Inbound links has since the dawn of Google’s search engine been the single most important factor in determining the authority of a website and page and how relevant it is to the search phrase. Therefore, it has been a neutral cause for Google in the past to utilize and take into account the name of the link. This is also called an anchor text, and is what is between the <a> tags in HTML. However, since it is so easy to put whatever you like as the name of the link, the anchor text, it has been an immensely over-practiced thing to do, and has opened up a lot of doors for hackers and spammers and people who don’t have the right intentions, as they can put just whatever they like into the name of the link. Thereby, manipulating Google into believing that the link points to a site that is about something that it is really not.
Over the course of the last five to seven years, Google has been reducing the importance of anchored texts, and by now it is almost insignificant. That said, it’s still very important to have varied anchored text. It is obvious that Google has committed to these changes, because it has been so easy to abuse. There is much more of weight being put on contextual links and the actual content of each and every webpage. As Google has gotten smarter and is now able to determine much more accurately what the page is about and thereby if the links are relevant to the content, without having to focus on the anchor texts. In fact, it’s been so significantly reduced, the importance of anchor texts that it can now even give you a penalty if you keep using the same anchor text, and there’s no variation to it.
Anchor Text BE GONE?!
Anchor text is still important. Don’t abuse it and still try to vary the name of the links you give, that is natural. Google even encourages that you use longer anchor texts, such as “Read this guide about online marketing,” rather than just “Online marketing,” because the anchor text and the link is supposed to tell the visitor what exactly it is that they will get by clicking the link. Do you think Google made the right call by reducing the importance of anchor links and anchor texts? Do you think Google can somehow do a better job of utilizing anchor texts, maybe with a different purpose or in a different setting? Please let me know in the comments below. As always, we’re glad you’re listening in and don’t forget to like and subscribe to RankScanner if you would like to keep updated on the latest SEO and marketing news.