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Anchor Text


Anchor text can be used to link selected words within a text. The browser then highlights the anchor text in color, indicating a link. In search engine optimization, the “anchor text” is also referred to as link text or link text. Both domain-internal URL and external URL can be linked.

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Khalil Agheli Zadeh executive director
Khalil Agheli Zadeh
executive director

Origin and modes of operation

Originally, the first Internet search engines used a database query to find the results by storing the metadata of a URL and a full-text search. Google, for the first time relied on the database query of the entire contents of a URL for the relevance assessment and the ranking determination, and then stored its content. The search engine giant from Mountain View California has developed a method that can read the entire structure of a URL document and thus, for example, also evaluates the backlink structures of a URL.

Originally this procedure was valid: Every link of a URL is to be equated to a recommendation. If the referring website / URL still had a high level of authority and reputation as well as great trust, the recommendation was given an even higher value.

It has been found that search engines rate the position of the anchor text differently. It can be assumed that an anchor text is placed in the header or footer for which the crawler has less significance than an anchor text placed in the content area of ​​the website. Why a link in the header or footer for the crawler has a lower priority can be explained by the fact that in the header only the data of the author are specified, as well as the title of the website. The footer often links to the imprint, the terms and conditions or the contact details of the website operator. The content section, on the other hand, contains information about the main content of the website and is therefore usually more interesting to the user. Therefore, links from this area are usually preferred by the crawler. The crawler reads the contents of a URL from top to bottom, so it is advantageous to set the relevant links to the highest possible position.

For determining the authority of a URL, search engines use different methods. The authority of a URL can be determined by various factors. One of these factors is due to the number of URL links. However, not only the number of link assignments is an important factor, but also their authority. The URL is assigned a weighting that can be determined with the PageRank algorithm (see more here). The PageRank can consist of a value from 0 to 10. If this is high, the URL will be weighted accordingly.

Why the use of anchor texts for search engine optimization is of enormous importance is illustrated in the following example:

Example 1:

Anchor texts are, as described above, links that are used within a text. For example, this could be a link to a searched product. For example, if an Internet user wants to inquire about a particular product in a forum, he or she is often offered websites or their URLs by other users. In this case, a link from the forum to an external website has taken place.

If Google detects or crawls the forum page, the link is used for the relevance rating. The value of the link wins with the topic relevance of the forum contribution and the text portions enclosing the link also in importance.

Related to SEO

The above example assumes an unconscious or natural improvement in the ranking of a website. In the past, however, this type of external linking was used by SEO’s to manipulate the rankings. Therefore Google tries to recognize this artificial Linkaufbau and to counteract thus manipulations. The task of a search engine like Google is to distinguish the artificial link building from a natural link construction.

In order to continue to successfully contribute to a better ranking of your products with the Offpage optimization, we have summarized the properties of the anchor texts for you:

  • The link in the form of a link text: Here, a URL in the form of a link text is specified. In this case, the user is hidden a URL and instead a link text is displayed. The link text can be in the form of the following types:
    • Brand: The brand anchor text usually consists only of the brand or brand. Examples include: “Nike”, “Deutsche Bahn”, “Continental” or simply the name of the website or the domain, such as “cruises”. Keyword: The keyword link already contains keywords that the product you are looking for such as “credit”, “buy cheap shoes”, “secure tickets at the Deutsche Bahn”, etc.
    • Keyword: The keyword link already contains keywords to describe the product you are looking for, such as “credit”, “buy cheap shoes”, “secure tickets at Deutsche Bahn”, etc.
    • Other: Anchor texts may also be meaningless to the user at first glance. In this case, they act as signposts or other information for the user, such as: “Here”, “To Website”, “Click”, etc.
  • Another form of linking is the URL link:
    The URL link is often communicated by users to users. In this case, the user recommends a URL in the form of an unformatted URL link.

Due to the missing formatting of this URL-link, it stands out from the other forms of the anchor texts. The difference here is that the user does not hide the URL in the URL link and thus no further formatting is done.

It turns out that the URL link is one of the most commonly used links and that Google classifies this as a “natural” link. However, this classification can also change at any time.

Internal linking

The linking by anchor texts can prove to be an internal or external link. The above example was an external link, as the user refers to a product on another website. The internal link points to a “goal” within the website.

Internal linking is an important part of any domain and is crucial for onpage optimization. By correct link allocation of the internal links the respective domain for the search engine is more readable and can thus also improve the current ranking position of the URL.

It is important here that the internal linking is meaningfully applied, i. If, for example, a sandal is advertised as a ladies’ shoe, it must also be assigned to the correct category. In this case, the correct category would be “Sandal women’s shoes”. The assignment to the category “shoes”, “sandal” or “women’s shoes” is therefore wrong, because the crawler of the search engine thus does not know what a shoe is now exactly.

Best Practice

Google is fighting the abuse of anchor texts with the introduction of its “Penguin Update” in 2012. The Penguin update examines the websites for suspicious links, such as a conspicuous number of keyword anchor texts. However, Google does not announce exactly how this algorithm works.

For the investigation of a well-ranked URL is usually a backlink structure according to the Pareto principle (see more here) before: The inventor Vilfredo Pareto had then applied an 80-to-20 rule and found that the values ​​80 and 20 in a dependent Relationship to each other:

Example 2

Applying this rule to an automobile manufacturer assumes, for example, that 80% of the manufactured cars account for 20% of sales. However, as these values ​​are interdependent, it can be seen that even the 20% of the turnover generated is responsible for the production of high quality cars. If the value changes by 20%, so also the value of the manufactured cars changes: Without the necessary turnover, the company does not have the financial means to produce the desired number of cars. Conversely, it is the same: as soon as the desired number of cars is not provided, also changes its sales.

This example applies equally well to the link structure of a well-ranked URL: As mentioned previously, using URL links is one of the most common links, along with the brand and meaningless anchor text. Since they occur most frequently in a well-ranked URL, they can be assigned the value 80.

The use of a keyword or term / keyword combination is rare relative to the species and can therefore be assigned a value of 20. According to the Pareto principle, using any anchor text is important, as only the interplay of these different types leads to a well-ranked URL.

However, this ratio is a varying guideline that can change at any time. SEO experts must therefore constantly research whether they are still in a Google seen as “natural” ratio seen.