Internal links help search engine bots crawl a site and assign value to a page — more links imply higher value.
But the anchor text for internal links is important, too. Here’s why.
Internal Anchor Text
Why Anchor Text?
The importance of anchor text has been confirmed many times by Google’s representatives — from a 2013 video with Matt Cutts (the then head of Google’s webspam team) to two 2020 videos, June and September, with John Mueller (Google’s search relations team lead).
The 2020 videos address two key points:
- Internal and external anchor text helped Google understand the linked page
- The context surrounding or near the link is secondary; the anchor text is much stronger.
In the 2020 videos, Mueller suggests “reasonable” anchor text without providing examples. “Reasonable” likely implies the text should make sense for a human and encourage a click.
Make sure a person looking at the link can ascertain the general purpose of the linked page. If the linked page requires an action, include it in the anchor text, such as “sign up” or “buy now.” Anchor text linking to informational content could include “guide,” “resources,” or a description, such as “SEO tips.”
There are no rules so long as the text is meaningful to search engines and humans. Certainly keywords in the anchor text are important because they help Google to assign relevancy signals to the linked page, but communicating to people is the priority.
Bad Anchor Text
Google representatives don’t always offer specific dos and don’ts, but this one is clear: don’t use “here” as an anchor text. Google’s Lizzi Sassman, a technical writer, stated anchor text for internal and external links should include words that are related to that topic to, again, help humans and search engines.
Links in Images
When an image is linked, its alt attribute is the anchor text. Search optimizers have suspected this for years. Google’s John Mueller confirmed it in 2019 during a Google Hangout.
A descriptive alt attribute has always been essential for blind and disabled users. Now we know that Google relies on it, too. So make sure it describes the image and the linked page.
Internal anchor text has been part of professional website audits for years. It’s helpful to have official confirmations from Google personnel. Use descriptive and meaningful anchor text. Humans and search engines will benefit.