Anchor text, for those who don’t know, is the clickable text in a hyperlink when you visit a webpage. But what many people don’t know, is it can be a great tool in your SEO strategy, if properly understood, and implemented. So here, we’ll endeavor to explain a little bit more about how this all works, and how to take full advantage of your Anchor Text, and how best to use it to move up your keyword ranking.
Let’s use an example. Here in this blog post, we’re talking about SEO Strategy, so I’m going to include a hyperlink using SEO Strategy as the anchor text to another page, in this case, our page advertising our SEO services. What it is now telling to search engines, is that I think this page, the one I’m linking to, is a good page on the subject of this keyword (aka anchor text), and I want to give them some weight in the page rankings. I’m telling google, or yahoo, or whoever, that this page deserves to be associated with these keywords.
Since Google, and especially Bing, add a lot of weight to these sorts of links, a lot of people want these sorts of links back to their pages. And the challenge becomes to make these links natural, and organic, but linked to strong keywords you want associated for your website. So for example, if instead of using “SEO Strategy” in the previous example, I had used “Search Engine Optimization Strategy in Minnesota”, well, that text is much longer, and probably less likely to be searched than “SEO Strategy”. So make sure, as we’ve emphasized before, that you do your homework, and choose keywords to emphasize that make sense for your website/company.
But as you and your web design team work through your Anchor Text strategy, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
Multiple anchor text links from the same page do not ad more weight or value to the search results. So, if in this blog post, I were to do three more links for “SEO Strategy” to the same page, it would simply be a waste of effort.
Multiple web pages using the same Anchor Text keyword will help you, but if all of them are from the same domain name, it is not nearly as valuable. Google and Bing have gotten quite clever with this, and now can differentiate between the same web domain, which will add some weight, but not a lot, and separate web domains. So the more web domains you can have linking back to your page with a solid keyword as the Anchor Text, the better.
Where’s the Anchor Text?
The very first Anchor Text found on a given webpage is what Google and Bing look for. This can be a bit frustrating, but basically, if you add an anchor text link at the beginning of your webpage, and then another later in your webpage linking to the same page, it won’t add any weight. This can cause problems if you have links already available at the top of a page in a menu bar, or somewhere else. So for example if I included a link for “SEO Strategy” in the footer of my webpage, and linked to a page available in the HTML coding at the top menu of my page, Google will ignore the link in the footer.
Internal Links on Your Site < External Links TO Your Site
Internal anchor text links, links placed on your webpage which link to other pages on your webpage do help search ranking. A bit. A tiny, tiny bit. But as we discussed earlier, it is much more valuable to have external domains linking to your webpage, so don’t spend too much time and effort on this particular strategy.
If you are using a link with a photo as the anchor, instead of text, for example if you wanted to use a screen cap, or a logo, then you can use the Alt attribute. Search engines generally (although not always) use the Alt attribute as the anchor text, and if the Alt attribute isn’t present, then it will use the surrounding text, or even the page titles.
As you can see, Anchor Text, if properly understood and utilized, can add a lot of weight to your webpage, especially if those links are coming from other domains. It’s yet another tool to use as you map out your more comprehensive SEO Strategy.