Your Ultimate Anchor Text Tutorial – from Basic to Advanced

Your Ultimate Anchor Text Tutorial – from Basic to Advanced

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Anchor text is nothing new under the sun; I agree with that.

However, if we all know about it, how come I see many bloggers build links as if they have no idea what anchor text is?

With that in mind, plus the fact that my readers requested a post on anchor text that they can actually understand, I put together a collection of anchor text tips that will satisfy both the beginners and the more advanced link builders.

What Is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the clickable words within a link.

It is often underlined and sometimes colored differently from the rest of the content – blue, most of the times.

For instance, is just a link (also called hyperlink).

However, Traffic Generation Cafe is the same hyperlink as above (they both lead to the same destination – my home page) with Traffic Generation Cafe as anchor text.

Why Is Anchor Text Important?

Certain search engines, like Google for instance, use anchor text as an off-page factor in determining your site’s rankings.

The words contained within the anchor text will help your page to be ranked for the keywords you desire it to be ranked for, as opposed to what Google thinks you should be ranked for.

For instance, if I want to get my home page ranked for the term “Traffic Generation“, I need to find ways to create links from other websites that will contain my home page URL and my keyword “Traffic Generation” as anchor text.

The way you create links on other websites is via blog commenting, guest posting, becoming a top commentator, etc.

How to Properly Build a Link

In order for you to make use of anchor text links, you need to know some HTML basics, or at least, know how to copy and paste.

HTML Code for a Standard Link

What you see:

Click Here to get my free SEO Report

How the link was built:

<A HREF=””>Click Here</A> to get my free SEO Report

HTML Code for a Standard Link with Anchor Text

What you see:

Don’t forget to pick up my free SEO report!

How the link was built:

Don’t forget to pick up my <A HREF=””>free SEO report</A>!

HTML Code for a Standard Link with Anchor Text, which will open it in a new browser window.

What you see:

My free SEO report will teach you all you need to know about link building.

How the link was built:

My <A HREF=”” TARGET=”_blank”>free SEO report</A> will teach you all you need to know about link building.

How to Choose the Right Anchor Text

Many bloggers continue to ignore this huge factor in any one way link building and then wonder why they don’t get much search engine traffic.

KEYWORD research.

You need to target keywords that are:

  • relevant to your niche
  • might be used by your potential readers to find you
  • receive plenty of daily searches
  • have monetary value – meaning, words that signal buyers and not just lookie-loos.

It might seem like a daunting task, I agree, but you just can’t skip this step.

Since this post is not about keyword research, I’ll tell you one more thing about it: all the best marketers/bloggers I know use Market Samurai for all their keyword research/rank tracking/competition spying needs.

And when you decide to check out Market Samurai via my affiliate link, you can get a cool 35% off (I am pretty sure the offer is still available as of today). Just sign up for the free trial and wait to get your coupon in the email.

What Is Natural Anchor Text?

All those PhDs at Google are no fools.

Many webmasters realized that shortly after all the penalties Google recently dished out that (may) have been caused by anchor text over-optimization.

What do I mean by that?

If you continue to build links with the same anchor text over and over again, it becomes a sure sign of SEO link building – something Google is not too fond of.

Solution: vary your anchor text, add a few useless words to it here and there; even use “Click Here” as your anchor text every once in a while.

That’s what is called “natural anchor text” – it looks like it was built by users and not SEOs.

7 Ideas to Vary Your Anchor Text

1.   Use Your Company Name / Your Name

This one is self-explanatory.

2.   Use naked URL more often

Especially, when it comes down to your home page.

A regular user will most likely link to your page with the URL and not anchor text of any kind – we need to duplicate this pattern as much as possible.

It’s been said that at least 50% of all the links going to your home page should be naked URL links (by “naked” I mean without any anchor text – in case you wondered).

You can also vary it by using

  • or

3.   Phrase Match

Stay away from the exact match and do a few phrase matches instead.

For instance, instead of using “weight loss” over and over again, come up with alternatives like how to lose weight, weight loss for teenagers, losing weight quickly, etc.

4.   Stop Words

Vary your anchor text by adding some of the so-called stop words like the, is, at, which and on.

Also consider adding words and phrases like how to, want, buy, etc.

5.   Synonyms and Antonyms

This is a great way to achieve natural anchor text.

Make use of tools like or

6.   “Click Here”

It doesn’t get any more natural than using “click here”, “read more”, etc. as anchor text.

7.   Images

This is a great way to vary your link building efforts.

Host a few good images on your blog and insert them into your guest posts with a link back. It’s always good to remember to optimize those images with an ALT tag.

The idea for this portion of the post came from Kaila Strong’s post on SearchNewsCentral.

Anchor Text for the Advanced

If you know and use the anchor text basics I just described, you’ll be ahead of a lot of your competitors.

Wouldn’t it be nice if anchor text was as simple as that though?

No such luck.

Here are some recent anchor text resources to give you an even better understanding of how it works (or doesn’t) and what it might look like in the future.

orange checkPrediction: Anchor Text is Weakening…And May Be Replaced by Co-Occurrence- Whiteboard Friday –

orange checkWhat about anchor text in internal links?

Should you be just as careful about using exact match anchor text within your own blog?

Matt Cutts to the answer:

Anchor Text Marketing Takeaway

Using well-researched keywords as your anchor text and learning how to make your anchor text look natural just might be your ticket to better search engine rankings.

I suggest you give this one some serious thought!

traffic generation cafe anchor text

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

88 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Hi Ana,
    I’m feeling fortunate to find your site, You’ve really provided lots of good tips for newbies like us. Thank you so much. Hopefully I’ll be able to use some of your tips.
    Kuldip Gadhvi
    Kutch Adventures India

  2. Charlene

    Hi Ana, really your articles have cleared most of my doubts about SEO and traffic. How do you get time for doing so much research work?:)
    Just a quick question, should we include No follow tag for our Image links which may be affiliate banners, but might help in our site ranking if use their Img Alt attribute. If we use No follow then will that not affect Img Alt SEO boost.
    I thank you again for such a Great content. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Hi, Charlene:

      1. First of all, when I add an image to my post, I never add the file link to it. There’s really no point of doing it unless the image is so big that it needs to be opened in a new window to see all the details.

      2. ALWAYS add nofollow to all banner links.

      3. You don’t need to add nofollow to your external links; although I do with certain pages. Just because you add a nofollow tag, it doesn’t mean that it nullifies your image title or alt tag; SEO benefit is still there.

      Hope this makes sense.

  3. So basically every time we should change anchor test a bit to make it looks more natural to get pass Google radar. One question: where else is suitable to apply anchor link other than personal blog?

    • Ana Hoffman

      Not sure I understand the question completely, but you can use anchor text anywhere you can build links from, not just personal blogs.

  4. Hi Ana
    You have a great site very informative for us newbie. Once I get my blog in place you will be in there. We need more like you,I got you bookmark. You taught me some good stuff today.

  5. That is an interesting opinion on the naked url opposed to a keyword anchor. At one point I thought this had been true but never pursued it. I rarely click on any anchor text and likely because I want to see exactly where I am going. It seems more credible to me some how. Also with anchor text if you are researching heavily a particular subject, you could easily end up getting sent back to the same web page from 10 different sources that “appeared” to be different.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Of course, if you mouse over any link, your browse will show you what URL it links to, so that shouldn’t be a problem from a user perspective.

      For a link builder perspective though, much of this post is still something to consider.

  6. Hi Ana – a great post, and thanks for explaining it in a way that beginners can understand!
    One thing I’m not clear on is WHERE are we leaving these links from which will allow us to use the html??
    I understand that you can do it from a guest post for example. In that instance do you just supply the full html link you’d like the host blog admin to use?

    Also – can you create anchor text links in blog comments such as this one?? (I haven’t tried it)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I wouldn’t use html links in comments, Tanya – most bloggers will consider your comment spammy if they see that.

      For the most part, these tips pertain to any type of content you might be writing: your own blog (when you interlink posts), guest posts, article directories – those types of things.

  7. Paul

    Thanks for the info Anna. I came here through the link in your SEO report, which is full of great information. Thank you very much for allowing us to have access to it. In regards to this post on link building with anchor text, do most blogs allow html use in their comments? Haven’t done much link building outside of comment luv blogs because of not knowing this. Once again thanks for all the great info that you share.

  8. Ana,

    Can you expand on how to use CommentLuv with Anchor Text Key words?

    Am I understanding this right? On a CommentLuv enabled site, I can put in my Name@keywords. So if I put in “Jeff Witt@P90X Review” Would that be an effective anchor text link? Also, do I just put in a phrase, or can I list keywords separated by commas? Like “Jeff Witt@P90X, Review, Results”


  9. Ana what a great article. I thought I knew a lot about anchor text, but I am very guilty of too much number 3 – using the same thing over and over. Most times I simply use Bellevue Dentist, Dentist Bellevue, or some variation of Cosmetic Dentist even when I am cross linking within my own website. Well, actually I am a little more creative when I cross link on my site. So your information about varying the anchor text was very informative. I guess I don’t want to look like spammer when I link to other sites, which is why I have stayed with just a minimum of text.
    I am not sure, however, why you think Lisa’s comment is a good one – to ask the blog owner what anchor text to use. I don’t understand how the other blog owner would know what will work best for you, unless they are in the exact same profession, niche area, or have a blog similar to yours. Certainly, I could make an educated guess on your site for example since I read so much of it over the last few days and on the various dentistry sites I comment on. Thanks again.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Sounds like you vary your anchor text just fine, Cynthia. As long as it’s not always the same.

      As far as Lisa’s comment is concerned, she was referring to a general mention of someone else’s blog.

      I do it all the time.

      For instance, I write a blog post that reminds me of another blogger who talked on the topic. I write them an email asking them if they have a preference which anchor text I’d link to their blog with. Usually, they know their keywords a lot better than I do and they tell me what the best one is. Plus they really appreciate the gesture.

  10. Hi: Ana
    I’m having Problems with my anchor text it is not covering the Hyperlink

    what am I doing wrong? I would appreciate your help
    Thank you… Lupe Aguilar

  11. Great post, Ana. You’ve broken down the steps and made it quite easy for everyone to accomplish effective anchor text. I’ll be recommending this post! Can’t wait to read more. All the best :)

  12. Hi Ana,
    Great Article. I totally agree with the anchor text methods
    you discussed. I must admit, I didn’t realize the percentage
    of when to use them.
    You keyword suggestion tips were awesome. It has been
    my experience, this is an area most get overwhelmed. Using
    the keyword modifiers and using phrase match was a tip
    everyone needs to take serious.

    Ana, you’re the best and I so appreciate your contribution,
    Jeff Faldalen

    PS will be getting Marketing Samurai
    PPS Just finished reading your Ebook this weekend!!! Anyone
    who has not read it, DOWN LOAD IT now, IT Rocks!!

    • Ana Hoffman

      That’s so good to hear, Jeff. I am also glad to hear you’re getting Market Samurai, because you’ll love it!

  13. This post explains some questions I have been asking for awhile, do you find varying your anchor text helps your overall rankings.

    I found not anchoring different for the same page results in it looking un-natural to google, now I realise using a few keywords helps best.

    Add like you mention adding an actualy brand to the anchor

    • Ana Hoffman

      I would still stick to anchors that are not far cry from your desired anchor text, John.

      Variation is definitely important and helps, but you still need a good amount of exact match anchors. How much? Depends on your niche and competition.

  14. Hard to say, Mike – as you can imagine, opinions vary widely.

    As I was doing research on the post, 40% came up pretty regularly. I’d say 40-60% is a good place to be with exact anchor text.

  15. Eric

    Hi Anna, I just found this post along with this one on YouTube:! I’m trying to find the right keywords to use because “Become A Teacher” (which is even shorter than my real keyword phrase – Why Become A Teacher) shows NO results in Google. I’ve tried every variation (edu, net, com, etc.) I’ll keep plugging away at it though.

    Thanks for this post!


      • Eric

        When I replace “Keyword” with “Why Become A Teacher” or “Become A Teacher”… no results show up. I have to use more generic words like teacher, teaching and education…and those usually lead me to unrelated posts :-(

        • Ana Hoffman

          Have you tried searching for “career + teacher” or for “teaching careers”? If that works, you can set up Google Alerts for those keywords to be notified every time a new post is posted.

  16. Being an SEO professional, I would like to think I knew / had thought of all of this already, but I had not. Using the ‘naked URL’ makes complete sense. But where are good places to implement this. I guess I’m going to be doing some guest blogging for a bit. :) Thank you Ana

    • You are right, Rick – fewer and fewer places would let you implement hyperlinking with naked URL.

      Sometimes you can sneak it in as your “signature” for blog commenting and forums, but that’s about it.

  17. Good points you have pointed out Ana, and thanks for sharing this. This is the first time I’ve come into consideration on taking on naked url promotion. I myself, for most of the time I really use anchor texting my links.

    • Paula

      Ana and Matt,

      I don’t understand what Matt did just there. Could one of you fill me in?

      Also, I thought putting keywords in the name spot was a function of a completely different plug-in, though I hadn’t figured out which one yet. Do I have that wrong? I’m still not sure if I understand this putting of keywords in the name slot. I read it can be considered spam. No?

      Lastly, I wonder if U.S. would work (I used it—my dream is for the United States education system, as that’s the one I worked in) since it has periods. Sorry this is so long!

      Love luv adore Traffic Generation Cafe, Ana. Dead serious. Kudos! :)

      • Paula, I had a different comment on this thread where I posted my links per the instructions in Ana’s post. I was simply putting her suggestions with the html coding to good use so I could create some back links to my site. Unfortunately in the first post I messed it up and the links didn’t show up correctly….

        I don’t think my original comment is on the thread anymore so the one you see doesn’t make a lot of sense except that it’s got links to my site. Now that I think of it, it looks a little spammy but Ana’s nice enough to leave it up there :)

  18. HI Ana,

    Great post and tutorial on anchor links. I know how important they are, but I love the tip to ask the blog owner you’re linking to. I feel like you could have hit me over the head with a 2×4…DUH! Why wasn’t I thinking of that in the past?

    So tell me, miss Ana. What anchor text do you prefer for your blog audit friday posts, since I’ve linked to my review several times. I can go back and update them to the links you prefer. :)


    • Well, thanks for asking, Miss Heather! :)

      Truthfully, I don’t care since I am not planning on ranking for anything for those posts.


  19. Jamie Bennett

    Hey Ana,
    Great Reminder about the importance of anchor text to building up page rank and ultimately traffic.
    And that’s an amazing testimony to the power of link building with anchor text, Pete.


  20. Found this blog post whilst searching for how to correctly use Anchor Text and google sent me here. They have delivered, because I found your blog post very informative and educating.
    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Val

    Good advice here, this is indeed often overlooked by webmasters.

    One thing I would add is you can check your anchor text profile using Linkscape / Open Site Explorer.

  22. Hola Tzarina,

    Oh how I’ve missed commenting here – although I’ve never missed reading a post of yours :). So I guess it means I’ve kinda been a silent stalker who simply RT’s and links lately lol.

    I’ve had this post open since the day you published it. This is also the second time I read it and I have no doubt I’ll be reading it a 3rd and 4th time.

    I just love these idiot-proof tutorials of yours Ana – especially cause I need them.

    I’m embarrassed to say that I was a bit confused in regards to anchor texts. As I always say, I’m a blogger who writes but sucks at all the ATTAC (remember that one from my GP? hehe). For those of you reading this comment who don’t know what ATTAC stands for – then goodness gracious – go read the GP that I wrote for Ana here back in December ;).

    I often read that it’s not a good idea to write “click here” – and therefore I tried to minimize those as much as possible. Should I consider using them again?

    Also – I had no clue that we should vary our Anchor text. Good to know. I think I do that sometimes just so that I don’t bore myself or my readers but I was unaware of the effect it had.

    Oh, how I’d like to give you the password to my blog and WP and let you have your field day (more like month) redoing my crappy or non-existent SEO efforts. You can do all the linking, anchoring, building, whatever’ing that you want haha!

    Thanks so much for making this easy to read. Obviously, I still have a long ways to go to learn the non-writing part of blogging!

    Have a great week Ana.

    • Welcome back to the comments section, Ingrid. Sure is nice to have you here. I’m with you on your road to learning more about blogging.

  23. Thanks for posting this. I have a related question. How much time do you spend getting backlinks versus creating content? There seems to be a wide range of opinions. I’ve heard of folks focusing on cranking out new content and forgoing backlinks as well as others who say the vast majority of their time is spent getting links, like 80-20. It takes me forever to write a half decent blog post so I’m wondering if I should focus on becoming a better content producer or backlinker. Thanks!

    • Hi, Chris, I focus more on creating content. If your content is good enough, your reader will do all the link building for you by linking to your posts.

  24. Gerald Weber

    Also here is another tip.

    Now this involves content spinning and I know that in itself can be another complete post. But for those that understand a little bit about spinning content it’s very simple to vary your anchor text.

    For this example let’s assume we are using an widget company in Houston as example. The html and spin syntax would look like this

    So once the content is syndicated it will vary the anchor text each time it posts.


  25. Wow, Ana! This is the ultimate anchor text tutorial indeed. Well done!

    I loved the ideas you shared to vary the anchor text to keep it all natural. I stopped using “click here” ages ago as I heard it wasn’t a great idea to use it.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, Ana.

    All the best,

  26. Gib

    It also proves the power of ‘buzzwords’ in your writing. If I only used a phrase – for example: “It’s over the top!” on a couple of links, but everyone started saying it, linking with it to my site I would get the PR.

    Our society loves buzzwords, and initials. Orange County=OC, etc. Now include them in the normal course of writing and someone will pick them up.
    And that’s “Over The Top!” :-)

  27. Lou Barba

    Hi Ana,

    I’m going to read this about five times until I get the message. Don’t worry, Ana, it’s not your writing. I once took about ten years to remember the difference between two streets that were next to each other. I guess I’m puzzled how you can create anchor text with links in a comment. I don’t recall seeing anyone do that in the comment sections.


    • If you look at your name in your comment, Lou, you’ll see that your name is in blue – that’ means it’s hyperlinked. Your name is actually an anchor text.

      So every time you post a comment on anyone’s blog, you leave your name and/or your keywords in the name field and your URL in the website field.

      Once the comment is posted, your URL links to your name and your name becomes your anchor text.

      Does that make sense?

  28. Ana,

    First of all I had to laugh at the picture on this post :)

    Just when I thought I knew what I was doing with my anchor text. I get a good lesson from you. In a previous post you mentioned varying the anchor text, now I understand what you meant.

  29. I haven’t been doing any keyword research lately, it’s probably more than a year since the last time I did it. How often do you do keyword research related to your blog? I haven’t bougth Market Samurai yet, but I might soon.

    When it comes to anchor texts, I almost never use click here or read this (well, except for my email newsletter). But I never give it much thought when it comes to the words I am using, they’re not optimized in any way, but they are natural :)

  30. Maky

    Hi Ana,

    The importance of anchor text cannot be over emphasized. I use it to maximum and much more for onsite SEO (interlinking my pages) :). How I wish that doing it offsite is oh-so-easy as this tutorial. ;(

    Offsite is where anchor text will bring you SERPs juice. But who will allow you build such keyword-rich anchor texts on their website? Except of course your online friends as you mentioned in the post. And you can only do so many guest posts else your own site suffers. And for article submissions, you have a limit to its usage else it is labelled as too much self promotion.

    Unless you are Adobe (who people unknowingly ranked for “click here” as Pete mentioned), we should be thankful if we get a naked link offsite. I guess that if “click here” is a competitive keyphrase, people will not use it as anchor text when linking to Adobe :)

    This is surely the ultimate tutorial on anchor text. Thanks!

    • Where’s the fun in “easy”, Maky? :)

      You are right on all points. However, everybody else has the same problem, which simply means that they playing field is even!

      Blog commenting anchor text still works and you can still use it to the fullest on KeywordLuv blogs, like mine (I see you didn’t do it in the comment above).

      • O yea Ana, that was intentional because your niche and mine are not related in any way.

        I know it can bring me human traffic but still I use my keywords sparingly when I comment on blogs that are totally outside my niche.

        But here you go, I will use KeywordLuv on this reply … just for you 😉

  31. Ana,

    Thanks for the tips. I have been very guilty of not taking the time to properly research keywords and I’m sure that has held me back with getting rankings. I have a copy of your SEO report and will follow your advise.



    • Today is a good day to start, Roger – once you start getting passive and targeted traffic from Google as a result of your work, then you can attend to all those “more important” things on your plate. :)

  32. Ana:

    Great breakdown! And thanks for the mention.
    I keep reading articles saying “please dont use click here” as your anchor text. I think it’s important for people to realize that “natural” is what is going to boost their blogs. Most of those types of articles are writen by seo s working on static websites so, as Pete said above, you cant compete with Adobe for “click here” on your site.
    If you look at some of the huge blogs, you will see anchor text usage of click here or here, here and here. All na-tu-ral baby!


  33. Maky

    It’s not a useless piece on info Pete. It’s actually proof of what Ana just detailed in this post. If Adobe is ranked by “click here”, the anchor text that most people use to point to their website, that means that the anchor text we use during link building actually contributes to the ranking of our web or blog pages for the keyword or phrase!


  34. Ana,
    Wow, it’s been awhile since I stopped by…my how things have changed. For the better obviously. You are crushing the traffic scene. Absolutely awesome. and I can see why.

    I can see I absolutely need to be creating more internal links. You “anchored” that point home. :)


  35. That’s a cool piece of info. Ridiculous too. So does this mean that if we use too much ‘click here’ as anchor text, our link will be lost in competition with adobe? LOL.


  36. Alex Neill

    Hey Ana,

    That was a really helpful post, I have to admit I do not vary my anchor text much but you gave me some great ideas on how I can do that now.

    Thanks, first visit to your blog, and all signed up to your rss!


    • Welcome to my blog, Alex!

      Sounds like I convinced you to vary your anchor text – it’s an extremely important link building factor!

  37. That is very interesting, Pete. It makes a lot of sense when you think of all the sites out there referring to a pdf asking their readers to just “click here” for the report.

  38. Ana,

    Your posts ALWAYS make me think, “Did I do that correct?” and then I go back to my blog and check. “I think so” is usually the answer.

    I think bloggers underestimate how important anchor text is for Google and their readers. One of my pet peeves while reading blogs is when the blogger uses the wrong text for their link. When you are writing about “dog leashes” don’t anchor text Petco or leather. I’m reading about “dog leashes”, refer to those words. Keep the words “dog leashes” in the whole anchor phrase. If you are going to send your readers to “Petco” for dog leashes THEN anchor text Petco.

    One other thing, I was reading just yesterday (and I wish I remembered who it was because I would love to reference) that “click here” shouldn’t be used anymore. I agree and disagree. Sometimes you just need to use “click here” as a referral link. But I assume don’t make it your only anchor text. That’s just plain boring. I believe the author was stating that “click here” is an old blog style that is mostly outdated and readers are immune to seeing it anymore so won’t click here. I also believe it was overdone for so many years by bloggers simply selling there crap (sorry for my french) that we just don’t wish to click there anymore. I would say use it wisely.

    THX again for teaching me and making me think at 6 am. Hee hee.

    • What better thing to do at 6 am, Allie, but to read my blog? :)

      I am with you on “Click Here”. When I refer to it above, I was talking about it strictly from link building perspective.

      However, from a user perspective I agree with you – “click here” should be banned!

  39. As always, great post Anna!
    When I first started, I didn’t know anything about the importance of anchor text, I just thought that any backlink will do. Fortunately, Mark from IceBlueBanana noticed that and let me know about it before I wasted anymore links :)
    Hopefully this post will help the beginners out there as well.

  40. Thank you for breaking this down so well Ana.
    For me the biggest problem is settling on what to use as anchor text.
    I need to develop some type of consistency but I’ve yet to really identify which keywords are the best in terms of bring me targeted traffic. I’ll be needed to think about that some more.

    • Keyword research is definitely the fist successful step to link building, Marlee.

      Of course, the sooner you do it the better for your SEO. :)