Google suggests link texts – everything you need to know

Google suggests a new term called link texts.

The search engine giant coined the fairly recent expression. What we know as “anchor text” is renamed to “link text”. However, it is the same old clickable link that we come across in blog posts or website, that takes you to a new website.

Google suggests link texts

Google uses link texts in its search engine algorithms. Hence, you are aware of the importance of it. The users and the search engines must get a better picture of what the page is all about. Also, it provides search engines correlation with other pages that are quite similar.

John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google recently offered insights about links and where to best place them. There was a question at a Google Webmaster Central Hangout earlier this year, mid-2020 to be precise. It went like this – “Is there any difference in link value between static and main content? I mean links from navigation and product pages. Do they have the same value?

John Mueller’s response – “Don’t focus on algorithms over users.” And he couldn’t be more right. He suggests you to not fuss over SEO. Mueller asks you to improve the content best suited for your users. He encourages this because if you understand and satisfy your user, then you automatically fulfill the search engine algorithms. Firstly, algorithms understand user psychology. Secondly, they create rules based on what the user prefers. Finally, the users’ needs match with the algorithm.

John Mueller assures that Google’s algorithms are depicted as how any user would respond. Therefore, everything that works for a user will also work for Google’s algorithm.

Where should we place the links for the best results?

Users check the main content of the page first and John Mueller agrees that the algorithm does the same.

So with this specific situation – usually what happens here is we do focus on the primary content on the page. And that’s something that makes sense from a user point of view.”

The main content is very important. However, search engines do focus on other elements of the page as well.

Mueller could be suggesting the following –

  • Links present in the body of the page are given higher priority. Google suggests link texts to be placed in the main content of the website or blog post.
  • Google doesn’t pay close attention to the links present in static content like the navigation bar or the footer. However, it does check them out.
  • Do not be super confused about where to place your links, just follow where your users might like them.

Best practices for link texts – Google suggests

Google suggests some best practices to webmasters regarding the links. You can keep them in mind while creating SEO friendly content. Hence, you can enjoy the benefits of Google search.

·         Stick to your topic

Don’t use any link that has no relevance to the content of the page you are creating. There is no need to beat around the bush or mention irrelevant links that have no value addition to your page.

·         Don’t use URL as a link

It doesn’t make any sense to use the URL of the page itself as a link. Please do not attempt it unless you have a strong reason to do so, such as referring to the new address of the site in question.

·         Keep your descriptions short

It is necessary to keep your descriptions prim and proper. Use a few words or just a clear phrase.

·         Check your internal links

You need to pay close attention to your internal linking strategy as well. Simply structure your website for the search engine or the user to navigate easily. Try to improve the quality of the internal links for better optimization.

There are a bunch of other things to keep in mind as well while creating link texts:

  1. Avoid using phrases like “click here”, or “this document”. They are not good for scanability or accessibility.
  2. You can skip using the URL as a link. Instead, try adding the page title or a small description.
  3. Try not to force links to open up in a new window or tab. We can politely leave that decision to the user. In any case, if you insist on opening a new tab, you can mention it directly to the user itself. E.g.: “Content” (opens in a new window).
  4. You can make use of the external link icon if your link moves to a different domain or server.
  5. If you set a file for downloading, then the link should mention that along with the file type.
  6. It is a good practice to link both the full form and abbreviation if you choose to add one of them in parenthetical.

These were some of the Google suggestions for link texts to improve the performance of your page. Links should make sense with any support from the surrounding text. You can use the exact title of the page you are referencing. Or you could add a short description in a few words or a phrase. Keep in mind the suggestions of the search engine. Follow user psychology and build the page as customer-friendly as possible. Google’s algorithm wants the same too.

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