What is Anchor Text? How to Use it to Get Better SEO Results.

Anchor text is actually pretty easy to define and understand, but what it does for SEO is what’s truly important and I’ll help you use it correctly.

what is anchor text in seo

Here is what anchor text means and an example of it:

Anchor text is simply the words you put on top of a link to lead people somewhere. Let me give you an example:

Suppose right now, I start writing about social media and SEO. That very link I just placed points to an article about social media and SEO, and the anchor text is the same exact subject. It’s really simple.

Now that we understand and have an example, the next question should be…

How do we use anchor text correctly for rankings?

There’s a couple of things you need and I’ve broken that down into 4 of them:

1) You need to write content that correctly steers into the link so that it fits together.

For example, if I am writing on a subject like getting rankings and I point to an article which is related to getting rankings, that is an example of me steering to a link that fits with my subject.

2) You need to label the anchor text in a way that gets people to click it and shows Google it’s also relevant.

So in the above example, when I was talking about social media and SEO, and I made that into an internal link, and clearly the person who sees it and clicks on it expects to see an article or resource with THAT subject because I labeled it that way.

That makes it relevant and that improves ranking.

In addition, I JUST provided another example of this when I pointed to internal links. When you click it, it’ll take you to an article I wrote on internal linking and why it’s beneficial for rankings and that too is an example you can use.

3) There’s also cases where if I’m writing an article, that I’ll make the anchor text a keyword I’m targeting and point the link to an article with the same keyword. For example…

anchor text example

As you can see from that example, that paragraph smoothly segways into the second keyword and article and makes it easy for people and Google to see it. It’s also organized in a way that helps both articles be considered high quality, all of which are positive things for rankings.

4) Also it is recommended that when you do use it, that it be blue. That’s because the color blue is what is most recognized as a link. People know that when they click, that it’s a link and it’ll take them to another page, so they expect it and knowingly click it.

Can this strategy hurt SEO?

Sometimes it can and a few example of this can be…

When you provide anchor text that makes people assume they’re clicking to see something, but it points them to something else.

For example…

If we use the first example above where I talked about internal links and made that an internal link.

If that DIDN’T lead to an article about internal links, it would disappoint my reader and make them leave the page and this would affect it’s ranking, so make sure you don’t do this.

A very important ranking factor is quality of content and expectation of it, so if I send a reader through an internal link expecting to read something, they clearly clicked on it because they are interested and want to read more, but if that need/expectation is not met, they’ll leave and the page they went to will be recorded as having high exit rates, which will tell Google that it’s low quality. 

Something you very often hear regard SEO is the term relevancy and that is something you should ask yourself when you’re using anchor text and the question is:

Does my link relevantly point to what I’m labeling that link as?

If it is, then it’s good and if it’s not, change it or remove it. If you read my blog posts, you will see that just about every single link I have is always giving readers a preview of what they are clicking to and when they click it, there are no surprises and the expectation of what they’re about to get, is gotten.

For instance…

Very often on this website, I’ll mention the topic of improving rankings and when I do, I’ll say something like this:

Here’s 15 techniques I use to improve my rankings and you already know where the anchor text is in that sentence, but when people click it, guess what they are expecting to read?

That’s right: 15 techniques on improving rankings and if they get that, that helps my rankings. If they don’t, then it doesn’t help so making sure you do this right is not a difficult task.

What if I don’t have a link to point to? Then you have 3 options:

In my particular case, I have a site with a lot of content and articles, so relevantly linking them together is easy for me, but for most new bloggers and site owners, who only have a few pages up or perhaps even just 1 page, this is likely not going to be the case.

But there are 3 options available if this is the case:

1) Don’t make any link at all.

2) Point to an external link instead of an internal one. As long as the external link is relevant and point to a high quality site, you’ll still get the SEO points. So for example, if we use the above example of internal linking, if I didn’t already have an article written on it, I’d just find a link on Wikipedia or a high authority site on ranking and point it there.

3) Don’t post any external links, build up your site, add more pages, and then go back to the old ones and interlink then.

You can ALWAYS go back to old article you’ve written and improve them with adding more internal links as well as using the 15 techniques I also linked to above and even if an old article wasn’t 100% as optimized as it could be for SEO, again, it can be edited, improved upon, republished and then do well in the rankings.

In fact, for this website, I’ve been going over months old posts, and adding new links to fresh articles I’ve published. This has allowed the old articles I once wrote to become better optimized for rankings. And it doesn’t matter how old certain articles are in your case, you can still do this (also another SEO tip is to update the date!).

Pages vs Posts For WordPress. Which Rank Better For SEO?

There are 2 ways to post content on WordPress websites: One is through pages. The other is through posts. But does one way rank better than the other for SEO?

This is what I’d like to give you my position on since it was a question I had asked frequently when I was new to SEO and after many years of seeing one particular strategy work over and over, here are the general guidelines I have:

1) Pages and posts are the same the thing when it comes to WordPress.

2) It is generally better to create posts if you’re running a new website and have your main URL display a blog roll (which shows posts). This helps Google spiders crawl your content a little bit faster and if you create content frequently this way, it helps your site grow it’s authority faster and exit the sandbox faster as a result.

3) However, pages should not be discounted and I mainly create them when I write things like my about me article, a get started article, an about us article, things like that.

4) If you are currently in a position where you created a lot of pages and are worried you’ll lose ranking for it, don’t, because in the end, Google still sees these them as the same thing and there is no ranking factor that I know of that discriminates between them.

In the end, if you write an article and it’s classified as a page or post, it will eventually rank under the same rules and in the same way if it’s content is good. The classification of the content you write doesn’t really matter. 

So for people who understand the details of what I just wrote and are more experienced SEO users, you should be fine from this point. But if you are more of a beginner, I’ll be explaining in better detail these same points I just made. 

Either way, you can ask me detailed questions about this below.

Now for the details of why I have these positions and on this topic…

1) Again, posts and pages are basically the same thing.

You can literally log into your WordPress website right now, click to create a new article under either of these classifications and guess what?

You’ll see the EXACT same layout, with the main things shown for either option, that being a box for the title, a large section for the body and if you have plugins installed like the All in One SEO tool or these other SEO tools I personally use, they will be shown exactly the same way on posts and pages.

But why is that these 2 things even exist?

Well my understanding is that posts are more often associated as “blogs” whereas the other is more often associated as important parts of the site. But this doesn’t mean you should worry about where to classify content you’re about to write.

You can honestly make every single article on your site either one of those things or a random mix if you want. I’ve just learned to navigate it in the way I explained in point 2 from people I know to be experts at this and followed their strategy and because this approach has gotten me results, I haven’t really deviated from it since I learned and began implementing it.

Here is that approach explained again:

2) When you have a new website, make a blog roll your home and a majority of your articles posts.

What happens with this approach is that your site will start to show your most recent blogs (posts) and when Google visits it, and sees new fresh content being displayed there, it crawls your site more often and this helps SEO speed up a little bit.

I don’t really know why this same feature is not available for pages, but I just apply it as it’s taught.

Now later on when your WordPress site grows to an authority site, it is recommended to switch up the blog roll to a main page that helps introduce people to the site and to put up the blog as a menu item people can access rather.

Don’t worry though. Whether or not you do this early on or when your site becomes an authority, doesn’t really change the big picture SEO game where the most important thing that determines how well the site does is it’s content quality and how often it’s created.

So as long as this is what the focus of the site is, you’ll be fine.

3) Like I said, I only really make pages when I’m not interested in targeting a keyword term.

You don’t really have to follow this rule, but I do because posts can get seen faster by Google and ranked faster if they are on a blog roll and that is on the homepage, I generally use that to my advantage and when it comes to pages, I only really use them to create general content as I said before (the about me article, the contact us article, and so on).

4) If you aren’t already following the approach I suggested in #2, don’t let it bother you.

While there are plugins available which transform pages into posts and vice versa, if you are currently running a WordPress site which has let’s say 100 articles and most of them are pages, do NOT worry about changing them into posts.

If they aren’t ranking well on Google, it is not because their classification is “wrong”, it’s because they aren’t optimized enough in their content to rank high, which is why if you are in that situation right now, do these things to improve it and yes, these tips will work for either classification (because again, it’s the same thing).

So overall, I’d say if you came to this article worried that one type of article ranks better than the other, the overall answer is it doesn’t and you shouldn’t really change anything in regards to how it’s classified.

Just stick to the optimization tips I suggested and let that help the article rank better.

Don’t Bother Buying Aged Domains For SEO. It Won’t Help it.

Of the many SEO rumors that swirl around, one of them is that buying expired domains helps SEO and the truth is, it doesn’t. does buying aged domain names help with seo

In fact, John Mu of Google itself is the one who basically put that myth to rest when he was asked about it on Twitter. Here was his response: 

Now that response isn’t exactly a subjective one, it’s pretty clear: It doesn’t help and here is the link to that message on Twitter.

But in this article, allow me to add reasons as to WHY this is the case. A long time ago, I believed buying expired domains had LITTLE value, and said it wasn’t worth it.

However, my reasoning was a little bit different and after seeing John’s response, I can add one more con to not buying them. But as for the details as to why, that’s what I’ll get into…

The SEO myth about expired domains explained…

The short explanation about this myth is that when a website is new and basically under the age of 6 months, it will be sandboxed for at least that period of time. 

During this period, it will not be ranking well and as I explain to people who are stuck in it, you can get out of the sandbox if you wait it out and do the proper things like these.

After the sandbox effect subsides, the domain name then becomes “aged” basically in that it will no longer fall under the trap of the sandbox and rankings will just come easy, and thus with this whole concept in place, comes the topic of buying aged domains…

People believed that if they buy a domain, age it to the post sandbox period or just let it stay around for many months and years, that it’s age will raise its SEO value and they’ll be able to sell it for a higher price. 

And the people they sell it to, will think they can just avoid all those months of “waiting” for the rankings to finally kick in and just start from a post sandbox point and get “immediate” SEO success.

Theoretically, with the whole sandbox topic in play here, this whole operation technically makes sense and I’d argue there may have been a point years ago where this could have been true, but after thinking about it and considering John’s answer, I can tell you why it detail why it won’t work…

Here’s detailed, simple reasons why buying an aged domain won’t help it’s SEO:

There are 2 scenarios in play here to explain why this is the case:

First, if we take someone who buys a domain, and doesn’t do anything with it for say a year (way past the sandbox period), then it’s still an empty site. It has at least a year on it and is technically aged, but without content on it, anyone who buys it will still have to start SEO from scratch. 

They will have to post new content, grow the site and this process will itself put them in the sandbox. In other words, it’ll be inevitable.

And second, if we take someone who buys a domain and actually builds a site on top of it, then it will rank well after 6 months, BUT if that person decides to JUST sell the domain itself, that’ll mean that they’ll have to basically erase/throw away all that content, meaning the page will be completely empty all over again, and that means, the website will lose it’s authority in Google and will have to start anew with whoever buys it.

I can tell you from experience that I have built websites from nothing, into authority pages and when I left them alone for a long period of time, the rankings DROPPED, all the way to the point that I would basically have to “re-climb” the ranking ladder all over again if I decided to try and build up the page.

Well if you take that experience, and go even further to the point where selling the page means erasing all it’s content, what do you think it’ll do to all the authority it’s accrued?

It’ll ERASE it and basically give it a blank SEO slate.

And after someone buys that page, guess what happens? Yep, they’ll have to restart the whole sandbox process again, so there’s really no winning with regards to this subject.

Here’s the only time that this method will work…

The only time that buying an aged domain holds merit is when that website has content on it, and that content is already ranking on search engines. Then when the person buys the website, they aren’t just buying the domain, but they are also buying the content on it and all the work that was put into growing it.

That operation will allow the next person who gets it to “take it from there” and continue growing the website, but the prices for these kinds of websites can be astronomically high.

However, there is an important MINUS to this method, and that is if the page has negative SEO history on it. If you intend to buy a website that is already built for you and is ranking high, make sure it’s SEO history is clean and not full of penalties.

So in conclusion…

If you’re going to buy a domain, I wouldn’t let it’s “age” be the reasofsn you get it. You’ll just overpay for it and then will have to start anew like anyone else would if they purchased a brand new one. And if the other major reason you wish to get it is because of it’s name, I still think you’re better off getting a brand new one, and you can easily get yourself a great domain name using these tips.

For me personally, I love getting brand new pages and building them up with the ranking strategies I know that work (here they are). It’s the safest approach, but it takes time. I have learned not to try and shortcut my way through the ranking process and that it’s worth doing it the right way.

If The Google Core Update Hurt Your Rankings, do This.

In June 2019, Google released another major update it called the core and many sites (as usual with these events) suffered in rankings, as usual.

If yours was one of them, there’s specific things I’ll be talking about that you can do to your site to regain your rankings and even improve them. I say this because the very same SEO guidelines I’ve been following across all my major websites have continued to work and this most recent update did absolutely nothing to hurt my rankings.

I wanted to wait at least one month after the Google core update was released to be sure and let me prove that my sites are OK. I wrote a recent article on whether SEO was dead and on that article, I displayed a few websites of mine and how their traffic is doing. Overall, there were no major changes to it after this event happened.

Here’s how my sites are doing after the Google core update:

Site 1:

site 1 google core

As you can see during the June period (when this happened), the traffic was at the very worst, stagnant, but I also suspect this is because the niche topic of this site generally sees a stagnancy during this summer periods because of vacations and other events. Either way, this page was not affected.

Site 2:

site 2 google core

In this site’s case, the traffic actually grew during the update, BUT I don’t actually attribute it’s rise because of that. I was actually making updates on this particular site and improving the content and SEO of it. And I assume the improvements started getting noticed by Google around the same time this core event took place, so it’s a coincidence.

BUT I am certain the event had no negative ranking results on this page either.

Site 3: 

site 3 google core update

In this site’s case, it’s basically the same results as site #1. No major changes.

I have at least 2 other sites, but their results are the same so I think I’ve provided enough evidence to show that this whole event didn’t affect my pages.

Now why is it that nothing bad happened to my sites?

Well that’s because I’ve continuously preached about how to properly do SEO and follow the most important trends, on my websites and I have before when I talked about other updates such as E-A-T and Medic that I don’t care about them, because my sites in question follow the most important Google guidelines for getting great rankings and it’s these 15 guidelines.

Ok, that’s wonderful for you, but what about me? My sites suffered!

If you have seen DRAMATIC decreases in rankings and traffic for your site during this Google Core period, there’s 2 things I need to say…

1) It may not be that bad and there are many cases where even good websites that follow good SEO strategies still suffer, BUT they are temporary, meaning that as the update is occurring, it can hit good websites, but that eventually settles and the good sites return to their original rankings and in some cases rise.

So if you are indeed doing white hat SEO things on your site and you saw decreases in rankings, give it a little bit more time and see if they rise again.

2) If you’ve been waiting for at least a month while this whole event occurred and have not seen improvement, my guess is that your website is either…

Not doing white hat SEO things, in which case, I’d tell you to start a new one and STOP trying to cheat at the SEO game because this core update is one of many to follow and one or more of them WILL doom your site, even if you get away from one of them.

Or if your site is indeed one of the good ones and the rankings just aren’t picking up, then you need to follow this 15 point SEO guideline. I have said many times that these guidelines are the exact ones I use to:

A) Make my new content rank as high as possible.

B) Optimize my old content to get better rankings if it’s not doing so well.

If you follow these 15 things, you will see the positive results too.

What are other experts saying about this update?

The most trusted experts I know on SEO are basically saying the same things I am, and if you look at the major forums, you’ll also find similar advice I’m giving, but let me share other articles that provide good overviews of this new update and what to do if you need more info other than my own to show you what needs to be done:

Here is a link to an article where one of my original SEO teachers talks about this event. He gives good general advice on how to handle this thing.

And there is also another SEO expert I often consult with who basically gave these tips regarding this event:

Improve your content (add more to it).

Interlink more of your site.

Do a URL inspection on webmaster tools once you’ve improved the content to help Google see you’ve made improvements.

These guidelines are actually part of my 15 point strategy so I can vouch for them.

The main point: Expect these updates, but don’t fear them.

As I say in every article that I write which covers these SEO topics, you should not fear any Google update if you follow the main concepts that have always worked, which is writing great high quality content, and without going through the “short cuts” in SEO, which happen to be the same shortcuts that make you the first target of these updates anyway.

If you have a website that has experienced negative effects from this latest Google event, let me know the specifics about it, so I can help you recover it’s rankings the right way, but ultimately, do note that I will likely suggest you follow that 15 point strategy I linked above.

It’s almost guaranteed to help your site improve, unless it was penalized by Google. 

Do Exact Match Domains Still Work For SEO? When to Use Them.

There are very few cases today in which I’d recommend someone buy an exact match domain. They still work for SEO, but only in special circumstances. 

I will explain those circumstances and help you decide if an exact match domain name, which is also known as an EMD is right for you to buy and build off. Before I do, let me explain a few things about this topic:

The most common question and scenario in which people ask about EMD’s is in regards to their SEO and ranking power.

There was a point in time, many years ago, where the name of your domain would be considered one of the most important ranking factors. And if you look at the 10 I listed in that link, you’ll notice that this is not the case anymore, but before I explain why, let me give you the proper context of why EMD’s are still a popular SEO topic today:

When the name of your domain did have a big impact on your rankings, smart marketers simply chose high volume keywords, and purchased domains that literally were the very same keyword they targeted. In other words:

what is an exact match domain

And without doing much SEO work, people who did this were able to get high rankings for the targeted keyword, and obviously get traffic to their site from it, by simply leeching of the website’s name itself.

I can’t deny that I was one of those people who did get high rankings from doing this, but that was a very long time ago. Today, the value of an EMD is still present for rankings, but it has been depreciated substantially, so much that I would never even suggest it be taken into consideration for someone whose thinking of a title for their page (unless it meets a certain criteria I’ll be listing).

What happened to EMD’s? Why they lost their SEO value:

Because the amount of ranking factors rose as SEO had become more complex, the value of the domain continued to depreciate overtime.

Most of the people I knew (including myself) who used EMDs to rank their sites, typically didn’t put much work into them and had maybe a few pages worth of mediocre content.

This is why as the standards rose, the very same people who relied on EMD’s suddenly saw their rankings drop and thought that this was some sort of Google penalty, when in fact, it was just a rise in more standards expected for a quality website to rank high, and the value of the domain not playing a large role anymore. 

The smart marketers who realized this changed their approach and improved the value of the website, while those who originally relied on the lazy method of just letting the name of the site carry them, failed. And I assure you that if you still own an EMD that you wish to grow, it can be done if you do these things.

Then there were those who completely stopped caring about having EMDs altogether and decided to structure their websites under names they could turn into a brand. I would argue that today, these are the people who are most right.

Here is the most important thing to understand about EMD’s today:

In short, every website name, EMD or not has the same ranking potential today. What determines the success of these sites is a combination of doing SEO things like these and not having too much competition, which will allow them to rank.

So if you are currently deciding on a domain name and wondering if it should be an EMD or not, let me help you decide…

When to use exact match domains.

1) If you want to use your name that is a keyword.

A few months, I helped a friend who happens to be a pro fighter create his own website. When deciding on what to title it, I suggested we just use his full name and the reason why was because through fighting, he would become popular among mass audiences who would then look him up on social media and Google. Having a website that is literally under his full name would be the right choice.

The great news was that there was hardly any competition for the keyword (his full name) so after taking about 1 hour to set up the pages and optimizing them briefly, I gave it a few months and let the site get out of the sandbox. Now whenever people Google his full name, the website is ranked #1. 

Here is a link to his site in case you want to see how it played out. Setting this up didn’t cost me much, but I do know people and companies who would have charged him well over $1,000 to set this up, and yes, that would be a rip off.

Now this idea made the most sense in this circumstance because his name would be the keyword and there wasn’t any competition for it. So it made sense to make an EMD.

2) When the website name’s keyword is high volume and it blends together with your content.

Let’s take the keyword I used above “Six pack ab exercises”. The very name of it suggest that the site is going to talk about this topic and in this case, the keyword gets searches and if I start writing individual blog posts on specific ab exercises, each which carry their own keyword value, then it’s blend well with the domain name.

For example, if one of the keywords is “Do crunches make six pack abs”, then it blends well together with such a domain name and it’ll become “Sixpackabexercises.com/do-crunches-make-six-pack-abs” and the pemalink in that case will rank for the keyword. It’s also called the meta title.

Note: And by the way, the meta title 100% carries more SEO value than the EMD.

When not to use exact match domains:

1) When you’re seeking to create a brand name that isn’t already a searched keyword.

When I used my friend and the website I created for him, his name was already getting searches in Google, but there was no official site set up, and thus making an EMD made sense. 

However, if you’re seeking to create a brand name which no one knows about, then you SHOULD do it, because the content you build from the site will then grow it and people will eventually start to recognize the site name and Google it.

That is actually what I am seeking to do with HelpingHandSEO.com. Right now, not many people know about it, but through getting more and more people to visit the site and remember the name, it’ll eventually grow and become a popular keyword. 

2) A business name.

Again, if no one knows about the business, let your domain name be the name of the business. It will have all the potential to grow and become a brand. I helped a client a long time ago do this. His site wasn’t ranking well and just improving it’s content (not the website name!) caused it to grow and get higher rankings. 

Remember: All fresh domain names, carry the same ranking potential.

It doesn’t matter which ones you buy, EMD or not. If it’s fresh and has no history, it will always start with the same ranking potential. But it will be the growth you put into the site, that will help it grow and become valuable.

This is why you can technically choose any website name you like when starting out and not worry about it’s SEO potential. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should choose profanities or controversial names. Choose simple names for your site that are simple to remember.

If after having said all of this, you still have questions or worries about picking the right name, let me know.