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What are unoptimized anchors and how does Site Audit identify them?

What are unoptimized anchors and how does Site Audit identify them?

Question

Site Audit can check if your website has any “unoptimized anchors” by identifying hyperlinks that have unspecified anchor text such as:

  • click here 
  • click this 
  • go here 
  • this 
  • start 
  • right here 
  • more 
  • learn more 
  • read more
  • page
  • article
  • etc

In addition to these anchors in English, Site Audit can check for similarly unoptimized anchors in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Danish, Russian and Norwegian.

The reason we call anchor text “unoptimized” is because Google and other crawlers can actually learn more about your site through well-labelled hyperlinks. Google suggests itself that anchor text should provide “at least a basic idea of what the page linked to is about.”

While this may sound like common sense, it can be an easy step to disregard in your content creation process. However, the extra minimal effort in writing clear anchor text can be worth it. 

For anchor text best practices, Google also asks you to avoid the following: 

  • Avoid writing generic anchor text like "page", "article", or "click here".
  • Avoid using text that is off-topic or has no relation to the content of the page linked to.
  • Avoid using the page's URL as the anchor text in most cases, although there are certainly legitimate uses of this, such as promoting or referencing a new website's address.

So what are the best kinds of anchors? 

Ultimately, the best anchors will be clear, concise, and descriptive. Your links should give a basic idea of what to expect before clicking so your visitors can understand the meaning of the linked-to page. 

One simple way to make your anchors descriptive is to have them the same or very similar to the page title of the linked-to page. 

For more best practices on how to optimize your anchor text, refer to the “Write good link text” section in Google’s SEO Starter Guide.