SEO Terminology: Link Anchor Text, Linking to Name Anchor, External and Internal, On-Page and Off-Page Links


It’s always good to stop and think about some of the terminology floating around the SEO world, and the terms associated with linking are some of the best. You have internal and external links, on-page and off-page links, and then you also have link anchor text and linking to the name anchor. Confusing, right? It’s incredibly important to remind yourself how these terms differ because any SEO company or expert you work with will use these terms. They also aren’t interchangeable when it comes time for you to discuss your linking ideas, so you have to make sure you’re using the correct terms if you want to get what you want. Below explains the differences between all of these different terms.

Confusing Linking Terminology for Small Businesses

Link Anchor Text vs. Linking to Name Anchor

This is one of the biggest mix-ups small businesses make no matter how long they have been in the SEO game. However, mixing these two terms up is a big mistake because their purposes are entirely different.

  • Link Anchor Text: Anchor text is the actual words that someone sees and is able to click because there is a link attached in some way. Think of anchor text as the content you see in blue (or in a different color than the rest of the content). For example, if I wanted to link to my past post varying your anchor text, I could say “visit my past post here.” In this case, “here” is the anchor text with a link attached. It allows a user to jump to another webpage (whether it’s on your site or on another site). The tag to make this happens looks like this:

<a href=>anchor text you want to use</a>

  • Linking to Name Anchor. Name anchors are essentially unique URLs within the same page. This is what allows a reader to jump from one section of your specific page to another without having to scroll down. This is incredibly beneficial when you have a huge amount of text on one page; generally if you have something where there is a table of contents. Wikipedia often utilizes name anchors. The is as follows:

<a name=”title of the section”></a>

If you want to then link to this new section URL you have created, you do it the same way as discussed above in the first point, except it must be preceded by the # sign. It looks like this:

<a href=”#title of the section”>text</a>

For more information, you can visit this page (hint: The anchor text “this page” is an on-page, external link with a link anchor text).

A Reminder: The Most Common Linking Terminology for Small Businesses

External vs. Internal Linking for SEO

These are more terms it’s important to get right, but those new to online marketing find it easy to confuse the two. Many have a firm grasp on these terms now, so they’re pretty easy, but in case you need extra reminding:

  • External Links: External links are links that point to a website that is not the website you are currently visiting. If I were to link to any other website besides Higher Visibility right now, it would be an external link. This works for the “link anchor text” point discussed above.
  • Internal Links: These are links found on the site you are visiting that take you to another page on that site. If I were to link to another Higher Visibility blog post right now, it would be an internal link. Technically, both points discussed above in the first section could be internal links.

Both internal and external links are great for SEO because they give the reader more information and help navigation—two things Google loves to see.

On-Page and Off-Page Links for SEO

These two terms are probably the most commonly used for small businesses, and once you have them down, they’re usually pretty easy to remember.

  • On-Page: This simply means any link on your actual website page including internal, external, and linking to a name anchor.
  • Off-Page: Off-page links occur when another website links back to a webpage on your website. If you practice guest posting, you’re working to earn off-page links and build authority with Google this way.

In the end, it never hurts to take time to understand the different terminology associated with SEO. These common linking terms will likely remain the same for quite some time, so the sooner you start familiarizing yourself with the terms the better.

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