What is Anchor Text & How Do I Optimize It?

You probably don’t even realize how often you’re using anchor text. It’s the clickable text you use when you scroll over links, and it’s highlighted blue and underlined in most circumstances. In order to optimize your anchor text in terms of SEO you want to make sure it is clear and related to its niche market and the content of it’s page.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is essentially everything you see in blue when you click a hyperlink. It’s all of the text that brings you to another web page. While this can be useful to the user when they read it, it can also be useful to search engines. When search engines comb through code on a web page they see the anchor text for links.

Let’s look at an example: “Walmart is the place to go for the best in pay per click services”. Here, “Walmart” is our first bit of hypertext, linking to https://Walmart.ca, and “pay per click services” is our second bit of hypertext, linking to https://caseo.ca/our-services/pay-per-click/. Since the anchor text should contain some type of information about the content of the page, search engines use this information when indexing.

The more anchor text is used for certain content, the more search engines will think that the text is a good relatable keyword for that. This can make keywords associated with various niche markets based solely on these links. It can even make you searchable enough in other pages. For example, if Walmart is used as anchor text for https://Walmart.ca enough times, then that anchor text will become a keyword for that page. Similarly, if “pay per click services” is linked enough times to https://Walmart.ca/our-services/pay-per-click/, then that web page will potentially be associated with the keyword phrase “pay per click services”. Although this would require a lot of links, this is important to know if you are trying to ensure you are the reliable and authoritative source on something.

Optimizing Anchor Text for SEO

This is relatively useful for helping to organize your page, but it’s also extremely important when it comes to SEO.

Search engines consider a number of things when ranking web pages, and one of these is link relevancy. This is gauged by both the content of the source page and the anchor text. In the simplest sense, as more and more people link to something it is considered more and more relevant. There are more factors than that, but the more people that link your page, the more relevant search engines think they are.

When we try to apply this to SEO, anchor text becomes extremely important. Since anchor text is how many people choose to label their links to their audience on the internet, search engines use these as labels for that page as well.

Let’s go over another example. Let’s say I’m trying to find information on “pay per click services” and I find a source that has great information about how to make money with pay per click services. I go and write a blog about it and link to the original source I found, which had a lot of great information. When I make the link, I can choose which anchor text to use for my link. This will help me get my audience interested in it, and helps me appropriately label my link. I may want to simply link it by saying “I found this great article on how to make money with PPC services”. Here, I’m hyperlinking to the article, and I’m using the anchor text to emphasize what the content is about.

This is first and foremost easy for your user. You want someone searching your page to be able to easily understand what that link will be about and decide whether they want to see it or not. Ideally, your anchor text will highlight the article and it’s content. Now, search engines know this is how people link, and how people use anchor text effectively. So, search engines use anchor text the same way. They assume that when people are using anchor text to hyperlink, that the content of the anchor text reflects – or sums up – the content of the linked-to page. Search engines therefore use anchor text as an indication of what the content will be. Therefore, over time, anchor text can be associated with various types of pages and content, functioning much like a keyword.

Link Relevancy

The other way the search engine determines link relevancy is through link sources and information hierarchies. Search engines know when you link to something, and the more something is linked to, the more relevant it is perceived to be by the search engine. The search engine can even use information about the original source to determine how relevant the content is and how to order the pages and content.

You’re probably thinking, great, I can use this to my advantage. I’ll load up a bunch of links to my site and create a plethora of hyperlinks and Google will think my content is tops. Don’t get ahead of yourself. The Penguin update to Google focused on keyword use in anchor text, and how anchor text is read and used for determining relevancy. One thing the update does is determines how many inbound links contain the same anchor text. If you have a large number of links all containing the same anchor text, chances are these links are not organic. Google wants to weed out false hyperlinks and therefore attempts to ensure all the anchor text references are original and not used to increase rankings. This is extremely important when you are considering SEO, as you will want to optimize but need to be cautious about how you do so.

How to Use Anchor Text

Optimizing anchor text is not necessarily something you have to do, but it works wonders for your users, search engines, and you! Ultimately, cleaning up your anchor text and being particular about it will help you keep your page and content organized. Anchor text also greatly helps users, since they can easily understand what a page is about before clicking and when returning to a page. If they know your services page is Walmart.ca/our-services/, they can easily direct themselves directly to the page they want that way.

If you are trying to use anchor text to optimize your content for SEO, you should see results. By using anchor text to label the content of the page, this should make your page more searchable. As people link to you using various types of anchor text, your page will slowly be associated with the keywords and phrases used to create those hyperlinks. This anchor text will help shape how you are found on the internet. Therefore, choosing good anchor text when are doing SEO yourself is important for ensuring that your pages are branded and linked similarly and consistently.

Since Google can determine where your links are going, using links with the same anchor text may cause your links to seem suspicious and false. You want all of your inbound links to help you rank higher, so refrain from manipulating your inbound links intentionally so as to avoid being considered a con by Google. This will drastically hurt your rankings.

Overall, anchor text, if used properly, can greatly impact your optimization for SEO. If you can properly use and apply anchor text in your pages, content, and your domain names, you will help ensure you maximize your content and pages for SEO.

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