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Anchor Texts vs Keywords: A Full Breakdown


One of the first questions new clients ask us is about the difference between anchor text and keywords. Aren’t they the same thing? No, not exactly.

They seem similar and both appear in your content, yet there is a substantial difference between the two. Not understanding how they each work could result in your site falling down the search engine results pages (SERPs), or worst case, a penalty.

We’re going to breakdown the difference between anchor text and keywords. Let’s get into it!

Keywords vs. Anchor Text

Keywords are words or short phrases that many people are searching for online. Some of the most popular keywords on Google include “weather,” “internet speed test,” and “restaurants near me.”

There are literally thousands of keywords for any one topic and some are more competitive than others. SEO professionals rank their competitiveness according to keyword difficulty or KD. The superhard keywords are most coveted by websites.

Like keywords, anchor texts are short phrases in your content. The difference is anchor text is hyperlinked to another page or site. Internal and external links are a big part of effective SEO.

When used correctly, both keywords and anchor texts can boost your online ranking.

Optimizing Your SEO With Keywords

SEO professionals spend a lot of time researching keywords. They use software and online tools to help find relevant keywords that have a high search volume and are more likely to end in conversions.

Free tools like the HOTH’s Keyword Planner can help you explore keywords without signing up for an expensive service.

You can search for specific keywords relevant to your business. As you can see below, it will tell you the search volume, keyword difficulty, and the cost per click (CPC) for any ad campaign.

Using the free HOTH keyword planner tool.

Once you compile a list of effective keywords, your next step is to include them on your site. They should be added to titles, descriptions, headings, meta tags, and throughout web copy.

Google will then index your pages and begin to rank your website by matching your keywords with what people are searching for online.

Best Practices for Anchor Text

As we pointed out above, anchor text is used for links. There are two types of links: internal links which drive visitors to another page on your site and external links that send visitors to another site on the web.

Backlinks (when another site has a link to one of your pages) is one of the most effective ways to boost your website ranking.

Here is a description of anchor texts from our link building online guide:

The definition of anchor text from our online link building guide.

By now you’ve probably noticed that this article has anchor texts. You’re learning fast!

Our Guest Post product can help clients obtain more links by using blogger outreach and anchor text.

Can keywords be used as anchor text? Yes, but beware because doing that too much could potentially harm your SEO. No perfect anchor text ratio currently exists. Rather you should keep your anchor texts diverse. There are six anchor text categories to choose from:

  • Using the exact keyword
  • A variation of the exact keyword
  • Listing a naked URL like http://www.thehoth.com
  • Hyperlinking a brand name
  • Using benign anchor texts like “click here”
  • Linking only an image

Online tools like ahrefs.com allow you to look up all of your links and see whether you’re using all six equally. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Beginner Tips for Better SEO

Understanding the difference between keywords and anchor text is only the first step. You need to start creating more content on your site that includes both of these items.

Create content that answers frequent questions asked by your customers, and include your keywords and anchor text. Not only will this be helpful for them to read (meaning better customer service ratings) but it’ll also boost your SEO.

Don’t worry about creating more than one page for a product or group of products. When it comes to product pages, a best practice is to build one page to rank for one keyword. Having too many keywords on one page could confuse the Google algorithm.

And try using a service like HOTH Video to produce a video explaining an in-depth topic. Marketing data shows people watch videos more than any other type of content. Video content will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022.

Start Growing Your SEO This Year!

We hope you have a better understanding of keywords and anchor text after reading this article. They are the foundation of good SEO. It’s important to be familiar with both terms whether you’re optimizing on your own or working with an agency.

If you don’t have the time, skills, or interest to work on your digital marketing, you should consider a managed service like HOTH X. Our enrolled clients work with a dedicated campaign manager and have access to all of our products: web copy, blogging, link building, and more.

Want to chat with us about your goals? Schedule a call and we’ll offer you recommendations on the best services to improve your online business.

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