What is an anchor text?
Anchor text, also known as link text, is the hyperlinked text on a web page that leads to another web page or web site. In other words, it is the clickable text in a link. Anchor text is meant tell the user what to expect in the content of the link's destination. For instance:
In the image, there are a number of anchor texts like email marketing, deliverability tools, content creation, Web analytics software, search marketing and mobile marketing. Clicking on the text “email marketing” for instance, takes you to the page http://www.lyris.com/solutions/lyris-hq/email-marketing, a page dedicated about the company’s email marketing solution.
Anchor text and its implications on search engine optimization
Anchor text is an important search engine optimization factor. It is one of the elements that search engines evaluate when ranking websites for specific keywords. Search engines collect information by crawling around the web by following links i.e., hopping around from one page to another through the links on the page. Links then, are a fundamental necessity for search engines to identify websites and to go from one website to the other. Search engines use the links as indicators of the topic of the page they are about to visit.
Types of Anchor Text
1. Internal Links: The hypertext that is pointing to page within the same website is called an internal link.
From the search engine optimization point of view, the anchor text of an internal link:
a) ensures that all the pages within a site get crawled and indexed by the search engines.
b) helps to increase the page rank of an internal page.
c) increases the relevance of the linked page for the keyword that may be a part of the anchor text.
In the image, “email marketing” as an anchor text is an example of an internal link.
2. Inbound Links: The links that are pointing to your site from other sites are known as inbound links. If more number of sites link to the webpage “http://www.lyris.com/solutions/lyris-hq/email-marketing” with "email marketing" as the link text, the search engine start associating the page with the term email marketing. In addition to the number of links, the relevance of the link is also important. An inbound link from a well known site about email marketing is more valuable than hundreds of links of an irrelevant website.
Targeting Keywords in Anchor Text
When a particular keyword is extremely relevant to a page in your website, try to make sure that links pointing to the page have the keyword in the anchor text. The more the instances of internal links and inbound links that point to the page with the keyword in the link text, the higher it will rank for that keyword. One needs to be cautious while doing this. If too many links suddenly appear to point to a page with the same anchor text in a very short period of time, then it can raise a red flag with the search engines. It is important to grow the links in a sustained manner over a period of time. Spread the effort over a long term period and also include variations of the keyword in the anchor text.
Anchor Text and URL alignment
While getting the inbound links with the desired anchor text, make sure that you are linking to the appropriate page rather than always linking to the home page. For instance if desired link text is email marketing, then the link text should point to the email marketing page within the site and not the home page.
When effectively used over a long term, anchor text optimization through internal and inbound links can have a significant impact on your search engine optimization and help your website rank higher for the keywords present in the anchor text.
Contributed by Girish N N