By now, you’re probably aware that link building is a critical ranking factor. It’s one of the things you need to prioritize in order to boost your search engine rankings. Besides picking relevant, high-quality links, you should also focus on using the appropriate words to describe them. These words are what SEO folks would call anchor text, and it might surprise you to learn that Google’s algorithms place great emphasis on them.
While Google didn’t mind keyword-rich anchors back then, this practice is being frowned upon today. In fact, they’re now monitoring which words you’re linking, how often you use them, and the text surrounding them. That’s why it’s important to select the right words all the time. They should be able to provide your audience with a clear idea of what to expect when they click on the anchor.
Don’t forget to keep Google in mind as you’re thinking of your anchor text, too. By understanding your content easily through your anchor, Google will reward you with a high ranking – which means more visibility, quality leads, and conversions. The question is, how can you optimize your anchor words? How can you refine them in a way that will improve your SEO efforts?
Well, you’re about to find out below as we explore five tactics proven to have helped businesses of all sizes rank their way up to the top. Optimize your anchor text strategy for SEO using these steps:
1. Focus on Relevant Words
Google relies on anchors to learn what the web pages on both ends are all about, and how essential they are. That way, these pages will be ranked in keyword searches properly.
This is why you should be carefully selecting words or phrases that make perfect sense for the link. Not only will it help Google gain information about the linked pages, but it will also create a better experience for your audience, ultimately improving your rankings.
A good tip is to diversify your anchor words by using synonyms that correspond to both the context and link destination. Just be sure not to overdo it, as Google might deem them as clickbait. And, your readers will likely get turned off.
2. Avoid Excessive Use of Exact Match Anchors
Google doesn’t like seeing too many exact match anchors. As the name suggests, exact match keywords are keywords that help you gain links that target the exact keywords you’re using. They indicate that your target keywords exactly match an anchor text, search query, or domain name.
Let’s say you’re writing a post that targets the keyword “local SEO.” Someone decides to link to it via a hyperlink that contains these same words, thus, leading you to earn an exact matching link. Despite the significance of anchor texts in SEO rankings, having too many of them can put you at risk of getting penalized for spam.
3. Stay Away from Unusual Websites
Another practice you want to avoid is by linking to a site that looks questionable. These are usually sites that spread misinformation, engage in spammy techniques, or promote hateful speech. Otherwise, Google will punish you by ranking you poorly. Instead, use the co-citation principle. Check a website’s Alexa ranking before linking to it, link to sites with a score of 100k or less. Say no to hate-promoting websites.
In case you have no other choice left but to link to these “bad” sites, you can use a no-follow tag. This tag lets Google know that though you may be linking to a certain website, you’re not actually endorsing it. This ensures your SEO won’t be affected.
4. Pay Attention to the Surrounding Text
Google is always about putting users first, which is why it introduced the BERT update. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a technology that uses natural language processing (NLP) so that humans will immediately understand them. When people are reading an article online, they typically look at the words surrounding the anchor text to gain context and evaluate what’s on the other side of the link. They don’t bother reading the entire paragraph or sentence anymore.
Chances are, Google is doing the same thing, though we might also like to consider that it will scan all the words in a sentence as it scans the anchor text. That said, it’s best to avoid using the same anchors throughout an entire body of text, even if you’re linking to multiple websites. You certainly don’t want to incur penalties for that.
5. Don’t Forget About Image Alt Tags
Image alt tags exist for three primary reasons:
- They help the virtually impaired understand what a certain image is about
- They tell Google bots what a certain image is about
- They serve as anchor text
For your alt tags to be effective, they should be descriptive and sound like a natural sentence. Pick one main keyword and incorporate it into a descriptive sentence regarding a specific image. Don’t stuff your keywords.
The Bottom Line
We can’t deny that anchor text plays a key role in SEO. Besides being a major Google ranking factor. It also makes it easier for your readers to recognize what’s on the other side of your links, helping them decide whether they provide value or not. While following these tips will definitely make a difference. It might be best to hire a Miami SEO company to get the job done.