Link Anchor Text: A Marketer’s Guide

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Sure, we understand that search engine optimisation can be full of intimidating jargon. But trust us when we say that most of the concepts are easy to understand. Your link anchor text is one of them. We frequently get asked, ‘What is a link anchor text and why should I care?’

Let’s get those questions answered below.

What’s a Link Anchor Text?

Your link anchor text is simply the text that is clickable in a link.

A link in HTML looks like this:

link anchor text

The anchor text in the example above is ‘Digital Marketing Company’.

Importance of Link Anchor Texts

Anchor text is important because Google uses it to determine the content of the target page. It is a measure of relevance.

For example, if Google finds that many other websites are linking to your site using the link anchor text ‘marketing company in Singapore’, then it will begin to understand that your website is about a marketing company that is based in Singapore. In essence, Google is giving weight to what other sites say about yours. The more often a particular anchor text is used to describe your page, the more relevant Google believes it to be to that particular anchor text.

Let’s not forget that a link, provided it is a dofollow link, also provides your website with link equity, thus increasing its authority.

Over-Optimisation Penalty

Now, if you are unfamiliar with modern SEO, your first thought would be along the lines of, “That’s great, all I have to do is to keep building links with my target keywords in the anchor text.”

And it worked – before 2013.

Back in the good old days, all you had to do to rank for the keywords you wanted was to keep building links with your target anchor text. This made Google open to manipulation. Point enough links with the right anchor text, and you’ll be ranking on the first page in no time.

An interesting example of this is the recent case of Trump getting Googlebombed. His photos started showing up for the keyword ‘idiot’. This wasn’t the first time it has happened either. Previously, SEO specialists managed to rank George W. Bush’s official biography for the key phrase ‘miserable failure’.

Things changed in late 2012 with the introduction of Google’s Penguin Penalty.

It penalises websites that it deems to have unnatural or manipulative link profiles. A link profile consists of both the mix of anchor texts that point back to a site as well as the quality of the website where the link is coming from.

When Google detects a website with an unnatural link profile, it used to penalise the entire site, causing it to drop in the SERPs. Now, Google devalues those unnatural links and removes them from its link profiles.

The next question would be, “What does Google consider to be a manipulative link profile?”

Importance of a Natural Link Profiles

As usual, the answer is, it depends. This varies according to your vertical as well as on the individual key phrase level.

With regards to anchor text, while it’s hard to generalise what may seem natural, having every single link pointing back to your site with your targeted keyword as the anchor text is definitely manipulative.

Let’s get things straight – Google doesn’t like search engine optimisation experts. It likes to think that it ranks sites in the SERPs according to their relative merits, and not because of the ability of a group of people to manipulate its search algorithm.

It is then critical to ensure that your link profile looks as natural as possible. One way to do this is to ensure that the anchor texts pointing to your site is diversified.

Think about the link profile of an authoritative website that does not engage in SEO. It will naturally obtain links with a wide variety of anchor texts, not only those that contain its target keywords.

There may be branded keywords (‘CloudRock’), naked link anchor text (‘https://cloudrock.asia’), image link anchors and a few others.

We will go into this in our next article titled ‘Types of Link Anchor Texts You Need to Improve Your SEO‘ (which is in itself an example of a page title anchor text).

See you there 😉