An anchor in the traditional sense is a device designed to slow, stall, ground or cease the trajectory and momentum of objects such as ships or even hot air balloons.
An anchor, in the context of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) however, is the complete opposite. Because used correctly, Anchor text SEO, has the power to significantly improve, mobilise and elevate your website’s ranking. In fact, the only weight this particular anchor carries is the significant weight assigned by Google to the content to which it is linked. And this kind of weight is most welcome.
So, what is Anchor Text SEO?
According to Wikipedia, anchor text is the ‘visible, clickable text in a hyperlink’. Here’s an example:
<a href=’http://searchfindseo.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-make-a-website/’>How much does it cost to make a website</a>
The SEO anchor text within the above link is an example of the ‘long tail keyword’: How much does it cost to make a website‘. It provides an accurate description of the content to be found on the page to which it is linking (in this case it’s an internal link – a link to a page within the same site).
And this is ideal because when Google’s Webbot crawls this site it will now have a clear indication of what’s to be found at the destination URL. So the relevance of the content on the targeted page as it pertains to the keyword phrase: ‘How much does it cost to make a website’ is boosted significantly.
This process of optimizing your site with meaningful, keyword rich SEO anchor text facilitates deeper indexing of your site by Google and the passing of ‘link juice’ – vital to improving your website ranking.
But don’t stop at on-page optimization. Apply the same technique to your off-page linking strategies.
By this I refer to your backlinking strategy. Because while it’s vital to have as many quality sites as possible linking to us in order to boost the perceived importance of our own website and thus improve our ranking, if we can encourage these same authority sites to incorporate our targeted keywords into the anchor text of the actual link that points to you – the benefit of that backlink increases exponentially.
What constitutes good anchor text SEO?
Selecting the anchor text to use on your page is not as simple as plucking a few random words or phrases from the destination page, plonking them on the source page and then hoping for the best. Yes, by definition, you’re creating anchor text; but it needs to be more targeted than that. You must incorporate the keywords – short or long tail – for which you’re hoping to improve your rank.
To give you a real world example, and it’s no coincidence it appears above, I’m currently trying to improve my search engine rank for the long tail keyword:’How much does it cost to make a website‘ which according to the software I’m using has approx 4400 ‘broad’ global or 700 monthly ‘phrase-matched’ searches.
While I’ll concede these aren’t earth-shattering figures, should I achieve my goal of Google Page 1, these numbers will still give the commercial value of my website a real boost. And let’s face it, who’s going to turn their back on a potential 700 – 4000 visitors per month? Particularly when this figure could be combined with the traffic from another 20-30 targeted short or long tail keywords with similar search volume. Trust me, the numbers quickly add up (More about finding long tail keywords here).
What software do I need to find the right long tail keywords for the anchor text on my website?
I recommend the SEO Ranking Software I use. It’s produced by Market Samurai. Not only does it have a really cool name, but it’s also, as I explain in this post: SEO Rank Software, far superior to anything else I’ve come across. Furthermore – the keyword tool you require, packaged within this product, is absolutely free!
Should you decide to purchase the full version, as I did, which contains every SEO tool you’ll ever need, you’ll pay a measly $97 USD. That’s much cheaper than anything else of quality on the market. Click here to find out more or to put a fully-functioning version of this software through it paces (14 day free trial).
So, summing up. For best practice anchor text SEO strategy:
1/ Dispense immediately with the habit of branding your anchor text links in meaningless fashion, like so: <a href=”http://meaninglessanchortext.com”>click here</a>or <a href=”meaninglessanchor2.com”>more info</a>. The anchor text in these links provides no help whatsoever to spiders trying to index your site, nor do they provide any keyword benefit.
2/ Instead, use targeted, meaningful anchor text in the links on all your pages. But don’t overdo it! Because if you saturate your site with loads of identical links containing exactly the same anchor text, it’s likely to be construed by Google as the despised black hat SEO tactic of keyword loading and penalties may ensue. Besides, according to some knowledgeable types (refer ‘additional reading’ below), it is only the uppermost link containing anchor text on a page that Google will pay attention to. So using the same anchor text repeatedly is likely to be futile. So mix it up a few more targeted long tail keywords, or reshuffle the wording of your keyphrases in your anchor text SEO strategy and consider the use of synonyms.
3/ Encourage the operators of external websites who are already linking to you, to incorporate your cleverly crafted keyword-rich anchor text into the links that point to your site. If they agree, it’ll provide a significant boost to your ranking (greatly exceeding the value of the backlinks on their own).
If you’d like to learn more about anchor text, I’d recommend the articles below. If you’d like to find out more about the long tail keywords – the jewel in the crown of keyword research referred to above – read this post: ‘Long Tail Keywords – definition and instruction‘.
Finally, If you’d like a free, no obligation trial of the software I use, please click here.
Bye for now and good luck with your SEO anchor text strategy.
Further reading re Anchor Text SEO:
- Anchor text explained: http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/anchor-text
- The dangers of over-optimizing: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/testing-the-value-of-anchor-text-optimized-internal-links
- Only the first anchor text counts: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/results-of-google-experimentation-only-the-first-anchor-text-counts
- ‘Website design pricing – What’s a reasonable price to pay for services?’