What is anchor text optimisation and why is it important?

If you have a website, then you will want each page to show early in the search listings when a potential customer types in a relevant search phrase into Google, Bing, Yahoo or another search engine.

But there’s more to it than that. If the link to your website doesn’t appear on the first page or two of Google, then the chances of somebody even reading, let alone clicking on it, drop off exponentially. So ideally you need to be on the front page for the search terms your customers use.

This post is one of a series of “how to” articles explaining simple things you can do to your website content to increase your chances of getting a good search ranking.

I enjoy writing copy for the web because it’s not just about writing compelling, readable text. I love the challenge of weaving in the right keyword phrases and language to help my client’s web pages rank well as well as read well.

In this article I’d like to share some tips about you can use anchor text optimisation to enhance search engine page rankings (SERPS)

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is simply the visible, clickable words containing an embedded hyperlink. A hyperlink is a clickable link within a document that opens another web page or document. You can usually recognise a hyperlink because it shows up in a different colour to the words around it,  and when you move the cursor over it, a pop-up appears containing the URL of the linked page.

Why is anchor text optimisation an important part of copywriting?

The anchor text in a link serves two purposes.

  1. It helps the reader by giving descriptive or contextual information about the page’s content.
  2. The choice of words in the anchor text will influence how a search engine ranks the page that the link points to.

How many characters or words should you include in your anchor text?

My research and experimentation suggest that, at the time of writing, Google only takes note of the first 60 characters (around 6-8 words) So don’t hyperlink a long sentence and make sure that the relevant description comes in the first six-8 words of the anchor text.

Some examples of  anchor text use that could be improved:

  1. Click here for more information about our copywriting services
  2. Read more
  3. Home
  4. You should definitely click here to get more tips on how to improve the effectiveness of your web copy and content writing
What’s wrong with these?
  • In the first example, the anchor text is ambiguous and says nothing useful about  page that the link points to
  • In the second and third examples, The link title description (the text that appears in some browsers when you hover your mouse pointer over the link) is  either absent  or too vague
  •  In the fourth example, there is way too much text in the link (122 characters and 22 words)  and the relevant phrase “how to improve the effectiveness of your web copy”  comes too late in the anchor text

Some examples of effective anchor text optimisation

  1. Click here for more information about our small business copywriting packages 
  2. Do you need help to with overcoming presentation nerves
  3. See our full range of communication skills training solutions
  4. Get more tips on how to improve the effectiveness of your web copy here
Now that’s better!
  • The anchor text in the first link is specific and relevant to the page it points too
  • The anchor text links in examples 2 and 3, contain more than 2 words but less than 60 characters
  • The anchor text in example 4 is clear, specific and exact

In a nutshell:

Anchor text is an important factor in search engine optimisation that is all too often overlooked by novice or amateur content writers. Choosing appropriate helps you in two ways

* It increases the chances of readers clicking on the link
* It increases the chances of Google ranking your page higher for the key phrases you want to be ranked for.

When you include a link on a page or post, make sure that you take the time to optimise the anchor text so that it gives a brief but accurate description of the content of the page to which it links.

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