What Is Anchor Text, and Is It Good for SEO?

Anchor text is the clickable text on a web page or in an email that uses backlinks to take you to another page. For example, if I wanted to share the latest news about email marketing open rates, that red, highlighted phrase is anchor text. While there are different types of text that you can use throughout digital marketing, you may be curious how much they really benefit your efforts as a whole. The reality? Anchor text is actually quite valuable, particularly when it comes to your search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s why.

Benefits of Anchor Text

Anchor text is important because it helps your content rank well for search results. It often includes target keywords that you want your own website to rank for. When Google crawls your website, it analyzes the words you’ve chosen to use with those embedded links. If I’m writing about sales questions that generate better lead response rates, it will look at phrases like “sales questions” and “lead response rates” as potential keyword associations when users type those into a search bar.

The main thing to be mindful of is not overdoing your text. Padding your writing with lots of links and repeating the same text over and over will have the same effect as keyword stuffing, where you’ll simply end up looking fake.

Plus, you’ll want to make sure that your anchor text accurately describes the content you’re linking to so that it doesn’t come across as misleading, like clickbait. If users click on your links and realize it’s not the information they want, your bounce rates will go up, which will negatively affect your Google ranking.

That said, you may be wondering whether phrases like “click here,” or “check out the full story” are inadequate descriptors for the links you want to use. Thankfully, you can still use those phrases and not hurt your SEO, as long as you add enough context around them.

For example, if you wrote the phrase “Click here to learn how long it will take your website to rank,” Google would still analyze the information before and after the backlink to interpret the value it provides (i.e., website ranking).

Anchor text also improves your user experience. As Semrush notes, it helps Google understand your site structure, while also driving user traffic to the pages where you want the most visibility.

With regards to the user, anchor text is a great tool as part of their buyer’s journey. Links can be strategically placed to prompt them to visit specific pages that each offer a call to action, whether that’s agreeing to a phone call, sharing their contact information, or making a purchase.

Types of Anchor Text

Here are the types you’ll often see in marketing content.

Branded anchor text. These are when you hyperlink the company, organization, or person whose material you’re citing — Marketing Armor, for example.

Exact-match anchor text. These are when you use the exact words from the material they’re citing. Note: it’s probably a safe bet to include quotes, depending on how much you’re repeating.

Partial-match anchor text. These are phrases that almost match words from the content you’re citing, but not verbatim.

Related-match anchor text. These phrases are like partial-match text, but without the actual keywords of the content you’re linking to. For example, “marketing material that’s always relevant” could reference evergreen content.

Long-tail anchor text. While also similar to partial anchors, these phrases include a lot of words as part of their hyperlinks, like “Here’s the scoop on what quiet quitting really means for digital marketing success.”

Generic anchor text. These are general phrases that appear as calls to action, like the “click here” examples we mentioned above.

Random anchor text. These are nonspecific phrases like generic text, except they don’t include calls to action. For example, “the full story.”

Naked-link anchor text. These display full links (naked URLs) to their cited landing pages, rather than embedding those links over keywords or phrases.

For example,

Learn more about how you’re using your CRM wrong: https://marketingarmor.com/the-top-4-ways-youre-using-your-marketing-crm-wrong/

Applications for Anchor Text

Now that you know what types are available, the question is how you’d like to apply them. Generally speaking, they’re best suited to your website development and email outreach.


Most people focus on anchor text as a means of ranking a website, whether that’s through landing pages, hub pages, or blog content. These can be used to help leads navigate your website, but they can also lend credibility to your material. For instance, if you’re linking to a page of a reputable news source or industry-specific publication, that tells your website visitors that you understand their market, and encourages them to stick around longer to learn more about your feedback, products, or services. It also shows Google that you’re associating yourself with other materials that have established SEO value. Both can increase your ranking.

Email Marketing

Who isn’t involved in email marketing these days? It’s arguably the best way to avoid gatekeepers and get your foot in the door with the decision-makers you want to reach. But holding the attention of those decision-makers can still be difficult, especially when you’re trying to stand out from the deluge of so many other marketing emails. Anchor text allows you to keep your messaging brief, then provide a backlink to material that elaborates on what you’ve promoted, whether that’s a blog post or landing page on your website, or a third-party source that’s relevant to your audience.

Anchor text is particularly useful in content emails that you send out during prospecting, as they help reinforce your messaging, as well as verify your authenticity as a real company looking for new business (rather than a spammer, hacker, or other cyber criminal).

A Note About Images

Similar to anchor text, including alt text with your images can also improve your user experience and ranking. MarketingProfs explains how “alt-text functions as image anchors when adding a link to an image. The alt tag helps Google crawlers understand the context around an image,” while also “[helping] users with low-bandwidth Internet and those using screen readers to understand images.”

Apply These to Your SEO

Think of anchor text like a puzzle, where you’re taking specific links and keywords and weaving them into a narrative that relies on natural language, relevance, and relatability for engaging your leads. (Again, no padded or misleading terms.) If that seems challenging to develop in-house, there are outsourced content writing options that you can use. If you’d be interested to learn more about what those are, and how they could be applied to your digital marketing efforts, let’s schedule some time for a call. Click the link below when you’re ready to get started.

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