Mentioning anchor text will create a debate in a room full of SEOs. People will start shouting about everything, even over-optimization penalties, and ideal anchor ratios. But the majority of that data is inaccurate.
Why? Because anchor text has been used on the internet since its inception. Over the past 20+ years, Google has undergone a substantial transformation, but SEO guidance has yet to keep up. While writing this essay, I read several articles, but none truly hit the mark. A handful dangerously close to spreading SEO myths confused links with anchors.
Because anchor text is an important Google ranking factor, this is a severe issue. Wrong advice wastes time and negatively affects user experience and organic search traffic.
How Do Anchor Texts Work?
Since anchor text is the portion of an HTML element that is visible, SEO newbies frequently confuse anchors with links. But it’s only a small component of the larger one. The element has two tags, an ahref attribute, a URL value, and an anchor value, as seen in the anchor text HTML illustration below.
What’s all the buzz about, you’re presumably thinking—this seems simple enough. The truth is that if anchor text weren’t a ranking component, my post would end here. However, there is much more to discuss, including some firmly held beliefs.
The Importance of Anchor Texts
One of Google’s algorithm’s top three ranking factors is the number of backlinks. Links from high-quality websites contribute significantly more to building credibility and authority than links from low-quality websites. They will assist you in increasing search engine results pages (SERPs).
Links, however, do more than merely transmit authority signals. Through anchor text, they also transfer crucial information from one webpage to another, including intent, context, and relevancy. This aids search engines in deciphering a page’s content and its relationships to other pages in the link graph.
Imagine, for example, that an article about content marketing uses that anchor to link to your article about the many forms of content marketing. For search engines, that anchor text strengthens the topical relationship between those two pages.
Since you typically do not influence the anchor text for backlinks, they usually utilize more casual language. To avoid generating red lights with Google, use anchors carefully if you are actively building links on a large scale.
Read the best practices section after this page for detailed instructions on using anchor text.
Internal links do not boost your website’s PageRank the way backlinks do. They do, however, assist in spreading out the current authority on your site. As you might have guessed, internal links also use anchor text’s ability to inform search engines about the relationships between the pages on your website.
Internal linking has the advantage that you can choose the anchor text. To enhance relevance and context, you can change the wording used each time you link back to a particular page.
Over the past few years, user experience has permeated SEO, and this tendency is expected to continue. Unfortunately, the industry continues to put authority and keyword matching before user experience when creating links. Users would anticipate that link to lead to a page that describes excellent customer service based on the intention of the anchor text.
Best SEO Practices for Anchor Texts
Despite what you may have read, link anchor percentages need to be standardized in the industry. So rather than spewing out a bunch of erroneous rates, I’ll give you some pointers on effectively employing anchor text for all kinds of connections.
Focus on Relevance
When employing anchor text, relevance is crucial. The anchor text for the link needs to apply to the page you are linking to. The user experience is disrupted, and Google is alerted by an irrelevant anchor.
Match Link Intent
The purpose of the anchor and the destination page should be the same.
In other words, you shouldn’t link to a page for a service or product if the purpose of your anchor is informational.
Assume I inserted a link to a customer relationship management (CRM) solution website in the bold text above. Since I’m talking about client connections, that link does have some relevance. However, the intention of that anchor text makes it appear as though I’m connecting to a resource website to back up my assertion rather than a sales page.
Ensure the destination page and your anchor text are contextually appropriate to the sentence. Although context shares similarities with relevance and intent, it is different enough to be discussed.
According to Google’s “Ranking based on reference contexts” patent, the company may analyze the surrounding content to comprehend the target website.
Due to this, when putting anchor text, be sure the surrounding text offers additional contextual hints for the related page’s content.
Use Unique Anchor Texts
Making sure the link text reads organically is another excellent anchor text SEO tip. The keyword should make sense to the reader and flow naturally throughout the phrase. Don’t do something if it feels inappropriate. According to Google, users should come first when creating content, then search engines.
Shorten Achor Text
Anchors should be concise and descriptive. It’s better for users and provides a more straightforward explanation of the topic of the destination page. If you link to a piece of writing using the title as the link text, it can be an exception.
Mix Up Your Anchors
Use many keyword variations, such as exact match, broad match, long tail, and related, in your anchor text. Doing this will increase Google’s comprehension of your content and lower the possibility of manual action due to too-optimized backlinks.
Use different words and synonyms to show context and intent. This improves search engine rankings for more keywords and results in a more natural distribution of anchor text.
Include Related Words in the Image Alt Tag
Thanks to image alt tags, Google crawlers can better grasp an image’s purpose and the text of the page to which it is linked. Make careful to include evocative keywords in the image alt tags if you use images with links. Using keywords should be natural inside the sentence; avoid stuffing the text with them.
Clarify Naked Links
If you must utilize naked links, ensure they are brief and informative.
For instance, the naked URL for a free download of an infographic should look like this: www.website.com/free-infographics.
Unorganized naked links, such as www.website.com/12huitrezld8, don’t inform site users or search engines about the content of the destination page.
Thank About Accessibility
Finally, while styling your anchor text, consider your users. All links should be conspicuously distinct from the rest of your writing. Users will only click on your links if you use colors that are easy to read or are similar to the color of the rest of your content.
Details Matter for Successful Clicks
It takes commitment to quality, ethics, and user experience to succeed in SEO. But it’s also about making the most of minor improvements that add to significant effects.
It would be foolish to overlook anchor text. It has a direct impact on your rankings, traffic, and earnings. You often influence it. You’ll be one step ahead of the competition if you use the anchor text method I described above.