Let’s talk about what anchor is. How it works, why you need it, and how to use it correctly to improve your site’s SEO performance.
What is anchor?
“Anchor” is a transliteration of the English word anchor, which means “anchor”. Anchors in SEO and copywriting mean a hyperlink, that is, clickable text, clicking on which leads to another web page or a block of text on the same page.
Essentially, these are links. But they are needed in the text not only to build routes between different pages and sites, but also to create relevant links between these pages, as well as to add additional key phrases to the text.
Therefore, unlike regular links, there are a number of rules for the design of anchors that must be strictly followed so that they have a positive effect on the ranking of a page in Google and Yandex search results.
Examples of anchor text design
On the page, the anchor looks like regular text, but with a slightly different appearance. The styling depends on the browser and on what styles are used by the developers of a particular resource.
Often, anchor text is blue underlined text. Like any link, if you have already visited it, the anchor will be highlighted in purple.
But you can change the style of design to any other, and for this it is enough to edit the CSS file connected to the page.
In the code, the anchor looks like this:
<a href="https://timeweb.ru">Какой-то анкор текст</a>
Types of anchor text
Anchors differ in the key phrases used.
Some anchors include the entire keyword or phrase. This approach allows you to increase the number of exact occurrences, “keys” in the text. But often copywriters and SEO specialists use different variations of key phrases or parts of them in the text.
Also, the anchor text can be a brand name or a regular link. That is, hypertext, but not hidden in some phrase, but in the form of a pure URL. For example, www.apple.com instead of apple.
There are more “classic” options. For example, hyperlinks with the text “Click on me!” or addresses hidden behind images (images also become clickable).
How to format anchor text correctly?
As I said above, anchors require adherence to certain rules during registration. They are uncomplicated. The main thing is to remember a few basic principles and follow them.
Observe the natural flow of text
You have to understand that copywriting is the craft of creating natural, easy-to-read texts. Therefore, adding hyperlinks to text should follow the same rules. You can’t just shove anchors into different parts of the article and hope that it will work.
The easiest way to figure out whether to add a hyperlink is to assess how easy it is to embed it there. If you have to spend a lot of time selecting keys and choosing a place to place the anchor, then it is better not to add it at all. This works in the same way as interacting with regular keys. No one in their right mind will sacrifice the logic of the narrative and the rules of the Russian language, just to fit a couple of key phrases into the text.
Avoid anything that makes your text unreadable or hard to read.
Include anchor text in the context of the article
Even if you need to drive traffic to a link, you cannot forcefully push in anchors that do not correspond to the topic. Relevance is the main criterion for the quality of hyperlinks.
This applies to both the content in the anchor and the content hidden behind it. The stronger the connection between these elements, the better the search engine will relate to such pages.
Don’t go overboard with length
Key phrases should not be too long. Sometimes this not only complicates the writing of the text, but also adversely affects readability. And at the same time, and on the evaluation of the site by search robots.
Links that are too long will not work, even though there are no technical limits on the length.
It is good SEO practice to use compressed link keys. Ideally, you should answer yourself two questions:
What’s the best way to style a hyperlink to accurately describe the address behind it?
What word can induce page visitors to click on the anchor?
Links that are too short are also harmful. Try to include at least two (and preferably three) words in the hypertext.
Avoid boilerplate anchor texts
What I called the “classic” version of the anchor above in the article can be considered template. Phrases like “click on me”, “this link”, “click here” and the like, although they are used quite often, are not as useful as anchors combined with key phrases.
First, it looks too pretentious. Breaks off a sentence and makes the person pay attention to text that has nothing to do with the rest of the article.
Secondly, it is pointless to miss the opportunity to use a keyword phrase or some other relevant text in the anchor that has a positive effect on SEO performance.
Maneuver between key phrases
Many SEOs use the tactic of spreading keywords evenly throughout the text. It is important not to concentrate them in one or two paragraphs. And some copywriters completely avoid placing “keys” even in neighboring sentences, because it allegedly also negatively affects the page’s position in the search results.
Because of this, it is believed that anchors can interfere with the correct distribution of key phrases in the text, since often the text for hyperlinks is just “keys”.
Therefore, when adding anchors, keep an eye on the surrounding text to prevent an overabundance of keywords in one place.
Don’t fool users
Anchor is a link with some name. For example, it could be a reference to another article in the form of a product name. Looking at the title of this link, the reader should clearly understand where he will go if he clicks on it.
Naturally, if an anchor says that it will take you to an article on a related topic, but in fact redirects you to some third-party resource or even a fake page to drive traffic, then the reader will be disappointed. You will undermine his trust. In the future, he is unlikely to become positive about your site and continue to click on the hyperlinks.
Let’s make it clear that anchor is clickable.
This advice may seem obvious, but some aspiring design and layout professionals sometimes go so far as to forget about user-friendliness in their experiments.
It is bad practice to redesign such fundamental things as the appearance of links. But if for some reason you decided to change the style, then do not forget that it should be not only beautiful, but also functional. Otherwise, what’s the point of inserting a link into the text if the user does not understand that this word can be clicked on.
Frequently asked Questions
We have sorted out the main points, but the questions do not end there.
How to optimize anchors?
Just like other text elements. Use link titles that are easy to read and unambiguous. But don’t overdo it with the optimization. Don’t use too many duplicate key phrases. In SEO, it is very important to maintain a balance so that search engine crawlers respond appropriately to links.
Is anchor text really necessary?
Desirable. It really has a positive effect on SEO performance. Anchors let search engines understand what the article is about, which is hidden behind a hyperlink. Anchors are officially considered one of the key signals for search engines. This is supported by several Google patents.
Lack of anchor text is considered by many to be bad SEO practice.
Instead of a conclusion
That’s all. If you want to become a more advanced SEO or copywriter, then use anchor text wisely. Try to use them often, but don’t overdo it. Experiment, watch traffic and track the impact of anchor text on the dynamics of your site.