Relevant Anchor Tags and Link Building

Link BuildingIn response to a reader asking for more information on relevant anchor tags, I’ve developed this small blog post on one of the basic components of search engine optimization (SEO).  Relevant anchor tags are an important aspect of SEO and when used effectively as part of a systematic link building campaign, they can boost the traffic for a website by bringing organic search traffic from the major search engines.

Anchor tags are prompts presented to the user signifying a link to another website or resource.  Anchor tags provide the search engines with an indication as to the type of content being linked to.  Search engines places more importance on the words or phrases used in creating links and for that reason, it is important to request and/or use relevant anchor tags when link building.

Websites generally occupy a niche which is usually identified by a series of keywords and keyword phrases.  Ranking well for these relevant keywords means a higher chance of converting traffic into sources of revenue.  For this reason link building using quality one-way links from sites with relevant content and using anchor tags containing relevant keywords is important.

For example, if a site occupies a niche that involves “hockey” it would make sense to find links from sites that directly involve hockey.  Links coming from sites involving hockey would be more relevant than links coming from sites involving “video games”.  Links from other sports related sites may also be deemed more relevant than links from sites on “ceiling tile”.

When requesting or obtaining links from relevant sites, it is also important to use keywords or keyword phrases as part of the anchor tags for those links.  Thus from our previous example, links should contain relevant tags such as “hockey” or “ice hockey”.  Each link containing a particular relevant anchor tag would be seen as a vote of confidence that the linked site would be about “hockey” or “ice hockey”.

The search engines would use the number of links containing the relevant achor tag as an indication that the content linked to was about hockey.  The more links containing this anchor tag, the higher the ranking for that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

Using incorrect or irrelevant anchor tags would mean that a site could technically rank for keywords that mean nothing to the readers and lowers the chance of converting visitors into a source of revenue.

As part of the link building process, it is also possible to specify a link title as one of the attributes.  This title will appear as a user places the mouse over a particular link.  This can also be used to provide an indication as to the type of content being linked to from a site.  It can also provide additional SEO benefits when link building and should contain relevant keyword or keyword phrases where appropriate.

While it is important to use relevant anchor tags as part of your link building campaign, keep in mind that these are not the only factors that determine how well a site will rank for particular keywords or keyword phrases.  The number and quality of the the links obtained will also influence ranking.  Plus, there are many other universal search indicators that will influence how well a page ranks in the search engines.

For beginner SEOs, concentrate on using relevant anchor tags and build links from sites with relevant content.  It is a basic rule that you should adhere to in your optimization efforts for your site.

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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.

7 Responses to Relevant Anchor Tags and Link Building

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Barry! Great refresher~! I figured this was the essence of this science. Thank you for the very comprehensive well described clarification. Great Blog! Thank you for your help – every time!

  2. rachel says:

    thanx for this infomation….there is a lot to learn things…nice post

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Barry,

    Can you tell me a little about: Best Practices when assigning keywords to a page on a website. As I understand it, the keywords should live on the particular page. If the keywords live in the headings and title it’s even the even better.

    Is it disadvantageous to create a key word like fundraising, and list it in as many multiples/plurals/or tenses.

    For example: fundraise, fund raise, fundraisers, fund raisers fundraising, fund raising.

    If this is a topic already covered in an article on your blog, can you please point me to this great information.

    Thanks for your help.


  4. Lee says:

    I have a related question to this informative post:
    If I publish an article in an article directory and they allow me to include a link(s) to a website in the author resource box at the end of the article. The article directory is a general directory (ezine articles) and covers hundreds of topics so there is no particular relevancy in general within the article directory site itself.

    The article I am writing has no particular relevance to my website that I am trying to improve the rank of in order to be at the top of the SERPS. The anchor text I am putting into the author resource box is a relevant keyword to my website although there is no particular relevance to the article itself. Do you think that this will still help to get me to rank for my keyword and improve the SERP? I cannot always write relevant articles to the website I am anchoring to.

    • bwheeler says:


      To answer your question, there is no one simple answer. The article you are publishing if it contains relevant content to your site, and the link itself contains relevant anchor tags, it will help in the boosting of your rankings in the long run.

      The problem that you will have with ezinearticles is that it will probably have more authority for your site, thus indexed more frequently. It is possible for the article to rank better than your actual website for the content.

      Another pitfall is that you will have to promote your article in the directory as well, to get it indexed. With ezinearticles, the article typically gets buried in the back pages pretty quickly. Thus if there are no links to it, Google and the other search engines can’t fine it.

      The basic rule is – “A link is a link is a link”, the more relevant links you have the better – that’s a given. However, article marketing is a proven and accepted method of gaining quality one-way links.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Barry, could you elaborate on your response to Lee a bit? He is asking whether he can publish completely unrelated articles on ezinearticles (i.e., about how to improve your golf swing) and then in the author resource box include anchor text to niche websites that have nothing to do with golf. I have the same problem. I want quality backlinks from ezinearticles but do not necessarily always want to write about the subjects of my websites. Granted, I lose big in terms of getting any direct traffic from my articles because readers for the article will likely have no interest in clicking through the anchor text. But a link is a link is a link as you say. So in terms of a pure backlinking building strategy, it shouldn’t matter if the anchor text is relevant to my article, should it? And in terms of getting my article republished by other webmasters and increasing the viral links, it might be better to write about general interest topics rather than a narrow niche. Thoughts? Thanks

    • From what I have learned from some testing that I’ve done, a link regardless of where it comes from (besides sites deemed to be bad link partners because of practices deemed unacceptable by Google such as link farms etc) does provide an added boost to SERPs. However, links coming from sites with relevant content related to the site being linked to provides a bigger boost to SERPs.

      This is one small portion of what must be considered when obtaining the link. You must also consider the probability of someone clicking on that link to drive traffic to a site and then once they have clicked, the likelihood this traffic will convert. Having an article as you say about improving your golf swing and expect someone to click on a link provided in the resource for something so far removed such as “natural cancer cures” is a little unrealistic. Sure you may get some clicks on the link, but will it really be traffic that will convert once you’ve got them on your site?

      Arguments can also be made about the site “ezinearticles” itself. It is a general article directory that covers a wide range of topics. It may provide a link but overall it may be like a general directory and provide little boost to SERPs or be valued less in the search engines as to the quality of link provided.

      The other factor as you have referenced is with respect to the anchor text. This is one of the factors used in determining how well a site will rank with respect to the keywords or linking text you use when building your links.

      Google’s and Bing’s algorithms for determining relevancy have improved so much they can determine if the content at the destination of link is related to the link text used. For example, if you link to a site with the link text “Free IPOD” and then talk about FOREX at the site linked to, the rankings will be impacted because of the lack of relevancy in the link text and the topic on the destination. Additionally, it will be considerably less likely that the traffic received because of clicks will be very pleased to discover they’ve been duped thus impacting conversion rates again.

      Varying your keywords relevant to your site and your site content ensures that you rank well for the niche occupied. It is essential that you use relevant keywords or you end up ranking for unrelated terms which impacts traffic and conversion.

      Publishing great content on sites such as ezinearticles however, will generate you traffic. It will provide links and will get your sites exposure.

      The key comes from developing well written and unique content that will attract both natural links and readership to your sites.

      Hope this helps.

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