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What is Anchor Text

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 3 min read


The text in a hyperlink that is visible to the user and is clickable is called anchor text. Blue underlined typesetting typically denotes anchor text. Proper anchor text should be clear and concise and relevant to the associated page. Anchor text is the content that is visible to the user that links to documents and associated content elsewhere on the same website or larger Internet. Anchor text wording is used to determine the subject matter of the associated linked content. The strength of properly selected anchor text can help a page receive positive ranking even if that page has no other references to those terms on the page.

Top SEO Tactics: Anchor Text

Top SEO Tactics: Anchor Text

As the Internet becomes more expansive, search engines have also become more sophisticated in their methodology for determining page rankings. One of ranking that has stood the test of time for search engine efficacy and has proven one of the more sophisticated rankings tools is link relevancy. Well written SEO content will help raise page awareness if the relevancy of the link is both mirrored in the content on the target page and the wording of the anchor text. Linked information is a natural way to share content on the Internet because it is similar to how people share information in real life.

The reason that anchor text is such useful in optimizing site for search engine can be better explained by the following example. Imagine if someone wrote a blog about cats. Because they wanted to learn as much about cats as possible, they spent all their time reading online content about cats. While reading about their favorite topic, they discover an article about how cats communicate with humans. Excited, the cat enthusiast goes back to their blog and writes an article so her friends can read all that she’s learned.

When the blog is completed, the writer links to the original page where they originally saw the story on cat communication. When linking the information, the writer must choose text for the anchor that will link to the target article. The writer could choose anything as anchor text, but the more likely text will be something relevant and already a part of the article. The writer chooses “cats communicate feelings to humans.” Another writer who links to the same article will likely choose different anchor text, but it’s the human element that is instrumental to the operation of modern search engines.

Human generated anchor text helps search engines determine the topic on a target page and what queries should be associated to the page. Anchor text descriptions are essential to search engine relevancy indexes because they are unbiased and produced by actual people in the natural language. Anchor text combined with natural language processing make up the majority of online indicators in link relevancy. Link sources and information hierarchy are other important indicators in link relevancy.

Search engines can use the choices writers make when assigning links to enhancement the ability of their algorithm to understand the relevancy of any page. Search engines also consider the strength of the linked target’s URL to determine high level positing and relevancy of the associated content. Anchor text became even more important with the Google Penguin update, which scans keywords more closely. If a site has too many inbound links that are the same and lack variety it will start to appear as if the links were not naturally generated. Variety is an important factor when assigning anchor text to achieve the best results. It is always a best practice to choose keywords that are specific to the topic as much as possible.

Key Points

Linking to a page with a keenly chosen keyword will result in great rankings for that keyword. This phenomenon can be seen in the great performance of the search engine pages for queries like click here and leave. These rankings are a result of the inbound links of these anchor texts. There is a tendency when writing SEO content to anchor text to either the title of the page or the domain name, and this is advantageous to writes who include the keywords they’d like to see move in ranking. When a page has too many inbound links using the same keyword-heavy anchor text, Google may investigate that page. If they are prompted to check the page, the will look for use of manipulative methodology to increase the standing of the page.

First Anchor Text

Only the first anchor text used is counted when Google counts the links on a page. If two links are pointing at the same URL, then there are ways to count more than one anchor text phrase when it is on the same page. This can be done using an anchor on the target page and employing other methods of connection like hashtags to join the content.

First anchor text

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