Google has recently released updated best practices for links in their SEO and search developer documentation.
Initially focused on creating crawlable links, the revised document from Google now includes additional aspects such as anchor text placements, effective anchor text writing, internal links within content, external links from other sites, and the fundamentals of crawlable links.
How have things changed?
Reading through the materials you can see that their previous documentation placed an emphasis on the ability to crawl links that were placed within the <a> element/tag using the href attribute. It detailed that links using alternative formats may not be crawled reliably by the Google crawlers.
Things to take from the latest document include:
- Anchor Text Placement: Google underscores the importance of placing anchor text, the visible text of a link, within
<a>elements that can be crawled by Google.
- Writing Anchor Text: Google advises that good anchor text should be descriptive, concise, and relevant to both the source and destination pages. The quality of anchor text influences site navigation for users and aids Google in understanding page content.
- Internal Links: The document suggests that while there’s no set number of internal links required, attention to anchor text in internal links can enhance site coherence for both users and search engines.
- External Links: Google discusses the trust factor associated with external links, encouraging their use for establishing trustworthiness, citing sources, and providing context to readers. The document touches on issues like using the nofollow attribute for spammy links and considerations for paid links.
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In summary, the significance of links in SEO cannot be overstated, making it essential for SEO professionals to stay informed about Google’s guidelines.
These guidelines inform decisions related to link building and management practices, emphasizing the critical role links play as a ranking factor for contemporary search engines.