Anchors on boats prevent the ships from swimming away.
Anchors in your content keep Google (and your readers) from floating away.
As Google crawls your website, it looks for anchor text. Well done, this content signals relevance and authority. Done poorly, it can sink your content in the eyes of Google (and the readers).
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is the visible word or phrase that contains a link to other content. With a click of the sentence, readers can switch from their original content destination to another. This could be another website, another page on the same website, or even a PDF.
In this HTML coding, the anchor text “Contact” is linked to an internal page: https://linkgraph.io/learn-how-we-can-grow-your-business:
Good anchor text effectively describes its goal. Relevance is crucial, as anchor texts are intended to identify the content visited with one click.
How does anchor text connect with search rankings?
When the Google search engine crawlers are scrolling your site, the anchor text can indicate the quality of your pages, including:
- Relevance: Exactly descriptive anchor text indicates to Google that the linked content is relevant. This increases the likelihood that Google will associate your website with that keyword or topic and rank it better in the SERPs for similar keyword phrases.
- Subject range: High quality anchor text with internal links lets Google crawlers know that your website has more useful information. It indicates that visitors don’t have to leave your website to get answers to their additional questions.
- Page experience: Misleading anchor text becomes a source of frustration for visitors who click on it and are disappointed to find an irrelevant page. Relevant anchor text shows Google that you want to create a high quality visitor experience.
What types of anchor text are there?
Not every anchor text is created the same. Among the options:
- Branded – Contains your company name or specific terms for your domain
- Exact match – Contains the exact keyword you want to rank for
- Partial agreement – Contains a variation of the keyword you want to rank for
- Bare urls – Contains a simple url like www.contentmarketinginstitute.com
- Generic – Provides the least amount of context, e.g. B. “Click here”, “Page” or “Continue reading”.
Using contextual anchor text is one of the most effective ways to build trust for your brand. Linking to other helpful, high-quality content with contextual anchor text shows strong relevance signals for Google. Google will also look at the text surrounding the anchor text to understand its relevance. Blogs are therefore often a great place to link to your main or pillar pages with context.
Quality links also help build your credibility with other industry experts and improve the overall user experience of your website.
Google also attaches great importance to diverse anchor texts. Repetitive anchor text indicates spam SEO behavior. A combination of brand, exact match, partial match and phrase match links is more natural and shows a well-rounded and informative website.
TOP: Use anchor text in headers and footers that point to the most valuable search-relevant content.
Which mistakes should be avoided?
Google offers some general guidelines for creating anchor texts. However, many content creators fail to read the 32-page document and make mistakes that can damage their SEO. Here are three of the most common:
One of the main functions of anchor text is to provide context to users about the link target. Irrelevant anchor text may generate more clicks initially, but the spam and misleading technique is not appreciated by Google or visitors who click on it as Google’s John Mu confirmed.
Example of a blog article on the benefits of corporate recruiting software:
- Bad: Recruiting is a big challenge for HR departments.
- Links to the internal article: HR executives should take a seat at the executive table
- Better: recruitment is a major challenge for HR departments.
- Links to internal article: Top 5 Recruiting Problems and How to Fix Them
- Preferably: recruitment is a major challenge for HR departments.
- Links to the internal article: The Benefits of Automating Your Early Recruiting
2. Too long
More specificity in your anchor text can provide better context for Google. However, long anchor text becomes a problem if it is unclear or overloaded with keywords. While Google doesn’t provide precise guidelines, it and site visitors prefer a descriptive but concise anchor text.
- Bad: Find out more about our annual winter sales.
- Better: Learn more about our annual winter sales.
- Preferably: Find out more about our annual Winter sale.
3. Lack of context
Ideally, the anchor text should let the reader know what content is possible with one click without further contextual information. Generic anchor text such as “More information” or “Click here” is not possible.
Also, general anchor text can be seen as a missed opportunity to link your website pages to relevant industry topics.
- Bad: Learn more about the topic
- Better: Find out more about the topic in our SEO blog.
- Preferably: Learn more about Anchor text and SEO.
TOP: Google’s crawlers use different cues to identify the topic and relevance of content, but linked content is helpful for both search engines and site visitors.
Anchor text checklist
Keeping up with the do’s and don’ts of anchor text can prove to be a daunting task. To ensure that your internal anchor linking is as effective as possible, ask these questions:
- Is it relevant to the landing page?
- Is it relevant to my content?
- Does the surrounding text provide more context?
- Is it crammed with keywords?
- Is it too general?
If you answered “yes” to the first three and “no” to the last two, your anchor text strategy should be in ship form.
Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute