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John Mueller on Internal Anchor Text & “Visible Effect in Search”

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Google’s Senior Webmaster Analyst John Mueller discussed anchor text on internal links and their “visible effect in search”.

John Mueller discussed the best practices for internal linking anchor text and shared information about the effect of anchor text on search in a Google Webmaster Central hangout.

Query Related to Internal Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible & clickable text in an HTML hyperlink. It links one page to another page. For example, when we use the words “Watch the video” to link the page to video, the words “Watch the video” are the anchor text.

The context of the query that was asked was that it was considered that the anchor text, which is used to link another page, helps in ranking the page for the keyword used as the anchor text. Google has stopped ranking a page in Google SERP that was using keywords in the anchor text of external links. External links are the links from one domain to another domain.

The publisher’s query was to know the ideal practices that need to be followed while doing internal linking within the different kinds of web pages that are related to the same topic.

The question that was asked was –

Let’s say I have two strong URLs about cheese on my website.
One is an e-commerce page where you can buy cheese. The other is a complete guide about cheese.
So two different pages talking about the same topic but both really relevant.
What’s the best practice for internal linking?
Is it okay to link to both pages using the same anchor text cheese? Or should one be linked differently?
What are some suggestions?

John Mueller clarified the query by saying that internal links are the links which connect one page to another page of the same domain. They help Google to discover different pages on the same website and to know more about the linked page.

Here is John Mueller’s Reply:

Essentially, internal linking helps us on the one hand to find pages, so that’s really important. It also helps us to get a bit of context about that specific page.

He also clarified that the “context” thing could be understood from the anchor text and the page that is linking out. It means when a page which is about cheese links to another page which is also related to cheese, makes it more meaningful.

And we get some of that from the anchor text from the internal linking. And some of course from understanding where these pages are linked within your website.

John Mueller specified using “reasonable” anchor text. However, he did not clear the exact meaning of “reasonable”.

One cannot clearly describe what are the user’s intentions while clicking on a link. Ideally, if a page is a commercial page, the anchor text should be one that gives the user a clue about the sale of cheese.

On the other hand, where a page is about knowledge sharing, then the anchor text should be indicating it to be information-based. One of the corrupt practices that people commonly do is using a keyword as an anchor text which has the maximum search volume. For the query that was asked whether to use the same anchor text “cheese” for different pages is right or not. The two pages being different where one is transactional and the other being knowledge-based. As a user, the answer should be no. 

An ideal or best practice should be using an anchor text which indicates what the user will get after clicking on the same.

John Mueller responded to the question accurately by advising to use a “reasonable anchor text” which can be easily understood by the users.

Here is what John Mueller said:

So with regards to that… thinking specifically about the anchor text here, I don’t think you need to do anything specific there if you’re already linking to those pages.
If you’re using a reasonable anchor text for cheese in this case, that sounds perfectly fine.
I don’t think you need to kind of change the anchor text to be “buy your cheese online here” and it’s like, “the ultimate guide to all types of cheese here.

Do Internal Links Have no Impact on Search?

Mueller continues by saying that there will be no “visible effect” on rankings by using anchor text on internal linking.

It’s something you could do if you wanted to if you think it makes sense for your users but it’s not something where you would see a visible effect in search.

John Mueller said that internal links help Google to know about the subject of a page but also says that one should not expect to notice a visible effect on search.

Is Internal Linking a weak signal but still useful?

You need to decide that. It would be wise to not emphasize much on internal linking for influence on ranking factors. However, it would help the non ranking factors of the algorithm to understand what a page is about.

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