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Google’s John Mueller on short anchor text vs. long anchor text

December 4, 2020 0 comments

Anchor text is often one of the more ignored aspects of SEO and, more specifically, link building.

How to pick the right anchor text? What should the link profile look like? Are long anchor texts better than short ones?

Google’s John Mueller recently answered some of these questions in the latest SEO office-hours live stream on November 27, 2020.

Treatment of long and short anchor texts

One important point that John Mueller revealed is that Google does not necessarily treat longer and shorter anchor text any differently.

For example, an anchor text that contains just two words ‘cheap shoes’ will be generally treated the same way by Google when compared to a longer anchor text, i.e., ‘you can buy cheap shoes here’.

More context

However, Mueller confirmed that longer anchor texts give more context to Google — which is something that the search engine uses.

According to John Mueller:

“I don’t think we do anything special to the length of words in the anchor text. But rather, we use this anchor text as a way to provide extra context for the individual pages.

Sometimes ,if you have a longer anchor text that gives us a little bit more information. Sometimes it’s kind of like just a collection of different keywords.”

Shorter anchor text isn’t necessarily worse

While longer anchor text does provide more context and information to search engines as well as website visitors, it does not mean that shorter anchor text is worse. 

As per John:

“I wouldn’t see any of these as being better or worse. And it’s something where, especially for internal linking, you want to probably focus more on things like how can you make it clearer for your users that if they click on this like this is what they’ll find.

So that’s kind of the way that I would look at it here. I wouldn’t say that shorter anchor text is better or shorter anchor text is worse, it’s just [a] different context.”

The takeaway

The takeaway here is that there is no clear winner here. However, longer anchor text does help provide more context to users and search engines.

If it is an option, consider detailed anchor text that would drive more relevant traffic. It may also have other indirect benefits. For example, detailed, contextual, and accurate anchor text may lead to lower bounce rates and exit rates on the target pages.