How to use anchor text to your advantage

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anchor textSearch engine optimization is built on hundreds of different variables, controls, and factors.

From keyword optimization to image tags, there are hundreds of different parts of your website’s design, both on-page and off-page, that help the major search engines decide where it ranks.

Thankfully, a lot of these factors are controllable, either directly through web coding or more indirectly through link manipulation and controlled link building.

However, one factor that’s often passed over is the anchor text. An absolutely essential part of search engine optimization, the anchor test is simply the text that appears as part of any text link.

For example, a link to Google could be branded ‘Google’, leading the URL to become associated with that search term. Another example would be a lengthy domain name, which is related to picture frames, being shortened to just ‘picture frames’ when seen as an on-page link.

These anchor text terms are especially important for search engine marketers looking to increase their traffic through keyword optimization. While one part of on-page SEO is designing pages to return as results for specific keywords, another off-page aspect is incorpating the right keywords into your external links.

Whenever a page is linked to / from another website, there’s anchor text that’s tied to it. By controlling (or at least attempting to control) this anchor text, you can create a keyword tie that’s permanently linking your domain address to a certain link term.

Here’s a literal, and completely truthful, example of how this system can be used to your advantage. A couple of years ago, an online finance website (that shall remain nameless) set about designing an SEO strategy built on social bookmarking websites and social media link traffic. They were looking to advertise credit card affiliate programs on their website, which naturally lead them to using ‘credit card’ as part of their link anchor text.

The company designed a fake news article describing a boy stealing a credit card, and buying a long list of inappropriate items with it. Of course, social media websites ate the story up, with amused readers providing thousands of links back to the original website. This is no unusual occurrence, or at least the last part isn’t. Social bookmarking services generate hundreds of links all the time.

What made this example unusual is that it was entirely a hoax, and that the payoff wasn’t in direct sales, but in linking power.

Every one of those text links had the term ‘credit card’ in the anchor text.

What thousands of social bookmarking members had been part of was one of the biggest link building hoaxes of all time. The company rocketed through the search engines and started ranking way up near the top of the results, all for a very competitive keyword and all because of an innovative anchor text strategy.

So next time you’re trying to optimize anchor text links, think outside the box. While there are great results in running the same course as everyone else, the real benefits kick in when you can look outside the system, see the benefits of running a non-conventional campaign, and mastering anchor text for social linking.

Angela’s backlinks are a great start to any back-linking strategy.

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37 Responses to How to use anchor text to your advantage

  1. Gerlaine December 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    I have not thought about anchor text much since you told me about it the first time, but this reminds me and I will be more aweare of using this tool.
    .-= Gerlaine´s last blog ..The First Morning =-.

    • Andrew Rondeau
      Twitter:
      December 12, 2009 at 8:36 am #

      Gerlaine

      It’s definately worth using (without spamming!). You can use via article marketing, blog carnivals. Both of those would be a great start.

      Andrew

  2. chandan December 12, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    I think that anchor text is really very much important for SEO purpose. A dofollow link with anchor text is much more valuable than a simple link. The story you mentioned here is one great strategy for get thousand of link.
    .-= chandan´s last blog ..Update from google work at home affiliate network-December 11, 2009 =-.

  3. Press Release December 12, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    Anchor texts are one of the most important parts of seo link building and a hoax story that becomes really popular can bring you a lot of backlinks.
    .-= Press Release´s last blog ..Looking For Baltimore Jobs Search Local Jobs with Job Finder =-.

  4. Blog Handbook December 12, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    It’s pretty strange that people ignore the importance of anchor texts, when it is the most important thing about SEO. Link building is pretty worthless if the anchor texts on the links are not any valuable keywords.

    Thanks for the reminder Andrew 🙂
    .-= Blog Handbook´s last blog ..How to Speed Up Blog Load Time =-.

  5. BloggerDaily December 12, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    I got the point. So this is how anchor text can benefit us. Yeah, SEO things. We need it =)
    .-= BloggerDaily´s last blog ..Honesty is The Best Blogging Policy =-.

    • Andrew Rondeau
      Twitter:
      December 13, 2009 at 7:38 am #

      Using anchor text can really help (a lot). Takes a while (couple of weeks, sometimes) for Google to ‘kick in’ and recognise but it’s well worth it.

      Andrew

  6. Dennis Edell December 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    OK boys and girls, I don’t know when this was done, but nowadays I’d steer clear of the fake story aspect…the results will not be as favorable. 😉
    .-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..3 Days Left – MaxBlogPress Christmas Deal Expires =-.

  7. Dana December 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    I know that the right anchor text can boost our selling if it can have great position in search engine, but i do not have any idea yet to get that strong anchor text.
    .-= Dana @ Online Knowledge´s last blog ..Five Software that Must be Installed for New Laptop =-.

  8. Kai January 17, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    You also have to know if the keyword sells. There are keywords that have high search but no conversion. Microsoft AdCenter has a Commercial Intent tool to check if it’s a buying keyword or not.
    .-= Kai@seo blog´s last blog ..Keywords That Sell =-.

    • Andrew Rondeau
      Twitter:
      January 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

      Kai

      You are talking about picking the correct keywords. This post is about how to use the keywords as anchor text not how to pick them!

      Andrew

  9. Biodun April 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Anchor text enhances the relevance of the targeted Page. All the search engine gives significant weight to the anchor text on your pages, so inclusion of important keywords in the anchor text can make a big difference in the final ranking of your site pages.
    So it’s important to make the most out of your link by choosing the right anchor text. Thanks for the post.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      April 17, 2010 at 7:29 am #

      The crucial step is picking the best / right keyword phrase to use.

      Get that wrong and all your efforts could be wasted.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..How to Ask to Get Ahead =-.

  10. Luqman May 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Anchor text is very important in links, it tells the human readers as well as the search engines what sort of information the link contains. So if you are planning to request an inbound link from another website, make sure the webmaster uses the anchor text that is appropriate to your website.

  11. Alison Shuman July 13, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    Thank you for this story. I recently started using anchor text on my three sites for this very reason! Your articles are timely and interesting. Keep ’em coming!
    .-= Alison Shuman´s last blog ..Comment on FHA Appraisal Guidelines by FHA Appraisals- An Overview Austin Appraiser =-.

  12. Memory Guru Deepak February 15, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Thanks Andrew for this very informative post. Honestly speaking, I didn’t know anything about anchor text before reading this article. It will help me a lot to increase my website traffic.
    Thanks again!

  13. Nanya May 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Well sure thing, anchor text is the key to the link building campaigns, but after the latest Google update, i feel it’s extremely crucial to mix it up and vary the anchors otherwise your website may be flagged as spam for receiving too many inlinks only with a specific set of keywords like make money online, making money online, how to make money online etc – do you see the point!

  14. Patrik June 7, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Thanks Andrew for this awesome post. Honestly speaking, I didn’t know anything about anchor text before reading this great post. It will help me a lot to increase my website traffic.
    Thanks again!

    If anyone is interested in and want to power up their tennis game visit my site then.

  15. Mano Miso August 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Thank you for this article! I didn’t know that anchor text can really help and is important part of seo link building!

  16. jessiebasu August 13, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I didn’t know anchor text can do this much magic to a blog… thanks for this important information. I must say it’s a very informative and smartly written article.
    🙂

    JESS
    jessiebasu recently posted..Alia Bhatt – Teenage Debutant Actress Of Student Of The YearMy Profile

  17. Mark November 23, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    Thanks Andrew for posting your valuable info. I think there is still value of right way of using Anchor text even after so much updates from Google. It all depends on where it comes from, and how they are presented at that particular site.

  18. Kundan January 6, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I think Anchor text are the most important part of link building. If we choose Anchor text(Long Tail keyword) with less competition then they can easily rank higher in search engine.

  19. Ian February 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I agree, if you have your chosen keywords as anchor text in a back-link to your website, the search engines will recognize this and push you higher in the search results.

    Make sure to vary your back-link anchor text about half of the time, to make this look more natural to the search engines or you may be penalised for it, especially if you create a large number of links.

  20. carolm
    Twitter:
    February 15, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    One tip I notice from reading this article is how you make your anchor text Bold. This makes it stand out more, so I’m going to do that myself from now on.

    Of course you could make the anchor text red but apparently that is counter productive because everyone accepts that links are/should be blue. Some SEO guru was saying this. Do you have any views, or even better, experience?

    My theme (WeaverII) allows me to have a ‘mouse roll over to red'(or any color I choose) option for my links, so that’s a bet each way. I haven’t researched if this makes any difference for click rates.

    Great content and information too – thanks.
    carolm recently posted..Cool New Way To Get Backlinks!My Profile

  21. Jessie B from new songs list April 24, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    I came here again to tell you that i followed your tips about how to smartly use anchor text for keyword seo and i am getting good results.

    thanks again.

    🙂
    Jessie B recently posted..Top New Summer Songs List – Best Summer Songs 2013My Profile

  22. Pio June 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Thanks for all the tips, will use them for my blogs and websites. One question though, when posting on a blog, do you put your main site page? or do you mix it up with different pages from your site?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Little Blogging Crackers: Create A Hub-Page Mini-Network - December 22, 2010

    […] hub-page is a site where you can add a one-page piece of content i.e. a blog post and include anchor text backlinks to your blog.Examples of hub-pages […]

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