Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Properly selected anchor text tells search engines and visitors what the page is about before they land on it. The keywords contained in anchor text helps determine search engine ranking. When used wisely relevant anchor text boosts a site’s rankings in search engines.
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Search engines are designed to provide highly relevant search results and this is where properly selected keywords in anchor text comes into play. Properly selected anchor text provides pertinent information describing the content of the page you’re linking to. Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms when the linked text is relevant ie. pertinent to the landing page it’s linked to.
Not all links are created equally, and not all links serve the same purpose. Anchor text should be keywords carefully selected for their value and specifically suited to their purpose, rather than phrases 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.
A link dump is when the blogger is lazy and just pastes the link into their post such as http://lorelleteaches.com/2012/10/14/what-you-must-know-about-writing-on-the-web/ instead of the properly formed What You Must Know About Writing on the Web.
Nothing can make your blog look more amateurish than “click here” links and link dumps. Worse still, using incorrect anchor text can negatively affect your blog’s page ranking and positioning in the SERPs (search engine page results). Also note that using deceptive anchor text can characterize you as a spammer and your blog as a splog (spam blog).
Combine click here” links and link dumps with special character use in titles, tags and anchor text, and inappropriate heading tags use, and you have a blog that is stalled in infancy, rather than a site that’s growing and thriving.
In business blogs and professional blogs properly formed links and relevant anchor text are not optional; they are expected.
Relevant Anchor Text Matters
Here’s an example of a descriptive anchor text in a properly formed link → Creating HTML Hyperlinks (Links) in WordPress.
Anchor text tip 1: Properly Formed Links
To maintain a professional appearance on your blog and to benefit from the best SEO practice select relevant anchor text and always create properly formed links.
The guide for creating links in posts and pages in WordPress.com blogs is found in the support document titled Links. This is the general link model:
<a href="URL HERE">Relevant descriptive anchor text here</a>You can create links in either the Visual editor or the Text (HTML) editor.
Anchor text tip 2: Do Use Relevant Keywords
When creating a link to one of your other pages on your own site, or on another site, include the keywords that you are optimizing for on the other page in anchor text.
Anchor text tip 3: Do Not Use Special Characters
Wherever possible, use the titles of the articles you are linking to as anchor text. Avoid Special Character Use in Titles, Tags and anchor text as some characters are reserved in HTML and using them in site and post titles, text or tags means browsers can mistake them for markup.
Anchor text tip 4: Use Heading Tags Appropriately
Search engine spiders read HTML and understand the relevance of heading tags. When heading tags are used appropriately search engines give more weight to text that is inside a heading tag. Using heading tags in blog posts and pages just to make some text smaller or larger undermines the excellent SEO built into WordPress.com themes.
Anchor text tip 5: Preserve and Improve Your Brand
In Branding on the Blog and Beyond the Blog we discussed that in terms of your blog, your brand is how your target audience perceives you and your blog content.
Either by intention or by default, branding starts during the design and strategy stage of creating a new blog. That’s when the blogger selects a URL, site title and tagline that reflect the intended message for the intended target audience. Branding is reflected in the keywords and blog description of the site and published on the introductory About page and/or Profile page that’s easily located by search engines.
In part your branding is reflected in the keywords used by potential followers to locate blogs like yours by using search engines. And one of the most important factors determining your blog’s search engine ranking is the keywords in the anchor text that other sites use to link to on your site and when describing your site. If your branding is effective, then the keywords will also reflect what makes your blog’s brand unique within your niche.
Consider these two examples of links:
Example1: Click here to visit my friend`s blog.
Example 2: To view a blog being kept by a skilled bicyclist, writer and photographer, who knows how to structure her posts well, and how to feature her earlier content, so it can be easily located and enjoyed, visit Cycle Write Blog: My words, visions & trivia along the way.
Always keep branding and relevant and descriptive anchor text in mind when you create a link. The best gift you can ever give another blogger when linking to their content or to their site is using anchor text that they optimize for. It’s a gift will keeps on giving as it helps define their brand and helps determine their site’s search engine ranking.
* This post has been updated with new information, rewritten and republished. It was originally published on May 31, 2008 as How to select and use anchor text effectively.