The Importance of Anchor Text

Written By: Stephen Scott
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Anchor text is perhaps one of the most powerful and yet least understood parts of website optimization. Using the right anchor text in links (internal and external) can give you a boost in your search engine rankings.

So what exactly is anchor text? Anchor text refers to the text that is displayed in the place of a website address (URL). If properly used, the anchor text tell you what information you can expect to find at the links destination. Lets de construct a link to identify the anchor text (anchor text in red):

Here's what your HTML code looks like (what search engines see):

<a href="http://www.siteachieve.com/articles/anchor_text.html">How To Optimize Anchor Text</a>

Here's what your visitor sees: How To Optimize Anchor Text

The link structure above contains two major elements:

  1. The address (URL) of the web page
  2. The anchor text that the viewer will actually see.

When the visitor clicks on the link, there is an expectation that the resulting web page will be about 'How To Optimize Anchor Text'.

There are actually 3 types of links for which anchor text is important. Internal links, external links and inbound links:

  1. Internal links are links from your domain to other pages within your domain.
  2. External links are links from pages within your domain to pages outside your domain.
  3. Inbound links are links from other domains that link to pages within your domain.

Proper use of anchor text is equally important for internal, external and inbound links - and you should using optimized anchor text as part of your linking strategy.

Remember, search engines will follow your links and expect the content of the target page to be about the keyword phrase used as anchor text in the link.

So why do I see so many people using generic anchor text, like 'Click Here'? Poor anchor text optimization - that is unless the destination page is actually about 'click here'.

Proper optimization of anchor text gives visitors more information on the benefit of clicking on your link and through to your site. Therefore, your anchor text should make sense - stuffing it full of multiple keyword phrases will turn off potential human visitors, and potentially result in search engine penalization due to keyword stuffing.

Alternatively, using quality anchor text that includes your target keywords will improve your search engine ranking (especially for the exact keywords phrases used in the anchor text).

Just like human visitors, search engines want some kind of preview of what the destination page is about. Search engines also place a premium on properly optimized anchor text in inbound links to your site from other reputable sites. That's why its also important to focus on increasing the number of quality inbound links to your site, paying special attention to keyword-rich anchor text in these links.

The SiteAchieve link exchange program is an excellent way to build inbound links to you site.

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