First, anchor text is the text that’s visible and clickable in a link. It is the best way Google has to recognize the relevance of any website. Anchor texts can offer relevant information to both users and search engines about the content of the page.
Anchor text is considered an exact match when the keyword used matches the content on the site linked. For example, when you type the keyword ‘SEO strategies’ and it links to a page that talks about SEO strategies.
They can increase your site’s rankings significantly, but they can also hurt you. This is mainly because of the 2012 Penguin update Google introduced. This update changed the way link building operates, targeting low-quality links that it deemed ‘spammy.’ It makes link building a little bit more challenging, but not impossible.
The solution? Not having 100% of your backlinks with the same anchor text as your website. You need to understand how and when to use it, so Google doesn’t penalize it.
However, exact-match is just one type of anchor text. So, to avoid a penalty, you can use different types of anchor texts to diversify your website’s SEO. Other types of achor text include:
• Partial-match. This anchor text displays a variation of the keyword. For example, ‘relevant SEO strategies’ linking to a website about SEO strategies.
• Branded. These anchor texts use a brand name — for example, Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.
• Naked link. Using a raw URL is also considered a type of anchor text.
• Generic. These are basically call-to-actions like: click here, subscribe, contact us, etc.