We talk a lot about SEO here at 1Digital® Agency. We should since we’re a leading eCommerce SEO agency that has been helping businesses grow traffic to their websites for many years.
One of the finer points of SEO is the use of anchor text within content. Anchor text can be used to your benefit or your detriment, depending on how you use it in your written content. But just in case you’re new to the picture, here’s a brief introduction.
Anchor text is the text that serves as a hyperlink to another page you wish to direct traffic to.
For example, we as SEO specialists might want to direct a user to our eCommerce SEO page. A clothing retailer might have anchor text in a blog post to direct traffic to a page with tops. A tool retailer might have an anchor text strategically placed within written content directing traffic to a page featuring hammers.
While identifying and understanding the basic function of anchor text isn’t rocket science, it’s important to know how and why it can affect your search engine optimization before you start peppering your content with ineffective anchor text.
Anchor Text and SEO
Also known as a link label, the anchor text is implicated in how a search engine will evaluate a website for authority and can be used to your advantage as part of your link building strategies. Your anchor text can take advantage of your keyword strategy as well, as it can contain or itself take the form of target keywords.
Anchor text can take on many forms:
Exact Match – Exact Match Text refers to anchor text that is an exact match to the keyword the page you are linking to is trying to rank for.
For example, Jane Doe is a ceramic artist and sells ceramic mugs on her website. She wants her ceramic mug category page to rank for the keyword “ceramic mug”. So, her hyperlink would look like this:
Partial Match – Partial Match anchor text includes a keyword for which a page is attempting to rank for with other additional words. Now suppose that Jane Doe has a blog that talks about the different kinds of products she sells. One of those products is ceramic vases. In that blog, Jane Doe has a sentence and includes a partial match anchor text to link to her Jane Doe ceramic vases page.
The above anchor text is a fairly good example of a partial match. It mentions the keyword “ceramic vases” and includes a few additional words for some clarity. It also lets the user know what to expect on the page that is being linked to.
Random or Generic – You’ve probably seen these before. Any anchor text that takes the styling of ‘here’ or ‘click here’ or even ‘this’ is an example of generic anchor text. It is nonspecific and can be confusing – affecting your SEO and your user experience.
Notice that the above link does not include any keywords for which the target page is trying to rank. It only invites the user to ‘click here’ and does not indicate anything about what is on the page behind the link. The reader can sometimes deduce it from context, but in general, it is not a powerful form of anchor text. It can be confusing to readers and it is not helpful for SEO.
There are other types of anchor text, such as naked URLs and images, though an image isn’t categorically text. You get the picture – no pun intended – and the examples listed above are the most common types of anchor text.
As a search engine crawls your website, it will evaluate the keywords used in your anchor text for their relevance to a search and to the site to which the link directs traffic. They will also take into account the authority of the site to which the link points. Keep in mind that internal links, links that send traffic to other pages on your site, will affect your site’s hierarchy as well, and external links, which send traffic to other places, will both have an effect on your SEO.
Effective Anchor Text
There are a few things you can do for optimizing your anchors and some other best practices you can follow to positively affect your SEO. As a general rule, you should incorporate keywords into anchor text where you can, and to keep them as short as possible.
Short. Concise. Specific.
These are the types of anchors that are the most effective, both for readers and for search engines crawling your website. There’s something else you’ll want to be careful to avoid: stuffing anchor text, sometimes known as spam anchor text.
While it’s valuable to your site to have a reasonable navigational hierarchy that includes internal links as well as external links to other sites that will offer valuable information to your customers or readers, you’ll have to be careful about including too much.
So, what does ineffective anchor text look like?
Where did that link take you? Who knows! Unless you clicked on it, you’ll have no idea. No one else will either, and search engines only will because they can see where the link goes.
The above image is an example of anchor text that is not much better than the former example. Why? It doesn’t really contain keywords relevant to the target page. You might be able to deduce from the words that it takes you to our page on site design, but it probably wasn’t intuitive and on top of that it was far too long.
Now watch this. Check out our pages on eCommerce custom development, eCommerce migration and digital marketing. Those are some effective examples of anchor text. They are short, simple, make use of keywords and are highly specific. Both you and search engines will know where they will take you, and that is a positive mark, both for user experience and for SEO.
Are you getting the hang of it? Capitalize on your keyword strategy and keep your links direct, intuitive and short. That’s most of the hard work, and it can offer you some real bonuses for your online store.
The questions that follow then are, what keywords should you target? Just how exactly is your site performing by search engines? How many links should you include, and to where? How can you generate backlinks from other web pages?
All great questions and the good news is you happen to be looking for answers in the right place. We’re experts in the digital marketplace and have been answering questions like these for our clients for years. We’re an eCommerce SEO agency that can help you come up with a keyword strategy, create original content as part of an SEO campaign to build traffic to your site, and even take an in-depth look at your site to see how it’s performing. If you think it’s about time for your eCommerce store to build traffic and generate higher conversions, give us a call today at 888-982-8269 or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Michael Esposito
- April 15, 2020