Back Links 101 – Part 1 – The Anchor Text
Most of my customers have some level of understanding of what is involved with performing on-page search engine optimization of their site. Although they may not realize that there is a distinction between on-page and off-page optimization, they do realize that their site must contain high quality fresh content and relevant keywords so the search engines will rank them. They may even be familiar with the idea of populating meta data fields such as the meta description, meta title and meta keywords. These areas are considered “on-page” optimization and are important items to be familiar with when building your site and adding content. But usually when I mention off-page optimization, I get the blank stare. What exactly is off-page optimization?
Most of what is meant by off-page optimization is acquiring links to your site from other sites, which are called back links. Acquiring back links to your site may not be an easy thing to do, but if you understand the concept and can do it properly it can make a huge difference in your rankings, and it is particularly useful in building page rank for your site (a google term) and gives you the edge when the search engine needs to break a tie between numerous sites with similar, relevant content for an entered search phrase. This article is part one of a series of articles to be released, that will discuss the idea of link building, or as some would like to think, link earning; The process of getting back links for your site.
Optimizing the Anchor Text in Your Link
I will use a local business as an example for my demonstration of optimizing the anchor text of a link. The business is My Dirty Windows and can be found on-line at http://www.mydirtywindows.com One of the services this business provides is Pressure Washing in the Lancaster PA area, and one of the owner’s targeted keywords for his site is “pressure washing”. Lets take a quick look the html syntax for a link. This is an example of how a typical link may look in a review someone may be writing about Mr. Windows on-line:
An Un-Optimized Link
“… Mr. Windows does a fantastic job pressure washing houses. click here for more information on their services.”
Notice that the anchor text, the text that is the actual link, contains the words “click here”. This is a common mistake when building a link. Although this is a valid link and does create a back link to the Mr. Window’s Pressure Washing page, the linked text is not keyword optimized. “click here” tells the search engines nothing useful about the link itself. A much better way to do this, and one that will make your back links more valuable when the search engines go to rank your page for the search term “pressure washing”, is to use one of your keywords or keyphrases in the link itself. Here is an example:
An Optimized Link
“… The service I received from Mr. Windows was stellar, and well worth the money. You can get more information on these Pressure Washing Services here.”
This is much better. Not only has a back link been created, but it is keyword optimized!
That’s all I have time for today. Check back as I will be adding more information you can use to make your backlinks more effective and also some things to beware of when creating backlinks so Google does not penalize your link or page.