6 Techniques for Creating Optimized Anchor Texts in SEO

Optimized anchor texts are a crucial aspect of any successful SEO strategy, as they help search engines understand the context and relevance of your content. However, finding the right balance between optimizing anchor text for better rankings and maintaining natural language usage can be challenging. In this blog post, we will delve deep into various types of anchor texts, how to analyze competitor distribution patterns, and share eight optimization techniques that will improve your overall SEO performance.

We’ll begin by discussing different types of anchor texts such as target anchors containing keywords, branded anchors using business names or website names, URL-based links (naked links), topical anchors related to broad topics on receiving pages, and other non-specific NA Anchors. Having a thorough understanding of the different types of anchor texts is essential for formulating successful link-building tactics.

Next up is an in-depth look at analyzing competitor’s anchor text distribution using tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer. By exporting data into spreadsheets and visualizing it through pie charts, you’ll gain valuable insights into their linking patterns which can inform your own approach towards optimized anchor texts.

Optimized Anchor Texts

Types of Anchor Texts

Understanding the different types of anchor texts is crucial for optimizing your SEO strategy. These include target anchors, branded anchors, URL anchors, topical anchors, and NA (not applicable) anchors. Each type serves a specific purpose in helping Google understand your content’s relevance to search queries.

Generic Anchor Text: Simplistic yet Effective

Generic anchor text refers to the use of common, non-specific phrases like “click here,” “read more,” or “learn more.” Although they don’t contribute directly to keyword relevance, generic anchor texts matter as they provide a natural flow to your anchor text profile and help avoid over-optimization penalties.

Anchor Text Variations: Diversifying for SEO Success

Incorporating anchor text variations into your linking strategy can significantly improve your site’s overall SEO performance. This approach ensures that your anchor text types appear natural, thereby reducing the risk of penalties from search engines like Google.

Partial Match Anchor Text: Balancing Relevance and Diversity

Partial match anchor text includes some of the target keywords, but not in their exact form. This type of anchor text strikes a balance between keyword relevance and diversity, thus contributing positively to your anchor text SEO efforts.

Branded Anchor Text: Building Awareness and Trust

Branded anchor texts use your business or website name as the link text. Employing branded anchor text helps create brand awareness, trust, and credibility with users while reinforcing your site’s relevancy to search engines.

External Anchor Text: Connecting the Dots

External anchor text refers to links from other websites pointing to your content. A diverse and high-quality external anchor text profile can significantly boost your site’s SEO performance and domain authority, indicating to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

Naked Anchor Text: The Straightforward Approach

Naked anchor text refers to using the actual URL as the anchor text. This straightforward approach provides a clear indication of where the link leads, ensuring that users can access linked content even if other elements on a page fail to load correctly.

Keyword-rich Anchors: Harnessing the Power of Target Keywords

Keyword-rich anchor texts contain the exact keywords you want to rank for, which helps signal to search engines that your content is relevant to those terms. However, it’s crucial not to over-optimize by using too many exact-match anchor text or keyword phrases, as this can lead to penalties from Google.

Understanding the various anchor text types and how they contribute to your website’s SEO performance is crucial for a successful optimization strategy. By analyzing competitor anchor text distribution and incorporating a diverse mix of anchor text types, you can enhance your website’s relevancy, authority, and user experience. Remember to strike a balance between keyword relevance and diversity to maintain a natural anchor text profile that appeals to both search engines and users alike.

Key Takeaway: 

To optimize your SEO strategy, it’s crucial to understand the different types of anchor texts: target anchors containing keywords you want to rank for, branded anchors using business or website name, URL anchors providing a clear indication of where the link leads, topical anchors focusing on broader topics related to linked content and NA (not applicable) anchors that include generic phrases like “click here” or “learn more.” Over-optimizing with too many exact-match keyword phrases can lead to penalties from Google.

Analyzing Competitor Anchor Text Distribution

To optimize your own anchor text distribution effectively, it’s important to analyze what successful competitors are doing. By using tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer and exporting competitor data into spreadsheets, you can create pie charts that visualize their distribution patterns and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Utilizing Ahrefs Site Explorer for Competitor Analysis

Ahrefs Site Explorer is a powerful tool that allows you to examine the backlink profile of any website. By entering a competitor’s domain in the search bar, you can access valuable information about their backlinks, including anchor texts used by other websites linking to them. This will help you understand which types of anchors are most commonly used by successful competitors in your industry.

Exporting Competitor Data into Spreadsheets

Once you have gathered sufficient data from Ahrefs Site Explorer, export it as a CSV file so that you can easily organize and analyze the information in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. To do this:

  1. Select “Backlinks” under “Inbound Links” on the left-hand side menu within Ahrefs.
  2. In the top-right corner of the screen, click on “Export.”
  3. Choose CSV as the format and transfer the data to your device for further processing.
  4. Open up your preferred spreadsheet application and import the downloaded CSV file for further analysis.

Creating Pie Charts to Visualize Distribution Patterns

Pie charts provide an excellent way to visualize how different types of anchor texts are distributed among your competitors’ backlinks. To create a pie chart in Excel or Google Sheets, follow these steps:Optimized Anchor Texts

  1. Organize the anchor text data into categories (e.g., target, branded, URL anchors).
  2. Calculate the percentage of each category by dividing its count by the total number of anchor texts.
  3. Select all relevant cells containing percentages and click on “Insert” > “Chart.”
  4. In the Chart Editor window that appears, choose “Pie Chart” as your desired chart type.

By comparing your anchor text distribution to successful competitors through visualizations like pie charts, you can identify areas where adjustments may be necessary for improved SEO performance. Remember to continually monitor and update your strategy based on ongoing competitor analysis and industry trends.

Analyzing competitor anchor text distribution is a great way to get an idea of how your competitors are utilizing their links and what strategies they might be using. By following the 8 optimization techniques for anchor texts, you can ensure that your link strategy stands out from the competition.

Key Takeaway: 

To optimize your anchor text distribution, analyze successful competitors’ patterns using Ahrefs Site Explorer and export the data into spreadsheets to create pie charts. By examining competitors’ anchor text patterns through Ahrefs Site Explorer and visualizing the data in a pie chart, you can refine your approach to better match industry standards.

6 Optimization Techniques for Anchor Texts

Getting ahead in Google rankings without triggering penalties requires careful optimization when building backlinks with various anchor texts. This section will discuss eight key methods to optimize your anchor text strategy effectively.

Avoid repetition by varying target-anchor-text phrasing

Rather than using the same target keyword phrase repeatedly, try to vary the phrasing of your anchor text. This not only helps you avoid over-optimization but also makes your backlink profile appear more natural and diverse.

Match link type with natural language usage

Ensure that the anchor text used matches how it would naturally be used in a sentence or paragraph. For example, if linking to an article about SEO tips, use relevant phrases like “effective SEO strategies” or “improving search engine rankings.” These examples should be the clickable text  for your link building. You want to avoid aggressive anchor text strategies like over-optimized anchor text and keyword stuffing. 

  • Bare URLs: Use plain URLs (e.g., https://example.com) as anchors occasionally.
  • Naked Links: Utilize shortened versions of URLs (e.g., example.com).
  • Semi-Naked Links: Incorporate descriptive words alongside the URL (e.g., visit Example for more information).

Break up keyword phrases into individual words

If you’ve already used a specific keyword phrase multiple times as an anchor, consider breaking it up into individual words and incorporating them separately within different sentences or paragraphs. This approach can help diversify your link profile while still maintaining relevance.

Add related keywords surrounding URLs

When using a URL as anchor text, try adding related keywords around the link. This can provide additional context for search engines and improve your content’s relevance to specific queries.

Use synonyms when necessary

If you’ve maxed out on target anchor text usage, consider incorporating synonyms or closely related terms instead. This will help maintain keyword diversity while avoiding over-optimization penalties from Google.

Using these eight optimization methods in your anchor text plan can help you attain improved SEO performance and better SERP rankings.

Key Takeaway: 

To optimize anchor text strategy for higher Google rankings, it is important to avoid repetition by varying target-anchor-text phrasing and match link type with natural language usage. Diversifying variations of URL-based links, breaking up keyword phrases into individual words, adding related keywords surrounding URLs, using synonyms when necessary are other key techniques that can help improve website’s SEO performance.

FAQs in Relation to Optimized Anchor Texts

What is anchor text optimization?

Anchor text optimization refers to the process of strategically selecting and diversifying the clickable words or phrases within a hyperlink. This helps improve search engine rankings, user experience, and website authority by ensuring that links are relevant, natural, and diverse.

Why are anchor texts useful?

Anchor texts provide context for both users and search engines about the content of linked pages. They help in improving click-through rates by making links more appealing to users while also assisting search engines in understanding page relevance for specific keywords, ultimately contributing to better organic rankings.

What percentage of your internal anchor text should be target?

There’s no fixed percentage for target-anchor-text usage; however, it’s essential to maintain a balanced distribution among different types such as branded anchors or topical anchors. A good rule of thumb is to ensure around 20-30% target anchors while maintaining diversity with other variations.


In conclusion, optimizing anchor texts is a crucial aspect of any successful SEO strategy. By understanding the different types of anchor texts and analyzing competitor distribution patterns, businesses can create an effective plan for their own anchor text optimization. Utilizing techniques such as varying target-anchor-text phrasing, matching link type with natural language usage, and diversifying variations of URL-based links can help to avoid over-optimization and ensure a natural backlink profile.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can improve their search engine rankings and user experience while avoiding penalties from Google’s algorithm. Optimized Anchor Texts are just one part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy that will increase your website traffic organically.

If you want to learn more about how optimized anchor texts can improve your SEO or need help creating an effective content marketing strategy for your business visit Mike McKearin.

Avatar of Mike McKearin

Mike McKearin

Mike McKearin is an experienced SEO specialist with 15 years of experience in the industry. With a deep understanding of search engine algorithms and digital marketing strategies, Mike has helped numerous clients achieve their SEO goals and increase their online visibility. During Mike's career, he has worked on a variety of projects related to SEO, including optimizing websites, conducting keyword research, and developing content strategies. He has a proven track record of success, achieving significant increases in website traffic, leads, and revenue for his clients and helping businesses improve their online presence and reach a wider audience. Mike has earned several certifications in SEO and digital marketing, including Google Analytics, AdWords, SEMrush, and HubSpot Inbound Marketing. In addition, he has received awards and recognition for his contributions to the industry. To learn more about Mike's work, visit his portfolio at mikemckearin.com, where you can see examples of his successful campaigns and results. With his expertise and experience in the field, Mike is committed to helping businesses achieve their SEO goals and reach their full potential online. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn and Twitter. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemckearin/ https://twitter.com/mckearin
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    About the author

    Mike McKearin is the CEO at WE•DO | SEO Expert | Adventurer | Optimist


    Mike has a long history in the world of SEO, studying it and testing various methods for over two decades now. When he's not working on his business or being a dad, Mike loves to go on adventures with his family - they live in the beautiful state of North Carolina and love exploring all that it has to offer. He's an optimist who believes that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and he wants to help others achieve their dreams through WE•DO

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