Anchor text is the clickable link in a body of text, which leads to another page on or off the website. It is generally underlined and blue, but that only depends on the styling of the website. They styling indicates to a human read that if they click on it, a new page will be served.
Why is Anchor Text important to SEO?
Anchor text links to a new page, and search engines crawl the web via links. If the anchor text is descriptive of the next page, then Google associates that next page with that text. This association helps Google to rank the page when someone does a search for that term. We want to use anchor text that describes what our sites do, not just the name of our sites. Generally speaking, if we are marketing for a branded term unique to us, the anchor text should be about the product offering or service…not the actual brand name.
Think of the anchor text like someone wearing a name tag at a conference. If they’re name tag said “Online Marketer” then you have a pretty good idea what this guy will want to talk about. If his name tag just says “Scott“, then you have no descriptive information about him, and it’s harder to mentally classify what “Scott” is.
Anchor text examples:
Good anchor text examples:
- …if you need to rent skis on-line, visit Breezeski.com
- …a private ski lesson is the best way to learn how to ski while on vacation at Beaver Creek.
Bad anchor text examples:
- …to book a ski lesson read more!
- (This tells Google that the linked page should be about encouraging reading)
- …click here to find the best lodging deals…
- (This tells Google that the linked pages should be about clicking on things)
- …to book your family ski vacation go to Vail.com.
- (This tells Google that Vail.com is about Vail.com, a term Vail.com already will show up for #1 in Google. This is a wasted opportunity to build value around ‘family ski vacation’ which could have been the anchor text for the link.)
Anchor text Best Practices:
- Each page on the site should use anchor text in the page content, at least once. Towards the end of the content, and the link serves as a call-to-action for the reader.
- Use a descriptive phrase of the next page, preferably one of the keywords you are optimizing the linked page for.
- Don’t link ever word in a sentence, or the entire paragraph of text. That is abuse of what anchor text is intended for, and will result Google devaluing your website Also it just looks really bad to a human reader.