In the WordPress SEO theme I develop there’s an advanced SEO feature to make the most out of internal links anchor text in the new Google Hummingbird algorithm.

If you are looking for general anchor text info, see my anchor text optimization tutorial.

In short Google only counts the anchor text of the first link to a unique URL. What this means is if a web page has two or more links to the same URL only the first links anchor text is counted as anchor text (it’s still indexed by Google as standard body text).

It’s essential SEO wise to have the first link (as found in the code) to use your best optimized anchor text since others are ignored, UNLESS you use an advanced SEO technique so all links anchor text is counted.

First let’s prove the SEO problem with anchor text exists.

Anchor Text SEO Test

SEO TestsI created a WordPress comment with text links back to this sites home page with different anchor text, because I use the Stallion Responsive theme larger comments generate post like pages (I call them Stallion SEO Super Comments Pages) and the links are dofollow. The SEO super comments pages are a major Stallion theme SEO feature, you would not believe the extra Google SERPs the indexed SEO super comments pages generate.

Anyway, the SEO test comment is at Best SEO Title Tag and the SEO super comment page at Best SEO Title Tag SEO Super Comment.

As you can see there are three test links from the two pages above with different anchor text, screenshot below:

Anchor Text SEO Test

Not going to mention the SEO test anchor text here because it makes future SEO analysis more confusing (this page would rank for the unique made up keywords). Go to the links above to see the made of words and use them to search Google for the pages indexed for those made up keywords.

SEO Test 1 – Anchor Text NOT Ranked

The first links anchor text isn’t important, that’s the first home page link to the home page code wise and it’s the anchor text Google will index: this isn’t actually true because there’s another home page link in the head of the page with anchor text “Stallion WordPress SEO Themes & Plugins”, but it doesn’t matter :-)

The second home page link is the interesting one, code wise it’s identical to the first link other than the unique anchor text:

First link code:

<a href="">Stallion All In One WordPress SEO Theme</a>

Second link code:

<a href="">StallionHome######</a>

I changed the anchor text of the code above so it didn’t mess with the SEO analysis.

If you search Google for the second links anchor text (this is a unique made up keyword) you will see as of April 2nd 2014 there are 4 pages indexed (one of them is a Google indexing error, it’s a known WordPress issue with the Reply To links ending ?replytocom=###). Screenshot below:

SEO Test Anchor Text Ignored

The important part of the search result is the home page is NOT ranking for this made up keyword. This is important SEO wise because as you’ll see in the next Google SEO test search result Google does rank a page just because a link to that page includes the phrase as anchor text.

The above SERP proves Google has not counted the made up keyword as anchor text, it’s read the links anchor text as standard body text which is why there are 4 results.

SEO Test 2 – Anchor Text Ranked

There’s a little used SEO technique (linking to a link anchor) for forcing Google to count the anchor text of a link and it’s really easy to use. Simply by adding #something (that’s linking to a link anchor called “something”) at the end of a link URL Google will index and count the anchor text as a ranking factor for the page the link is pointing at.

The third link on the comment pages I linked to earlier has that sort of link.

Third link code:

<a href="">StallionHome####</a>

I changed the anchor text of the code above so it didn’t mess with the SEO analysis.

As you can see the only difference between link 2 and link 3 is link 3 includes #stallionhome at the end of the URL.

If you search Google for the third links anchor text (this is a unique made up keyword) you will see as of April 2nd 2014 5 pages are indexed, the 4 pages we saw in the last Google SERP and the 5 page is the home page. Screenshot below:

SEO Test Anchor Text Ranking

If you are a Stallion Responsive Theme user and want this feature turned on it’s under the “Stallion Theme” >> “SEO Advanced Options” : “Stallion SEO Links Plus”.

SEO Links Plus

Anchor Text Ranking Value

If you are familiar with anchor text optimization you will already be aware a web page can rank for SERPs that are NOT on the page in anyway just by linking to the page with anchor text you want a page ranked for. When the world discovered this we had a lot of fun with what were termed Google Bombs, if you had a beef with a website you could get it ranked for derogatory terms just through anchor text usage.

My favorite Google Bomb was the “Miserable Failure” SERP, thousands of bloggers linked to the George W. Bush web page with anchor text “Miserable Failure” and it was number one for quiet sometime in Google for Miserable Failure. Google Bombing even got into the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2005 :-)

Google has since altered it’s algorithm to reduce Google Bombing, but the principal SEO value still remains, by linking to a web page with anchor text that is not present on the page it can rank in Google just because of the anchor text of incoming links. Surprisingly the Google “Computers” SERP used to show both Dell and Gateway computers websites ranked high despite the companies not using the word Computer within the body text. Did a quick check and both Dell and Gateway now use computer/Computers on the page, but Acer (currently ranked 20th for the Computers SERP) does not.

Anchor Text SEO Testing

Anyway, back to the SEO testing results. The only reference this sites home page has for that made up keyword is the third test link.

The above Google SERP proves Google is counting the made up keyword as an SEO ranking factor for the homepage SERPs. The made up keyword does NOT exist on the home page: it’s not part of the body text, images or anything. If Google didn’t pass ranking value through the anchor text the home page would not be ranked for the made up keyword.

I think you’ll agree this is conclusive proof Google ignores the second links anchor text, but counts the third links anchor text because of the simple addition of #something to the end of the URL.

This is very important WordPress SEO wise because WordPress themes will inevitably add multiple links to the same URL from various widgets etc… when I publish this article it will gain a link from the Recent Posts widget.

If you look at the SEO Tests category this article is archived within it will contain 5 links to here. Yes, 5 links. One from the Recent Posts widget and four from the archived snippet of this article: one of the links is from the title of the article, another from the thumbnail (alt text which is the same as anchor text), another from the Continue Reading link and the last from the Comment link.

If I were using a standard WordPress theme only the first link in code would count it’s anchor text, because I use the Stallion Responsive theme which takes all this into account all 5 links count and you’ll note the anchor text is different for the links (theme SEO feature).

Google counts those 5 links and uses the following anchor text to rank this page:

SEO Test Anchor Text
Anchor Text SEO Test
SEO Test Anchor Text
No Comments
Anchor Text SEO Testing

This is part of a set of theme SEO features which I won’t explain here, the importance of these features is the new Hummingbird algorithm is looking for natural language linking patterns. When someone links to a page they won’t always use the anchor text you want the page ranked for and Google has over the years become very good at determine natural links (that aren’t perfect SEO wise) vs perfect SEO links which Google dislikes.

5+ years ago that was terrible, we wanted as many links as possible to use the hardest keyword SERPs we wanted ranked for, if we wanted a page ranked for WordPress SEO Tutorial we’d want that exact anchor text “WordPress SEO Tutorial” for as many links as possible. In 2014 that is no longer the case, we now want more natural anchor text links, maybe links with anchor text “SEO tips” or “Here’s some great SEO tips” and Stallion Responsive achieves this with internal links.

New SEO Test

Below are another two links to the WordPress SEO Tutorial category (we already have a standard text link above), the first SEO test link WweerrdZzPpresz lacks the #something code and won’t be ranked.

This second SEO test link wzozrzdzpzrzezss which includes an anchor #footer-widget-area which will link to the footer area of the page will be ranked on the tutorial category page.

When this page is indexed and Google re-ranks the tutorial category SERPs you should find the category will only be found for the second made up keyword and not the 1st. Right now (April 2nd 2014) there are no pages found in Google for the above two made up keywords, Google guesses it means WordPress, you can force Google to only show the made up keyword by surrounding your search word with “speech marks”.

Update June 15th 2014: As expected this article is found for both of the two made up keywords above (changed the made up words, see below)- add speech marks because Google assumes we are looking for the word WordPress (not ideal made up words in hindsight :-)). This shows Google has indexed this webpage and read the text of the anchor text. What’s interesting is the webpage linked to (the WordPress SEO Tutorial page) is NOT found for either made up keyword, was expecting it to be found for the second made up keyword (the link with the #something added). I’ve changed the two made up keywords to unique ‘words’ that Google didn’t make a suggestion for (not easy to find). This will remove a variable, Google looking for a close match (shouldn’t need speech marks when checking the results).

Update September 2014: Now we are using made up keywords that are not being mistaken for mistyped versions of WordPress we are seeing the expected results. The link lacking the #something has it’s anchor text counted as body text on this webpage, but because Google ignores the anchor text of repeated links lacking #something it’s passed no SEO keyword benefit via the links anchor text to the page we linked to. For the link which includes #something we see the anchor text also used as body text on this webpage, but also the anchor text is passing SEO keyword benefit to the webpage linked to as well.

Clear proof Google passes SEO keyword benefit via the anchor text of links (not a big SEO revelation, we’ve known this for over a decade :-)), BUT only if a links URL is unique and you can make a link unique by adding #something to the URL.

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
: 20+ Years Experience as a Freelance SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of Multiple WordPress SEO Plugins/SEO Themes Including the Stallion Responsive Theme.

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