Anchor text is the visible, clickable text you see in a hyperlink. In most browsers, it’s displayed in blue underlined text. Why is anchor text important for SEO? For numerous reasons, but mostly because search engines weight their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) based on it. In other words, anchor links can rank up a page higher in the SERPs. Anchor text links can also be negative when they link from bad sources.
Anchor Text in SEO
Most people usually inter-link their pages using generic anchor text like ‘Go Here,’ ‘Click Here,’ ‘Click to Download’ and so on, which is not a good thing to do SEO-wise. Instead of using generic anchor text links, you can use a targeted keyword for better results. So, for example, instead of saying ‘Click here to download our free report on Facebook Marketing,’ you could say ‘Find out how to promote your Facebook page for free.’
In the example shown above, the keyword ‘promote your Facebook page for free’ will be ranked up faster by Google when compared to the generic ‘Click here’ keyword. When Google ranks up a keyword, the first page that will be displayed in the SERPs is the one that has more links for the specific keyword. If you want to see which page is the first for ‘Click here,’ type it into Google and check the results. We already did this for you, it’s Adobe Reader!
To explain this further, what happens here is Google thinks that the best result to display when users type ‘Click here’ is Adobe Reader, which is the most relevant result only because a large number of web pages link to it using this keyword.
So, now that you understand one of the reasons why anchor text matters in SEO, you might feel an urge to change all of your generic keywords into targeted ones. Don’t! Doing this would just invite the Google Penguin update to demote your website. Google penalizes pages with unnaturally high keyword density. What’s the best workaround for this? It’s simple: have a decent targeted keyword density (of up to about 20% is good), and balance brand keywords (e.g. your website and company name) and generic keywords (‘Click here,’ ‘Go to,’ and so on) evenly.
SEO-wise, it’s very important to balance your anchor text properly, especially if your website is brand new. You can keep a track density using an excel sheet, and see if you’re balancing the anchor text or not. If you have an older website, you’ll need to calculate the density. Depending on the size of your website, you might want to use a software program for this.( WordPress SEO Plugin will help calculate Keyword density)
Initially known as the ‘web-spam algorithm,’ the Google Penguin update was launched on April 24, 2012. Its name was most likely chosen because it is similar to another Google update called ‘Panda.’ Penguin had a very big impact on the SEO community.
The job of Google Penguin is to demote pages that don’t follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (i.e. websites that use black hat SEO practices), and to restore innocent websites that appeared ‘bad’ during the previous update. Black hat SEO techniques include practices like keyword stuffing and spamming. Whether your ranking were hit by Penguin or just want to improve them, here is a quick set of SEO tips for 2013:
* Use descriptive titles that are shareable and interesting to users. Titles should not have the same keyword that the user typed.
* Create content for users, not for search engines. This has always been relevant and should be a no-brainer by now. Your website should solve a specific problem that a user has.
* Users should be able to share your website easily. Use social badges.
* Update your website with fresh, useful and unique content.
Here are a few off-site SEO tips as well, i.e. what you should stop working on:
* Link exchanges
* Backlinks from penalized websites
* Excessive use of keywords (we explained this earlier in greater detail)
* Manipulative link building practices
* Spun content
And lastly, here’s what you should focus on instead:
* Vary your keywords: we’ve already talked about this, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s important. Vary your keywords as anchor text so that your website looks more natural.
* Create content that is naturally linked and shared. This got very important this year. In addition to building links, you should also earn them.
* Use legitimate linking strategies. Your efforts should be justifiable.
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