Will Co-citation Eventually Replace the Anchor Text?

An anchor text is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. In internet terms, it is that “clickable” word or phrase that people see underlined and colored blue. When they click on it, they are redirected to another website. Anchor texts makes your website URL shorter in a more attractive way and one of the best means of getting at targeted traffic. They serve an even deeper purpose for search engine optimization. Another important thing an anchor text could do is to create back links that disguise your link to make it easier for search engines to index that page for that keyword. However, there are predictions today that the anchor text is dying and Google is no longer giving importance to anchor texts.

We all know that anchor texts are ranking signals and have been one of the reasons why a website gets Google’s search rankings. But it was noticed that Google is no longer giving importance to these signals. According to Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz.com, one of the leading SEO gurus and a developer of useful SEO software, anchor texts are fading and will soon be replaced by something called a co-citation. There are rumors that co-citation is powerful as a signal that Google may use when determining search rankings.

Originally, SEO back links to a website by linking a keyword or a phrase relevant to your site. However, black hat SEO spammers completely ruined this purpose for anchor texts. They instead put false links in anchor texts not relevant to the article or content. For example, an article or content talks about mobile phones, but, the anchor text will redirect you to a site about jewelry.

It was believed that this is the reason why Google is considering reverting to co-citations rather than back links when determining ranking relevancy. Co-citation is a new signal or method that Google uses to look for important words on a page, but not officially a keyword, and draws a relationship between them. Co-citation is the common association of multiple words, like a certain term mentioned together with a brand or website and determines what a page is talking about.

For example, if you type the keyword “health foods,” Google will generate websites according to ranking relevancy. Note that www.whfoods.com is at number 3. If you examine the site, you will not find the keyword “health foods” or even in its title. So, why does Google see it as relevant? What Google is doing is finding the phrase “health foods” in much of whfoods.com pages. Even if these are not the site’s keywords, because the phrase is relevant to the website and its content, it has ranked the website.

This is how co-citation works. By determining, what the page or site is talking about and makes the association of these two words together, Google now has an entry where the two have been linked just by being mentioned on the same page. Therefore, instead of linking “health foods” with “whfoods.com” by using anchor text, Google will be using co-citation where these two words are mentioned from different sites. This is called smart search engine indexing, the thing of the future so as to do away with spammers and black hat SEO scoundrels.