Anchor Text Optimization 101

Ok, I thought I’d go back to basics for some beginner SEO’s and those who take an interest in the subject. Anchor text is the name given to the text of a link or a link description, for example in the link SEO Blog, the anchor text is “SEO Blog”.

The anchor text on any website is completely editable and can provide some great SEO value from inside a website and from external websites as well. Essentially the best practice to use in any situation is to provide the most accurate description of what the link destination is as possible. Use the image below as guidance, so for example “Johns Cars” website had 3 important pages about; car engines, types of wheels and cars for sale.

anchor1


Now what’s important within the internal structure of Johns Cars is what kind of anchor text is used to link to these pages. What you should try and avoid in the setup of your navigation or links within content using unrelated anchor text to link to a page. Terms such as “click here” and “this link” don’t really provide any useful description of what’s at the destination or what users should expect.

anchor2

If you provide a good description of a page explaining what users can accurately expect to see once they arrive at the link destination then you’re optimising your internal link structure successfully. By doing this you are letting the search engines know what’s on the page, making the destination more relevant to a page with just a “click here” link. See the diagram below to show how internal anchor texts should be used:

anchor4

SEO pour des informations sur la page. Pourtant, il off page SEO variations EUR notables dans différents conteneurs et “cibles, vous verrez seulement le trafic à l’aide à long also mot-clé queue de plus naturel et ne sont pas à classer par ordre L’.

This type of method also applies to external links i.e. backlinks. In an ideal world you would aim to have hundreds or even thousands (depending how greedy you were) of links with accurate anchor texts pointing to your content. Google and the other search engines use the anchor text to help determine how useful pages are, and rank them accordingly (this is only a fraction of the ranking algorithm). The only problem is, you have no legitimate way of controlling what anchor text is used to point to your website. What we don’t really want again is phrases such as “this site” or “check this out” – although a link is a link and beggars can’t be choosers!

anchor3

As the diagram indicates above although these links are pointing to Johns Cars they are not really providing any real added value in terms of anchor text. They are not telling the search engines or users what content should be expected on the website. Not to go too far into detail about getting the correct anchor texts as there are ways such as paid links and link bait but essentially any external links should ideally be keywords you are trying to rank for, so in Johns case, “Cars for sale”, “Types of wheels” and “Car engines”.





19 thoughts on “Anchor Text Optimization 101”

  1. Anchor text usually gives the user relevant descriptive or contextual information about the content of the link’s destination. Google uses the anchor text in the backlinks to your website to help determine if (a) the link is from a relevant website and (b) what your website is about. These are two reasons why the anchor text needs to be good. If you hired an economical SEO firm, make sure that they do this properly.
    If you’re looking for a good introduction to SEO guideline that an economical SEO firm can follow, check this one out. http://www.bergstrom-seo.com/resources/google-search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf. It was written by google, and it’s really good.

  2. Thanks for this article that will help me for my french website Cachem.

    Thanks to SEO Stratagem for your interesting link.

  3. Thi article is quite interesting, and i don’tuse anchor text links. Maybe I should start with it. The other point is that I am using a CMS (joomla) and therefore it is quite hard to give my page a structure since joomla’s component are doing it. At http://www.virtualascona.com I am getting more visitors from google everyday and this will help a lot to improve my ranking. But the start was quite hard

  4. I always use anchor text. But remember it’s important to optimize your pages for keywords that people are actually searching for.
    You can use Google’s keyword tool to see what people are searching for. Then optimize your web pages for these words. Then you can put links with these keywords as your anchor text.

  5. Good info for on-page SEO. Still worth noting that off-page SEO can and should contain different variations of the target keyword you want to rank for to not only get long tail traffic but also to appear more natural.

    Ant :-)

  6. I got here from Woorank and re-read this article over ad over.

    Anyone who wants proper SEO should not only consider creating back-links, but instead placing just the text ‘click here’ or ‘more’ consider placing more meaningful anchor text, and yes, too much anchor text can be considered as spam.

  7. Really anchor text optimization is must whether its internal or external. The anchor text should explain what the landing page is all about just like woorank has linked to this site using a strategy as an anchor text.

  8. I didn’t know this about anchor text. I guess it is so basic I should have. My site is a wordpress site so all the drop-down menus are handled by wordpress. I guess I need to do a parallel structure for anchor text and bury it in the footer. Is this correct?anyone?

  9. Even today many do not know what it means to anchor and how it is actually used in the optimization of pages, but the essence is very complicated because it is not a pure essential linking site with quality content. Thank you for a good post, best regards

  10. This is a great re-enforcement for how important anchor text is. I feel it is forgotten many times (I sometimes forget myself) to use accurate anchor text as often as possible.

  11. I just can’t wait until Google decides that “stuffing” anchor text into filenames, tags and such is a sign of trying to “game” the system.
    Even though Google swears they like it, I feel a new “slap” coming.

  12. SEOMoz whiteboard friday covered this last week. People think anchor text is basic SEO but there are variables that makes anchor text a little advanced. Such as the positioning of the text.

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