What is Anchor Text in SEO: A NewBie Guide
SEO has changed significantly in past couple of years, and with algorithm changes like the Penguin update, the entire game of back-linking has changed. One of the most important aspects of a backlink is anchor text. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about anchor text SEO.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is the text that appears highlighted in a hypertext link that can be clicked to open a target web page.
For example, see the image below:
If you are a regular visitor to ShoutMeLoud, you know that I very frequently link back to my older posts using anchor text.
How anchor text helps with improving your blog ranking:
There are many direct and indirect SEO-related advantages of using anchor text, and I will point out some of the most important ones in this article.
It has been well established that keyword research and on-page optimization are important to every blog post. When you write an article, try to have it targeted for specific keywords.
In addition, linking to other articles and information using anchor text is also a very good practice for bloggers to regularly incorporate into their work.
One mistake which many bloggers make, however, is by simply linking back to old articles with text like “read here” or “more information here”, which does not give much technical value to search engines. A more useful way to link back to your articles with anchor text is by creating links that use your target keywords!
This is not only important for internal links, but when you are working on your guest posting campaign, you have to make sure that you are getting links from other domains with anchor links. I would add that with the recent Penguin update which is associated with SEO over-optimization, I suggest that you take care to maintain a good ratio of money-related and non-money-related text.
For example, if my blog is using the keywords “Make money Online” and my brand name is “ShoutMeLoud”, technically most SEO’s will suggest using links containing the keywords “make money online”.
However, a better approach would be to use a mix of keywords. For example, I might use keywords like “make money online”, “make money from blog”, “ShoutMeLoud”, “Shout Me Loud” or “Harsh Agrawal” to get links to my homepage. This creates the anchor text variation which is relevant & also good. If you end up generating all backlinks to your site with your target keyword as anchor text, Google might see this as a paid link building process & penalize your site. You should read about Google Penguin algorithm update to learn more about it.
You can use tools like SEMRUSH, Ahrefs to check Anchor text cloud to your pages or your competitor pages. Just for better understanding, in the below image you can see the Anchor text cloud (variations) for all the links pointing to ShoutMeLoud homepage:
Additionally, I will need to make sure the links are of high quality, and that 50% of the links I’m getting will include my target keywords.
By doing this we are keeping a good mix related to our brand, and our backlinks will be more fruitful, and free from any Google algorithm updates in the future.
In WordPress, it is very easy to use anchor links. When you add a link to any text, you get an option to add a title, and that serves as your anchor text. See the screenshot below:
Direct and indirect benefits of linking with anchor text:
Let me start with the direct benefits of anchor text from the readers’ perspective. First, of course, they will be given more related links of interest to visit, (and your bounce rate will go down). Anchor text also helps to improve the average time a reader spends on the site (as well as your blog’s page views).
An important note: When you are linking back to your article, make sure you link to related topics only. Irrelevant linking will be irritating for readers.
I have previously explained how backlinks with anchor text help to increase the general understanding of the page. Recently, with my SEO campaign, I have seen a significant improvement in the search engine positioning of one post, with one backlink.
Just keep a good proportion of 50-20-20-10 of your target anchor keywords. Also, when you are getting a link back, target internal pages too, instead of only your homepage.
If you are using WordPress platform for your website/blog, I suggest that you try the below-mentioned plugin for automatic anchor text interlinking:
- SEO Smart link Premium Plugin
By optimizing our anchor titles we are not only assisting our readers, but we are also helping search engine bots to better understand the content of our site.
How about you? Do you take care of anchor text when you link to your old articles or any other articles outside your domain?
If you find the information in this post useful, do share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus.
Here are more hand-picked basic SEO articles for you to learn next:
- What are backlinks & why it matters
- What is Dofollow & No-Follow in SEO (Beginners Guide)