Although this blog has covered a few things with regard to anchor texts, I think it’s a good idea to go back and actually have a look at what they are, what they do and why they are so important.
Put simply, anchor text is the information provided in a link to another website. When you see a link to another source, the ‘anchor’ is the wording of the actual thing you click. Anchor texts are important for two reasons – firstly, it provides an accurate description of the content on the other side to the user and secondly, it’s great for SEO.
The first point is quite an interesting one and I personally believe that many webmasters overlook it. The reason why is pretty simple, a user has an expectation when he clicks a link to another website and as you would correctly imagine, that expectation is to get what’s described in the anchor. Let’s take a look at an example to better understand why anchor text is good for practical use:
Fred is absolutely obsessed with trains. This guy lives for them – he buys models, he spots them and he’s training (unintentional pun) to be driver. Now Fred is browsing the web for some naughty images of Naked Germans – he doesn’t like them as much as trains but as far as sexual fetishes go, this one is his favorite. Now, let’s suppose that Fred is on a site that has a lot of pictures of girls but sadly, no German ones. Then, in the corner of his eye, he spots a link to another website – the anchor is ‘Naked German Chicks’. Fred then clicks the link and comes across a website that is purely devoted to trains. Is he happy?
Of course he isn’t, he wanted porn. Even though he’s on a web page that he might otherwise enjoy, it wasn’t what he was expecting, and that annoys him.
If you’re planning to use anchor texts, use relevant ones because it builds a trust with the user. Even if the item he’s clicked on might otherwise be enjoyable for him, he wants what he clicked on.
So that’s the non-SEO purpose of anchor texts, what about the application of them when it comes to building traffic? Well, search engines have a funny way of looking at things that might surprise you – they want to view a web page as if they’re a human being. The main purpose of a search engine is to locate relevant web pages for what the user wants, hence they rely on a small number of things to decide what’s worth displaying.
As you can imagine, the anchor text is a vital part of any outbound link. Google will see a link from a PR5 page with the anchor of ‘German Chicks’ as a good enough reason to rank that site for German/female related terms (in theory). People sometimes say that anchor text doesn’t mean anything and it’s just the link juice that gets you going – these people are idiots.
If the sheer link power was all that mattered, you’d be able to type any word into a search Engine and Google would rank number one for all terms (Google is the most linked to URL on the World Wide Web). This doesn’t happen, because the text in the link is what matters.
Put simply – have relevant anchor texts linking to your site, because they’re what search engines and users want.