How to select and use anchor text effectively

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Anchor text is used to tell search engines and visitors what the page is about. The words contained in anchor text can determine the ranking that page will receive by search engines. When used wisely anchor text boosts your rankings in search engines, especially in Google and provides your visitors with useful information about the content of the page you’re linking to.

Search engines are designed to provide highly relevant search results and this is where properly selected anchor text comes into play. Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms, because the linked text is usually relevant to the landing page.

Anchor text can be used in:

  • Links on your home or main page – important spot
  • External links – links from other sites
  • Internal links – links on your pages
  • Navigation maps

Not all links are created equally, and not all links serve the same purpose. Brian Clark reminds us that using “click here” as anchor text is still valid. Lisa Barone disagrees; her argument being that keywords in the anchor text are critical. They’re both right. Are you using the five kinds of links properly?

Related reference: Does Telling Someone to “Click Here” Actually Matter?

Key Words as Anchor Text
In his concise article The Importance of Anchor Text in SEO, which has been deleted (update Dec31,2009)  author Terrence Brown delivers the message that anchor text should be carefully selected key words rather than words like “click here”. if you use “click here” then according to Google’s search algorithm or ranking formula, you are getting credit for the term “click here” and not for whatever keyword or phrase you are optimizing for.

Blogging tip: In short, use appropriate key words as anchor text.

Blogging tip: When creating a link to one of your other pages on your site, or on another site, it’s important to include the keywords in the link that you are optimizing for on the other page as anchor text.

Learning the Ropes
The good news is that we bloggers can use Google’s Webmaster Tools to assist us with optimization. In our Google Webmaster’s account we can see the most common words in anchor text linking to our site. This will help when us learn how use anchor text to procure high results in search engine results pages. The Extended Link information at your Google Sitemap account.

* In the past, Google bombing has been possible through anchor text manipulation; however, in January, 2007, Google announced it had updated its algorithm to minimize the impact of Google bombs.

Going Deeper
In his comprehensive article Anchor Text Optimization author Jagdeep S. Pannu uses many examples when discussing these noteworthy topics:
Search Engine Algorithms like Anchor Text
Anchor Text Enhances the Relevance of the Target Page
How to Optimize Anchor Text Within Your Site
Using Keywords in Natural Text to Create Anchor Text
Optimizing Anchor Text of External Links

Related posts found in this blog:
Understanding Reciprocal an Non-Reciprocal Links
Understanding Backlinks
Deep link posts: Bring your readers back again and again
Blogging: Characteristics of pillar posts
Improving your Google Page Rank
How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog
SEO tips for WordPress powered blogs






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41 thoughts on “How to select and use anchor text effectively

  1. Pingback: Creating HTML Hyperlinks (Links) in WordPress | one cool site

  2. I knew I am doing something right when I decide to maintain a relevant anchor text when doing a hyperlink.

    For instance, I just wrote about Cebu and included links to the official pages of the places I visited for the purpose of cutting the search time for the readers should they wish to contact the establishment. Though I also limit my outbound links because I also read somewhere that it’s also not a good practice to bombard readers with too much.

    Thanks for reassuring and sharing that this in fact is a big contributing factor to Google’s algorithm.

    Looking forward to more of your timeless tips.

  3. Hello, Would just like to ask something. Like for example I have posted on my blog about how to remove shortcut virus on usb. Then I will use “remove shortcut virus on usb” as an anchor text when building external links? I’m new to blogging. I just wanted to learn new things. =D

    • I don’t object to this is your case. These reasons why are clear. WordPress.com bloggers cannot have blogger initiated advertising on their blogs. The blogs are not commercial in nature and linking your username to your blog with the anchor text of dragonsedge is not to result in clicking into a PPC (pay per click) site. In your case, your username is a good branding choice.

  4. Mmm… I use ‘click here’ or versions of, and other words/phrases. My main reason for using something as obvious as ‘click here’ is for friend and relatives I have who occasionally read my blog and who are not internet-savvy. There are many. There probably always will be people who don’t understand even the simplest things online and I try to make things easier for them.

    I’m less concerned about SEO ratings than about people I know who just don’t have good ‘net skills.

  5. @cartercuty
    I have shared all that I have to share at this time on anchor text in this post. If you need help that goes beyond what I have provided you will have to hire an SEO consultant.

  6. Hell there !!

    I want to promote my website want a little help…………
    How to use Anchor Text help me out me please………..

  7. You’re right. There are examples everywhere online. We are all basically self taught bloggers who get by with help from friends. Unless or until we decide to become better at what we do and find out how we retain old habits, without even knowing they are bad ones.

  8. Some excellent tips here. It’s amazing though how many sites still use ‘read more…’ ‘click here…’ and even images (with no alt or title tag) for such navigation.

  9. Pingback: How to Become a Better Blogger 3 - Ethics and Links « one cool site: wordpress blogging tips

  10. TT,

    Great info!! This is probably redundant but like previous comments, anchor texting is something that I’ll need to work on now. This term was not in my blogging vocabulary before.

    s2c97

  11. @mleighto
    Thanks for all the experience sharing and the insights. They are very much appreciated. Content is king so the challenge is to use the SEO information in a natural way without changing the flow or readability. I think that once one begins to practice they will soon find they are automatically selecting relevant anchor text and using it effectively. :)

  12. Another point is what key word niche you would like to show up for in google. Lets say you would like to rank higher for “SEO techniques” Yet, their is a bazillion people competing for this search term. So find one that is not so competitive like “SEO tips and tricks” and make this your anchor text linking to your site. This will help boost your ranking and help target viewers you want. (the terms listed above are examples and were not researched).

    Trick Number 2: Find something popular and off the wall. I hit a home run with an article titled squidbillies and truck nuts and I had misspelled sqiud on my title page on purpose, but throughout the rest of the article it is spelled correctly. Now when ever someone makes that same spelling error they find my article, and the page views keep pouring in. It kind of is a long shot, but I am ranked #2 on that misspelling and I do not have to compete with the others using the correct spelling and I still get hits.

    It takes some research and time to find your niche and you can rank well, and if you can not beat them find a way around them or a search term less competitive. No sense of trying to compete with a twenty different PR7 sites with firms handling their SEO.

    I am starting to babble and will stop. Great article though

  13. Natural linking within quality content and using SEO are not at odds. The two are not mutually exclusive. One can choose appropriate and relevant anchor text for linking within quality content, without negatively affecting natural flow and readability.

  14. I’ve never looked at linked this way before. Instead I’ve always treated the text in my links more as a matter of aesthetics and readability. When I want to link to something as a reference within some text, I choose a natural spot that will not create too much highlighted text, will fall at a natural point to click, and doesn’t get in the way. I think I would prefer to stick to these principles, but I’ll keep what you report in mind in case I see a couple possibilities. All other things being equal, it would make sense to follow your advice.

  15. @Root
    LOL … :P That’s an interesting admission and as you have offered no corrections I’m doing a little happy dance knowing that the article I wrote was not deficient or you would have said so . Yay!

    My friend’s husband is a decorator who specializes in bathrooms and kitchens. She complains that all his customer’s have beautiful and functional kitchens and bathrooms, while she has open kitchen shelving and still no cupboard doors, no shower installed as yet and her toilet has been malfunctioning for weeks.

    Maybe your blog situation is analogous. lol :P

  16. @Heather
    I’ve been blogging since 2006 and I’m still learning new things every day. Take note of what I said to Pentad. I do appreciate your feedback and support. Happy blogging Heather. :)

  17. @Pentad
    As I learn more I find myself wanting to go through my entire blog from beginning to end and change things. This, of course, would not be workable but I will take the new found knowledge forward and try to create better posts with more relevant anchor text in the future. Thanks for your ongoing support. I appreciate it as it motivates me to blog on. :)

  18. I’m with Pentad…I’m going to have to do some work on this issue…I have to admit I don’t know much about the the importance of the anchor link and what everything means…I’ve been blogging for approximately 5 months and while I’ve learned a great deal, I realize there is much more to learn!!!

    Thanks for the info…
    Cheers

  19. Thanks for posting this, I have learned a little bit about anchor text. I will be checking out my Google Webmasters account to see if I can get a little more improvement with my SEO. Thanks!

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