What’s the Word On Exact Match Anchor Text?

AnchorThe SEO and search landscape is changing so rapidly that once-valuable and completely white hat techniques are now targets for penalties. Your anchor text is one of them. This used to be a major ranking factor, but given the ease of manipulating anchor text, Google’s Penguin update downgraded its importance and even penalises sites that utilise exact match anchor text. What do you need to know before you “name” your links?

First, the basics: anchor text is the text that you use to indicate a link to another page, whether internal or external. “Click here” has gone out of fashion because it simply does not give your website users – or search engines – any real information. Websites then started to use targeted, exact match keywords in their anchor text. That is, they use the exact keyword they’re trying to target. What’s the problem?

From both a Google and user perspective, exact match anchor text looks spammy. A natural link, on the other hand, is placed to offer the user more information. For instance, we could link to an article on the Penguin update. This would be completely natural and would provide the user with additional, helpful information. It is not placed here so we rank for “Penguin Update.”  Natural links get more clicks: it is that simple.

Google may look at exact match anchor text as an attempt at link building, and they penalise sites that use the technique too much. So if you happen to use an exact match for your link, will it bring down the wrath of Google? If you did it because it leads to a page that gives the reader useful information, and if you do it sparingly, then, no. You should be fine. Google looks at different factors when judging whether it thinks you’re trying to game the system.

When crafting text for your links, follow the same principles that you do for content creation. Just write for your audience. If you want to point them towards more information, do so naturally.

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