Anchor text is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO). Anchor text is the clickable text which introduces a linked page to your audience. Your web page will have at least two audiences. The first audience is your visitor who will click the anchor text and the second audience is the search engine who evaluates the anchor text in conjunction with the text on the page, the web page address, page Meta description tag and other factors.
When you create your page, always focus on your visitor and recall that a search engine wants to understand your web page. Therefore, if you use “click here” for anchor text, then you have missed the opportunity to demonstrate that your web site is related to keywords pertaining to your business. The following article covers seven powerful tips for using anchor text.
Sink or Swim with Keyword Research – Tip 1
Before you can identify which keywords to use in your anchor text, you really need to invest some time into keyword research. Just imagine if you knew how competitive a search term is then you will understand that ranking for the core search time may take a bit longer. Conversely, if you add an adjective or modifier to your core term, then you can potentially rank for the long tail term in less time. For example, ranking for the keyword “toys” will take some time but ranking for a specific toy brand, part number, model number or color is doable.
Keywords are Essential to Inbound Links – Tip 2
Inbound links are links that live on a third party website which link to your web site. For better visibility in the search engines, you want many inbound links. To be the most effective, these inbound links should include keywords in the anchor text. An example of anchor text might be Contact Vertronics Media for SEO consulting and small business web sites. In this example my focus is SEO consulting, hence SEO consulting is my anchor text. Since you want a variety of inbound links, you will want to vary the anchor text. In some cases I might promote, web site design, SEO auditing, SEO tune up or a variety of other keywords and phrases related to my business.
Internal Links Count Too – Tip 3
One of the most confusing parts to SEO is the nomenclature. Inbound links, internal links, external links, back links, hyperlink, and hidden links are all links to a web page. While there are several types of links, the focus here is internal links. Internal links reside on your web pages. Regardless of the link type, all links use anchor text. In the case of internal links you want to follow the same methodology and choose anchor text for your internal links that inform the reader about the content on the page and introduce the topic to the search engines. When the reader clicks the link fine china tea sets, he expects to see content about the same topic. Search engines operate in a similar manner. When your web page is added to the search engine database, your internal links are also captured. If you have internal links using fine china as anchor text, then it stands to reason that your site might be related to fine China and related terms. Rather than using generic text to click from one internal page to another, use your keyword research to choose the best anchor text for your page.
Savvy Anchor Text Includes a Call to Action – Tip 4
In short, a call to action is used by marketers to get the visitor to take action. After all, if you are selling online, ultimately you want the visitor to do something. Here is where you can be savvy and add a call to action in your anchor text. Instead of using buy now for your linked text, use “buy affordable SEO services” as the anchor text.
Are you hiding your Links? – Tip 5
When working with your website designer, be certain to request visible linked text using an underscore for your web pages. Most web designers will use cascading style sheets (CSS) to format your web pages. One of the nice features of CSS is that you can create links without the underscore. While links without the underscore may be pretty, non underscored links are not user friendly. Remember, web visitors scan pages; if your goal is to get the visitor to click on your linked text, then do not make him look for the anchor text.
Short Anchor Text is Brief – Tip 6
Based upon the importance of the message you want to communicate, you may be tempted to display the entire sentence or paragraph as linked text. I say to you, resist the temptation. Remember anchor text is used to introduce the visitor or search engine to a page. Cleary, key information can be used as anchor text; however, you only need to link the important words that will encourage the visitor to click the link.
Use a Backlink Analyzer – it’s Free! – Tip 7
Now that you understand the importance of choosing keyword rich anchor text, how can you evaluate your existing anchor text? The concept here pertains to both inbound links and internal links. In the case of inbound links a.k.a. backlinks, perform a search using your favorite search engine and search for a backlink analyzer. A backlink analyzer will give you insight to type of domains that link to your web site. Also, you can see the anchor text used in your inbound links. Two of my favorite back link analyzers are Back Link Analyzer by Aaron Wall and Webconfs’s Anchor Text Analysis.
As a reminder, conduct keyword research to target the right keywords. If your site is using CSS which is a good practice, you may want to check with your designer to enable underscores for your anchor text. Underscores help do differentiate plain text from clickable text. With these powerful tips on using anchor text, you can begin to take ownership of optimizing your web pages for search engines.