What is Anchor Text?
See how when you hover over the first line of this blog, you are enticed to click? From there you are directed to a webpage that answers the query. That is anchor text, plain and simple. Or, according to Moz, “anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web.”
Why Anchor Text Is Important
So, now that we know what anchor text is, let’s find out why it matters.
Way back in 2012 (which in SEO time is 2.47 billion light years), Google rolled out its Penguin algorithm update. After the Penguin rollout, SEOs noticed a common denominator among penalized sites; a large majority of anchor text placed focus on one keyword, which is a big no-no.
It used to be fairly easy to work the system and rank for a keyword simply by stuffing it anywhere and everywhere, then linking it out like crazy. Of course you can’t fool Google, so they started working toward building a community of trust in the webisphere by devaluing content saturated with spammy anchor text and forcing people to create quality content and called it Penguin.
Best Practices: Anchor Text to Improve SEO
Keep it Relevant
One of the most essential SEO best practices to follow when writing anchor text is to keep it relevant. If your webpage’s primary keyword is “san diego truck rental”, don’t use anchor text that reads “los angeles block party”. Always use anchor text that helps search engines understand the content of your page.
Link to Authority Websites
Websites that already have Google’s trust are the best to link to for SEO. Depending upon the nature of your content, you might want to gravitate toward a universally known site such as Forbes. Specialty content should link to trusted sites within that industry, for example in the SEO world Moz is a highly trusted source of information.
General rule of thumb: if you would’t trust the source, don’t expect your readers or search engines to trust it either.
Use Varying Types of Anchor Text
When you see the same link three times within one page, doesn’t it look “over-optimized”? Switch it up to keep it natural. In one link, for example, use your primary keyword in your anchor text. Then, in the next link, use the linked page’s actual title. For more ideas, check out this list of types of anchor text.
Utilize Internal Anchor Text
Try to include at least one internal link to a different page within your site. Although linking to external pages is great for SEO, it’s equally important to create a web of links that provide intuitive navigation throughout your own site.
Avoid Generic Anchor Text
Stay away from using “click here” or simply “here” as anchor text. “Click here” is fine once in awhile; it’s just not going to tell Google much. Try to use your anchor text to improve SEO by including relevant keywords more often than not.
The Bottom Line
Always keep the user at the center of your strategy. When you choose the words you want to use as anchor text, make sure they make sense. When you select your sources to link to, make sure they are interesting and informative. You want your users to come back to your site, and giving them a pleasant experience is the only way to keep them coming back for more.
If you need further assistance with search engine optimization for your website, contact Volume Nine. Our SEO experts are available to guide your strategy toward success!