Anchor text: The word(s) that are clicked on in a link. It’s the silent weapon that receives considerable weight in search engine algorithms, because the linking text represents relevant content on its target page.
How Does This Affect My Site?
You have a website and have been acquiring links to your site. In the past you used ‘Yoursite.com’ as the anchor text. So now your site comes up #1 for ‘Yoursite.com’. What if you used a descriptive keyword phrase instead of using your domain name?
Try This Test!
Choose a nonsensical keyword phrase such as ‘brattle camel toothpick’. Pick a phrase that is highly unlikely to be seen on any web page. It’s important to note that no instance of this keyword should exist on the destination website. Now gather your coworkers, friends and family members who have websites of their own and have them link to your website using this same nonsense phrase as the anchor text. Now wait for the search engines to have time to pick up these links. Over time you should find yourself #1 for this nonsensical keyword. That’s powerful, especially considering that there was no mention of the phrase on the target site. If you want to read an example of how using this methodology was used for antagonistic reasons, read about the Google Bomb.
How Do I Get Started?
You know what anchor text links are, and you know that they play an important part in the ranking of websites. Now all you need to know is how to incorporate this into your daily website maintenance.
Keyword research is the first thing that should be done. What are people searching on that relate to your product or service? Make a list and then decide on the terms that you would like to concentrate on.
Choose Your Target Page
With the research done, now you should pair off a keyword phrase to its target page. If you are using ‘green widgets’ as the anchor text, link this phrase to the web page that is about green widgets. Use common sense, don’t abuse the strategy, and add the links where it makes sense and reads sensibly.
Use Anchor Text Links Internally & Externally
We talked about how external links with the right anchor text can improve your rankings, but anchor text is also a good thing to use within the pages of your website. Here are some general tips on where to place anchor text:
- Home Page and Internal Pages – The Home Page is the most powerful page of a website. This is where the majority of your users and search engines will first enter the domain. Using anchor text links within the content will help support and strengthen the home page as well as the target page for the intended keyword phrase. Make certain to keep the user in mind when using these links. It should first and foremost make sense to read. Internal pages are less powerful, but the use of anchor text links can also contribute value to targeted pages.
- External Links – Links coming from other URLs should use effective anchor text but let it happen naturally, don’t force this, patterns in inbound links are a spam factor. This is the easiest way to “go astray”, by asking for links on keywords. This is forbidden. Rather, let your fans write about your business and link as they see fit. You’ll find this is a more honest way of developing authority and honesty in the best policy.
The last piece of the puzzle is to persevere. This is not an overnight process and will require dedication, but in the long run the work you do with anchor text links will benefit your overall search engine marketing strategy.