Anchor Text: Make A Major SEO Impact With Seemingly Minor Details

Anchor text is a perfect example of a seemingly minor detail that actually has a significant impact on a website’s page rank. Understanding some basic principles about anchor text will help you improve the content of your site and enhance its SEO aspects.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text refers to the visible characters and words that hyperlink display when linking to another document or location on the web. For example, if you are linking to an interesting article, your anchor text could be anything from “click here” to the article’s actual title. The hyperlink’s formatting will be different from the surrounding text, either underlined or bolded, and generally a different color than the non-hyperlinked words around it.

How do you decide which words to use as anchor text?

The truth is, most of us intuitively know the best phrases to hyperlink and realize the more specific the anchor text is, the better for our readers and for the linked page. Using generic terms and phrases such as “click here” and “read more” will do the trick, but they are also boring, disrupt the flow of your writing, and tell search engines absolutely nothing about this link you felt was worth mentioning. It is far more effective for your anchor text to include keywords that you would expect to point the way to this linked page if you were searching for it through a search engine.

The first link is the most important link.

Something you should keep in mind is that Google only indexes the anchor text for a specific URL the first time it appears on a page. That means you need to make that initial anchor text count. Titles, domain names, and critical, topical keywords are your best bets for effective anchor text.

The URL behind the anchor text is just as important as the words themselves.

When you are linking to other pages (or asking someone to link to yours), make sure the URL is correct and specific. While a link that leads to your homepage is fine and dandy, it will not ultimately yield the results you want. The best URL will be a permalink that leads to a specific page on a website. Also, links with typos or broken links will undermine exactly what you are trying to do. If you are disseminating information, you will frustrate your audience, and they will not be able to go where you are supposedly sending them. Similarly, if people are linking to you, you do not want them to land on a 404-error page.

Your anchor text can, and should, vary.

When it comes to your own links, you should make sure your anchor text is not uniform across the board. Using synonyms and adjusting syntax can yield excellent anchor text that distinguishes itself from your other links. Other small but effective adjustments to anchor text include switching from singular to plural, alternating between verbs and nouns, or changing word stems.

Internal links need anchor text, too.

When we talk about linking, the emphasis tends to be on outbound links that bring someone to an entirely different website, but there is also internal linking within your own site. Put as much thought into those as you would to external links. There is nothing wrong with helping your readers navigate your site and helping yourself when it comes to better SEO results. That said, linking should be done smartly and sparingly, which brings us to . . .

Less is more.

We have all been on a page that has links up the wazoo, and it is not a pleasant experience. When barraged with links, we make assumptions about the content and the website. It seems commercial, unreliable, and too busy. We feel we have been tricked into landing on some link farm with little to no value, and usually that is the case. Sometimes, however, someone is just overzealous when it comes to linking. Make sure your links, both internal and external, serve a purpose. If people click on your anchor text, you want them to feel like you did them a favor, not duped them or wasted their time.

Write your post first and select the anchor text later.

The best content and link building evolves naturally. When you begin to compose an article or blog post, forget about optimization and just write. Once your article is written, you can revise it with SEO in mind. It will be much easier to decide upon your anchor text and optimize your content in sensible ways, if they are finishing touches and not the primary goal.


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