

This time we looked at the highest number of referring domains. The top 10 results have 4 naked backlinks. These stood at 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 9th.  

It was important to check the quality of backlinks too. This is why we clicked on the 2nd naked anchor text, and here was the result. 

The top 3 highest DRs stood at a good 86. 

To compare it with an even more established brand, we chose the website. The reason we choose to use this as a controlled study is because medical websites, or informative websites, find themselves with backlinks with naked anchor texts. 

While, in the top 10 results with the highest referring domains, we can see that there are only 2 naked links. You can still see that some of the highest anchors are naked links – including the 2nd highest. 

Look at the 15th-highest naked link’s anchor results. 

Some of the highest DRs (despite no follow) are under these naked links. 

Mueller says that a simple Naked URL does not give context to the Linked Page – which we all know is one of the purposes of backlinks. However, Mueller does go on to say that the content surrounding the naked link does give some context, it is the bare minimum and might not do the job entirely. 

So are Naked Links bad? Not really! You are okay to use them as long as you use them in places where a lot of context is not required; like citing links or even social media posts. But of course, if you use them in between articles, this is something your piece will look like! 

Using Naked URLs is not that bad. However, Mueller says as quoted in that these links pull context through the surrounding content. 


  • Exact-match keywords

An exact match anchor text is when the exact keyword is used to create an anchor text. These generally work for users and may even work for Google if the linked page is exactly what the anchor text is about. This method used to work wonders in the past. 

However, as Google dissed keyword stuffing and focused on organic and diverse anchor texts, the practice has become less common. 

This absolutely does not mean that you should not be using exact anchor texts. Using them naturally is a great way to tell the users and crawlers what they should expect out of the linked page. 

Take for instance the top 25 referring domains and their anchor texts from

Look at some of the anchor texts, diabetes, cancer, stress, blood pressure, mental health, cholesterol, and more. 

It is safe to assume that the website has content on these topics and these are the purest forms of keywords that they can rank for along with being relevant.

Just to double-check, we clicked on the ‘mental health’ anchor texts to see what the pages were linking to. 

One high rating DR stands at 88 and is by, which is the website for Northwestern Medicine. 

Their blog about Gut Microbiome is where they plugged this anchor. The link to the blog redirects to an article titled ‘Feeling anxious? Your gut bacteria might be to blame.

While the keyword may seem generic, it is important to understand how wonderfully and organically it is placed with the perfect backlink. Hence, Medical News Today gained a super strong backlink with all green checks. 

In 2012, Google Penguin Update began spotting the websites that tried to use the exact match keyword anchor texts to manipulate the SERPs. However, this update pushed websites lower for being spammy. 

Does that mean that exact match anchor texts are terrible and counted as spam? No! Take a step back and look at the example we talked about earlier. Using the perfect and exact keyword is not bad if it sets right regarding relevance. 


  • Partially matching keywords/ LSI Keywords

LSI keywords or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are keywords that relate to your original keywords. In 2013, Google started focusing on the user intent through the keywords through the Hummingbird Algorithm. This allowed Google to understand the topic and intention of the user and use LSI. 

Take for instance the anchor text ‘blood’. This is a popular anchor text from the backlink profile of

CBS News gave them a backlink with the anchor text blood. However, their link fell to a piece titled ‘Anatomy and Circulation of the Heart’. 

The image above showed their top-ranking keywords as well. This means that ‘blood’ here was used to create a sense of relevancy to the target keyword. 

And it worked very well because CBS News has a DR of 93. 


  • Generic Anchor Texts

Generic Anchor texts are very general and boring in nature. You may see these here and there a lot of times. 

Google does not provide an exact definition. However, it was pretty clear as day in their article when they labeled it as Bad. 

A long time back, before the Penguin Algorithm Update, Adobe once actually ranked for the term ‘Click Here’. The reason was that it was a common anchor used for PDFs. 

Google eventually realized that anchor texts were being abused by spammers. In 2012, the Penguin Algorithm Update targeted manipulative link-building tactics, which helped the case. 


  • Image as an Anchor Text

When websites use images to give a backlink, the image becomes the anchor. Google encourages media. However, to link to it, you need to have a good and strong alt text for the image. The alt text is then read as the anchor text, while viewers will see a clickable image. 

Media makes content rich and vibrant. Hence, adding this type of anchor is a good idea.’s highest number of referring domains comes from Image anchors. These are shown as ‘Empty Anchor’ in AHREFs. 

WebMD’s profile shows images as the second-highest number of referring domains. 

Even NYtimes has the 4th highest referring domains from image anchors. 

When you use images as anchors, just remember to keep them vibrant to attract users, and you’re good to go. 


Wrap Up

Using anchor texts is an integral part of link building. You can see how different ones have different impacts and how they are used. 

Let us know what type of anchor text you think is the best. 

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Published on March 25th, 2024
Updated on March 26th, 2024

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