Does Anchor Text Effect Site Rankings?
In a recent Google Hangout session, John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, discussed if anchor text can directly affect a site’s rankings. Good internal linking practices have always been seen as a basic component of SEO and anchor text is a large part of this.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the clickable text of a link seen by the user on a web-page. This text is the visible element of the hyperlink and is often coloured and underlined to show it is clickable.
In the Google Hangout, John Mueller was asked if changing your link text can affect the website’s rankings within Google:
“If you’re updating anchor text internally to make it more easily understandable by users, then usually that also helps search engines to better understand the context of those pages. So I would definitely go for that.
…if you’re just changing the text… and you’re changing the anchor from one text name to something else, that’s perfectly fine.”
…but avoid using images
Whilst using images for internal links may seem intuitive in some cases , Mueller actually advises against it:
“The one thing I would avoid doing is changing anchor text into an image. So if you have… a fancy font or something that you want to use on your pages and you change a link from being a text link to an image link and you don’t have any textual kind of connection with that image for that link then it’s really hard for us to understand what the anchor text is supposed to be.”
So, if I update my anchor text, will it help my website rank better? Probably not directly, no but there are still advantages to doing it.
Google’s RankBrain is becoming smarter; continually learning from user search behaviour. Sending signals that your site is more easily understood by your users will help Google and other search engines to better understand the content and context of your pages. And that can only be a good thing.
If you want to know more information about the linking on your site and how best to optimise, get in touch with our team of SEO specialists.
James is a Senior Account Manager & Team Leader, with nearly 5 years of SEO experience and a love of all things data.