What is the Anchor Tag and When Should You Use it?

anchor tag

Many small businesses are finally beginning to master using the anchor tag (a clickable link that takes you directly to a specific area of a page). This is a great way to improve navigation and give credit to outside sources that you quote in your content, not to mention the SEO benefits.

How the Anchor Tag Works

The anchor tag is essentially a tag that you can attach to a word or a phrase (exactly like you would a normal internal or external link), except it brings readers down to a different section of the page as opposed to another webpage. You’re essentially creating a unique URL within the same page when you use this tag. Consider the following example:

If you click on any of the headings in the “contents” box, it will jump you right down to that section without you ever having to leave the page or scroll down to find it.

The Benefits of Using the Anchor Tag

There are really three main benefits when it comes to using the anchor tag:

  1. No Scrolling. The biggest benefit to the anchor tag is not forcing your visitors to scroll down tons of information to find a particular section. This can get daunting, and depending on just how much content is on the page, it can be very difficult to find a certain section amidst all the content.
  2. Organization. This helps webmasters keep things in order. Instead of having to create several different webpages or splitting up a document, you can keep it all in one place.
  3. Search Engine Use. Google sometimes uses this tag to help send a user to a specific section of your webpage, which helps make things easier for users. This isn’t overly common, but Ann Smarty of My Blog Guest offered the following screenshot as an example on SEOChat:

anchor tag

The name anchor works great if you’re publishing a tutorial, a study or anything with a fairly large table of contents. Wikipedia is a great place to find examples of the anchor tag in use.

How to Get Started Using the Anchor Tag

Fortunately, using the anchor tag is actually very simple. It’s all about using a series of different HTML codes which might remind you of the normal HTML linking tag you’re used to using. The steps are as follows:

  1. Open your text editor and figure out where you want to insert the name anchor tag. You can do this anywhere—a heading (most common), a word, a phrase, etc.
  2. Insert the anchor tag around the text you’re going to link (the same way you would any type of link). The code looks like this:

<a name=”title of the section”></a>

  1. Once you have created the anchor tag around the word, phrase, or heading that you would like, you will want to link to this URL in your content. The tag is similar to the coding you’re used to, except it is preceded by a # sign. You should open the HTML version of your content and insert the following tag:

<a href=”#title of the section”>text</a>

The anchor tag isn’t quite as popular as many other types of linking and is easy to miss if you’re a startup, but it’s a great way to help keep things easy for your visitor. It’s easy to implement and it’s never too late to get started.

Have you used the anchor tag in the past? Did you find it successful?

Photo Credit: the-seo-site.com


Amanda DiSilvestro Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for Viral Content Buzz, a system designed to help you promote other content and get your content promoted on major social channels like Twitter and Facebook. You can also find her writing for the nationally recognized SEO firm, Higher Visibility.

4 Reactions
  1. This biggest problem I see with use of an anchor tag to jump around in a long article is the fact that the reader will lose their place in the article if they click an anchor and the page jumps to a new location. They often need to manually locate where they were reading, which contributes rapidly to site abandonment. Unless special considerations are made to return the reader to the point where they clicked the internal link, this is a very jarring experience.

  2. Great post, I am thinking about applying this for Long Landing Pages up to 6000 words. Instead of accordions or tabs, I may just use Anchor Links.

  3. Thank you ever so for you article.Much thanks again. Want more,keep posting.

  4. It’s very good and helpful article for us.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.