Why Does Anchor Text Matter?

In April of 2012 Google released an update to their algorithm known as the penguin update.  Google realized a SEO company, well okay, most SEO companies… were trying to manipulate search rankings by using the anchor text of backlinks.  Anchor text was a key to Google knowing what sites were relevant to what topics.  Before this update marketers would put whatever keyword they were trying to rank for in the anchor text.  This is not natural, when people link to other websites they use keywords as anchor text about 30% of the time; if that.

The trick is to make your anchor text seem absolutely natural.  What are some anchor texts that people do use when they are actually trying to link a reader to more content?  They use terms like ‘click here’, ‘read more’, ‘check this out’ and sometimes the actual URL of the site.  One thing I am sure of as I progress in SEO is that Google’s algorithm is trying to evolve into something that thinks like a natural person would think.  This makes things hard, and easy.

It is easy because we are people, we are thinking humans, so we should know what another thinking human would do.  It is difficult however, because we are trying to manipulate the search results.  So by putting myself in the eyes of someone who would be natural writing and linking, I make anchor text with a pattern.  About 33% is with keywords, about 33% is with the URL and about 33% is with generic phrases like ‘click here’.

This causes my instinct to worry because what edge will this give me above the competition?  My edge is that I have a natural link and anchor text profile that will outlast any algorithm update that can be released.  This means that some sites may outrank me for a short temporary period of time, but my sites will always outlast them because next time an update hits they will back to the drawing board.

Your anchor text is a small part of your Search Engine Optimization, but it can be a red flag to search engines if done wrong.  Make sure you build links or that your SEO services are building links, that are high quality and sustainable with diverse anchor links just like people would create who are naturally linking to your content.

Don’t be like me and waste time trying to get to number one by the end of the day.  That idea doesn’t work, never has worked and never will work.

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