Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

Anchor text can help give users context; however, is it also an actual Google rank factor? Learn more about the full article here.

Anchor text with keywords has long been a best SEO practice.

Why is that?

Since it’s a means to let search engines know about the type of web page you’re linking towards. It is believed to be a part in determining the ranking of the website in the results.

Anchor text mention to the words or phrases that a person clicks to go to an URL linked to an article of text.

Anchor text helps give context to visitors to the site they’re about to go to, But is it affecting anything in terms of the Ranking of a website?

Here are the claims made about anchor texts as a factor in Ranking, then the evidence that either confirms or disproves these claims.

The Argument: Anchor Text as an element of Ranking

Anchor text is thought to be a factor in Ranking in that it aids search engines to associate URLs with specific keywords or keywords.

The significance of anchor text doesn’t only pertain to what Google can accomplish with it. It’s essential to provide an excellent user experience by increasing the accessibility of websites.

Optimization techniques on the web that enhance the user experience generally improve the search engine rankings. This is another reason anchor text is often listed as a primary ranking factor.

The best guideline for optimizing websites is SEO adheres to the user experience.

If a site is designed to deliver the best user experience for humans, it is often optimized for search engines. However, this isn’t always the case, and you’ll eventually realize that it is true when it comes to anchor texts.

What is Anchor Text, and how it fit with SEO?

Google will be able to understand what the webpage being linked to (the targeted webpage) is about by analyzing the anchor text’s words. If a webpage connects to an URL using the anchor phrase “top 10 pizza restaurants within NYC,” then Google is aware of the type of website users are directed to.

When you use generic words (e.g., “click here”), It’s not evident Google Google what the site is about. Similar to how a website might include descriptive text to help users navigate the site, it should provide the same to Google.

Anchor text improves the customer experience in a variety of different ways. If a person is looking through an article, the descriptive anchor text will help them quickly identify the pages they’re searching for.

For instance, if the user clicks to read an article that makes an unsubstantiated claim, they may wish to read the article to determine the origin of the claim.

In such a scenario, a generic anchor text won’t assist users in finding the page they require. Also, it conveys to Google not much about the targeted page. That’s why descriptive anchor texts are preferred over words or phrases that are generic.

A different but less obvious way anchor text can improve users’ experience via accessibility. Consider what the experience would be similar to for a web user who has a visual impairment.

People who are visually impaired turn on screen readers for browsing the internet. This requires software that can read all of the text on a webpage, including links, when browsing a site.

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If a user is told to “click here” or “read more” for each link they find on a webpage that they visit, they will not find it helpful. It could be pretty frustrating, and they may decide not to return to the site next time.

Accessibility is essential to provide an excellent user experience. Even if you believe it’s not relevant to your particular user, it’s crucial for search engines such as Google.

After all that, we need to consider whether anchor text is an important ranking factor?

There is evidence to support Anchor Text as an essential factor in Ranking.

Yes, anchor text is an element of Ranking.

Using descriptive anchor texts when inserting links onto the page is a good practice that Google has listed in its SEO Starter Guide.

SEO is an overwhelming subject for newbies, but it’s not an obscure science. Google strives to deliver accurate results for its users. It requires the support of the owners of websites to achieve this.

This is why Google clarifies what it expects website owners to consider when optimizing their pages to be indexed by their search engine.

If you optimize your website to rank in Google, it is essential to consider listening to Google. What is it that Google tells us about anchor words?

In Google’s SEO Starter Guide to SEO:

“…the more precise the anchor text you use, the more straightforward it will be for users to navigate it and for Google to know what the webpage you’re linking to is about.

By using appropriate anchor text, Search engines and users can easily discern what linked pages are.”

The Starter Guide continues to suggest these best practices:

  • Select descriptive text instead of generic or off-topic content.
  • Write a concise text rather than a long paragraph or entire paragraph.
  • Make them visible since they need to be easily identifiable in standard text.
  • Use descriptive text to create internal links, but beware of the overuse of keywords.

In the last few days, John Mueller from Google John Mueller confirmed anchor text remains a ranking factor in one of his questions and answers to members of the SEO community.

Anchor text is frequently discussed in Mueller’s Q&As. Here’s another example: this time, Mueller talks about the elements of user experience of anchor text:

“If you’re changing internal anchor texts to ensure it’s easier comprehendible by users, it also assists search engines better comprehend the context of these pages. Therefore, I’d opt for it.”

It is impossible to talk about anchor texts as a ranking signal without talking about how significant it was in the beginning stages of SEO. Google’s advice on avoiding the overuse of anchor text with keywords reminds how this signal was used earlier.

It was easy for websites to manipulate their rankings by creating links using specific keywords as anchor text. Anchor text was weighed such that websites could rank for terms that never appeared in the text on the page.

The long-time SEO experts may recall that Adobe once was ranked for the word “click here” since it was the most common anchor text employed by site owners for linking with PDFs.

Google eventually realized how spammers misused its excessive valuing of anchor texts. The company addressed the issue in 2012 by announcing the publication of its Penguin algorithm update. It was primarily focused on manipulative link-building strategies.

Nowadays, websites that attempt to manipulate their search rankings with anchor text that matches exactly are more likely to see their efforts disregarded rather than rewarded.

Anchor Text is a Rank Factor The Verdict

Google confirms anchor text is utilized in the Ranking of search results to gain more understanding of web pages. This can aid in getting the pages found by relevant searches.

The effectiveness of anchor words as an indicator of Ranking is not near the heights it was before Penguin websites could be ranked for phrases they wanted to organize by constructing many keyword-rich hyperlinks.

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Krishna Chaitanya
Krishna is a digital media strategist with experience in the media and publishing industries, He is also the lead marketing strategist for Hustle Chronicle. He is currently employed at Intentify Media & resides in India.

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