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On Friday, Google’s John Mueller was asked if longer or better anchor text is better. Anchor text are the words in the hyperlink, so the underlined blue link (in many cases). John said longer versus shorter anchor text is not better or worse, it just gives Google more or less context about the page it is linking to.
That is a bit obvious but I guess sometimes you want to make sure to link in a way that is good for users. So linking a paragraph of content might just be weird usability wise but maybe it gives Google more context. Is that going to be too much context for Google and Google might ignore a lot of it? Possibly?
Here was the question about this at the 16:46 mark:
Do you treat anchor text that contains many words differently in comparison to anchor text that contains two words only? I mean, do you assign more value to those two words when you compare it to anchor text that has, like, seven or eight words? For example, two-words anchor text like “cheap shoes,” and the seven-words anchor is “you can buy cheap shoes here.” Can you elaborate on that?
John responded at the 17:11 mark saying “I don’t think we do anything special for the length of the words in the anchor text.” He added that Google uses “this anchor text as a way to provide extra context for the individual pages.” “And sometimes if you have a longer anchor text, that gives us a little bit more information. Sometimes it’s kind of like just a collection of different keywords,” he added. Is there better or worse, he said “I wouldn’t see any of these as being better or worse.” It depends. 🙂
Here is what he said:
So I don’t think we do anything special for the length of the words in the anchor text, but rather, we use this anchor text as a way to provide extra context for the individual pages. And sometimes if you have a longer anchor text, that gives us a little bit more information. Sometimes it’s kind of like just a collection of different keywords. So from that point of view, I wouldn’t see any of these as being better or worse.
And it’s something where, like, especially for internal linking, you want to probably focus more on things like how can you make it clearer for your users that, when you click on this link, this is what they’ll find? Google does say that the words around your anchor text is secondary to the anchor text itself.
So that’s kind of the way that I would like data here. I wouldn’t say that shorter anchor text is better or shorter anchor text is worse. It’s just different context.
You can watch the whole Q&A here:
Anchor text has historically been used to help a page rank for the keywords it is targeting. So if I want this page to rank well for [long anchor text], I would link to this page from other pages with the words long anchor text (of course, internal anchor text versus external anchor text also comes into play). It is a ranking factor, which is why the person asked if long vs shorter anchor text matters, because sometimes it might be too long and the context is lost.
Forum discussion at YouTube Community.