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posted on October 25th, 2012

Anchor Text and Its Impact on SEO

BY Jason Howard in Content-Marketing ,

Google has a set of standards for ranking websites on search result pages (SERPs), and one of them is the use of anchor text. If many links point to a website or page with relevant keywords used as anchor text, that website or web page has a good chance of ranking high on search results.

What is an Anchor Text?

It is the clickable text in web content. When clicked, it leads to a different page on the same or another website. In some content, it is highlighted and underlined, and appears in various colors depending on the design of a site. Below is how an anchor text looks like in a web article:

  1. web design firm
  2. graphic design
  3. internet marketing solutions

The emboldened and underlined words in the HTML codes above are called anchor texts. In typical web content, you only see the underlined words. An anchor text found in a web article leads to information that pertains to the text.

Take a look at example #1 above. The anchor text there is web design firm. So when you come across something like that in web content, you know that the linked page contains information about a web design firm. The same concept applies to #2 and #3. Google and other search engines also use anchor texts for ranking web content pages appropriately in order to provide searchers with the right information about a topic they are searching for. This makes the correct use of anchor texts in link building an important factor.

Importance of Anchor Text in SEO

Google and other search engines rank websites or web pages according to the number of links pointing to them. The anchor texts used for building the links help them determine the appropriate category for the site or page. In other words, the anchor texts tell them what the content linked to is about. This helps them index the site or page properly.

For example, if your content is about toddler beds, and the anchor text used to link to that content is toddler beds, this is directly telling Google that the content should be ranked for the keyword “toddler bed.” This is why it is important that you have a list of relevant keywords in place when building links. It will save you the time of brainstorming for keywords when the need arises.

Three Simple Tips for Choosing Relevant Anchor Texts

Keyword research is the most important step to choosing various anchor texts for a link building plan. So keep the following factors in mind when you are compiling a list of texts for your program.

  • Relevant keywords to your niche and their synonyms.
  • Keywords that are likely to be used by your target audience when seeking information about your product or service.
  • Target relevant keyword phrases with high daily and monthly search volumes and low competition.

How to Rank a Website or Page High Using Relevant Anchor Texts

This tip is based on the idea of emulating competitors and improving upon what they are doing with your own strategy.

Ideally, every site or web page that ranks high on search results has links with varying anchor texts pointing to it from different sources. They are called backlinks. You are going to copy the anchor texts in the backlinks and use them to build links to your website or web page.

First of all, you will need to check the backlinks of any target website or page you want to copy. There are different tools that are used for this purpose. Go to Google or any other search engine that you feel comfortable with and search for “free backlink checking tools or sites.” You will find a good number of them. Pick one and master it very well.

Now, go back to the search engine again and do a search using your target keyword. In other words, the one you want to rank highly for. Click and copy the URL of the site or web page that ranks #1 for the used keyword, and check the backlinks using the tool you found.

The information you need from the backlink checking tool are the number of links pointing to the URL and the anchor texts used in those links. For example, if the site or web page has a total of five links with the same anchor texts pointing to it, you will need about six to seven links with the same anchor texts in order to outrank the website or web page on the search result page. To maintain that position, use more related keywords as anchor texts to build additional links to the targeted site or web page.

You can model your competitors by finding various anchor texts they are using that allowed them to rank well on Google and other search engines. It is impossible to guess this. You need to find out exactly what they are doing, and leverage that in addition to your link building strategy.

How to Vary Anchor Texts for Link Building

To Google, link building to a site or web page should happen naturally. This means that links should come from different sources with varying anchor texts. Google feels that each webmaster or site owner can use anchor text they deem relevant for linking to another website or page, instead of them using the same texts as if they have all agreed on doing that. The search engine giant considers the use of the same anchor texts in link building a spam, and a site or web page that falls into this category will be penalized by getting blacklisted.

To avoid falling into Google’s penalty trap, vary your usage of anchor texts when building links by using the tips below. For the sake of this example, our primary and exact keyword will be “weight loss program.” So the variation goes like this:

  • Exact match – weight loss program
  • Related match – Fat loss plan
  • URL match – weightlossprogram.com
  • Brand name match – Slim Down Weight Loss Program
  • Long-tail keywords (less competitive) – Get slim, get thin, burn fat, lose weight, weight control, control weight, weight loss plan
  • Other keywords – Use a few of these such as: click here, read more, find out more, and more information

The above tips are meant to give you an idea about ways to vary anchor texts. Don’t limit yourself to them. Strive to come up with as many varying texts as you can. In a nutshell, diversify your use of anchor texts in link building to avoid being negatively affected by any of Google’s regular updates.

Anchor text holds a high value among the many standards Google looks at before ranking a site or web page. The above information will guide you on how to use relevant keywords to build quality links to your site and web pages.

Do you need help building and implementing an effective SEO strategy for your website? Our professional marketing agency has SEO experts with the knowledge and experience to get you high rankings on Google and other search engines. Contact us to find out how we can enhance your online presence.

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