The clickable text of a link is called the link text (also called: anchor text). It’s important to create good link texts, as they tell the reader what to expect if they click a link and they give search engines context. In this post, we’ll explain in more detail why it is important to optimize your anchor texts. Furthermore, we’ll discuss the link focus keyphrase check in Yoast SEO and how that check can help you write better anchor texts!
Why are link texts important for SEO?
Links are important for SEO: you need to add internal links, for example, to make your site structure clear to search engines. The text of the link helps search engines make sense of your (internal) links; it gives them more context. When you link to other content, Google uses the link text as an indicator of the topic of the linked page. If the link text matches your keyphrase, Google will not be able to tell which article is the most relevant for that topic and should rank for that keyphrase.
Besides adding context to links for search engines, link text is also important to your users. The anchor text clarifies the value of a link and tells them where it leads them. So, using the focus keyphrase in the link text can be confusing for both search engines and your users. That’s why you should actively avoid competing links.
The link focus keyphrase check
The Yoast SEO plugin comes with a link focus keyphrase check, which can help you improve your link text. This check warns you when it detects competing links in your text. A link is considered a competing link when its link text, also known as anchor text, contains the focus keyphrase that you want your page to rank for. So, the link focus keyphrase check assesses the links on a page and their anchor text and notifies you if you have competing links. If you have Yoast SEO Premium, the check will also look for the synonyms of your keyphrase.
Let’s consider an example. Say you have written an article about potato chips, so your focus keyphrase is ‘potato chips.’ If you then use a link with the anchor text ‘potato chips’ in that same post, that link is considered a competing link.
When Yoast SEO detects a competing link, it displays a warning message in the SEO analysis results.
How to improve your link texts
So, what do you do if Yoast SEO warns you that you have competing links in your text? Follow the tips below to improve your link texts!
1. Create a natural flow
Writing, in general, should have a natural flow. The same is true for link texts. When adding links, make sure they fit well with the rest of the text. Look at it like this. If you are struggling to squeeze in a link in a sentence, the link probably doesn’t belong there. It’s better to put it somewhere else, and avoid making your texts unnatural and difficult to read. So, while links are important for SEO, you should make sure that they don’t get in the way of the message you want to convey.
Read more: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide
2. Match the link text with the content you’re linking to
A good practice for writing link texts is matching the text of the link with the content of the page you are linking to. When a reader sees the linked text, they should immediately know what to expect if they click on it. Take a look at the text in the image below.
The links in this example blend in seamlessly with the rest of the text. Moreover, you know precisely what to expect if you click on a link. For example, the link text “content analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin” clearly leads to a post explaining the Yoast SEO content analysis features. How about the link text “meta description.” The sentence the link belongs to is about optimizing your text. So, you would expect that the link leads to a post about optimizing meta descriptions. And that’s what it does.
3. Don’t trick your readers
In the example above, the link texts are used responsibly. That is very important. You should not try to trick your readers with links. For instance, if your link text says “potato chips,” it would be bad practice to have that link take the reader to a car dealership page.
4. Make clear the link text is clickable
Lastly, make it evident to the reader that the link text is clickable. You can do that by using a different color for the link, underline it, or both.
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