Anchors Away: The Importance of Anchor Text for SEO

We all know that effective SEO is gearing your website and its content to be responsive to algorithms determined in large part by Google. Being the world’s foremost search engine puts you in position to be the one who dictates what makes up good SEO, but for most of us that’s the lion’s share of what we know about it. Most of us know little about how those algorithms function, and even SEO experts are only adept with working in response to understood realities of how the algorithms work. Adding to the confusion is the fact there are significant changes every few years on account of search engine algorithm updates.

Here at 4GoodHosting we have about as firm yet formative an understanding of all this as you’d find with most any Canadian web hosting provider. We do know the importance of being aware of the importance of SEO of course, and it is critical for any business with a web presence to be similarly informed.

Google’s Penguin algorithm, which was rolled out first in 2012, revolutionized the role of backlinking in SEO rankings. Anchor text is one of the most important aspects of SEO in relation to backlinks.

Anchor Text Laid Out

So, what exactly is anchor text, you might be asking. The visible, clickable words that appear highlighted in a hypertext link and used to link one page to another is anchor text. For example, if you created a link to a target web page with the anchor text ‘boat rentals Shuswap Lake” search engines will regard it as an indicator that the page being linked to will match a search query for boat rentals in the Shuswap area. The web is structured around such external links that lead from one site to another, or internal links that connect one page to another page within that same website.

It used to be that a site’s rankings in search results were determined by the number of links pointing to that site AND the anchor text of these links. So it was then that many ‘black hat’ marketing practitioners tried to manipulate the system through link exchange and artificial inflating the numbers that suggested how often links were clicked-through. The Penguin algorithm worked very effectively to devalue these spammy links and thus discouraged websites from building links that relied too heavily on certain anchor texts. Nonetheless, anchor text still remains a critical off-page factor in determining rankings for SERPS generated via Google’s algorithms.

Anchor Text Benefits

Boost Your Brand

Properly created and managed anchor text can improve the online visibility of your website, but putting it together sloppily or being too liberal with it may result in search engines deeming your site to be ‘spammy’ and penalizing accordingly. Certain words used within the anchor text ensures that your page will be ranked for the keywords you desire to have it SERPing for, instead of what Google thinks you should be ranked for. For example, anyone wanting to create a home page ranked for the term ‘inbound marketing’ would have to find ways to create links from other websites that contain both your home page URL and the keyword ‘lnbound marketing’ as anchor text. Then you have the option of creating links on other sites through blog comments, guest posts, social media sharing and etc.

Improved Search Ranking

Backlinks built with solid anchor texts help search engine bots to better see and correctly evaluate the content of a page, and this in turn improves how well the page is positioned for recognition by search engines. Google views each link as a vote in favour for the linked ‘to’ webpage on the behalf of the linked ‘from’ webpage. Further, it validates all the constituents of a link “from” a webpage that are determine whether you’re qualified to be expressing your opinion of the link and the content it’s pointing to. Google compares the anchor text to your site’s content before making an assessment that some call a relevance match. Optimizing your anchor text helps add relevance to your brand and provides value to your audience; and by this you then increase the chances of your page and website ranking well.

It is important to use anchor text the right way when building links. Only use appropriate anchor text to point to a specific page that has been optimized for that keyword phrase. The idea is to create ‘natural anchor text’ rather than always using exact match anchor text. Diversifying the anchor text by using variations like company name, phrase matches, naked URLs, synonyms or antonyms, etc, is advisable so that search engines don’t come to see it as an attempt to manipulate like those black hatters did before Penguin. If the anchor text flows naturally within the content and links pointing to your site are offering tangible value to a site’s user as well as for users looking for information in search engines, then you will be nearly guaranteed to have better SEO and higher page rankings.

Anchor text and other properly implemented SEO tactics go a long way in keeping you ahead of the competition when battling for position in the online marketing world. We have the expertise and experience to draw up an effective digital marketing strategy for your business, and ensuring high SEO rankings as part of the package.

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