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Does Anchor Text Help SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website to increase visibility and ranking in relevant search results.

Basically, it helps you get more eyeballs on your website organically, without paying for it like you would with Facebook or Instagram ads or Google ads.

One important aspect of SEO is using relevant anchor text. But before we dive too deep into everything anchor text, let’s get some definitions out of the way first:

Anchor text (also known as link label or link text): Anchor text is the clickable text you see in a blog post or article that opens a related page to give more context or resource that is quoted. This is usually underlined and in blue, but it can vary based on the styling of the website. Check out above for “Facebook or Instagram ads” for an example where we linked to our paid social services page for more information.

External links: Links directing people off your website to other websites for additional context. For example, our social media advertising blog links to Hootsuite when we quoted that the typical social media user now spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media each day. We think that is a perfect situation for an external link; it backs up your claims with information from other websites.

Internal links: These are to point to other pages within your website. For example, if you write a blog on social media influencers, you could link it to a related blog like one on affiliate marketing or an influencer case study to support your level of expertise.

Backlinks: A link on another website to a page on your website. Google uses backlinks as a factor in their ranking algorithm, as it usually shows how valuable the content is.

Why are links and anchor text important?

Links and anchor text play an important role in both user experience and SEO. On the SEO side, external links provide information or data that support your claims, improving your credibility. The human users on your site will also appreciate the additional context if they don’t understand a certain term or want to see where you got your information.

However, internal links are more important for your SEO! Your internal linking strategy will tell search engines about the flow of your website and they suggest which pages are most important. People browsing your site will also use internal links to read more of your content or dig deeper into topics they’re interested in, reducing your bounce rate.

Whether you link internally or externally, you need to use anchor text. Anchor text tells both search engines and your readers what the link is about. Instead of just saying “click here,” the anchor text needs to be relevant to the page it’s linking to.

Anchor text best practices

Anchor text is a powerful tool for improving your SEO rankings. Follow these best practices to get the most SEO juice out of your anchor text:

  • Match the anchor text exactly to the primary keyword target for the page, especially when linking internally. So if I’m targeting “Google ads reporting” in my blog, the anchor text would look like this… “After you’ve read all about our ads best practices, be sure to check out our blog on Google ads reporting to see what KPIs we track to determine success!”

  • Keep it short and sweet. Linking an entire sentence as the anchor text is just too much! Aim for the long-tail keywords you’re targeting for that page (usually three or four words is perfect).

  • Don’t use an excessive amount of links in your copy. Not only is it not helpful for SEO, it’s also messy and bad for user experience, which is actually worse. Stick with about three to five depending on the length of your content.

  • Use a combination of internal links and external links to reputable sources, with more internal links if possible.

  • Links should be relevant to the topic at hand. Don’t link to a page on cat memes if your blog is about designer handbags.

  • Last but certainly not least - don’t be spammy! Black hat techniques (like keyword stuffing, bait and switch linking, buying links on random websites, and having guest posts on your website on irrelevant topics) will only lead to a Google penalty, so just don’t do it.

Since it’s always helpful to get a visual, here’s an example of how NOT to do your anchor text:

Read our SEO case study here to see how we increased organic traffic by 61%.

Please please please don’t ever link “here.” We see it so often and it does nothing for user experience or SEO.

Here’s what you should do instead:

Read our SEO case study to see how we increased organic traffic by 61%.

The bottom line

While keyword targeting matters a lot for SEO, internal and external linking is a critical piece of the puzzle and the anchor text itself is often overlooked. Keep your anchor text short and relevant, include both internal and external links, NEVER have “here” be your anchor text, and don’t use spammy SEO techniques - it’ll just hurt you in the long run.

We were recently featured by DesignRush on their list of top search engine marketing companies. Check it out!

Need a little more help when it comes to SEO? If you don’t have the time or expertise to tackle anchor text and linking, leave it to the pros. Contact us to see how Thrive Marketing Consultants can help you get more results from your SEO in less time!


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