It might be helpful to first understand what we mean when we say “internal anchor text.” Anchor text appears as the highlighted or underlined text that can be clicked to open a linked website or resource. Internal anchor text refers to the the links you create to other pieces of content on your website:
Example: <a href=”example.com”>Internal Anchor Text</a>.
The SEO Origins of Internal Anchor Text
Google and other search engines use an algorithm to determine relevant content. One way they do this is to find the number of quality, relevant links that point to a resource. By internally linking your content in relevant places, you are saying to Google, “here is a valuable piece of content” for the given topic.
It is important to remember that both context and relevancy matter. If you’re writing a post about building kites and you link to a resource on car maintenance, you’re not exactly indicating high relevance. Additionally, the context of the post – kites – doesn’t match the linked content. Google takes a much closer look at keywords in all anchor text after the Penguin update. So making sure you’re following best practices while optimizing is essential.
It was once possible to over-optimize your internal anchor text and receive a boost from Google. But those days are over. Google’s algorithm is now sensitive enough to be suspicious of a resource with too many of the same anchor text keywords. We’re going to show you 5 ways to optimize your internal anchor text without over-optimizing and getting flagged for poor practices.
Optimizing Your Internal Anchor Text
1. Don’t Keyword Stuff
You don’t want to over stuff your internal anchor text with too many keywords. Keep it simple and make sure the sentence containing the link flows properly. You also want to avoid using anchor text that contains the exact same words as the URL you’re linking.
Example: Are you looking to buy the best cheap tinted windows around? [links to example.com/best-cheap-tinted-windows]
2. Use Keyword Variety
You want to combine single keywords and longer keyphrases for your internal anchor text. As mentioned above, Google can become suspicious if too many links have the same anchor text. Additionally, it can provide a boost by indicating that the content is relevant across multiple different keywords and phrases.
Example: Create a world-class gym website in under 20 minutes!
Example: Do you know how a stronger online presence can increase gym memberships?
3. Link To Relevant Resources
Context and link relevancy matters when it comes to your internal links. If you click on a link expecting something related but instead get something completely unrelated, it creates a poor user experience. Search engines care about how the user will engage with the site so linking to irrelevant content is not something you want to do.
4. Don’t Link Everything
Have you ever come across a site where there are multiple anchor text links in one sentence? Annoying, right? You don’t want to overdue the anchor text. Linking to relevant content is good but remember the user. I don’t really know what I’m getting when there are multiple links in one sentence. If all of your site content is constructed this way, you’re likely to come across as a spam site to both users and search engines.
5. Use The Keyword Link Description
When creating internal anchor text and links, take advantage of the link description. It is a little, helpful bubble that pops up when you hover over an internal link that can give the user a hint at what they may be clicking on. In addition to the user experience benefits, it can also add SEO benefits as you’re telling the search engines what the link is and providing greater context.
Internal anchor text links can be used for good. They can provide a better user experience and add SEO benefits to your content. But you must use them sparingly and only in a way that engages the user. Spamming your internal links is a sure way to get penalized.