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Anchor Text Explained

In order to rank well in search engine results, you will need to have an authoritative website, as well as implement effective SEO strategies. Acquiring backlinks is one such strategy to accomplish this, however, building a backlink portfolio can be a complex process that involves more moving pieces than you might think. Anchor text, for example, is one of the most important aspects of backlinking, but many website owners do not even know what anchor text is.

At StatCounter, we not only provide our members with the means to track a number of important metrics to help them develop effective SEO strategies, but we also seek to provide the insightful information needed to maintain such strategies. Seeing as backlinks are a crucial part of such, let us answer the question “what is anchor text” and explain the importance anchor text plays in your backlink portfolio.

Suggested Reading

If you’re ready to learn more with regards to SEO, you can view the pages we’ve provided below:

What is Anchor Text?

In short, the clickable text hyperlinks display is referred to as anchor text. For instance, when you’re reading an article online and come to point where it reads, “Top 5 SEO Strategies”, that text is linked to a page on SEO Strategies, making it anchor text. And, by using keywords like “SEO Strategies”, the site is telling search engines the page being linked to covers exactly that.

While it may seem arbitrary, anchor text actually plays an important role in your backlink portfolio. When you download your backlink portfolio as a spreadsheet, you will be able to see the anchor text for each backlink. The anchor text should include a keyword relevant to your business or website’s brand. The more a keyword is used in anchor texts, the more likely your site is to rank well for the keyword in question.

Not only does anchor text give the user an idea of what to expect should they choose to follow this link, but it is also an important element for Google and other search engines. Search engines will look at the anchor text of a hyperlink to determine what the linked-to page is about—as mentioned above. Together, the anchor text and the content on the linked-to page are known as link relevancy and this is part of the algorithms used by search engines to rank results.

In fact, Google’s Penguin update focuses heavily on anchor text, and spammy backlinks in general. Whenever a new version of Google Penguin is released, a website that had been impacted previously could see an improvement in search result rankings if they took the proper steps to cleaning up their backlink portfolio.

Anchor Text with Regards to Backlinks

Many of the ways in which you backlinks for your website allow you to use anchor text when leaving the link to your site. Whether you’re commenting in a forum or submitting a guest blog, the anchor text you use to link to your website should include a relevant keyword to the page you’re commenting on or the guest blog you’re writing, and the page you’re linking to, of course! This goes back to the link relevancy idea.

Real World Application

Say you run a Italian restaurant in New York City and you’re writing a guest blog on “Italian dishes” for another website. In order to get a backlink out of your guest post, you’ll need to link in a page of your website to the blog you’re writing. The anchor text in any given sentence could read, “authentic Italian desserts” and link to the desserts page on your website. This ensures the anchor text and page being linked to are relevant.

Importance of Anchor Text on Your Own Site

While anchor text may seem simple, there are a number of practices you should pay close attention to when using it on your own website. For example, let’s say you are linking to the same page twice on your website’s home page and each has a unique anchor text. Search engines will only use the first anchor text on the page to help your search results. If you are linking to an external blog and the first anchor text is “blog” while the second set of anchor text is “The Best Blog Ever”, search engines will only count “blog” as the anchor text. Since “blog” is a more competitive keyword than “The Best Blog Ever”, you likely won’t see a difference in search results like you might with “The Best Blog Ever”. For the most part, though, you should only be linking to a specific page once on each page of your site.

Keeping Number of Links Low

Additionally, you will want to keep the number of links on each page of your website as low as possible—and this isn’t specific to backlinks. Whether it’s links to another page of your site, or links sending users to external websites, the more links on a page of your website, the more likely search engines will be to consider it spammy, which could lead to a penalty. Along these same lines, be sure to use unique anchor text for each link on your site. Otherwise, search engines will believe you are trying to manipulate their search algorithm to get keyword-optimized anchor text across your site.

Another practice that isn’t necessarily beneficial for your site is to include words like “click here” in the anchor text. This won’t be a spammy anchor text practice, but it won’t benefit you when it comes to keyword rankings, unless you are trying to rank for “click here” for some reason. Also, it won’t help search engines understand what the linked-to page is about, and whether or not it is actually a relevant link from your website.

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As you can see, anchor text can be quite important to both your on-site links and the backlinks you acquire on external websites. In order to get the most out of both types of links, be sure to practice the tips provided above, as well as avoid the tactics that could result in a penalty.

Also, as you work to perfect your site and improve search results rankings, it’s important to track your progress to ensure you’re making the right decisions with regards to SEO. With StatCounter, you can track a range of metrics to accomplish this and continue to make educated decisions as to where to go next with your website and strategy.

If you are in need of assistance, or need help signing up for our Growth Plan, you can contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below.

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