Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A guide to anchor text and links

Manchester SEO blog looks at three different kinds of anchor text.

What Is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the visible part of a website link. A user can click these words to go to another page on the same website, or to a completely different domain altogether.

1. SEO Anchor Text

Search engines use the anchor text of a link to categorise a page. For instance, this link – to a previous Manchester SEO blog on important blogs - uses the text important blogs. Google and its ilk will relate this anchor text to the content of the page.

Why is this useful?

Search engines take into account anchor text when compiling the list of websites for user searches. If a number of links to the same page include identical text, the URL in question will begin to rank in search results for that query.

2. Appealing Anchor Text

Longer anchor text is ideal for clearly stating what a new page will offer. These links use a few words or a phrase for the visible text. For instance, the following goes to the Manchester SEO blog about the use of brand mascots on Twitter.

A detailed synopsis of a link informs users what they can expect to find when they click through to a page.

Why is this useful?

Detailed anchor text is great for usability. It clearly marks out what information a browser can find on each different page.

While SEO weight is great, it's worth remembering that search engines aren't going to become a paying customer. You're writing for the user and a link which goes into more detail is more likely to receive clicks than one which uses anchor text designed with SEO in mind.

Of course, you can still optimise this text for search engines. These links are a nice way to include long-tail keywords or phrases you wouldn't normally focus on.

This sort of anchor text also gives a SEO copywriter the chance to be a little bit inventive. Ambiguous anchor text shows a little leg and leaves the user wanting to know more.

3. "Me! Me! Me!" Anchor Text

This anchor text has no real value. Link text such as 'Click here' or 'More on this', have no SEO weight whatsoever. Unless, you want a page to rank for the search term 'click here'. Which apparently, Adobe does.

These links are also very dull. Users need to be motivated to follow a link and bland text is unlikely to convince anyone to double click their mouse.

Why is this useful?

Click here for more.

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