Anchor text is the clickable text that appears on a web page. By clicking on it, the site visitor is directed to an internal or external page. Introducing the text so that it appears in a different color than the surrounding text increases the likelihood that your audience will notice and click on the link. It is crucial that the words used as an anchor text be relevant to what the reader can expect to find if they click on its hyperlink. Anchor text plays a vital role in search engine rankings. This type of text should always appear natural and include valuable information that is easy to understand. In some instances, the anchor text includes a link that doesn’t navigate the reader away from the actual web page. Instead, by clicking on the anchor text, the reader is directed to another part on the same page, which provides a good user experience and makes it simple for the person to easily navigate to the information they are looking for. Understanding how to use properly use anchor text is vital to effective content marketing.
By clicking on the anchor text, the reader is directed to another part on the same page, which provides a good user experience and makes it simple for the person to easily navigate to the information they are looking for. Anchor text is sometimes referred to as “link labels” or “link titles”. The words used in the anchor text play a significant role in determining the ranking of the page on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It is important to make the distinction between anchor text and “naked URLs”, which are simply links without associated anchor text. It is also with noting that anchor text is displayed differently by different web browsers.
Some types of anchor text are more effective for improving search engine ranking than others. Exact match anchor text is especially effective at enabling websites to achieve a higher search engine ranking due to the use of the targeted keywords for the particular page.
But there are drawbacks to excessive usage of exact match anchor text. Google has a spam filter that identifies websites that use exact match anchor text excessively. This filter sees a large number of web pages that have exact match anchor text as ‘unnatural’, and penalizes them with lower rankings.
One way to avoid being penalized by Google’s spam filter is to use variations of anchor text. It would also help to mix naked URLs with regular anchor text links.
For purposes of search engine optimization (SEO), it is common practice for link builders to control the anchor text in links from other sites. SEO specialists fill these anchor texts with targeted keywords that match the keywords that the linked page is targeting.
Backlink anchor text is the text used in links from other websites that point back to the target website. This anchor text is useful for enabling search engines to determine the keywords that are most relevant to the page ranking of the target website. One-way anchor text backlinks are links that lead from one site to another and are not reciprocated. For example, if site A has an anchor text backlink to site B, but site B does not link back to A, site A’s link is a one-way anchor text backlink.
One-way anchor text backlinks are actually valuable from an SEO standpoint because PageRank juice is transferred from domain to domain. Most SEO specialists seek out one-way anchor text backlinks in the hopes of getting a higher ranking on the search engines.
It is possible to use anchor text excessively. Using too many keywords to link to a high number of pages on another website can be considered excessive. Website owners should also avoid using a high number of different anchor texts to point to the same page. Google considers these practices spamming and unfriendly to users, and will likely penalize offending websites.
Anchor text can be considered ‘spammy’ if it has no relevance or relationship to the page where it is used or the page it links to. Using spammy anchor text is a common tactic to quickly and temporarily get a high search engine ranking for a website. It is also often used to pull down a competing website’s ranking via negative SEO.
Anchor text does not always reflect or communicate the topic of a particular website effectively. In some cases, websites get anchor text that does not effectively identify the focus of the target page. But these occurrences are normal and natural from an SEO standpoint, just like naked URLs. Google will not usually penalize these instances because they occur naturally. Google will, however, penalize sites that have an unnatural absence of naked URLs, excessive anchor text, and an unusually high number of one-way anchor text backlinks. All of these indicate unnatural anchor text distribution, which could compromise the experience for the site user. To avoid being penalized by Google, it is always best to obtain natural anchor text links by way of good content and effective SEO practices.