A Beginner’s Guide to the Name Anchor Tag

by Amanda DiSilvestro  |  Published 9:00 AM, Wed March 12, 2014

As SEO continues to evolve, it’s important that your small business gets creative and stays on top of not only the latest trends, but the basics that remain the same no matter how SEO changes.

You may not know how the name anchor tag differs from anchor text, but it offers quite a few benefits for both usability and SEO. The name anchor tag has been in use for quite some time; however it’s still not getting the attention it deserves. If you’ve never heard of it—or haven’t bothered—now is a great time to set up the name anchor tag and start reaping those benefits.
 
A Beginner’s Guide to the Name Anchor Tag

How the Name Anchor Tag Works

The name anchor tag is a small piece of code you attach to a link, and when someone clicks that link, they are taken to a different section of your page (as opposed to a different page). What you’re doing is creating a unique URL within that same page with this HTML tag.

One of the best examples of a website that uses the name anchor tag is Wikipedia. If you visit a Wikipedia page, you can click one of the links in the “Contents” box, and it will jump you down to the corresponding section.

Name Anchor Tag Benefits

Why would you want to create more than one URL on a page? Isn’t that confusing? No, because each URL is unique, and this linking method actually provides some great benefits for both usability and SEO.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Visitors don’t need to scroll. This is probably the biggest benefit to using this tag, especially if you have a lot of content on one page. It can be exasperating to scroll down just to find a small section at the bottom of a long page. The tag solves that problem for your readers.
  • It helps keep content organized. You won’t need to create several different pages, but you still get the same benefits of having different sections.
  • Google likes it. Google bots can follow along a page the same way users do, so using the name anchor tag improves navigation for them as well. You also get benefits very similar to those you would get with internal links.

Extra Tip: It’s important not to confuse the name anchor tag with anchor text. The terms sound the same, but they mean different things. Anchor text is simply the text that is “anchored to” a link, while the name anchor tag provides on-page navigation.

Getting Started with the Name Anchor Tag

The name anchor tag is actually very easy to use:

1. Figure out where you want to place the anchor tags.

2. Insert the anchor tag around the text you want to link. This works the same way as creating a standard link, except the code is slightly different:

<a name=”sectiontitle”>text</a>

3. Create the destination link that the name anchor will point to. The “#” in the code indicates that it points to a location on the same page.

<a href=”#sectiontitle”>text</a>

Note: WordPress is a bit unwieldy when it comes to formatting text with quotation marks, so make sure they face the right way in your code, or that you use dumb quotes, or your links will be broken.

The name anchor tag can also be used to create a table of contents, much like the Wikipedia example. Having a table of contents works well if all your content falls under the same topic, can be broken up into categories, and is long enough to require navigation. But if not, the name anchor tag might actually make things more confusing, so use it with care.

About 

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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