If you have done research with regards to SEO and backlinking in particular, the term anchor text should be familiar to you. If not, the simplest explanation is that it is the text included in the backlink that links from one website to another.

Given how important backlinking is in terms of SEO, and a website’s ranking, knowing how to use anchor text effectively is crucial. Used correctly, it can have a hugely positive impact on rankings. Used wrongly, or worse, in a way that tries to game Google’s algorithm, the results will ultimately be negative.

Here are 4 ways you can use anchor text, all of which can help your SEO efforts.

Generic: This is where the text used has some relationship to the subject the website is about, without necessarily being a keyword it is trying to rank for. An example is ‘automobile’ for a website selling garage doors. The anchor text here is relevant to the niche but not necessarily a target keyword.

Branded: This anchor text is a good way of avoiding over optimisation of keywords in backlinks and usually has the name of the website or the business. An example would the link where the anchor text was ‘Joe’s Bakery’.

Branded anchor text is a good way of getting backlinks from high authority sites, that may not allow you to post content that contains keywords, but which do allow a link using your brand name

Naked URL: This is the simplest of them all where the text is just the URL. If it were a link to Facebook, it would be ‘https://facebook.com’. While it may not seem that there is any benefit in simply using an URL to link to your website, it helps to make the mix of backlinks coming to your website look more natural to Google.

Partial Match Keywords: This is where you use a phrase that contains the main keywords you want to rank for. A simple example would be where a dentist in Perth has a link from a guest blog post they had written for a website related to dentistry.

They may be targeting the term ‘dentist in Perth’, but the anchor text might be ‘looking for a dentist in Perth’. This will help them rank for that term and is another way to avoid been seen by Google as trying to over optimise.