A text associated with a link target is described as a link text. This can be a word, a character or even several words up to (theoretically) several sentences. The clickable link text associated with a URL is then described as a hyperlink.
Synonyms for link text also include anchor text or reference text. As part of search engine optimization the use of the linked text plays an important role in link building.
In the early days of the internet backlinks were still real and important recommendations that were to give the visitor of a website further information. First of all, it was important that the user clicks on the link, and not that the linking site convey the link strength or PageRank. Search engines were far from being able to research the Internet as thoroughly as they do today. A website link was more important than a good search engine position. Little attention was paid to link texts.
But that quickly changed when Google began its ascent to become the dominant search engine in the early 2000s. The discipline "SEO" developed at almost the same speed, the goal of which was to optimize websites so that they would rank well in search results for certain keywords. This is where the link texts aroused interest.
For a long time, search engine optimization has counted on so-called "hard linking". With this approach, the link text included the main keyword of the target site, which sometimes led to absurd events. This meant that the comment function was used, for example, to generate backlinks on many blogs. Instead of a sensible username, resourceful SEOs then used “hard” links and commented as “Bad Credit,” simply because the name that the commenter entered when the post was created, was automatically linked by the blog's CMS to the given URL. And the link to the keyword has been made.
Which link text is it better to choose?
When evaluating which link text makes sense for search engine optimization, opinions differed after the Penguin update. But one thing is certain: those who continue to rely on hard links for external links won't make much of a difference. Today we are talking more about the art of creating the most "natural" links. With this in mind, anyone who sets up a link from the outside should NOT ask themselves which keyword they should use for the link, but how to get the user to click the link.
Incidentally, anchor texts consisting of several words, often even whole phrases, are described as "soft links", which are inherently subject to a certain level of variation.
Anchor texts in internal links
With internal links, the choice of the link text is critical to distribute link weight or control the ranking of certain subpages. When it comes to long tail keywords, the link text should point as closely as possible to the relevant subpage.
In this case, the keyword can or even should be used. The important thing is that the same anchor text always points to the same subpage. For example, those running an online shop of pots and pans should, whenever possible, use the keyword “saucepan” only to link to the same subpage on their website. This allows site owners to influence which site ranks best in the SERPs for that keyword.