Why Anchor Text Could Be The Most Important Aspect Of SEO

Copyright (c) 2011 Lee Dobbins

Anchor text is perhaps one of the most important aspects of
Search Engine Optimization but it is also one of the least talked
about.

This one element of SEO is important to understand because it can
help your page get ranked for a target keyword and also help you
evaluate your competition more precisely.

The latter is critical and, in fact, if you don’t take anchor
text backlinks into proper consideration when looking at the
competition for a keyword you could be missing out on some hidden
gems that are easy to rank for.

What Is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the hyperlinked text you see on a webpage. It is
the visible words that you can click to take you to another page.
Anchor text html code looks like this: <xmp><a
href=”Your” _mce_href=”http://www.yoursite.com”>Your”>http://www.yoursite.com”>Your Anchor Text</a></xmp>

On most websites, you typically see this as blue text that is
underlined and when you click on it with your mouse, you are
taken to the corresponding url.

How Bloggers Use Anchor Text

Bloggers and website owners use anchor text naturally to point to
other pages on their website as well as pages on other sites that
they find relevant to what they are blogging about. You’ve
probably even done this yourself when writing a post where you
referenced another post on your site, an affiliate product or
even a post on another site.

Usually a blogger will use a phrase that indicates what the page
is about in the anchor text, as opposed to a url, so that the
sentence reads correctly.

The anchor text in these links helps both the visitor and the
search engine spiders figure out what the ‘linked to” page is
about.

How Search Engines Use Anchor Text

Search engines use anchor text to help them figure out what the
hyperlinked page is about. So, as you can see, getting anchor
text backlinks with relevant phrases in the anchor text is pretty
important if you want the search engines to rank you for a
particular keyword phrase.

In fact, anchor text is such an important factor in ranking a
page that pages can rank for a keyword phrase even when that
phrase does not appear in the url on on the page!

There are several cases where this has happened, but perhaps the
most famous is where the Adobe Reader download page ranked #1 for
the search term “click here” for many years even though those
words were nowhere on the page. So many people had linked to that
page using the anchor text “click here” that it got to the #1
spot without any on page SEO for the term.

Search engines place a large importance on external anchor text
(links coming in from other sites) and some importance on
internal anchor text (links from within your own site) when
ranking a page so it stands to reason that you should make
getting anchor text backlinks with your target keyword phrases a
priority.

One important thing to note is that it is widely thought that if
two links on the same page target the same url, that only the
first link is counted by Google so you want to be sure that you
use your desired anchor text in that first link.

How Anchor Text Is Important When Judging Competition For A
Keyword

If you think about how important anchor text is to the search
engines when determining ranking for a keyword, then it’s easy
to see why it is a critical component of analyzing the
competition for a particular keyword phrase.

Google even provides you with a search operator to do this –
the allinanchor operator. You can use it by typing the following
into the google search bar:

Allinanchor:”your keyword phrase”

This will return the pages which have anchor text pointing to it
that contain the quoted keyword phrase.

I hope you can see how powerful this is – first of all, Google
must think it is an important element of a page because it
provides the allinanchor operator. Just the existence of the
operator would seem to indicate that it uses the anchor text when
deciding what a page is about and ranking it.

Secondly, using this operator will show you which pages are
optimizing for your chosen keyword phrase!

It makes sense that only the pages that have anchor text
backlinks with your phrase are the ones optimizing for it so you
can forget about searching for your phrase in quotes or any of
that non-sense.

Not only that but, you can take a look at the actual backlinks
for each of your competitors and see how many of them have that
anchor text and what the strength of those links are to make a
more educated guess as to how difficult they will be to beat out
for that top spot.

Anchor Text “Best Practices” For Your Website

Now that you know how important anchor text is to your rankings,
I’m sure you will want to pay more attention to it in your SEO
efforts but you don’t want to go hog wild and create tons of
anchor text backlinks all with the same keyword phrase or you
might find that your efforts don’t yield the results you want.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Vary Your Anchor Text – We all know that Google prefers it
when people link to you naturally and when that is the case, they
don’t all use the same anchor text. So, when you are linking to
your site from your articles or web2.0 properties you want to
make sure you don’t always use the same phrase as well. Using
your target phrase in about 50% – 60% of the links is probably a
good idea.

2. Links From Relevant Pages – For the best results, you want
your anchor text backlinks to come from pages that are related to
the topic because this is what would happen naturally if people
were linking to you because you had great content it would most
likely be from a blog post on the same topic.

3. First Link On Page – Don’t forget that Google only counts
the anchor text from the first link that it sees so if you will
have more than one link to the same url on a page, act
accordingly.

4.Plan For Natural Linking – There’s nothing better than
having people just naturally link to one of your posts but, of
course, you can’t control the anchor text they use when they
do. Since most people will naturally use your headline as anchor
text, you want to be sure to consider that when coming up with
the title for your blog posts.

Anchor text is crucial to both your SEO efforts as well as when
analyzing the competition for a keyword phrase. Taking the time
to use it properly can be the difference between ranking in the
top 3 and not ranking at all so it’s in your best interest to
start putting better anchor text practices to use in your
business today!
About The Author:
Anchor text backlinks play a key role in SEO.  Get a free copy of
Lee’s”Website Promotion Blueprint Guide” to get more website
traffic: http://hypertracker.com/go/leedobbins/PhantomWriters/.

Read More Articles From Lee Dobbins:
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