Links are the currency of the internet. Links create and build reputations, greasing the internet with every click. In fact Google’s all powerful algorithm is primarily based on link authority. It’s powerful stuff. It’s not just the link itself that carries the SEO power. It’s the text within the link that carries the Google juice. This text is known as anchor text. This is how you can harness this power for your website.
Consider how Google updates (or caches) internet sites for its index. It sends out millions of virtual automated Google spiders to trawl the internet and record the content on each page. These spiders will read the information and links on each page. Each time someone searches Google, Google will return results based on applying its algorithm to the latest Google spider information.
Since the Google spiders are automated and computer driven, they use pre-determined logic to interpret links. They can’t reason like us humans. For instance, if you write the sentence and link ‘Free fuel is going to save me money’, the Google spider assumes that the page you’re linking to is all about ‘save me money’, so it indexes it accordingly. This is a shame, because the page is actually all about ‘free fuel’.
Don’t try and be clever. Use logical anchor text.
Don’t Use Click Here
Back in the early days of the internet, people used ‘click here’ to identify their links. The Internet was just a baby, so writers had to shape behaviour in an unfamiliar environment. These days people instinctively know that words in blue text are links.
For a search engine optimisation perspective, using ‘click here’ is useless. It does not inform the Google spiders of page content and therefore it does not improve your SEO. Using ‘click here’ as your anchor text is a wasted opportunity, that is, unless you want to rank for the term. Mind you, Adobe already have dibs on the term with their free acrobat PDF reader. Search for click here and see for yourself.
Which Anchor Text Phrase Should I Target?
Choices, choices. The anchor text phrase that you target should align with the search terms that your customers are using. For example, your anchor text could be ‘Melbourne Flower Delivery’ or ‘Bondi Dentist.’ The phrase you target should:
- Reflect your business or product
- Align to what your customers are searching for
- Have a basic level of search traffic (see the Google Keyword Tool and Market Samurai)
- Ideally, not have a high level of competition
The anchor text holly grail would be to have your business name and website address as your anchor text. As long as it meets the above criteria, you’re in for a great chance of success.
Consistency is the Key
Important: The advice I offer below is now out of date. See my newer article which advises to Mix up Your Anchor Text
Use your targetted anchor text phrase at every opportunity (without being spammy). This could include:
- In your call to action
- In your forum signatures
- In your on-site articles
- In your off-site articles
Over time Google will start to understand that your website is the place to go for information about your anchor text, eg: ‘Melbourne Flower Delivery’ or ‘Bondi Dentist’. That means that your website will start to feature in results for these searched phrases. And when that happens it’s time to celebrate with a jam donut. Don’t burn your mouth.
Coding Text as Anchor Text
Coding anchor text is usually just a case of highlighting text, pressing the link button, then entering your website. However sometimes this user interface isn’t available, in which case you need to get your hands dirty with the following code: <a href=”http://EnterWebsiteAddressHere.com”>Enter Anchor Text Here</a>
Or as an example that returns Small Business Plan:
And that’s anchor text in a nutshell. Know it and use it to strengthen your website rankings.
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You’ve explained anchor text really well here. I’ve been doing what you suggest and recommend but without really understanding why. Although, I have to admit to putting the odd ‘click here’ in – which I will stop doing immediately. Your posts are always so informative, interesting and easy to understand. Thanks heaps
.-= Jan Littlehales´s last blog ..Beef Stroganoff – in Ten Minutes =-.
This is an interesting subject for me, as it blends a bit with the concept of elegantly placing keywords throughout my texts which challenges me every now and then. And on that point, your final example is very elegantly done. My compliments!
Great post – very informative and very easy to understand. Anchor text is so important and it is great that you provided the code for when the “insert hyperlink” button is not available. It can be hard to deecide what text you are going to use as the anchor text, but as you have pointed out, relevancy is so sooo important.
.-= Jayne Pleysier´s last blog ..Tips For Finding High Paying Home Based Work =-.
Another great post explaining all about what an anchor text is, how to put it into your blog and how Anchor Text improves SEO.
.-= Tania Shipman´s last blog ..Update on New Internet Plan =-.
Great information on Anchor text to improve SEO ranking. I have not given it to much thought in regards to what to write when placing a link in my website – just knew that “Click here” was not suitable. Makes sense to use a targeted keyword in a link so that google can pick up what the site is all about.
Thanks for sharing
.-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Free Book Summaries Review =-.
Hi David. Great article – a solid explanation of the virtues of using targeted keywords in anchor text. I really loved the introduction, with links being the ‘currency of the internet’ – powerful stuff.
One thing I have been reading about lately is using LSI targeted variations of keywords, so that not all the anchor text linking back to a site (or page) is the same. Presumably so that it looks a bit more natural to Google. I haven’t made a conscious effort to experiment on this point just yet, but it seems to make sense to mix things up.
Thank you for flagging the importance of anchor text. I will revisit my site and make sure I have implamented your tips.
You’ve done a great job of explaining anchor text. You create better backlinks that carry more weight in Google’s eyes when you link using your anchor text.
Thanks for the reminder of best linking practices. I really think it makes a big difference to SEO and your PR.
Great tips! SEO is an invaluable skill to have these days when so much shopping is done online.