Link text is a hyperlinked piece of text which, when clicked, takes the user to a different web page. It could be just one word, a phrase, or a complete sentence. The web page that the reader is being recommended could either provide a useful internal link or an external link.
The text that possesses the link is usually distinguished from the body of the website’s copy by being underlined and set in a different font color. Link text is also commonly referred to as anchor text.
The words that have been selected to incorporate this link are usually relevant to the web page that it is hyperlinked to. For example, on a website that shares drinks recipes, in a hot chocolate blog post, the creator can help the reader find more recipes that may be of interest. So, within the copy, a hyperlink could be created to direct the user to the site’s collection of chocolate drinks tutorials.
For this, an example choice of link text would be ‘Find more chocolate drinks recipes here.’
Visitors to your site can use your recommendations to learn more about relevant topics, access other useful resources that relate to this information, or access the references that you have credited within your copy. Link text provides an indication of what each of these suggested pages are about.
In the context of SEO, different types of link text can be distinguished, depending on how closely the wording matches the target keyword of the linked page (the web page that your readers are being directed to).
Below, you will find more information about the most common varieties of link text.
Exact-match link text - this form of link text, as the name suggests, exactly matches the keyword that the target page is optimized for. So, if you were linking to a page that is optimized for the target keyword ‘how to eat well’, your link text would use exactly the same wording. (Whereas partial-match link text closely resembles the keywords, so using this example, this link text could be ‘eating well’).
Generic link text - rather than using wording that is specific to the target page, generic link text holds no relevance to the target page. A good example of this would be, ‘see here’ or ‘find out more here’.
Branded link text - rather than using the primary keyword or title of the page to provide the link text, here, the name of the brand or company that owns the target page is used. So, if the example we’ve been using came from the ‘Healthy Eating Magazine’ website, then you would select this brand name.
Naked link text - in this example, instead of creating link text that fits with the prose of your website content, you simply use the hyperlink (often a simplified, stylistically clean version) itself to connect readers to the page.
The best way to use link text within your copy is to keep it as closely related to the linked page as possible. You can do this by ensuring that the link text you use is indicative of the content and information provided on the page that it is linked to. Visitors (and indeed search engines like Google) must be able to infer what topics these linked pages cover through these keywords.
You should have selected this linked content with the aim of targeting your reader’s interests. As such, your chosen link text should be relevant to both the target page and your own copy alike, while also achieving the balance between being informative and descriptive, yet still remaining succinctly put.
You can keep these words relevant to the linked page by ensuring that the reference is accurately worded and provides your readers with a clear indication of what they can expect to find by accessing this content.
An HTML link within a web page will act as a hyperlink. To define the link text within an anchor tag in HTML, you need to use the <a> tag. This tag provides the anchor element of the link. This anchor element can then be linked to a URL by using a hypertext reference. This is achieved by using an href, which specifies the URL for the linked page.
So, in order to embed this HTML link into your text, you will need to use the syntax:
<a href="URL">link text</a>
Then, just add the required URL and your chosen link text into the syntax.
For example, an anchor tag in HTML with a defined piece of link text would look like this:
<a href="example.com">This is an example</a>
The anchor text of a link can have a significant impact on SEO. If it contains the target keyword of the page that it links to, this can improve the ranking of the linked page for that keyword. This fact can be used to optimize your internal links as well as the backlinks you build for your website. Of all of the types that we listed above, generic link text is by far the least successful in terms of enhancing the ranking of the target page.
On the other side, you shouldn’t have too many backlinks with exact-match anchor texts as Google may penalize excessive use of keywords there - whereas for internal links, keyword-heavy anchor texts are fine.
In order to keep the link texts on your own website as SEO-friendly as possible, they should be relevant and succinctly put (while still enticing readers enough for them to click on the link). For external links, you should ensure that you don’t use your own target keywords to link to other websites.
Internal link texts should be unique for each subpage, i.e. you shouldn’t use the same anchor text to link to different subpages. This would signal to Google that both pages are relevant for the keyword and consequently they would cannibalize each other in terms of ranking.