A recently published patent application of Microsoft gives further insight on how search engines use the anchor text in links to rank web pages. Not all links are created equally even if they use the same anchor text.
What is the anchor text?
The anchor text is the text that is used in the link to another web page. It is an important factor in the ranking algorithms of Google, Bing and other search engines.
The more pages link with a particular text to a web page, the more likely it is that the linked web page will get high rankings when people search for that text.
How do search engines use the anchor text in ranking algorithms?
Many people think that links with the same anchor text are equally important. The Microsoft patent indicates that links with the same anchor text will be weighted differently based on several factors:
- Bing tries to understand the relationships between sites that link to the same page with the same anchor text and the relationship between pages that link to another page.
- If multiple pages link to the same page with the same anchor text, Bing will examine the linking pages to check if they link to many similar pages. If there is a large overlap, the influence of the links will be reduced.
- Bing checks the level of dependence between the linked page and the linking page. If the linking site links to many pages of the linked site, the pages are probably dependent and the influence of the links will be reduced.
- Bing tries to detect several different dependency situations:
- Mirror source sites or copied pages.
- Source sites that have a common destination site and the source sites are owned and designed by the same users who execute search engine optimization.
- Links are added in a source site by an untrusted third party such as a spammer. Often these misleading links are hard to detect as they are added to the web page via invisible blocks.
The relevance of an anchor text seems to depend on many different factors, including the relation of the linking pages to the linked page.
Although the patent was filed by Bing, it is very likely that Google uses similar methods to analyze the relation of web pages. If you want to find out which anchor text is the most popular text that is used to link to your site, check your anchor texts here.
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