A Stimulus For Your Search Engine Rankings: One Low-Cost ‘Tweak’ That Could Make A Difference

Across the country, businesses and individuals are focused on making their dollars go further. It’s an exercise that includes a forced examination of wasteful habits. Forgo that second coffee mid-morning, for example, and you’ll be saving a few dollars a day.

In that spirit, we have a suggestion for managements of mutual fund, ETF, broker-dealer and other investment-related marketing teams: stop using “Click here” as your anchor text.

Anchor text is the visible text—what’s clickable—in a hyperlink (on this page Adobe Reader is the anchor text). Search engines pay attention to anchor text. When all is working as intended, the anchor text should include keywords relevant to the page the hyperlink appears on, and the words in the anchor text should be relevant to the page being linked to. Consideration of the anchor text can help search engine rankings.

When “Click here” is what you use as the text in your hyperlink, you’re wasting an opportunity for visibility. Inattention to this is rampant across the Web, of course. But it’s an epidemic in this industry where hundreds of thousands—maybe millions?—of Adobe Acrobat files are being offered with the inviting "Click here to download." And, we’re noticing that just the word Here is gaining in popularity as anchor text. That's a step in the wrong direction.

Test your own site now by entering inanchor:“click here” site:yoursite.com in Google. Then for fun, enter inanchor:“Learn more”, inanchor:“Read more”, inanchor:More… you get the idea.

The preferred alternative would be for your content’s author to be giving thought to the words to be hyperlinked so the content can be found. Hyperlinking “Why XYZ Portfolio Managers Rock," for instance, helps the search engines tell you apart from the Click here brigade.

Search engine optimization specialists debate how much this is going to do for you. More important to search engines are the words in the anchor text used in other sites’ links to you. (Type “click here” in Google and you’ll see Adobe.com sitting on top of 1.3 billion results. That’s a function of all the Web sites using the words to offer downloads of Adobe Reader.)

Still, these are the days of stretching resources and making the most of limited opportunities. Even if a change in your approach to anchor text doesn’t produce a detectable improvement in your search engine rankings, the tweak is likely to improve the experience you’re providing to current users.