How to Use Anchor Text in Backlinks? Complete Guide

Link Building
On March 25, 2021

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Backlinks are the most important factors for ranking in Google.

We create links pointing to our site because Google considers it a vote to the quality of our content.

From Google’s point of view, other people are referring to us because we have the most credible answer to a user search.

It wouldn’t be a vote if we were giving to ourselves.

That’s why Google will penalize our site if it finds out that we have been building backlinks ourselves.

It uses a number of tricks to check the credibility of backlinks.

One of the important tricks includes the proper use of anchor text in backlinks.

  • The right use of anchor text increases the authority of that backlink.
  • The wrong use of anchor text can get you a penalty from Google.


In this article, we have discussed:

  • All types of anchor text
  • How to use anchor text in backlinks to increase their authority

Contents [hide]

  • What is Anchor Text?
  • What is Exact Match Anchor Text?
  • How Exact Match Anchor Text Can Cause a Penalty
  • Let’s Understand Types of Anchor Text
    • 1. Exact Match Anchors
    • 2. Partial Match Anchors
    • 3. Branded Anchors
    • 4. Generic Anchors
    • 5. LSI Anchors
    • 6. Naked Link Anchors
    • 7. Image Anchors
    • 8. No Anchor Text
  • How to Use Anchor Text in Backlinks?
    • Mix Them Up
    • Relevant to Topic
    • Strategize Your Work
    • Conclusion:


What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the text with a URL in it.

A URL points to the page of a website.

An anchor text is supposed to tell something related to the page of the link.

Here’s how it looks in HTML:


Here is an anchor text example used in content that also answers how to create anchor text.

anchor text example

What is Exact Match Anchor Text?

In simple words, using a target keyword as anchor text is called ‘Exact Match Anchor Text’.

If I am trying to rank for a keyword ‘Pineapple Pen’, here’s a how exact match anchor text will look.

Pineapple Pen

It gives the impression that used link is about ‘Pineapple Pen’. So, Google would consider that linked page a suitable candidate to rank for this keyword.

It used to be a good practice, but now it can hit you back with a Google penalty.

Google used to consider exact match anchor relevant to the link. The world started using spammy exact match anchor text in bulk.

This led to some embarrassing Google bombs. One of the most famous was the ranking of the keyword ‘miserable failure’.

In 2006, someone ranked the president page of George Bush from the website of White House for the keyword ‘miserable failure’.

miserable failure

That’s where the Godfather Google sent one of his gang members to work.




After its release in 2012, The Penguin update started targeting the spammy, artificial, and low-quality backlinks.

Since then, you have to be very careful when using exact match backlinks with anchor texts.


Google has your link profile.

It can see the anchor texts pointing to your site.

If you have 200 backlinks and all of them with the exact match anchor text – it only takes common sense to understand that these links are not natural.

And, we are talking about the mighty Google here. We know what happens when Google finds you are building artificial backlinks.

There are also some other factors you have to keep in mind when creating an anchor text – discussed in this article below.

Make sure you also follow these tips to build trust signals to avoid any penalty and rank better in Google.


Let’s Understand Types of Anchor Text

There is a number of ways you can use anchor text. Each type of anchor text has its own value in SEO.


1. Exact Match Anchors

As we discussed, exact match anchor text is the target keyword of a page with its hyperlink in it.

Exact match is considered the most powerful and dangerous type of anchor text. While it shows the best relevancy, its overuse cautions Google.

Leading SEO analysts recommend using no more than 1% of backlinks with exact match anchors.

For example:

It’s an exact match anchor if target keyword of your page is ‘latest fashion’ and you link to it using only that keyword, i.e. ‘Latest Fashion’.


2. Partial Match Anchors

Partial match anchor is like exact match but with additional words.

For example: 

For the same keyword ‘latest fashion’, depending on the topic, partial match anchor would look something like this.

  • Latest fashion trends of 2019
  • This guide on latest fashion


3. Branded Anchors

Branded anchors is a great approach to build a brand name of your website or business.

Using your brand name as anchor text creates a branded anchor.

They are considered the safest anchor text if your domain name doesn’t involve the keyword.

For example:

If you’re still uncertain what is branded anchor text, here are a few examples if your brand name is Globex Outreach.

  • Globex Outreach
  • Visit the blog of GlobexOutreach
  • Globex Outreach Agency

It is recommended to create a brand name for your business.

That’s why leading SEO analysts recommend using branded anchors in up to 70% of your backlinks.


4. Generic Anchors

Anchor text with random word(s) in it is called generic anchor text.

Quality of a generic anchor mostly depends on its preceding words – because they define what the link is about.

As long as you are not misleading the viewer, use of generic anchors is fine.

A safe and good practice is to use generic anchors in only up to 5% of backlinks.

For example:

Here are some of the most commonly used generic anchor text:
Source, See more, Check This Out, see here, Get More Info, this content, check my blog, useful reference, navigate here.


5. LSI Anchors

Latent Semantic Index is any word Google considers relevant to a keyword.

You can use them as your anchor text. These keywords define the purpose of your page in different words than keywords but Google understands them.

So, you should be careful with LSI anchors and shouldn’t use them in more than 5% of backlinks.

For example: 

If your target keyword is ‘latest fashion’, here’s what Google will show you at the end of its SERP.

Any of these LSI keywords and some more can become LSI anchor text.

6. Naked Link Anchors

Naked link anchor is the URL of a site used as anchor text.

For example:


It is a common practice but not user-friendly; minimum use of naked link anchors is recommended.


7. Image Anchors

Putting a link behind an image makes it an anchor text.

Google uses the Alt Text of the image as anchor text.

This doesn’t have any significant advantage or drawbacks to it, but it does diversify your links.


8. No Anchor Text

You don’t have to worry about how long anchor text can be.

Not using any text at all is also another practice.

One easiest way to create a No Anchor Text is putting a link on an image without any Alt Text.


How to Use Anchor Text in Backlinks?

We have discussed all types of anchor texts; it wasn’t for no reason.

Each type has its own value and unique purpose.

Another important thing to consider is its USE.


Mix Them Up

You know Google has a link profile of your website.

You should prefer to use natural anchor text that automatically fit in the context if you want to make your profile look more natural if you use different types of anchor texts. Try to use all types of anchor text.

You should also keep in mind that overuse of some anchor texts can be harmful, so it’s best to use anchor text variation.

You can mix different types of anchor text to make a more relevant link.

For example:

You can use the brand name with the exact match in an anchor text.

This is a perfect combo of anchor texts as it not only creates a partial match anchor but also helps in building your brand.

But again, topmost priority is to create a natural looking link profile.


Another approach is to use an image anchor with the target keyword in its Alt Text.

Relevant to Topic


It is an already established fact that the platform linking to you should be of relevant niche.

In addition, anchor text should also be relevant to the content you are writing.

Don’t forcefully add them anywhere with the brand name or target keyword.

For example:

  • If you are using a generic anchor text, try to use the target keyword behind it.
  • With a brand name, make sure sentence comprehensively elaborates the link.

The guest post should be as specific to your keyword as possible.

For example:

If the target keyword is ‘dentist in California’:

One option is to write about dental issues.

A more suitable option would be to write on the topic ‘How to Find a Great Dentist in California’.

The second option is not only more relevant but also localizes the search. This also gets you a better conversion rate and more leads.


Strategize Your Work

Don’t randomly create backlinks.

Plan them, and follow them!

See how many backlinks you have got and the results you get from them. An important thing to notice here is the anchor text you used in each of the backlinks.

You can use anchor text according to the goals you plan to achieve.

For example:

One case could be if you want to create a brand name of your business.

Google likes brands.

When it sees people using your name in links, it gives the impression that your name increases the credibility of the link – that’s why people refer to you with your name.

To achieve this goal, you have to create more branded anchor text links.

Of course, you don’t have to use just one type of anchor text.

Mix them up!

Although different digital marketers follow different anchor text best practices, most agree that branded and naked should be highest in anchor text distribution. Here is how one of the leading digital marketers suggest you should distribute anchor texts

distribute anchor texts


It is important to use anchor text carefully.

Best way to do that is to plan how to use anchor text in backlinks.

For that, you have to know and understand all types of anchor texts.

After that, you have to consider their pros, cons, and limits – then you can avoid any Google penalty.

It will make your backlinks powerful if you use these anchor texts with the discussed tricks.

It is recommended to understand all goals you plan to achieve with backlinks and their anchor text – subsequently, create a plan and follow its results.

It is also suggested to read these safe and penalty-free link building strategies.

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