Anchor Text Is A Ranking Factor Or Not

Keyword-rich anchor text is a SEO best practice. Because it gives a signal to search engines about what type of page that your link is pointing to. This information is important to ranking your page in search results list. But the question is anchor text is a ranking factor or not. Let’s dive into it more.

Anchor text provides context to users on the page that they’re going to visit. The words or phrases that a user clicks on to visit those pages are called anchor text. Does it impact to search rankings? Let’s look at some claims of anchor text is a ranking factor and evidences which support and debunk those claims.

The Claim of Anchor Text is a Ranking Factor

Anchor text helps search engines associate URLs with particular key phrases or keywords. That’s why people tend to believe anchor text is a ranking factor. But the importance of it not limit with search engines and what they can do with. It gives website accessibility and also better user experience.

The on-page optimization techniques which improve user experience affect on search rankings. User experiences follows SEO practices also. Those are another reasons to believe that anchor text is a ranking factor. When you build a website to give better user experience, it being optimized for search engines too. It might not be true always. But when it comes to anchor text, its true.

How Does Anchor Text Fit With SEO?

Google uses words in anchor text to get some idea about what the page is about. For example, imagine using anchor text “top 10 pizza places in NYC,” then Google knows what type of the page being linked to with anchor text. But when you are adding anchor text, don’t use generic text like “click here”. Because it doesn’t give the idea about what the target page is to Google.

Anchor Text provides better user experience in different ways. When you are quickly watching through an article, anchor text helps to identify what you are looking for immediately. Imagine you are looking for find the source of the information in an article. If there are generic anchor text, it wouldn’t help you to find links that you want. It also doesn’t say anything about page to Google. That why we said before not to use generic anchor text. Using descriptive anchor text is important to avoid such issues.

An another way to improve user experience is accessibility. Though it might not important to your specific audience, it is important to Google and other search engines. Imagine a visitor who is blind or visually impaired comes to your site. Those people usually rely on screen readers. They use software to read all the text on a page. When reading links, if they hear “read more” or “click here”  for all the links in the page, it won’t help them at all. They might not visit again your site.

The Evidence of Anchor Text Is A Ranking Factor

It’s time to answer the question of anchor text is a ranking factor or not? The answer is yes, it is a ranking factor. Using descriptive anchor text is a best SEO practice which is in Google’s SEO Starter Guide. Beginners might think SEO practices are difficult. But it’s not difficult at all. Google focus on giving best results to users that they looking for. In order to do that, the cooperation between site owners and Google is important. That’s why Google introduced SEO practices to optimize web pages. Through that, Google makes it clear what they want site owners to do for giving them ranking on search engine results.

Google has said about anchor text in Google’s SEO Starter Guide.

“If you create better anchor text, it make easier Google to understand what the page that you’re linking to is about and it also make easier visitors to navigate. A meaningful anchor text, give chance to understand the linked page content both users and search engines. “

  • The Google’s SEO Starter Guide also gives below recommendations.
  • Choose descriptive text instead of choosing generic or off-topic text.
  • Write short text instead of long sentences or whole paragraph.
  • Make those links visible as a way users can find them amongst regular text.
  • If you are using internal links, use descriptive text. But don’t use many keywords.

John Mueller recently said that anchor text is still a ranking factor. He said that during a  Q&A with the SEO community. Once he mentioned about anchor text and the user experience it gives.

“If you are creating anchor text in a understandable way for users, it also makes easier Google to understand page content.”

Anchor Text was useful for SEO practices in past years. But it was abused in the past. That’s why Google’s made a guidance on avoiding overuse of keywords in anchor text. Creating links with specific keywords as anchor text made it easier for websites to manipulate their rankings. Anchor text was so heavy that pages could rank for keywords that didn’t even appear in the page’s copy. For example Adobe once ranked for the term of “click here”. Because it was a common anchor text that site owners used to link PDFs.

In 2012, Google gave a solution for this issue with the release of the Penguin algorithm update. Now sites that try to play up their search rankings with exact match anchor text are more likely to be ignored than rewarded.

Final thoughts

Google said that anchor text is a ranking factor. It is useful to understand the pages not only users but also visitors who come to your page. The power of anchor text as a ranking factor is nowhere near what it was before Penguin. At that time websites could rank for the desired phrase by building enough keyword-rich links.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create an anchor text?

In the content editor software, highlight the text that you want to hyperlink. Next click the linked link icon which is in the rich text toolbar. To insert an anchor link, click the Link to dropdown menu in the pop up box. Then select anchor on this page. Next click the anchor dropdown menu and choose the anchor. Finally click insert.

What is anchor text and why is it important?

Anchor text provides context not only users but also search engines. The link label shows what a user would see on the linked page if user decides to click on it. And also search engines use it to index and rank webpages in search engine results.

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