Improve Anchor Text for Better SEO

Anchor text, or the clickable words leading to another page, is among the most important aspects of SEO. Many ignore it though to focus on conspicuous elements like title tags or headlines.

As Google states in their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, “When there is disagreement between what the website says about itself and what reputable independent sources say about the website, trust the independent sources.”

One of their patents also states the following on anchor text, “This is advantageous where the first web page contains a more accurate description of the second web page than the text of the second web page itself.”

Any links pointing to the page in question, including those from your own site, can be improved through better anchor text. Here are some ideas:

  1. When internally linking to another page, there’s nothing wrong with a CTA saying “LEARN MORE” or something comparable for better UX. However, in the content describing that other page, also include a link with keyword-targeted anchor text (alt text for images) that helps both users & search engines understand it. This is vital on your most authoritative pages, like the homepage.
  2. Any excuse to boost internal linking will help. Add breadcrumb trails, an HTML sitemap, related content at the end, or anything else without being spammy. Always be linking!
  3. On business profile sites, you are usually relegated to a ‘Visit Website’ link. Therefore, surround the link with keyword-rich text so that Google picks up relevant context.
  4. Audit internal links & anchor text pointing to a given page using Screaming Frog, which you can use to evaluate anchor text to key pages.
  5. Pull all backlinks using an SEO tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or even Bing Webmaster Tools, then perform email outreach to request modifying anchor text for high-authority links where it makes sense, especially to correct mistakes. Be careful not to have an unnatural distribution too far away from branded anchor text though, which you can check by evaluating top-3 competitors for your target keyword. A good strategy is to address the keyword in a more natural, longer partially-matched phrase instead of the keyword verbatim. Plain URLs work too. Variety is good, and no repetition whatsoever is safest. Mostly brand alone is fine for the homepage.

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