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It's not just being linked, but how you link - anchor text

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.

Need to learn about  search engine ranking and optimization strategies or want to monitor the SEO health of your web sites (and those of your competitors)? One of the most comprehensive set of online search engine optimization tools around -  SEOMOZ.

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:


.. 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 or even coolflombles.com; as most of the major engines are now able to recognise a term within a non-hyphenated block these days. 

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:


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.

Buying/selling text links

Text Link Ads

Text Link Ads

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. 

Mix up your anchor text

A popular ploy has been to get inbound links using the same anchor text. This used to work, but search engines are getting better at recognizing attempts to manipulate rankings; so mix up your anchor text a little if you can by using different, but related terms on internal links and links from other sites if possible. This will also have a positive effect in terms of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Don't just link to the home page

If you have the opportunity to have some control over inbound links from other sites, not only should you use anchor text variations, but also the target page. Rather than just have people link to your home page; try to get some deep links pointing to other sections or pages on your site.

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

Title tags tutorial - making the most of your page title tag

Meta-tags tutorial - meta tags are still an important part of overall search engine strategy.

Reciprocal linking - good manners can get you valuable links!

Finding good keywords

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
Tutorials, web content, tools and software.
Web Marketing, Internet Development & Ecommerce Resources

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