Anchors Away! Anchor Text and Its Effect on SEO

As the search engine behemoth Google continues to refine its approach to evaluating sites, many developers are left in the dark about the strategies, penalties, and criteria being employed to rank websites. With user experience becoming an increasingly more salient method for assessing a web page’s value, relevance, or popularity, Google continues to re-structure its approach for gauging web worth. As a result, some old SEO strategies that used to guarantee success aren’t necessarily bringing the same big results they once would.

One major factor in SEO is anchor text. Anchor text is the visible, clickable text that appears in a link, the words that the user actually clicks to be redirected to another site. For many web developers, it became increasingly important to load anchor text with an identical match to a targeted keyword. Sites hunted for backlinks that would point to their site using the exact search term that they wanted to target, and would often garner instant results. However, as Google’s algorithms have become more sophisticated and search engines have matured, anchors are up, and the jury is out over exact-matches.

In one of our previous blogs about keyword match URLs, we discussed how exact-match URLs were no longer a guarantee for a top place on a SERP. In the same way, anchor text is falling under the same heavy criticism. Instead of loading anchor text with keywords for internal links, design your site for the benefit of the user and let the quality of the content speak for itself. SEO experts have found that since the most recent Google algorithm update, anchor text matches that bait for exact keywords have actually led to a decline in overall ranking. Context, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly more important as it requires content to appear in a way that is natural, relevant, and pertinent in the eyes of the user. Garner links that naturally reference the strength and quality of your content, and you will be building a much stronger foundation for your site.

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