Anchor text is a significant factor in a search engine optimization strategy by serving as perceived relevancy signals. This is the text that shows up as a hyperlink on your website, in blogs, etc. that is used to suggest and take a user to another page or website. Anchor text usually contains a description of the link’s destination, it may also contain keywords and even your company name or brand.
If you are using anchor text you want someone to click on the link. Including your brand name in the anchor text encourages people to click.
Adam Thompson, with RYP Marketing conducted a simple study to determine if a branded anchor text would perform better than an unbranded one. http://www.rypmarketing.com/blog/1036-keyword-vs-brandurl-vs-click-here-anchor-texts-what-do-users-prefer.whtml
His results are not scientific, but do give us some directional data. In one instance, respondents were asked to assume they were shopping for car insurance. They were asked to choose between three options – Geico.com, car insurance quotes, and click here. 59% selected the branded option, 39% chose the keyword car insurance quotes option and only 9% chose click here.
When asked why, people who chose the banded option did so due to name recognition. The second option was selected by people who preferred reviewing multiple companies at once. The study concluded that users like to know ‘who’ a link points to and appreciate branded anchor text because it tells them who even if they don’t recognize the brand.
Branded anchor text is also preferred by Google who likes to see brand referrals in content, versus targeted keywords because they see it as being more natural.
Google spiders like the first link best. It is a rule that spiders will only follow the anchor text of the first link on a page linking to a specific website. So it makes no sense to try and stuff anchor text to a specific URL on the same page. It looks unnatural and that is never a good thing as far as Google is concerned. Understanding how google thinks is important to make the most of your SEO strategy.