What it an anchor text exactly? You may know it better as a text link, or text that is hyper-linked to another webpage or image. e.g. ‘digital marketing services’ If a search engine sees anchor text on a webpage that says “Search Engine Marketing Strategies” and follows it to find a page with content related to those keywords, then that page will effectively get a big A+on its SEO score sheet. A descriptive anchor text (using long-tail keywords) should alert the user, and the search engine, where a link leads to without them ever having to follow the link. While anchor text is one of the most powerful SEO tools you can implement, it is also open to abuse and therefore may lose their influence over time. This is a big reason for Google applying the keywords (not provided) in Google Analytics, hiding what keywords are driving organic and even paid traffic to your site.
The #1 Common Anchor Text Mistakes
The most common and annoying ,mistake you’ll encounter is when sites use anchor text like “click here” or “more info”. Search engines are effectively computers, they do not have human intuition (yet!) so they read the link literally i.e. “this link says “click here” so the destination page must be about the topic “Click Here.” A quick search on Google for “click here” demonstrates what kinds of sites rank (e.g. Click here, Adobe Reader – free PDF download) well and also how many pages are competing (over 200 million!) for this search term. Arguably, the most infamous use (misuse) of anchor text was the George Bush – Miserable Failure Google Bombing.
How Should Anchor Text Be Applied To Your Site?
If you apply a little bit of common sense and logic, these steps will be easy to follow and remember as you produce content:
1. Identify your keywords
Look at the destination page first and generic/core keywords second. What keywords best describe the page your visitor may click on. Are the keywords and the page relevant to one another. E.G if you type in ‘dogs to adopt’, you expect to find sites and pages related to adopting animals, animal shelters or the SPCA. Match the keyword up with the landing page.
2. Keep the anchor text short and to the point
The more words in your text link, the more diluted it becomes and therefore confusing and less authoritative. The keyword should easily specify where the user may possibly land of they click the link. While using long-tail keywords in anchor text is valuable it still needs to be accurate and to the point; it should not be a whole sentence or paragraph.
3. Use Descriptive Keywords
Tell the users and search engines what to expect on the destination pages. If the destination page is transactional, try and include a call to action. For example, ‘Get a quote today for business logo design’.
What is anchor text? Now you know!
If you want to see some great examples of anchor text in action take a look at Wikipedia. The site is loaded with anchor text that help search engines crawl their site and for users to find useful and relevant information as they are reading.