How do anchor links affect SEO?

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The anchor tag or the <a> tag, is one of the most important html tags in terms of SEO. Links (both internal and from external websites), are built on it. The anchor text used under the <a> tag will dictate the Page Rank of your website, and define the subject matter of a web document from a search engine bot point of view.

If you use it correctly, you’ll witness your rank climbing higher on a daily basis. If you use it without thinking, you might notice yourorganic search traffic disappearing overnight or be penalized.

Anchor text is also important for internal linking. Unlike external links, where over-optimization of anchor text is manipulative and can lead to penalties, internal links should have optimized anchor text. Using keyword-rich anchor text is helpful to both search crawlers and users clicking the link.

They really do two main things:

  1. They obviously create an inbound link to your website which is always a plus. Especially if you’re able to get this link on a high authority website.
  2. It can tell Google’s spiders what your website is about before it even gets to your website.

Does duplicate anchor text  hurt SEO?

No, duplicate anchor text doesn’t hurt SEO but it doesn’t help it either.

It would be better if you used semantically similar words or synonyms.

That way you avoid keyword stuffing and you let Google know that your content is applicable to all of the alternate anchor text, as they use semantic search.

HOWEVER, if the various anchor text all goes to the same link, Google will only look at the one that appears first on the page.