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Anchor Text

What is anchor text?

As we know, the web’s infrastructure is primarily made of links that make it possible for users to jump from one webpage to another.

Sometimes links are included in the text as is (e.g. https://vwo.com/blog/), however, they are mostly added with an “anchor text”  to provide a better reading experience to the users. So what is this anchor text?

Anchor text refers to the visible clickable words that help in moving from one web link to another. It is usually displayed in a different color and could be underlined. A good link text informs the user of the context/outcome of clicking that link.

Below is a sample of how the anchor text is placed in the website’s code:

Anchor text

The above text is the part of your site that Google will see. This is the section that tells your web browser and search engines which link to follow.

Below is how the anchor text is displayed on the website and behind the scenes. The blue text indicates the page that the user will navigate to by clicking on the link.

Anchor Text

Primarily, anchors link web pages, but they are not just limited to that. They can also link to files in Google drive, documents such as PDFs, and also initiate downloads.

Importance of anchor text

The mindful use of anchor text can do wonders to a brand. Some of the benefits are mentioned below:

  1. It provides context to both the users and the search engines. The link label indicates where the user will be taken on clicking the link. On the other hand, search engines use this text to index and rank web pages.
  2. It boosts the SEO efforts by sending the right signals to the search engine crawlers.
  3. It increases users’ trust in the brand as well as the content shared on a website.

SEO and anchor text

The relevance of anchor text in SEO can not be ignored. It is one of the key ranking factors for Google. A good anchor text informs the Google algorithms about the content and the topics linked to the website and for which keywords it should rank.

Using a topic relevant anchor text adds value for the user and accounts for a good user experience, resulting in higher website rankings by the search engines like Google. The rankings can go downwards if the text is not relevant or is spammy.

Types of anchor text and examples

Types Of Anchor Text
Image source: HubSpot

Best practices to write an SEO-friendly anchor text

Below are some healthy tips to write a useful, and relevant anchor text:

  1. Succinct anchor text: Although there is no specified length limit for an anchor text, it is a good idea to keep it as compact as possible. It is important that the text takes the two most important factors into consideration:
    1. The most accurate and concise way to describe the linked-to page.
    2. A word/phrase that would encourage users to click on a link.
  2. Target page link relevancy: Link relevancy is one of the metrics used by search engines to determine rankings. Link relevancy is the phenomenon that takes place when users link out to other content on the web. It is determined by:
    1. The source page topic
    2. The anchor text content on that source page

Links pointing to topic-related content on the source page are likely to send stronger relevancy signals as compared to unrelated links. To achieve stronger relevancy signals, it is important to keep the anchor text descriptive of the target page to the maximum.

3. Avoid keyword stuffing: Keep in mind that keyword stuffing will incur the fury of the Penguin update, which penalizes over-optimized anchor texts and low-quality hyperlinks.

4. Account for search intent: Always remember to consider the user’s search intent and make sure it matches the context of your content. 

5. Make clear that the anchor text is clickable and distinguishable: Make it known to the user that the link is clickable. It can be done by writing the text in a different color, underlining it, or both. Here lies the opportunity to improve the engagement on your website by A/B testing the style of your links. Encyclopedia Britannica did the same using VWO to figure out which color is best for the links on their website. If you would like to take the A/B test quickly and easily, take our free trial and give VWO a try

It is now evident that anchor text helps both users and search engines decide if a link is worth visiting. Some users try to play this system, but don’t ever fall into this trap. Nowadays, Google is effective at spotting links that are harmful and spammy in nature. Thus, keep it natural and relevant, and you’ll be good to go!