One of the most important SEO functions for any webmaster is to create good anchor text. Anchor text is the keyword phrase you use to link from one page to another. Your link can be an internal link – linking from one page of your website to another – or it can be an inbound link, one that links from a page not associated with your website to a page on your website. Either way, good anchor text will help your website rank better in the search engines.
So what makes good anchor text?
Good anchor text is determined by a number of factors. Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Keyword relevance
- High authority website
- Domain age
- Link age
- Title attribute
- Link anchor text diversity
These are just a few of the factors that search engines consider when evaluating anchor text. Let’s talk about them one by one.
This is a real simple factor. You want your anchor text to be relevant to the web page you are linking to. For instance, if your page is about sailboats, then your inbound anchor text should include the word “sailboat” in it. If it is about a particular brand of sailboat, then get more specific with your anchor text. It should be relevant to the page being linked to.
High authority website
Authority is determined by a number of factors. In essence, the website in question is recognized by the search engines as a high authority site. Wikipedia, for instance, is a high authority website. A link from Wikipedia would be a valuable link. A link from a leading industry newspaper or journal in your niche is likely another high authority link so look for those types of websites to gain links from.
Aged domains deliver better anchor text value. A new site has not had time to gain authority whereas a site that has been online for ten years is well recognized by the search engines and is a valuable resource.
Just as websites and web pages have their own authority and age ratings, so too do links. A link that has been pointing to your website for several years will carry more ranking weight than one you built yesterday.
Title attributes are one of the most overlooked SEO practices for links. You simply add the title=”keyword phrase” syntax to your a href tag. It should look like this:
- Anchor text phrase
When you add a title attribute, don’t use the same keyword that you used for your anchor text. Use a secondary keyword to give that link additional definition with the search engines.
Anchor text diversity
If you build thousands of links using the same anchor text and you don’t vary your anchor text any, then the search engines are likely to discount some of those links. You want to diversify your anchor text for each page of your website. Find 3-10 keyword phrases that might be relevant for your page and create anchor text links pointing to that page from a variety of websites so that you have a diverse link portfolio.
One final note, don’t go out and build a bunch of links at one time. Instead, build your anchor text links out over time so that they are spread out over time. It is a more natural linking pattern, which the search engines favor.