The anchor text is the term used to describe the visible, clickable text in a link that is found within website content. The anchor text can also be explained as the visible text description of a link. The HTML code below is used to define an anchor text for a link within content:
<a href= https://www.examplewebsite.com/>This Is The Anchor Text</a>
Why is anchor text important?
Anchor text will always have some significance and impact on SEO as long as backlinks are considered important. Before the previous penguin update in 2012, the anchor text was the simplest way for Google algorithms to understand how relevant a link through to a website was from the content it was linking from.
As of late however, Google makes use of anchor text to identify spam and over-optimization, resulting in search rank penalties for websites that haven’t made use of anchor text correctly.
Prior to the penguin update, using anchor text for SEO was easy. You could just use your target keyword as the anchor text with a 100% exact match and your website would be ranked. As a result Google had to make a change, which they did with the Penguin updates. The initial penguin update completely changed how link building was done for SEO.
Any website making use of low quality, false or spam like links within their content in order to improve search ranking for specific keywords was penalised. They made use of the Anchor Text to determine whether a website was building artificial or spammy backlinks to gain better rankings.
How did they use anchor text to identify such websites, you might wonder? The answer is that a normal website that is using a genuine set of backlinks will not have all (100%) of their backlinks using the same target keyword or phrase as the anchor text (This is a major red flag).
It is important to understand how the Penguin updates analyse anchor text and decides whether a website’s search rank should be penalised or not. In order for the Penguin algorithm to decide this it needs to first build a link profile of a website, this is done as follows:
- You build a backlink within your website content
- Google indexes the backlink
- Google places this new link into its database for your website, this is knows as your websites ‘link profile’
- The above steps are repeated over and over again, till all the links on your website are added to your link profile database which the Penguin algorithm can then analyse.
The Penguin algorithm then looks at the link profile database for your website and compares it to the keyword optimisation that has been done for the website. If your page content is optimized for a specific keyword (eg: “Restaurants in Melbourne”) and all your anchor text is also that same keyword (so 100% of your anchor text is “Restaurants in Melbourne”), then your website ranking will be penalised. So basically, a combination of an exact match anchor text and keyword rich over optimisation will lead to a penguin penalty.
In order to prevent your website suffering from Google penguin algorithm and resulting in a loss of search rank, it is vital to understand exactly how and when to use your keyword rich anchor texts and exactly how Backlinking using anchor text must be done.
Tips of exactly how to use anchor text for your website backlinks will be discussed in part 2 of this post, next week.