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How important is anchor text for internal links

     
11:52 pm on Jun 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How important is the anchor text for internal links, specifically with regards to the home page. I'm in the process of redesigning the home page on one of my sites. In current design I have simple list of links that link to various event pages. The anchor text is basically the name of the event. Simple. But the events have sub-events and what is actually shown is the sub-event, so there can be 2 or 3 three links with similar descriptions each pointing to their specific page for example:

- Example event, sub-event-1
- Example event, sub-event-2
- Another event sub-event-1

From a user perspective there is a lot of repetition, but each anchor text correctly and simply describes the linked page.

In my new design I'm trying to clean things up a bit, by adding a calender to show the events. The new layout would show a day and the name of the event and have a link to the with the anchor text showing only the sub-event-1. Note that the sub-events are always the same. Something like small, medium and large. Example:


June 21
Example Event
<a href="/small/example-event">small</a>
<a href="/medium/example-event">medium</a>
<a href="/large/example-event">large</a>

Another Event
<a href="/small/another-event">small</a>

June 22
Different Event
<a href="/small/different-event">small</a>
<a href="/medium/different-event">medium</a>


The end result in terms of anchor text is that all the links will have nearly the same text.
Is anchor text important, critical?
Do I need to worry about this, or is the surrounding text and the url (which is descriptive) sufficient?

From a UI perspective the new layout will be far superior but I'm afraid that this will impact how Googlebot interprets and crawls my site.
12:38 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Each URL is unique? (YES) Should be no problem. Falls into the g known "redundancy" of

/widget/red
/widget/blue
/widget/green
/widget/cheap
/widget/fabulous

paradigm. Then again, what is the definition of "anchor text" and how does g view it?
2:37 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Forget for a moment the unspoken rules of Uncle G: when there is repetition - unless it is required to drive some point home - there is usually a waste of opportunity and potentially a cause of irritation.

Also, where is the call to action, the explicit selling feature, that will (1) catch the attention, (2) generate the click impulse, and (3) ease the visitor onto the landing page?
Much as with search query results it's the title la anchor text and the description la accompanying text that (1) grabs the eye and (2) drives the click.

Minimalist can be a very good very successful style.
But totally stripping so all that remains is skeleton is not usually conducive to initiating visitor engagement UNLESS there is sufficient meat elsewhere on the page that fleshes out the bare bones of the calendar links OR there is no need to so engage with the visitor la Google's famously bare search input page.
Note: a general observation and possibly not at all applicable to your visitor and business needs.

Back to Uncle G: the repetition as shown is not so much a problem as, again, a missed opportunity. Given our example 'small', 'medium', 'large' is already in the URL path; are they important enough to be repeated so often?
Or sufficiently important to the visitor? Without additional support?

What site/niche named entities and associated search intent(s) could benefit by being included in anchor text? In associated text?

Note: see Anchor Text Best Practices for Google, 2018 [searchenginejournal.com] written by Roger Montti (aka martinibuster) and others' opinions on anchor text beginning about half way down page.
4:15 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Iamlost
I'm not going the minimalist route. My intent is too clean things up and make the page look like I assume users would expect it to look like. The links in question were added to the page as an after thought after I realized that Google was not finding the content like I expected it would. The links helped, but they were added in haste and now the situation needs a clean up.

All the information will be there clearly displayed, the big differences are, the repetitive text will be removed and only a tiny portion of text will remain as anchor text, the other text will be headings above the anchor. To be more specific:

<h3>June 21</h3>
<ul>
<li>
<h4>Example Event</h4>
<a href="/small/example-event">small</a>
<a href="/medium/example-event">medium</a>
<a href="/large/example-event">large</a>
</li>
<li>
<h4>Another Event</h4>
<a href="/small/another-event">small</a>
</li>
</ul>

<h3>June 22</h3>
<ul>
<li>
<h4>Different Event</h4>
<a href="/small/different-event">small</a>
<a href="/medium/different-event">medium</a>
</li>
</ul>


The text that I generalized here as "small", "medium" and "large" are terms associated with events in this niche, most events are broken down into these sub events. It is a meaningful term.

Ideally I suppose I should have created an event page, and then created sub pages for the sub-event. Then i could have linked to the event page and from the event page to the sub-event. But, my site doesn't really provide any value at the event level, my content is focused on the sub-event. So I was afraid that the pages would be thin and of little value.

Back to Uncle G:

Yes lets get back to G...

Given our example 'small', 'medium', 'large' is already in the URL path; are they important enough to be repeated so often?

Yes, basically the site aggregates all the smalls and then compare each specific small to the aggregate.

Or sufficiently important to the visitor?

Yes, some visitors are only interested in the smalls and other the x-large, and then there are those that enjoy them all. But yes it is a distinctive factor.

Without additional support?

No. Knowing which the event the sub-event is associated with is critical.

What site/niche named entities and associated search intent(s) could benefit by being included in anchor text? In associated text?

Before I answer this question let me skip ahead to Martinibuster's article and the comment by Bill Slawski:
It is possible that Google could be looking at a window of words around a link as associated text for those links.

A window solves the issue, the event name comes directly before the link, and the date before that, so bingo! all is well. But as with all these things no one knows for sure, he says "It is possible".

So the question becomes how "possible" is this window and what is the reach of the window. Two tags before and after? One? 10 characters? Sibling nodes? Parent nodes?

@tangor
My issue is not redundancy in terms of Google but removing redundancy for the sake of clarity for the user.

Logic holds that simply cleaning up the page to improve the UX is the way to go, but over the years I have made improvements for the skae of UX many times and I have only ever run into to trouble. I can't afford to run long experiments to see if this or that works.
5:12 pm on June 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The simple answer is that anchor text is very important to internal linking.

Now you don't have to repeat the same anchors over and over and you shouldn't. Google as you know will not penalize you for internal linking no matter how keyword rich you make it. You are not trying to influence the serps as an in bound link would. So use rich terms, but I think your issues are in writing top quality content and properly linking to supporting pages on your site.Get creative and use some well researched LSI terms to further enhance your content quality an to give additional clues to Google.

Understand there is a difference between proper use of keyword rich anchors and stuffing the same anchor over and over. Don't spam it ... goes back to writing top quality content.
7:59 pm on June 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My issue is not redundancy in terms of Google but removing redundancy for the sake of clarity for the user.


Exactly! Perhaps my reply was not supportive ... I truly get your question... but as KnowOneSpecial suggests ... be creative. :)

Personally I have always kept things as simple as possible. Most times that works. Display the content for the user in the most logical fashion and don't expend too much worry about g ... after all they are about the content, not your navigation.