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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!).