Learn SEO Basics Anchor Text

Anchor text for inbound links is one of the most important factors in search engine optimization. According to SEOmoz’ search engine ranking factors (v2), anchor text is the 2nd most important positive factor.

“The text people use to link to you is one of the most important factors — often the most important factor — for how you will rank in Google.” (Danny Sullivan, Mar 15, 2007)

Now that I have your attention, let’s learn about anchor text, and how to benefit from this very important factor.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible text of a link. For example, if I was going to link to a friend’s blog, I might use his name for the anchor text.

Check out Todd Malicoat’s blog.

If I wanted to make the most out of my link for Todd, I would use a nice keyword for my anchor text, for example:

Check out Todd Malicoat’s blog on SEO Consulting.

Todd ranks pretty well already for SEO consulting. If you check the anchor text for his backlinks, he has tons of links for “SEO Consultant” and “SEO Consulting”. If you do a search in Google for “SEO Consultant”, notice how the words “SEO Consulting” get highlighted as well. The words are very related and mean about the same thing, and so Todd is going to rank well for both of those terms. Obviously the anchor text of the link is not the SOLE reason Todd ranks well, but it is a major reason.

The Power of Anchor Text

Many examples show the power of anchor text, but here is one simple one:

Computers

Skip the wikipedia result and look at the Dell result. If you view Dell’s homepage you don’t see the word “computer” anywhere. When you view the source you can find the word “computer” just one time, in the meta tag for keywords. Obviously that doesn’t have the power to get it to that kind of ranking. If you check the anchor text of its backlinks you’ll notice a lot of their backlinks use the text “Dell Computers” or something with the word “computer” in it.

How do I use Anchor Text to benefit my SEO?

Any link building efforts should start with keyword analysis, identifying the keywords you want to rank better for. There are several tools for keyword research, including our Keyword Finder tool in SoloSEO that lets you find keywords from Overture, WordTracker, and Google Adwords all at once and to compare the results side by side.

Link building comes in many forms. Whether you’re requesting links from other sites, submitting to directories, or buying links, it is important to make the most out of your link by choosing the right anchor text. If you are requesting links from others, have the code for your link all ready to go, easy for them to insert into their webpage.

Keep in mind that having all of your anchor text the exact same from all your links may not be the best approach. Try mixing it up by adding a word, changing from singular to plural, or stemming a word differently. Just like above, Google considers “Consulting” and “Consultant” to be very related, enough that they would highlight the other word even though it doesn’t match your search term.

Some other articles on the topic

How to Link to Your Friends, by Todd Malicoat

The Power of Anchor Text, by John Chow (more like Google Bombing, but the Googlebombing algorithm hasn’t hurt him yet)

Aaron Wall’s post about the depreciation of anchor text

V7N discusses link vs content and the ending is a great quote (spoiler alert? hehe):

PageRank does matter. In fact, anchor text and inbound links is 95% of effective search engine optimization. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not practice real search engine optimization.

Subscribe to our RSS feed for my upcoming follow-up post about advanced tips for ways to control anchor text of inbound links, and ways to get more of them.

 

19 Responses to Learn SEO Basics: Anchor Text of Inbound Links

  1. [...] There is a great article about the Power of Anchor text from soloseo.com, read the article, it will give you a broader idea on the subject. [...]

  2. [...] Useful article on Anchor Text at SEO basics. [...]

  3. Greate article and tips. I am already using some of these techniques.

  4. [...] Links – I wrote about the importance of anchor text last week, now think if not only the text, but the capitalization mattered? A link to your site could pass more or less link juice depending on if they meant some type of brand, sports team, trademark, slogan, product, or service. [...]

  5. WeaselyOne says:

    Michael,

    Nice write up on anchor text.

  6. [...] Back to links vs content, as promised. Hopefully I’m not oversimplifying here, but long-tail keywords can get top rankings (yes, even top 10) based on content alone. Contributions from internal linking structure, title tags, header tags, and so forth are all bundled into “content”. On the links side, links help you rank for short-tail keywords, the more popular and competitive keywords. The better your linking strategy, the better your ranking. I recently posted about anchor text of inbound links, and this gives several examples of sites that have very few if any instances of a keyword that they rank in the top 3 for. [...]

  7. [...] Link Building is an essential aspect of SEO because of the weight that search engines, particularly Google, place on the democratic nature of links and the web. The anchor text of a link is a very important aspect of backlinks (anchor text write-up). Getting backlinks is always a challenge, especially backlinks that have helpful anchor text (instead of “click here” and “good article”). But never fear, Michael Jensen is here to give you one more strategy up your sleeve. [...]

  8. [...] • Anchor text of links • Context of link (subject matter of site and surrounding text) • Strength of page and site (THe Page Strength tool is helpful) [...]

  9. [...] Really Helpful Resource Links: You could argue that every link is helpful in its own way, but Really Helpful Resource links are those that you use to provide your audience with additional, in-depth information. You don’t want to use too many of these in one post, because the more links, the less likely people will click through. I find they work best when summarizing someone else’s argument (and you should always link to sources) and in lists, when you want to give readers more details from other blogs. Here’s a good example: Warning: Do You Know Your Best Customers? Most of the links in that post are Really Helpful Resource Links. I’m talking about customer profiling and customer personas, but I don’t go into a ton of detail. Instead, I link to others that have covered the subject matter excellently. Really Helpful Resource links can benefit from the use of good anchor text. You might want to use “click here” but you could also try something like, “learn more about anchor text linking strategies“ to encourage people to click. [...]

  10. [...] Really Helpful Resource links can benefit from the use of good anchor text. You might want to use “click here” but you could also try something like, “learn more about anchor text linking strategies“ to encourage people to click. [...]

  11. Good post, thank you. I wonder to what extend anchor text is important on one’s own website or if it’s influence on search engines is only seen when used in links from other websites to your own.

  12. [...] This is one of those things that is somewhat obvious but often overlooked when doing SEO. I’ve discussed previously about Anchor Text for Backlinks, but what about the anchor text of links between the pages of your site? To prevent from boring you, I will be going beyond the lecture about not using links with the word “click here”, and give you some ideas of how to improve your existing content quickly and easily. [...]

  13. I have seen websites that have 50 or so text links on the bottom of there home page. When you click any one of them, they simply put you back at the same page. Is this a good idea?
    Do text links help the page its on, or is it the page they point to?

  14. I don’t think they help at all, and perhaps they hurt (or will at some point). The safe and right way to do it is to do it like your users would expect, go to pages that are about that link.

  15. [...] text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Anchor text is used to tell search engines and visitors what the page is about. The words contained in anchor [...]

  16. SEO Tips says:

    Good Article. I came to Google and found what I was looking for.

    IMO, Google pays more attention to anchor text than Yahoo! and MSN. Probably a different algo running on the SERPS.

  17. A great example of the effect of anchor text is “miserable failure”. I think Google has taken it down now but at one stage you were able to use that search term in Google and George Bush’s Whitehouse profile would be number 1. Probably old news for most people though but does provide a good example of how important anchor text is I guess!

  18. David Hughes says:

    Great article. I have been researching the best way to write blogs and how the proper way to do anchor links. My blog on our Financial Markets is just up and running and will focus on stock market volitility
    and its the market movers each day.

  19. Thomas Bowen says:

    The power of anchor text is not generally rated as high as you and SEOMOZ put it (I agree with you!). Linking — especially quality linking — has been the second most verifiable traffic-builder we can document (after content renewal). Both need to be fussed over like a garden in spring: no shortcuts, just time, time, time!

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