Link building is the most critical factor and aspect of your SEO activity. It influences and determines your rankings with Google and ultimately your traffic. So, link building and linking is critical. However, the way you are creating links also is important and influences your rankings. This means that using the proper linking techniques and texts is important. So you really should learn more about linking anchor text, keywords, etc. But first, let’s discuss just what is keyword-rich anchor text as it was the first way of link building.
Anchor text and different types
First, you should understand just what anchor text is. Well, in short, it is the title of your hyperlinks and the only visible part of the link. It is the text shown instead of the link code. Anchor text serves two main purposes. First, it tells the reader what to expect from the link he is about to follow. Second, it helps Google evaluate the content to make sure that there is no Spammy activity going on. All this means that the choice of an anchor text is important. It can benefit your traffic and rankings or if it is poorly chosen it will not.
So, a good anchor text should give a clue or contextual meaning of what is at the other end of a link. Over time there were different types of anchor texts and we can distinguish them today:
- Naked anchor
- Branded Anchor,
- Generic anchor
- Image anchor or
- an exact match etc.
Keyword-rich anchor text – what is it?
At the start of SEO optimization, many sites used keyword-rich anchor texts for their link building. Theis advantage is that they were able to quickly generate ranking and traffic positioning the webpage high in the search results. Ultimately they became a subject of abuse so Google changed its algorithm thus decreasing the usefulness of these links. The ranking is now done by reading the context of the text around the link and noting the relevance. So, keyword-rich anchor text was extremely important but it also has value and is relevant today.
What is it?
Simply put, keyword-rich anchor text refers to any link that contains the target keyword in its link text. These anchor texts are specific and refer directly to the webpage that they link to. They are the opposite of generic anchor texts such as “click here or “link here”. So using keywords to create anchor texts means that you are creating a keyword-rich anchor text that will theoretically create a good ranking of your page.
However, with a penguin update from 2012, google made some criteria that lead to the penalization of websites for overusing these anchors. Today, although this is not forbidden, overusing keyword-rich anchor text is frowned upon and can be penalized by google. So, today, crucial advice is to use a variety of words to create a variety of links when building your profile. But with proper understanding, your keyword-rich text is easy to use and can benefit your rankings greatly.
Why does google penalize keyword-rich anchor texts?
At the beginning of the internet and google search engine, it relied on these anchor texts to find proper links to relevant content. Anchors usually provided a better description than sites themselves making the Google search engine’s job easier. However, SEO experts managed to find a way of misusing these anchors for their own marketing advantage. These anchor texts became a tool to artificially increase the rankings of their websites.
Once google realized that there was a problem it reacted penalizing such activity. So many SEO experts such as the Link Department today advise against using keyword-rich anchor texts. many companies also do not prefer the practice in fear of severe Google penalties. This is where other anchor tex options come into play. Big companies usually prefer to use branded anchors, images, or naked anchors.
Anchor text punishments and link quality
Google as a search engine wants the user to get the best experience online. This is why Google’s interest is the creation of naturally occurring links. This means that links should only appear within content that is relevant and lead to only relevant content off-site. If they are not incorporated into the content in a way that makes sense then Penguin update can demote a website. It may also happen if you use too many links per page. This sort of punishment may occur if the quality of the link is not adequate. Google is trying to prevent rank inflation that occurs with too many backlinks being created artificially increasing the rank of certain websites. Instead, you should link to only authoritative and relevant websites to prevent getting the penalty.
Anchor text practices to keep in mind
Recent studies show that not all keyword-rich anchors will trigger a penalty. Their careful use will prevent that from happening. Although they are not as important as before keyword anchor texts still partially influence your rankings. this is the case with both exact and partial keyword anchor texts. This is because of density. This means that exact keyword matches should not be more than 1-2 percent of all anchor text within your webpage.
Two additional practices to know of
Your links must be relevant. To make your content beneficial for the reader and thus relevant to the search engine you must make your link relevant to the topic. It must contain the keywords for the content and also define the topic on the other side of the link.
Use Keyword variations. Use a variety of keywords as Google will recognize similar or repeating anchors as unnatural. Try to go for partial keyword anchors s that do not trigger google penalties as much. Also, use only a few exact keyword matches for your anchors.
So, we can talk a lot about just what is keyword-rich anchor text. Although there is a lot of theory you should try to find some detailed examples from practice for a better understanding of this issue. Just keep in mind that anchor text is important but be careful when using too many keywords in your anchor texts.