Anchor Text: What You Need To Know

Anchor text is the linked text that you click on to visit another page.

Anchor Text Example

In the example below, “click here” is the anchor text.

To visit my site, click here

In the source code it would look like this:

To visit my site, <a href=”http://www.mysite.com”>click here</a>

Why Should You Care About Anchor Text?

Google weights anchor text in their ranking algorithm because it is considered a good indicator of your site’s true content, and it has been one of the harder elements to manipulate purely for SEO purposes.

How Can You Put Anchor Text to Good Use?

When other sites link to you, they will most often use your company name or site URL, or “click here.” On those occasions where you have a say in how the link is formed, see if you can work primary keywords into the anchor text. Situations where this might be possible include links embedded in articles you have submitted for publication online, guest blog posts, links from customers or colleagues, or links in niche directories.

For example, in the About blurb at the end of an article, you probably have a sentence along the lines of:

John Smith is Principal of My Great Company and executive coach to 14 Fortune 500 CEOs.

Rather than use the company name as anchor text, you can use a more meaningful keyword phrase, especially if it reflects the subject of the article.

John Smith is Principal of My Great Company and executive coach to 14 Fortune 500 CEOs.

Anchor text is also put to good use for internal links, those from one page of your site to another. For example, if you are writing a blog post, use this:

As we wrote in a blog post about product marketing. . .

instead of this

As we wrote in a blog post about product marketing . . .

By the way, underlined bluish text is the default format for links, but they can be styled many ways, even to look like buttons or other graphical images. Google doesn’t care what they look like, as long as you are using text links as in the example above.

How Can Anchor Text Get Me In Trouble?

As in all things SEO, marketers have abused anchor text, and Google looks out for that sort of thing. If 90% of the inbound links to a site called Widget World use the anchor text “blue widget,” Google is going to know that this is unnatural. Remember what I said about most links being your company name or URL? That’s just the way it is, and Google knows it. They also know that if other sites are linking to yours, you’ll have a few, or more, “click here” links. Click here just happens.

In fact, the “overoptimization” of anchor text was widely blamed for the drop in rankings of many sites negatively affected by changes in Google’s ranking algorithm (code-named “Penguin”) in 2012.

However, unless you are a professional web marketer seeking to game the system, chances are slim you could cause problems with anchor text. As a site owner who cultivates new inbound links and creates new content, paying attention to anchor text and using it to your advantage whenever possible can give your search engine visibility a boost.

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