Home » SEO Techniques » Adding Links to a Website: Types and the Anchor Text

Adding Links to a Website: Types and the Anchor Text

Adding links to a website is a simple yet effective strategy to enhance user navigation and boost the SEO value of your site. Even if you’re new to the SEO world, getting a grip on linking is straightforward. Let’s dive into the different facets of this essential technique.

The current article is "2.16. Adding Links to a Website" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 2.15. 301 Redirect For SEO. Next Article: 2.17. SEO Internal Linking

When adding links to your website, you start with a bit of code known as the HTML anchor tag. In its most basic form, it looks like this:

<a href="https://example.com">Visit Example.com</a>

“<a>” is the tag that tells the browser that there is a link. The href attribute is where you put the web address you want to link to, and the text “Visit Example.com” is what your visitors will click on.

Now, not all links are created equal. There are a few different types you might use, depending on the situation:

Follow: These are your standard links. They tell search engines to notice and follow them, which can help the linked page rank higher in search results.

<a href="https://example.com">Visit Example.com</a>

Nofollow: These links come with a special rel attribute. This attribute instructs search engines not to follow these links. You might use these for untrusted content or paid links. However, paid links should have more targeted “sponsored” value.

<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">Visit Example.com</a>

Sponsored: Use these for paid links or ads so search engines know what’s up.

<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow sponsored">Visit Example.com</a>

UGC (User Generated Content): These designate links in user-created content like comments or forum posts. They usually have less SEO weight than “follow” links.

<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow ugc">Visit Example.com</a>

Read more about link types on Google Docs and the quality of links on Google Docs.

The Role of Anchor Text in SEO

As you delve deeper into the complexity of linking, you’ll encounter the concept of “anchor text.” The anchor text is in a hyperlink, visible to users, and clickable, often highlighted in blue and underlined. For instance, in the link

<a href="https://example.com">Visit our homepage</a>

“Visit our homepage” is the anchor text.

From an SEO perspective, anchor text is vital in adding links to your website because it gives users and search engines an understanding of the context of the linked page’s content. When the anchor text is relevant to the linked content, it can enhance user understanding and improve the link’s value.

Moreover, search engines use anchor text as a ranking factor, looking for correlations between the anchor text and the target page’s content. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Over-optimizing or “stuffing” anchor text with keywords can appear manipulative and may lead to penalties. It’s always best to keep anchor text relevant and natural for the best SEO outcomes.

Understanding Anchor Text and Its Importance

Let’s delve into the world of anchor text with an illustrative example. Imagine visiting a popular sports website called “sportscentral.com”. On this site, there’s a link labeled “mountain hiking.” When you click on it, you’re redirected to a website named “hikeheaven.com.” The actual link, in terms of domain name, isn’t directly related to the topic. However, the anchor text “mountain hiking” is spot-on-relevant.

Some website owners use their company or brand name as the anchor text in SEO outbound links, which is a widespread mistake, like using “hikeheaven” in our example. While it might seem intuitive, this practice can be counterproductive for SEO. Users searching online aren’t likely to type in an unfamiliar brand. Instead, they’ll search using generic terms, like “mountain hiking.” You align your site with what users seek by using such keywords as anchor text.

Even if “sportscentral.com” is primarily about sports and not specifically about hiking, the link from such a site can still be beneficial if the site is well-regarded. Having a significant amount of traffic can make links from such sites valuable. You can check site ranking in the SimilarWeb tool. The above is an example of a “Relevant text/keyword on the link” strategy.

Furthermore, there’s value in “traffic links.” These links might not boost your SEO significantly but can attract visitors. Going back to our “hikeheaven” instance, beyond the SEO advantage of the keyword-rich anchor text, the mere presence of the outbound link on a high-traffic site means potential visitors might click on it out of curiosity or genuine interest.

While certain links, especially from authority sites, can benefit SEO, others can drive user traffic. Both have their merits. Ideally, links to your website should be a one-way street; they’re typically more beneficial when you don’t have to reciprocate with a link back.

The “Click Here” Anchor Text Phenomenon

One of the most interesting quirks in the history of SEO is the “Click Here” phenomenon. There was a time when a Google search for the term “Click Here” bizarrely led users to Adobe Reader’s download page. Why? The reason lies in anchor text practices.

Many websites hosting PDF files also have included an SEO outbound link for users to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the content. This link often used the anchor text “Click Here.” Over time, with thousands of websites using the exact anchor text pointing to Adobe’s page, search engines like Google interpreted this as a strong signal that the Adobe Reader download page was highly relevant for the term “Click Here.”

It serves as a powerful testament to the influence of anchor text on search engine rankings, even when the relevance between the anchor text and the content seems non-intuitive. This example also underscores the importance of diversifying and contextualizing anchor text rather than relying on generic phrases.

Google Best Practices

Follow Google Link Creation Best Practices in Google Docs.


By mastering the basics of adding links to a website, you’re on your way to creating a more navigable, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized site. Whether it’s deciding the type of link to use or crafting the perfect anchor text, every little detail counts. So go ahead, start linking, and watch your website thrive!

The current article is "2.16. Adding Links to a Website" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 2.15. 301 Redirect For SEO. Next Article: 2.17. SEO Internal Linking


If you find any mistakes or have ideas for improvement, please follow the email on the Contact page.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.