LINK TEXT SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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PORTFOLIO

A good practice for writing link texts is matching the text of the link with the content of the page you are linking to. When a reader sees the linked text, they should immediately know what to expect if they click on it. Take a look at the text in the image below.

Links are important for SEO: you need to add internal links, for example, to make your site structure clear to search engines. The text of the link helps search engines make sense of your (internal) links; it gives them more context. When you link to other content, Google uses the link text as an indicator of the topic of the linked page. If the link text matches your keyphrase, Google will not be able to tell which article is the most relevant for that topic and should rank for that keyphrase. So yes, anchor text is a ranking factor for Google.

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Besides adding context to links for search engines, link text is also important to your users. The anchor text clarifies the value of a link and tells them where it leads them. So, using the focus keyphrase in the link text can be confusing for both search engines and your users. That’s why you should actively avoid competing links.

We all know that internal links are essential. Yoast SEO has a built-in internal link tool that makes it a lot easier to find related content to link to on your site. Whenever you add a relevant link to your article, you also need to think about the anchor text. By thinking carefully about how and why you link these articles to improve your internal linking structure you can help both users and search engines navigate your site easier.

2. Match the link text with the content you’re linking to.

The anchor text or link text is the piece of content describing the link.

So, what do you do if Yoast SEO warns you that you have competing links in your text? Follow the tips below to improve your link texts!

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What does anchor text look like in HTML? The first piece of code is the URL, while the second part describes the link – and this is the anchor text. Like this:

When Yoast SEO detects a competing link, it displays a warning message in the SEO analysis results.

Let’s say you are writing an article with the long-tail focus keyphrase ‘learning how to knit.’ If you use any of those words from the focus keyphrase in a link text, you may get feedback from Yoast SEO advising you to change it. To avoid getting a red bullet for the focus keyphrase in link check, you can put the entire keyphrase in quotes, so the analysis only matches the entire phrase, instead of the individual words.

Want to learn more about how to improve your anchor texts and SEO copywriting? We have several SEO courses that can help you with that, such as courses on all-around SEO, site structure and SEO copywriting. Get access to these courses with Yoast SEO Premium, which also gives you access to extra features in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Writing, in general, should have a natural flow. The same is true for link texts. When adding links, make sure they fit well with the rest of the text. Look at it like this. If you are struggling to squeeze in a link in a sentence, the link probably doesn’t belong there. It’s better to put it somewhere else, and avoid making your texts unnatural and difficult to read. So, while links are important for SEO, you should make sure that they don’t get in the way of the message you want to convey.

The links in this example blend in seamlessly with the rest of the text. Moreover, you know precisely what to expect if you click on a link. For example, the link text “content analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin” clearly leads to a post explaining the Yoast SEO content analysis features. How about the link text “meta description.” The sentence the link belongs to is about optimizing your text. So, you would expect that the link leads to a post about optimizing meta descriptions. And that’s what it does.

Why are link texts important for SEO?

Anchor text is relevant for both your internal links and your incoming external links. External sites can link to your content in various ways.

The Yoast SEO plugin comes with a link focus keyphrase check , which can help you improve your link text. This check warns you when it detects competing links in your text. A link is considered a competing link when its anchor text contains the focus keyphrase that you want your page to rank for. So, the link focus keyphrase check assesses the links on a page and their anchor text and notifies you if you have competing links. If you have Yoast SEO Premium, the check will also look for the synonyms of your keyphrase.

Warning message in the SEO analysis results in Yoast SEO.

Anchor text — or link text — is the visible, clickable text of a link. It usually appears in a different color than the surrounding text and is often underlined. Good link text tells the reader what to expect if they click on the link. Getting your anchor text right increases the chance of someone clicking on your link, and helps search engines by giving them context.

Anchor text helps both users and search engines decide whether a link is worth visiting. Some people try to game this system, but don’t fall into this trap. These days, Google is pretty good at spotting links that are unnatural and even harmful. So, keep it natural and relevant, and you’ll be good to go!

In the example above, the link texts are used responsibly. That is very important. You should not try to trick your readers with links. For instance, if your link text says “potato chips,” it would be bad practice to have that link take the reader to a car dealership page.

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Example of good link texts.

To make the most of internal links try to only add links that add real value to users. Write great anchor text for them, so readers know this link has been carefully selected to help them find out more. Don’t link for the sake of it. Make it relevant and useful. And of course, don’t spam!

An example of an exact match An example of a more free-flowing form of linking.

Lastly, make it evident to the reader that the link text is clickable. You can do that by using a different color for the link, underline it, or both.

Anchor text describes the article being linked to and entices visitors to click. Even search engines understand that the linked article is relevant because the URL and the link text correlate. So, for example, if you were to link to this article, you might use the link/anchor text like this: What is anchor text? So you link to other articles in a way that looks natural to the reader.

Let’s consider an example. Say you have written an article about potato chips, so your focus keyphrase is ‘potato chips.’ If you then use a link with the anchor text ‘potato chips’ in that same post, that link is considered a competing link.

Edwin is a strategic content specialist. Before joining Yoast, he spent years honing his skill at The Netherlands’ leading web design magazine.

However, this is misleading because there’s also a correlation of UR.

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You can see that this isn’t very representative of the entire sample—one value is skewing the average quite dramatically. That’s why we also added the median values to the graph (orange line). You can see that the median for each ranking position is zero.

Google fights back against manipulative anchor text.

But why is this the case anyway? Why don’t our pages—and others’ pages—see a higher percentage of total traffic coming from the primary target keyword?

But not every person will link to this page in the same way. Here are some of the anchor text variations they might use:

But why is this?

Spearman correlation (average): 0.1057 Spearman correlation (median): 0.1393.

Some websites that had been overly-aggressive with their exact-match anchor text links saw their rankings tank overnight. However, according to Google, it only affected 3.1% of search queries.

SERP overview in Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.

What is anchor text?

Exact Match : the anchor text is the exact keyword or phrase for which we want to rank.

Anchor text was weighted heavily in Google’s original algorithm.

This time we took a look at the correlation between the occurrence of all terms from the target keyword and rankings—i.e., partial match.

Image links: the anchor text is the alt text of the image (according to Google).

Influence of exact-match anchors.

The logic was sound, and the results were impressive, especially compared to the competition at the time—a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the founders themselves.

We studied 3 million random search queries and found that, on average, the top 10 ranking pages also rank for between 400 and 1,300 other queries.

So, to bring this full-circle:

Google employs a number of techniques to improve search quality including page rank, anchor text , and proximity information.

Result: there’s a relatively weak correlation between the percentage of exact-match anchored links and rankings. Both the mean and the median indicate this.

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