According to Google's John Mueller, there is a key difference between using many words in anchor text and using fewer words.

The topic of anchor text will be covered in the latest live stream for SEO office hours (formerly Webmaster Central office hours) from November 27th.

In particular, Meuller addresses the following question:

“Do you treat anchor text that contains many words differently than anchor text that contains only 2 words?

I mean, do you give these two words more value when you compare them to anchor text that has 7 or 8 words in it?

For example – 2 word anchor text like "cheap shoes" and the 7 word anchor text is "you can buy cheap shoes here."

Can you explain that in more detail? "

Here is Mueller's answer.

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Mueller discusses anchor text

Google doesn't necessarily treat longer or shorter anchor text differently when it comes to rankings.

However, using more words in anchor text gives Google more context for the page being linked to. And more context can have an indirect impact on the ranking.

The more context Google has about a page, the more effective this page can be for relevant queries.

The most important thing you should understand here is that Google reads and processes all of the anchor text and uses that information to understand what the page is about.

Here is Mueller's answer to the question in full:

"I don't think we're doing anything special about the length of the words in the anchor text. However, we use that anchor text to provide additional context for each page.

Sometimes when you have a longer anchor text that gives us a bit more information. Sometimes it's like a collection of different keywords.

From that point of view, I wouldn't consider any of them better or worse. And right here, especially with internal links, you probably want to focus more on how to make it more clear to your users that, if they click on it like this, that's what they're going to find.

That's how I would see it here. I wouldn't say shorter anchor text is better or shorter anchor text is worse, it's just a different context. "

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What does this mean for website owners?

Website owners should consider this information and make anchor text a tool rather than an afterthought. This is an easy way for Google to learn more about important pages.

This does not mean that you write detailed anchor text for each page, but that you consider long anchor text for URLs that are particularly important.

Examples of such URLs are:

  • Quality pages on your own website.
  • Content that you have contributed to other websites.
  • Pages that contain links back to your website.
  • Pages that contain mentions of you or your brand / company.
  • And so on.

Again, the anchor text in and of itself is not a ranking factor. However, it can be used to help Google figure out what types of queries a page should be rated for.

Hear the full question and answer in the video below:

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