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Optimizing Anchor Text

It's Not Just being Linked, but How You Link - Anchor Text

by Michael Bloch

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We're all pretty aware these days that having links from quality sites pointing into your own site is a very important factor in gaining good rankings on some of the major engines.

The other point that has become increasingly important is that relevant anchor text should be used in links. This applies not just to external links pointing into your site, but internal linkages throughout your Web site.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the text that is visible in a link to a web page e.g.:

Search engine optimization tutorials

The text above is linked to a page named:

optimization-tutorials.htm

... which (of course) contains information about optimizing web sites for search engines.

Relevancy is the Key

The whole issue of successful search engine optimization can really be summed up in this statement:

Relevant quality site using
Relevant anchor text ->
Relevant domain name ->
Relevant file / folder name ->
Relevant page title tags ->
Relevant content and headings = better rankings.

It's as simple as that. Where it becomes a little more challenging is when your domain name, such as ours, is totally non-relevant to your Web site theme. If you haven't purchased a domain name for your new project yet, it's well worthwhile giving your name careful consideration purely for this reason:

people will tend to link to your site using the name of your Web site as the anchor text.

If you are selling Flombles, then you are better off purchasing a domain name that contains the word Flombles. It should be something like cool-flombles.com and not coolflombles.com.

The issue of hyphens is something else that you'll need to consider as a domain name without a hyphen is easier for people to remember.

Your folders should have flomble related names, as should your individual pages; e.g:

cool-flombles.com/buy/white-flomble.htm.

This way, you'll not only benefit straight off on any relevancy points that may be applied for your naming structure, but each time someone links to you, the chances are that they'll use beneficial anchor text!

Reciprocal Link Requests

When approaching other webmasters to link to your site; it's really important to “suggest” suitable text for them to use; i.e link code that will have the most suitable link text for your site. For further information about link requests, see the added resources at the end of this article.

It's also a good strategy to approach everyone who may be linking to you 'naturally' if they aren't using suitable link text. It's very important to be ultra-polite in these requests as these webmasters have linked to you of their own accord. They are under no obligation whatsoever to you - bear in mind that a link that isn't quite what you wanted is better than none at all.

Don't “Over-optimize”

No doubt over recent months, you would have noticed in SERP's (search engine results pages) that many spammers have been exploiting this with 50+ character hyphenated domain names, followed by file paths a mile long. I'm definitely not suggesting emulating this strategy... all things in moderation.

I went a bit overboard naming a couple of pages a couple of years ago as an experiment and I really wish I hadn't - looks ridiculous and gave me no benefit. I also wish I had paid more attention to file naming when I first started publishing articles on development and marketing a couple of years ago - we live and we learn - but I am glad that I can pass on what I have learned to others. Optimization is a rapidly changing environment - gotta move with the times.

Right, now I'm off to make a stack of changes to my pages - only 400 to go ;).

Here's some other updated articles on search engine optimization that you may find of benefit:

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
http://www.tamingthebeast.net
Tutorials, web content, tools and software.
Web Marketing, Internet Development & Ecommerce Resources

Copyright information.... This article is free for reproduction but must be reproduced in its entirety, including live links & this copyright statement must be included. Visit http://www.tamingthebeast.net for free Internet marketing and web development articles, tutorials and tools! Subscribe to our popular ecommerce/web design ezine!

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Related Web Site Resources:

Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing Books
Recommended by WebsiteTips.com

  • Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day. By Jennifer Grappone, Gradiva Couzin. Sybex (6-13-2006) 
  •  Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site. By Mike Moran, Bill Hunt. IBM Press (July 31, 2005) 
  • Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP. By Jaimie Sirovich, Cristian Darie. Wrox (04-16-2007) 
  •  Search Engine Visibility, 2nd Ed. By Shari Thurow. Peachpit (09-08-2007).

See more SEO, SEM Books.

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