The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.

Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.

Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:

Most people will link simply using the terms “Acme”. This is alright, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.

Search engines use external anchor text (text other pages use to link to your site) as a reflection of how other people view your page – and by extension, what your pages may be about. While website owners typically can’t control how other sites link to theirs, “you can make sure that text you use within your own site is useful, descriptive, and relevant.

Anchor text keyword density

With the Penguin algorithm update, Google began to look more closely at keywords in anchor text. If too many of a site’s inbound links contain the exact same text, it can start to appear suspicious and may be a sign that the links weren’t acquired naturally. In general, it’s still a best practice to obtain and use keyword- and topic-specific text when possible. However, SEOs may get better results by striving for a variety of more natural anchor text phrases rather than the same keyword each time.

Along those lines, one important note: Don’t overdo it with keyword-heavy internal links. Internal linking is certainly a recommended best practice, but be careful with the text you use to link your own pages together. If too many links to a page all use the same anchor text, even if they’re on your own site, Google might sense spammy behavior.

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