Anchor text is the visible, clickable text of a "text link" on a web page and is often made obvious with an underline, a blue colour or both.
Good anchor text will give visitors and search engines an “idea” for what the page being linked to is about.
Writing good anchor text makes it easy for website users to navigate and will also help with the ranking of a web page in the search engine results.
For example if someone liked this article they could link to it with the following anchor text: Read this great article from Zeald
Unfortunately this does not let the search engines or the users know what the article is about. A better way to construct the same link might be: Read this great article from Zeald about how to write good anchor text
Good for the users
Quick navigation - When users navigate a website, they will often “scan” a page looking for information of interest to them. By describing the page we link to in the anchor text, we make it easy for users to navigate to the areas they are interested in.
It is not helpful when all the links on a page say “click here” The user is forced to read the context of the link, or the text around the link to learn where it might take them.....often the user may not have the time or patience to do this.
Confident navigation - Descriptive anchor text in a link helps the user feel confident in their navigation. If all the link says is great article, the user will be unsure whether it is of interest to them, or if it will answer their question. It is very frustrating for the user when you force them to “guess” where the page will take them and even more frustrating when they guess wrong.
Of course when we don’t tell users to “click here” we need to make it obvious that they can “click here” We need to ensure that the link is obvious. Nothing says “link” like electric blue text with an underline. But sometimes more subtle variations will also suffice.
Good for the search engines
Inbound links build the trust and credibility of a web page when they are “judged” by a search engine during the ranking process. The text used around and within a link is very important for the search engine to determine the subject matter of the page that the link is connected to.
A good example of this is Google bombing. Google bombing is internet slang for an attempt to raise the ranking of a page in Google search results, using the Anchor text of external links (for humorous or malicious reasons). The most famous case targeted the phrase “miserable failure” and linked to the biography page of George Bush on the White House website.
When a user searched for “miserable failure” on Google they could find the official biography of George Bush at the top of the results page. Due to a targeted Google bomb
So how do we optimise our anchor text for the search engines?
Use good keywords. It is a waste of time optimising a page using a search terms that no one searches for, just as it is a waste of time optimising a page for an extremely competitive search term that would be impossible to gain a first page rank.
As is the case for most search engine optimisation efforts, you need to carefully research the keywords you want to target. You need to determine the search terms that will generate the greatest amount of conversions for your website business, and of course that you will be able to achieve a high ranking for.
Don’t use the same anchor text for all inbound links. Try to use variations of your anchor text. Mix it up. Google are continually looking for “spam” websites, and nothing says “automated links” than keyword stuffed repetitive link text.
It can be a subtle difference and should fit the context of the page that the link appears on. Try replacing some less important keywords or using plural. For example: A great article explaining how to write good anchor text
Or like this A great article about optimising your anchor text
The links should appear natural. That is what Google is looking for.
External links and internal links
We need to incorporate our search terms in the anchor text of the links that point to the page. By links we mean both the internal links within your own website and also the external links from other people’s websites.
Internal links are easy, but getting backlinks has got to be the greatest challenge of Search engine optimisation, especially backlinks that have meaningful anchor text.
You will have more control posting links to directories, forums and paid advertising, but outside these more obvious methods, we lose that control and it becomes much more difficult to dictate your anchor text.