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Glossary: Anchor Text

by Sean Work

The text (or characters) inside a website hyperlink. Anchor text can help inform search engines of a webpage’s subject matter.

It’s a fairly simple thing to explain, however, anchor text is a controversial topic in SEO (search engine optimization). Let’s touch on that a bit.

The Old “Click Here” Lesson

Up until very recently, if you typed the words “click here” into Google, one of the top results would be a result for Adobe Acrobat.

Why?

Because for the past 15-20 years, people have been publishing the anchor text: “Click Here To Download Adobe Acrobat” on their websites and making that anchor text a link to Adobe.com.

Those websites ensured that if anyone typed those two words in Google, they would always be shown Adobe.com in the top Google results.

Now Hold Your Horses

Before you go trying to get the world to link to your website with your favorite keywords, I need to warn you about a few things.

Search engine algorithms are pretty complex, as you would imagine. Multiple factors go into determining what results will show up for certain search queries.

It’s true that anchor text still plays a role in the search engine results. But, too much of the same anchor text can be a bad thing.

The Golden Rule in Search Engine Optimization: Don’t Try to Force It

Sound SEO isn’t about tricks or hacks. And it’s certainly not about web spam.

I’ve been around this field for a while now, and those who try to “game” the system usually get penalized by the search engines at some point. They work or pay for search engine rankings, and then they have to work to undo (or pay to undo) the damage they did to their own site.

It’s an unnecessary cycle. Because all you have to do is apply good ol’ marketing strategy to your online business, and usually your SEO will naturally improve over time.

How Do You Improve Your SEO Naturally?

Well let me make a simple list for you to follow:

  • Have a good SEO or SEO agency architect your website properly. This will take care of your title tags and internal link structure so it’s “optimized.” This is a good practice, and every website owner should do this.
  • It can help to have a blog on your website (not on a subdomain or another domain – the same domain). For example: mywebsite.com/blog. You can use your blog to create useful content for your audience. This content will eventually get linked to and that will help improve your site’s SEO.
  • Promote your blog and website content. Get it in front of the type of people who would link to it. Constantly promote your content.
  • Create your business social media profiles and link back to your site. Submit your business to relevant and reputable business directories.
  • Contribute written content to industry publications and get your name out there!
  • Have a serious PR strategy. Nothing boosts a website like popularity. Become the real deal in your niche. Which you should be doing anyway…right?
  • Give it time. Because all good things take time. Got that “growth hackers”? 🙂

What about Adding Links with Anchor Text throughout My Website?

You can do this. But again, do it naturally. When it’s logical to link to another webpage within your site, you can take the anchor text that makes the most sense and make it a link. That would be a “normal” practice.

But if you start doing this aggressively and begin to “force” it, then you should probably back off.

Questions?

Feel free to ask them in the comments below!

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Sean Work

Sean Work is the VP of Inbound Marketing here at Crazy Egg. You can follow him on Twitter @seanvwork. You can listen to his podcast "Worketing" on YouTube or SoundCloud.

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  1. Carolyn says:
    June 12, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Reading this posts takes me back a few years to when I first started out in web content writing blogs. I have come a long way since and have learned all about anchor texts, meta tags, SEO titles, and so much more!

    • Sean Work says:
      June 13, 2017 at 3:41 am

      Good! My hunch is that Google doesn’t want marketers to become “SEOs”. And I agree somewhat. I think it’s much more beneficial to become great at publicity and great marketing. I think those skills will take your SEO a lot further.

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