Monday, February 13, 2012

Anchor Text

OneClickSEO - Anchor Text

What is an Anchor text ? The defination of Anchor text.

Anchor text is the hyperlinked words on a web page - the words you click on when you click a link.

Here's an example, reciprocal links, in which "reciprocal links" is the anchor text.

Anchor text usually gives your visitors useful information about the content of the page you're linking to.

Here's why anchor text is so important...

It tells search engines what the page is about. Used wisely, it helps boost your rankings in search engines, especially in Google.

If you use "click here" as the words people are going to click on, you're telling people the page is about the subject "click here". If you use "Part 2" as the anchor text, you're telling the search engines the page is discussing "part 2".

You wouldn't want to rank highly for "click here" or "Part 2".

Anchor text is highlighted words on a page that link to another web page or resource. Clicking on the text, called hypertext, loads the linked resource in the user's browser. Links are created using the Hypertext Mark-up Language's (HTML) anchor element:

    <a href="">This is a hyperlink</a>

The hypertext is the text that occurs between the angle brackets. It would generally appear as: This is a hyperlink in a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla.
The word hypertext was coined by Ted Nelson who, in the 1960s designed the first ever hypertext system called project Xanadu. Nelson was inspired by a 1945 essay by Vanneva Bush titled: As We May Think. In it Bush envisaged a machine where the user could navigate a non-linear path through a trail of documents linked by concepts represented by words or phrases.
While anchor text tells a search engine nothing directly about the contents of the linked page it is used as a convenient heuristic. A heuristic is a rule of thumb that is normally effective in dealing with a given situation but does not absolutely guarantee the desired results. They are shortcuts where a much more detailed and complicated analysis would otherwise be necessary.
In this case the heuristic is to let humans evaluate the content of the target page. The anchor text should then represent in some way the contents of that page. You can think of it as a vote for your page with those keywords. In an ideal world it should be possible to build quite an effective search engine using anchor text alone. Indeed Oliver McBryan who first proposed the idea at the World Wide Web conference in 1994 used this method on his search engine, the WWW Worm.
There are a couple of pitfalls. Firstly many interesting and useful web pages don't have relevant inbound-links.  Secondly SEO experts can use this knowledge to subvert a search engine to favor their pages by creating inbound links for popular keyword from other sites under their control. This is a form of search engine spam.
Although the concept of hyper-linking seems natural, many site designers still make basic errors with respect to search engine optimization. For example, say you have created a page about How To Use Anchor Text In Post. You may have another page with the following text:
How To Use Anchor Text In Post.
You could make a link in a number of places:
  • How To Use Anchor Text In Post.
  • How To Use Anchor Text In Post.
  • How To Use Anchor Text In Post.
  • How To Use Anchor Text In Post.
You could even link the whole sentence. Although the first and last examples may seem logical the anchor text is too vague to be useful. The page is about anchor text, so either option 2 or 3 would be better. There are a number of considerations as to which to use. More keywords in the anchor may dilute the importance the search engine gives to each individual keyword, we may want to rank well for anchor text and How To Use Anchor Text so adding further anchor text could have a negative impact. We would also have to establish how popular each set of keywords is and how much competition there is for each of them. There is no point going head to head with a popular but generic keyword such as 'engine' (82 million pages returned by Google) if we are unable to put the resources into getting our page into the first twenty or so results returned by the search engines. This is true no matter how popular the search term. If possible avoid stop words such as and, by, from, with as these are not used by search engines when evaluation queries and may dilute the other keywords in the anchor.

OneClickSEO - Anchor Text
Anchor text is so important that it's possible for a page to appear in the top 10 in Google's search results for a phrase which isn't mentioned anywhere on the page.

Some blog publishers have fun using "Google bombing" to get pages ranked highly for humorous phrases. If the phrase is obscure, only a handful of links will win the phrase a No.1 ranking. If it's highly competitive, hundreds or thousands of links might be needed.

When asking other sites to link to your site, it's a good idea to provide them with the HTML code ready to cut and paste into their page. That way, you choose the anchor text.

However, if your site is all about purple widgets, you don't want only "purple widgets" to be used as the phrase in every link to your site. Over-optimizing anchor text like that would create an unnatural pattern.

You can use anchor text in:
  • External links - links from other sites
  • Internal links - links on your pages
  • Navigation maps
  • Links on your main page. A very important spot.
Remember that real live humans will read your links as well as search engines, so the words in your anchor text need to make sense!

How important is Anchor Text to a Backlink?

OneClickSEO - Anchor Text

Linkbuilding is an essential part of SEO. The more links, the merrier. Each link consequently comes with an anchor text. The confusion right now is, does Google still give as much important to anchor text as it does before?
How Google derives a Link’s relevance
Before we go on to conclude the importance of anchor text right now, let’s take a look at how Google derives an individual link’s relevance. Basically, there are three major ways:
Anchor Text
The anchor text is what we want to tackle today. This is the blue underlined text that is clickable and will take you to another webpage to which it is pointing to. There have been many controversies and exchange of ideas surrounding anchor text – some swear by its effectiveness, while others proclaim its death.
Recently, Google has announced that it will gradually reduce its dependence on anchor text until it has minimal effect. Lots of sources have given infographs about the future of SEO factors – and it clearly shows that anchor text is in rapid decline.
Anchor Title
The anchor title is the tool-tip text that appears whenever you mouse-over on a link. The importance and weight of the anchor title is not really as big as the anchor text – but it is one of the most visible factors describing the link and what it is pointing to.
I personally think that Google derives a link’s relevance from an anchor title too albeit not too much.
Context around the link
The context that surrounds the link is also used to derive the link and what it is pointing to. Basically, we look at two major factors that comprise the context:
  1. Page Title – The page title is what you see at the top-leftmost part of your browser. It gives you an immediate idea about what the webpage is all about. This affects the link by the page as a whole. A link coming from a page with a very relevant title tag incurs a huge impact in the link’s quality.
  2. Content Body – The content body is the whole of the article written in the webpage – where the link is almost always placed. The upper part of the content is arguably the best link placement and should easily describe what the link is about. This is also used by Google to derive the link and where it points to.
Anchor Text’s current importance
Right now, looking into an experiment posted in SEOmoz, the facts are laid out straight. Google isn’t there in its acclaimed ‘anchor text independence’ yet. Right now, how the system works is how it still does – varying anchor text is still the best as long as there is relevance in the words.
For example:
If you have a website that sells gift checks, building links with the anchor text “gift checks”, “gift certificates”, “gift items” will get you further up the ranks in the long run than making just focusing all your anchor texts on “gift checks”. But not having the keywords “gift” or “checks” or “gift checks” inside the anchor text would lead to it being somewhat useless.
If you visit the experiment from SEOmoz, you’ll see that the website with the backlinks having the anchor text “Click here”, “See here”, “This entry”, was nowhere to be found in the long run.
What now?
Well, the results of the experiment laid it straight out: build backlinks with relevant, but varying anchor text – and you’ll get to rank well in the long run.
Tips for Keeps: Don’t ‘follow your heart’ there is no such thing in SEO. Experiments and trial-and-error is the way to go.

OneClickSEO - Anchor Text
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