An anchor has a single purpose—to link a boat or other seaworthy object to the sea bed, keeping it from drifting aimlessly. Anchor text, the highlighted text on a website that links to another page, serves a similar purpose. Its goal is to connect the two and smoothly guide readers from one page to another.
Understanding anchor text links and using them properly is essential to properly manage your website’s SEO. Not only is it an effective way to connect to affiliate sites, but linking to relevant and authoritative websites can boost your site in Google’s eyes. Whether you’re promoting an affiliate or adding extra context and information to your website, proper use of anchor text links is key to optimizing your website.
Why Anchor Text?
Anchor text stands out from other types of links for a simple reason—they’re usually relevant. They allow you to hyperlink to other content, replacing a lengthy URL with an appropriate keyword that will let your readers know what they’re about to read. Anchor text that uses the actual URL can also be practical if you prefer to link people to an article at your end rather than embedding it.
Other links may not provide the same results. Contextual backlinks are what your website is shooting for, but many websites look more at the number of views an affiliate can give rather than the relevance. Non-contextual links, like a link to a local Chinese restaurant in an article on travel, might provide short-term gain. They won’t help you boost your search ranking or build trust with your audience that you’ll always provide relevant information.
Foreign language links are an even dicier issue. Is your audience on your website heavily bilingual? You’re not likely to get too many crossover views, and Google tends to view too many foreign-language links as suspicious. That’s the only circumstance you should consider linking to an article in a foreign language. Before posting one, you should make sure all the content is relevant and accurate and don’t rely on google translate or any other rudimentary tool to proofread it.
Hidden backlinks are one of the oldest tricks on websites, where a link is placed not in the main text but within the background of the site or elsewhere in the design. This was often used to identify a lot of backlinks into a page without interrupting the flow of the story. While most people might not see it, Google does, and they don’t think highly of it. They view them as a trademark of spam, and most sites that use them get penalized.
While the same doesn’t exactly apply to links placed in the header or sidebar of a site, this generally doesn’t get you too much benefit from Google. The plus of this link is that it will be on every site page, so it’s a good choice if you want to heavily promote a link to something relevant. Just don’t expect it to boost your ranking too much.
You should also ensure that none of the backlinks you use are from penalized sites. Google keeps an eye on which areas they view as untrustworthy, and while it won’t hurt your site directly in most cases to link to them, it might not give you the full benefit of the link.
Using Anchor Text Effectively
To get the most out of your anchor text links, make sure to adapt them to the type of content you’re producing. Hyperlinks using highlighted text are ideal for articles where you want them to slip seamlessly into the paper. Links using the full URL are better for articles or in prominent places on your website afterward.
You don’t want just to put anchor texts on your website and let them rest there. It’s essential to keep an eye on Google’s changing standards and ensure your website keeps up with the times. You might need to change up your links regularly, significantly if one of your links drops in Google’s search engine rankings. You also want to make sure you’re not overloading your site with links, which could hurt its functionality.
Anchor Your Site to Success
The digital marketplace is an ecosystem, and no site succeeds solely on its own. Anchor text links are one of the most effective ways to connect your site to other relevant sites. Using this tool effectively can boost your profile and create stronger connections in the community.