Link Building: Anchor Text & SEO Value

SEOs know the value of link building as one of the fundamental aspects for increasing a websites ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).  Rather than concentrating on link building strategies, I’ve decided to take a little different approach with this article, and talk about the SEO value in the anchor text used as part of link building.

Search engines have evolved over the last several years.  Gone are the days of metadata to rank the importance of website pages, and the era of using inbound links has arrived with force.  Because of this, link building has become an extremely important aspect of SEO.

Many of the major search engines (Google,  Yahoo, MSN) examine hundreds of linking factors to rank the importance of pages discovered during their crawl of the Internet.  These include:

  • Anchor text of a link;
  • Site the link comes from;
  • Page on which the link is located;
  • Age of the link;
  • Keyword proximity to the link; and
  • Relative importance of the page containing the link

One of the most important factors in this list is the anchor text of the link.  Simply put, Anchor Text is the actual words associated with the link that a visitor to a site would click on.  When links are discovered as a search engine spider crawls a website, this link is recorded as an element that signifies the importance of the text.  Generally, it means that the word or words used in forming the link is an indication of what the destination site will be about.

For example, if a link of “Link Reputation” is discovered, the search engine would expect the destination website to be about link reputation.

During link building, the best SEO value is obtained when you optimize your anchor texts to include a variety of keywords that target your niche.  I know this sounds counter productive and initially you may think that obtaining a 1,000 links with the same keywords would make you rank higher for that particular keyword.  However, some search engines, especially Google, have assessed penalties for some websites with aggressive link building campaigns designed to target a few select keywords.  This is counter productive to what is desired.

Simply put, link building is about obtaining a variety of quality one-way links.  Link building is about increasing the ranking of a website in the SERPs.  Link building is about increasing traffic and authority for a web site.  Varying the keywords used as anchor text spreads the SEO value across the related keywords, and gives the impression of a more natural link growth.

Think of the odds against have 1,000 websites all using the exact same anchor text for creating links.  Sound reasonable to you?

Keep this in mind when initiating a link building campaign.  Use the top keywords for those sites that will provide the most authoritative links.  It is better to obtain several links from sites with appropriate keywords, than hundreds of links without proper anchor text as it will directly impact the ranking on the SERPs.  The closer the anchor text to the desired keywords, the higher the SEO value achieved.

The more relevant the anchor text is to the content of the page the link is on, and the more closely related this content is to the link destination, the more effective the link building.  The SEO value obtained is much greater for relevant links from relevant content pages.  It is that simple!

There are some SEOs that will argue that a “Link is a Link” regardless of the anchor text and the page containing the link.  While this may have been true at one point, search engines are gradually refining their algorithms to place higher weight on relevant links containing relevant anchor text.

Link building is contantly evolving as search engines continue to improve.  Follow the few simple suggestions made in this article with respect to anchor text and SEO value.  Your link building campaigns will be more successful throughout the life of your website.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
Filed under: Link Building, SEO / SEM Tagged with: , , , , , , . - permalink.

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