Monday 31 March, 2014

SEO Basics – Anchor Text Best Practices for Today

Anchor text is the visible clickable text part of a link. It’s often blue and underlined. When you click this text, the browser takes you through the link to the website. Anchor text is important because the words used in this text play a role in search engine optimization.

The Best Anchor Text Practices of Yesterday

It sounds simple enough, but actually there’s much more to it. The basic SEO best practice for many years has been to make the anchor text relevant to the site to which it leads. This means that it was considered not good to use ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ because there’s no SEO value to these words.

Instead, it was considered best to use targeted keywords in your anchor text. This is part of the equation that Google takes into account when indexing websites. Theoretically, if a hundred websites have a link to your site that says ‘best pizza in Flagstaff,’ Google will start sending searches for ‘best pizza in Flagstaff’ to your site. It must be the best pizza in town.

Some sites use the URL as the anchor text, but this was considered a bad move because it’s a wasted opportunity. Google already knows your URL and sends traffic to your site accordingly.

Anchor Text Rules Have Changed

The above was the best practice for anchor text but now the rules have changed. Too many marketers tried to game the search engines by filling their content with links with anchor text. The search engines changed the way they index anchor text in order to combat this.

Today, you’re likely to get penalized if you use too much of the same anchor text. What the search engines appear to like now is varied anchor text. In other words, not all of your links should look the same.

Experienced marketers recommend mixing up your anchor text and using different terms. Rather than just one keyword phrase, it’s better to choose several for your links. It’s also okay to use the site’s URL or generic phrases like ‘click here.’ This appears to produce better SEO results nowadays than simply using the same anchor text.

Make It Natural

As with all things SEO, it’s best to choose anchor text that looks natural. Search engine algorithms will always continue to change and it’s impossible to predict how. But one thing is fairly certain, and that’s that the search engines try to give users the best search results possible. They want to lead people to sites that are relevant and high quality.

The best practice in anything you do SEO-wise is to make it natural. If you choose sites for backlinking well and lead that traffic to a site with valuable, quality content, you’ll be rewarded by the search engines.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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