Top tips on using anchor text the right way in your content strategy

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Inbound, outbound, and internal links all matter. What words those links are linking from also matters for search and usability. That is why anchor text is so important, a topic I’ll discuss in this article.

Manick Bhan of also discussed anchor text with me on this episode of the Business Storytelling Show.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the actual words that are linked to another internal or external website. For example, if I say: To make content really work we have to create a culture of strategic writing. The phrase “strategic writing” is the anchor text for the link.

The text is signaling what readers can expect when they click on the text. So in this case, they would expect to read more about how to write strategically.

What copy should be linked?

The linked text should make sense within the context. If you have more content on strategic writing or want to link to more content elsewhere, add the link on those words. Never mislead and send people to something unrelated to what the text says.

I would never recommend adding the link to “click here” or something similar. That kind of linking also doesn’t help with accessibility because the “click here” refers to some other context not contained within the “click here” text. Even worse are blog posts when they say “I saw more on this topic, here, here and also here.” And then every “here” is clickable. Just tell us what each click is about.

Certainly, the “click here” verbiage is coming from a time when we had to explain to people how to use the internet. When I was producing online training courses from 2007 to 2010, I even wrote something similar to: “With your mouse, click on the box to see the interactive experience.”

What can I say, online courses were somewhat new at the time. But, now, in 2022, I would like to think people know how to use the internet.

Read  next: Why marketing certificates are worth getting (with expert tips)

How long should anchor text be?

The length of the linked text is less important than the relevance. So don’t necessarily get hung up in some artificial rule that says links should only be two or three words. Now, don’t link entire paragraphs, but a few words that make sense (like at the beginning of this paragraph are quite okay).

Why the text matters

Anchor text matters because it gives consumers something else to do that is relevant in the context of what they are currently doing. Think of these links as subtle calls to action for people to engage further with your brand. That can be helpful to score leads as well. The more consumers engage with your relevant content, the more they might be interested in what else you have to offer.

On inbound links, the right anchor text matters because it helps search engines identify how other websites see your content. For example, if somebody links to my website from “content expert” that’s clearly an endorsement.

Who should add anchor text to the copy?

Just like I still think writing directly in the CMS is the way to go for content creators/writers, so is adding relevant links. I see no reason why content creators shouldn’t make this part of their process. Back to the online course example, the workflow looked like this:

  • Writer writes course material in Word
  • Once approved, somebody else builds it in the course CMS.
  • Writer checks that everything was copied and pasted correctly.

Cumbersome. Many corporate content programs work similarly still. But, it’s much easier for the writer to own most of the process. And sometimes they might add in copy simply for the reason that there’s existing content they want to link to. That’s easy enough to check in the WordPress CMS with the search-related content function.

Just because we are adding tasks in the content process, that doesn’t mean we need to add steps. 

Adding relevant links with the right wording can help our content on and off-site. We don’t have to overthink it, but we do have to put some thought into it. And that starts with the content creator. What other content is worth linking to? And don’t forget that at times, it can make sense to link to new content from older content as well.

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