Weighing Anchor Text

Rusty anchor

Today we move to part two of our series “Six Quick & Easy SEO Tactics Anyone Can Do.”

If you’ve ever seen Star Wars, you probably remember all the smaller ships flying to and from the Mother Ship. That ship was “anchored,” tasking the smaller vessels with carrying passengers and information around whatever quadrant of the galaxy the scene was set in.

The World Wide Web operates in a similar manner. Your site is the Mother Ship, and the links (hyperlinks) you send outbound (external links) or those being sent within your site (internal links) operate in the same fashion as all those little starships whizzing about space. They carry whatever message you choose to send.

It’s been said that hyperlinks are the glue that holds the Internet together. Search engines LOVE links, and the text (usually highlighted or underlined) containing the link is called “Anchor Text.” A very easy way to optimize your site is to carefully choose your anchor text. Because the search engines “see” the linked text, this is their only clue as to what the link, and therefore, the site, is about.

Example

For years, whenever I wanted to link to something, I’d put “Click Here” to see blah-blah-blah, and put the link in the words “Click Here.” That phrase had nothing to do with my site, yet those words where what the search engines were “ranking” the post for. (I’m certain I didn’t rank well for that phrase anyway. Adobe ranks number one on Google for “click here,” whether they want to or not, and I’m thinking few of us can compete for that slot.)

The key to effective anchor text is relevance. If I had embedded the hyperlink into the “blah, blah, blah” phrase instead of “click here,” my optimization would have been much better.

The Human Factor

Another thing to consider when selecting anchor text is the human eye. When a reader scans your post, the hyperlinked text often stands out (depending upon your blog’s style setup) by color, highlighting, or underlining. By including several hyperlinks in a post, you not only increase the interest of search bots, you make it easier for real readers to quickly glance over your post and determine what it is about.

Quick Tips

Watch over-optimization of the same phrase within your post. For instance, if I use the same term several times in one post, as I’ve done with “Anchor Text” in this one, I shouldn’t hyperlink it over and over again. That will create an unnatural usage pattern and could actual penalize me in the SERPs (search engine results pages) instead of helping.

The more unique you make your anchor text phrase and still be relevant to your topic, the better you can rank for it. Think: Long Tail Search.

How to Create a Hyperlink

If you’re using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, simply highlight your anchor text and click on the link symbol in the editor’s toolbar.

There may be times, however, that you’ll be required to create a link “from scratch” using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). In that case, you set your anchor and deploy the link to its target like this:

<a href=”http://yourdesiredtarget.com”>

The “a” stands for “anchor,” and the href means “hypertext reference,” also known as the “target.” You can include further instructions, but the hyperlink code always closes with </a>. For example, if you want the link to open in a new window, you can add a bit more code:

<a href=”http://yourdesiredtarget.com” target=”_blank”></a>

To add the actual anchor text to the code, include it between the hypertext reference and the close:

<a href=”http://yourdesiredtarget.com” target=”_blank”>Your Desired Target</a>

For more SEO tips, view previous SEO Saturday posts.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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5 comments ↓

#1 Moving Write Along: Advice from the Experts… « Write On Online on 03.11.10 at 12:26 pm

[…] to optimizing posts, but it’s much easier than you might think. By doing simple tasks, such as effective use of anchor text, internal linking (called “Deep Linking”), including alternative text in image attributes, and […]

#2 kathy stemke on 03.12.10 at 8:11 am

Thanks for this great info. I wanted to save the “How to Create Hyperlinks” for personal use, but it wouldn’t let me.

#3 Linda Fulkerson on 03.12.10 at 8:49 am

Hi Kathy,
Thanks for stopping by. I had a security plugin activated that prevented people from copying things from my blog because I’d had some trouble with that (not my readers, but spammers). Anyway, I’ve deactivated that plugin because it has become a nuisance for my readers, and I certainly don’t want that! If you try again, you should be able to save the link you wanted to save.
Linda

#4 Foreign Language Learner on 01.17.11 at 1:33 am

This is great information, Thank you so much!

#5 ROI Unlimited on 04.20.11 at 10:23 am

This will sure help out with my SEO. Thanks for sharing!

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