Bloggers Guide To Anchor Text
What Is the Best Practice for Anchor Texts? As you may already know, anchor texts are an effective strategy used in search engine optimization (SEO). Anchor texts and the text around them can help determine the topic and content of your site and make a conclusion on what user queries are needed for your website pages to be displayed on Google’s SERPs.
SEO is changing and developing following search engine algorithms, but anchor texts will always be essential for product promotion.
When creating your content as well as when choosing anchor texts, you must have a reader-first mindset. Do not ever try to manipulate anchor texts to trick the system. Instead, be helpful to the reader using a reader-first mindset.
What Are Anchor Texts? Anchor Text Definition
Anchor texts are also called hyperlinks, and their basic function is to link a page to another page. Types of anchor links include external links and internal links.
Requirements for anchor texts can also change based on the niche, the goals of a project, and the project type. These are aspects considered by Google in ranking a website.
Remember to integrate your links correctly so that they sound natural to search engines. Do not just post your links. Include them, but make sure they sound natural within your content. Otherwise, your content will sound spammy, and you will get a low ranking from Google.
Below are concepts to carefully consider when building anchor links.
Google Penguin Updates
Over the past years, the best practices for anchor texts have evolved considerably due to the changing requirements implemented through the Google Penguin Updates.
In 2012, there were two Google Penguin updates. There were also two in 2013 and one each in 2014 and 2016.
Since these updates are periodic, some SEO professionals take advantage of the gaps by using gray-hat anchor link practices, such as low-quality link building and targeted anchor links. Then they get punished by Google for doing such practices.
Google also punishes overly-aggressive use of anchor texts, so avoid such a practice as well. Instead, follow the guidelines set by Google.
Anchor Text Types
Examples of anchor text below
These are the categories of anchor texts you can use in your content.
Generic – Check this out, read more, click here, etc.
No text – An image that features a link to another page
LSI keywords – anchor texts related to targeted keywords
Blog post heading – the title of a page
Branded – the name of the brand
Naked URL – the URL to the page you want to link to
Website name – the name of the website you are promoting
Exact-match – using the exact targeted keyword as anchor text
Partial-match – using the exact targeted keyword and additional text as anchor text
Note that using exact-match and partial-match keywords as anchor texts are viewed by Google as link building. Therefore, they are also seen as a strategy to manipulate Google rankings. Google will devalue your links if you use these types of anchor texts too much.
Best Practices for SEO Anchor Text Optimization
Here are strategies to optimize your anchor texts. With these strategies, you can positively affect your SEO.
Know Your Goal for Anchor Texts
You must be careful not to be over-focused on the goal of improving your search engine rankings. Rather, with anchor links, be focused on the following goals.
Provide additional information about a topic, thing, person, website, or place.
Provide answers to questions of readers.
Cite the source of your referenced information.
Proper link insertion has the purpose of augmenting your content and should achieve one of these goals. If it does not achieve any of those goals, you better not include it.
When you decide to include a link, it should always be a fragment of the sentence or a branded anchor.
Avoid Having Too Many Links
Ideally, the links to your web pages should be earned organically, but that can only happen if you provide your audience with great content. Great content is one that is informative, relevant, and not spammy.
However, you would also build some of your website’s links and place them on blog posts, guest posts, authority sites, etc. When doing that activity, make sure to make whatever you build with anchor texts always sound and look natural.
A natural anchor link profile will have many different text variations with lots of these links ending up on your homepage. For that, you can use your website’s name or the URL of your site as your anchor text.
Also, links to deep-level categories and product pages must feature lots of variations.
Place Anchors in Parts Where People Usually Check First
These parts include images, headings, subheadings, and the first paragraphs of the page. Plan how you can take advantage of these focal points but again, make sure it does not look spammy or sound unnatural.
Also, do not crowd your page with anchor texts. If your users think the anchor text to be potentially valuable, you do not need to have lots of them in one section of the page. They will have to click one link only to know the additional content you have inside.
Do Not Use the Same Anchor Text to Link to the Same Page More than Once
Stay clear of over-optimized anchor text
The advice is to avoid it. Why? Because it also looks spammy, and for Google, such a technique is manipulative and will make your content look unnatural and inorganic.
For your readers, linking to the same post more than once would appear to them as forced and not organic. Today, readers easily understand such a tactic being employed and become turned off. If you insist to use this tactic, you will only hurt your brand.
If it is an isolated case, perhaps that will not be a problem, but if you repeat it many times, it will result in a poor user experience and will be sub-optimal with regard to your information structure. These all will impact your SEO performance.
Remember that links are for people to access related information. If you write quality and helpful content, the context of why links are used will naturally vary. The anchor texts will also naturally vary. These all constitute good and fair practice.
Experiment with Different Anchor Texts
Change your existing anchor texts as you deem appropriate. The result will depend on what you are changing the anchor texts to become. For instance, if the URL of the page you want to link to is roastedturkey.com, and you want to change your anchor text from “click here” to “read this post about roasting turkey,” that might improve your SEO ranking.
However, always make sure that you are not keyword stuffing and use a diversity of anchor texts throughout. Thus, you can have several links to a high-value page, but make sure you use a variety of anchor texts. You can use “click here”, “turkey” and “turkey roasting techniques” to avoid keyword stuffing.
Then, after anchor text modification, check how it affects your ranking. If your existing page is performing well at the moment, perhaps there is no need to implement any anchor text modification in the first place.
Think of Conciseness and Relevance
No limit has been set in terms of the length of anchor texts. Yet, you need to be as concise as possible in every link text you include. Choose the most condensed yet precise text to refer to the content of the linked page. Also, use the phrase or words that encourage your audience the most to click on your anchor link.
Besides accuracy and conciseness, you also want to ensure that the anchor text is relevant to the page you are linking to. Intent, intent, and intent is the new metric of Google.
Relevant links elevate the likelihood of getting ranked higher for your content and the linked-to page. For that reason, make sure that your anchor texts describe your target pages as much as possible.
Also, strive to use keywords on anchor texts sparsely. Google is getting stricter and stricter, and now, it is paying attention to links that contain the website’s keywords.
If you have too many inbound links containing similar anchor texts, it may appear to Google as keyword stuffing. Aim to use a variety of anchor texts that flow harmoniously with the rest of your content and avoid using the same keyword again and again.
Pay Attention to Surrounding Text
Google’s BERT algorithm favors natural human language and context. The way it works is that the algorithm considers the entire context of a word in terms of the meanings of the words that come before and after it. That is particularly useful for Google to understand the intent in search queries.
When you read a post online, you do not only look at the anchor link. You also check the paragraphs and sentences surrounding it. Then you can figure out the content on the other side of the anchor link.
As mentioned earlier, you do not have to add a bunch of anchor texts to rank your content for your keywords without providing value. Note that Google bots scan the anchor text as well as the words and sentences surrounding it.
When creating your content, as well as when choosing anchor texts, you must have a reader-first mindset. Do not ever try to manipulate anchor texts to trick the system. Instead, be helpful to the reader using a reader-first mindset.
Be truthful, honest, and valuable to your readers. Imagine what can happen if, instead of a helpful blog about eye care, you have led your readers through an anchor text to a page that sells sunglasses to them!
Your readers will be confused and probably will not click another link on your site. Rather, they will think of you as a manipulative person.
So, Google is not the only one looking for relevant content here. Your audience, too, is looking for relevant content. You can establish trust among them by using sources and linking practices with their interest at the top of your mind.
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