Everyone wants to be listed high in search engine results, but not everyone knows how. There are many factors to gaining a solid search engine ranking, starting with quality of content. But the second most important factor is often overlooked and misunderstood - anchor text.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text are the hyperlinked words you click on that send you to a new page and tell search engines what that page is about. Properly formatted anchor text boosts your search engine rankings and helps search engines discover new content on your website.
Example of poor anchor text
So what does properly formatted anchor text look like? Let's start with poorly written anchor text, for example:
The above link (which goes nowhere, by the way) doesn't tell the user anything about what page they're going to. If that weren't bad enough (and it's bad), Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines are also flummoxed by that text. It doesn't tell their search engine robots (which scour websites day and night) anything about the page on your site that the link goes to.
Many large websites still use this lazy approach to anchor text. When they do, they're hamstringing their SEO (search engine optimization.
How you should use anchor text properly
A better approach is to use keywords that relate to the page you're linking to. Let's suppose you have a website about fashion and you have a blog post about scarves. Your anchor text may look like this:
See the latest fashions in women's scarves for the Fall >
Notice that the anchor text contains several keywords that are applicable to the blog post: women's, scarves, and Fall. Also, the word "fashion" is used, which of course is a universal theme of the website. In addition, the anchor text calls for action in that it entices the user to see something, in this case a page with the latest scarves for women for the Fall season. Similarly, you may use phrases like "Find out ..." or "Learn more about ..." or "Receive a free e-book about ..." Using this method, your visitor is prompted to get information of value to them on the page you're sending them to.
By using the keywords that relate to your web pages in the anchor text of the links that point to those pages, you’ll improve your chances of increasing your ranking for those keywords. Don't overlook this important method for improving the SEO of your website.
. He was formerly the Web Producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, and worked for Major League Baseball as a producer. He has been developing websites and producing content for the Internet for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter at