Often called link text , anchor text is the visible wording in a text link. For example, in the following link the anchor text is "web marketing glossary":
web marketing glossary.
Why is anchor text important to web marketers? Anchor text would be nothing more than an obscure HTML term if it weren't for search engines. In recent years, the anchor text of links has been used by the major search engines to determine what the page or site was about.
Google was the first to make heavy use of anchor text, and it produced remarkably good results. Originally, when only on-page content was considered, poorly designed sites and pages often weren't well-ranked even for the most appropriate keywords. For example, a site about Acme Machines might have no text content that mentioned the company name. Google realized that finding links to the site that had the anchor text "Acme Machines" was a pretty good indicator that the site might be a good result for those searches.
As with most criteria used by search engines, anchor text has become a popular tool for search engine optimization. When working on link development, SEOs now seek links targeted to the keywords they hope to rank for.
Presumably, in the long run the importance of anchor text may be reduced. For the present, though effective search engine marketing requires attention to the text of inbound links and the development of keyword-related linkage.
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