Anchor text is one of the most fundamental yet misunderstood aspects of search engine optimization, in that most people view it as a way to simply improve the appearance of their links. While anchor texts do shorten your links and make them look more attractive, they also serve an even deeper purpose for search engine optimization. An anchor text is a piece of text that is used to describe a link. Thus, instead of distributing a long and unattractive text link that contains an entire URL, you can use anchor text to name the link whatever you’d like. The average site visitor is much more likely to click on a piece of anchor text, rather than a 50 character long unattractive URL.
What Does Anchor Text Have to Do with SEO?
Based on the above information you may be confused as to why anchor text would even matter in regards to SEO. The answer is (like so many other questions related to SEO) – backlinks! When you link back to your site on the Internet, you are creating a backlink for your site. Backlinks let the search engines know that your site is valuable. However a regular backlink that does not contain anchor text will not give the search engine a quick and reliable way of knowing what keyword that page is targeting. For example, if you have created a page that pertains to the keyword “web pages” and you link back to this page with a regular URL, you can see that this link does not really reveal a lot about the destination of the link. However if you were to use anchor text to disguise the link as the clickable words “web pages” then you would make it easy for the search engines to index that page as pertaining to that keyword.
Creating an Anchor Text Link
It is important to note that all online services will not let you post anchor text links. For example, Twitter will not let you post anchor text links. However you should be able to post an anchor text link on any standard web page online. The following is the proper way to create an anchor text –
<a href= “websiteurl.com”>Anchor Text</a>
Using that simple string of code you can make a link appear as any word you’d like, thus boosting your search engine ranking for targeted keywords.
The Importance of Relevant Anchor Text
Although having a lot of anchor text links online that point back to your site will help your overall search engine ranking for specific keywords, it is important to remember that the anchor text used to represent your links need to be relevant to the page they are pointing to. For example, if your page targets the keyword “dog collars” then you wouldn’t want to make your anchor text “dog bones.” Trying to abuse anchor text in this manner can negatively impact your search engine ranking. Thus anchor text should only be used to point to URLs that are relevant to the topic of the anchor text itself.