How critical is the anchor text of a link?

Links are the “currency” of search engines, as you know. If you want a page to appear strongly in the Google results for a certain search, then you’re only likely to achieve that if you can get plenty of other web pages suggesting to Google that your page is a relevant – and indeed important – one for that search. And as we’ve discussed before, it’s a link’s “anchor text” (the actual words which are linked) that helps to make that suggestion work.

So, for example, if I want to help make a page relevant for the term “4-20mA aerospace widgets”, getting another website to include a sentence like this would be great:

“Our products make use of 4-20mA aerospace widgets from Business Marketing Online Ltd…”

Google then thinks that the page being linked-to from the term “4-20mA aerospace widgets” is probably relevant to that search, and will increase its standings in the results accordingly.

So far, so good. But the search engines have to be a lot smarter than that. If they weren’t, then the following link wouldn’t be much help to us:

“Our products make use of 4-20mA aerospace widgets from Business Marketing Online Ltd and you can read more about them here…”

Clearly, that sentence is just as positive in its intentions towards the linked-to page as the first one. It isn’t trying to suggest that the page is a good one only if you want to find out more about the word “here”. So don’t worry if your search terms don’t appear in the actual anchor text of the links. Just make sure that the text surrounding them contains the relevant material, and that the linking page is relevant. The search engines are brilliant at assessing context, not just of sentences, but of pages and indeed entire sites.

Discussion

  1. S

    It’s best to deliberately keep to a natural link profile when building backlinks to your site. I try to stick to a 7:3 split of keys:non-keywords in my anchor text.

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