What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the text used to describe a link when turning it into a hyperlink using HTML or XHTML coding. For example, if a web page had a link which the web page creator wishes to hide under text, the HTML code will turn a word or a phrase into anchor text, and that will work just like a normal link would. Anchor text is a valuable search engine optimization tool because the word or phrase used in anchor texts can pertain directly to the landing page content, or be one of the major keywords that the web page is trying to rank for. Anchor text is also heavily weighted in search engine algorithms, as algorithms look for the most relevant results for a search query and anchor texts are frequently relevant to the content of the landing page.

Unfortunately, some websites use anchor texts incorrectly. Instead of choosing a phrase or keyword to turn into a hyperlink that is relevant to the landing page content, the website creators choose to make words such as “click here” or “read more” the anchor text. When the anchor text is under these phrases or something similar, they will not rank as well or at all within search engines. Webmasters misinterpret the use of anchor text, feeling that it is just to make the page better looking and easier to read.

Anchor text can also be misused when the text does not explain where the link is going. Using general terms like “see more” instead of something more specific such as “blue carrots” can also be misleading about where the hyperlink leads to, leading to less clicks and less traffic. Anchor text also has an effect on those who are using screen readers, leaving those who need to use screen readers at a loss when the anchor text does not say what the link is about or where it leads. Yet, used correctly, anchor text is an excellent SEO tool.

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