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Google’s John Mueller: Long Anchor Text Gives Us More Context

Google’s John Mueller discusses the differences between linking to pages with long anchor text versus using shorter anchor text.

There is one key difference between using many words in anchor text compared to using fewer words, according to Google’s John Mueller.

The topic of anchor text is discussed in the latest SEO office-hours live stream (formerly Webmaster Central office-hours) from November 27.

Specifically, Meuller addresses the following question:

“Do you treat anchor text that contains many words differently in comparison to anchor text that contains 2 words only?

I mean do you assign more value to those two words when you compare it to anchor text that has like 7 or 8 words?

For example – 2 words anchor text like “cheap shoes” and the 7 word anchor text is “you can buy cheap shoes here.”

Can you elaborate on that?”

Here is Mueller’s response.

Mueller Discusses Anchor Text

Google doesn’t necessarily treat longer or shorter anchor text any different when it comes to rankings.

However, using more words in anchor text provides more context to Google about the page being linked to. And more context can indirectly impact rankings.

The more context Google has about a page, the more effectively it can rank said page for relevant queries.

So what’s most important to understand here is Google reads and processes all anchor text, and uses that information to understand what the page is about.

Here is Mueller’s response to the question in full:

“I don’t think we do anything special to the length of words in the anchor text. But rather, we use this anchor text as a way to provide extra context for the individual pages.

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, especially for internal linking, you want to probably focus more on things like how can you make it clearer for your users that if they click on this like this is what they’ll find.

So that’s kind of the way that I would look at it here. I wouldn’t say that shorter anchor text is better or shorter anchor text is worse, it’s just different context.”

What Does This Mean For Site Owners?

Site owners should keep this information in mind and make anchor text a tool rather than an afterthought. It’s an easy way to help Google understand more about about important pages.

That doesn’t mean write detailed anchor text for every page, but do consider long anchor text for URLs that are particularly important.

Examples of such URLs are:

  • High value pages on your own website.
  • Content you’ve contributed to other sites.
  • Pages that contain links back to your website.
  • Pages that contain mentions of you or your brand/business.
  • And so on.

Again, long-form anchor text is not a ranking factor in and of itself. Though it can be used to help Google learn what types of queries to rank a page for.

Hear the full question and answer in the video below:

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google’s John Mueller: Long Anchor Text Gives Us More Context

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