Many small business owners hear the term SEO a lot when talking about website ranking and visibility by the search engines. Most know that their website should be optimized for the search engines so that they can be found by more targeted visitors, but many get lost when it comes to understanding SEO and how to apply the methods themselves.

In this new series, Simple SEO Tips, I will address some simple optimization techniques for those who want to understand the basics and increase their website’s overall SEO without having to spend hours paging over countless material. SEO is not something that can be mastered in one or two tips and that is not the intention of these posts. These tips are meant for the small business owner/SEO novice who simply wants to optimize their business website by doing some simple tweaks here and there.

If you are looking for more expanded SEO information or have specific SEO questions, give us a call or send us an email. You could even post your question in the comments below and I will help to answer them as best I can for the visiting audience.

Today’s SEO Tip is about ANCHOR TEXT

When planning a website or working to increase the search engine optimization of your existing website, there are many tools you can use to increase the site’s ability to be seen and indexed by sites like Google. While all of these tools and techniques can increase the site’s ranking and ability to show up in a key word search, the easiest to implement and the most commonly mis-implemented is anchor text.

What is anchor text?

Anchor text is comprised of the words used in the flow of text that is linked to another page either internally or externally.

Here’s an example, this is a link to Audacity Audio Recording Software.

And here is what the link looks like to the search engine that is using this link to find the keywords that are used on this site:

<a href="”http://superiorbms.com/blog/free-small-business-tools-audacity-audio-recording-software/”">Audacity Audio Recording Software</a>

The words Audacity Audio Recording Software is the anchor text. In short, anchor text is the visible characters and words that a hyperlink displays when linking to another document or page on the internet.

Why is anchor text so important?

This is so important because:

  • Search engines use the text to determine what the linked-to document is about (its content)
  • The search engines assume the words define what the link is about

These two facts are important because:

  • Page ranking in searches is based on link relevancy.

Link relevancy is determined by the keywords in the anchor text as well as the keywords in the rest of the text that appears on the page with the anchor text. Because the ranking of pages in searches is done by a computer algorithm, the algorithm has been designed to recognize real human behaviors when linking pages to each other.

When a page has content with keywords that links to pages with similar content, the algorithm determines that those keywords must be accurate descriptions of what the pages are about, especially if they are closely related. For example, if a site has keywords about baby food and the anchor text in the links to other sites talk about natural foods as well as when to introduce foods to babies, the algorithm determines that baby food is a good keyword for the site and ranks it high for searches of that term.

How does this apply to my site?

This is a critically important piece of information for people designing or updating a web site. Selecting the right keywords for the text as well as for the anchor texts used to link to other documents is one of the most basic things to do to ensure good ranking on searches. In fact, because so many novice users don’t realize this, they often create anchor text with links that say things like “click here” or “read more here”. These words don’t increase the page’s ranking for its actual keywords.

So…

Before spending time and effort promoting your site using other activities, be sure to optimize your anchor text within your links first. Ensuring that every link has the appropriate keywords for your site will have an immediate effect on your standing in searches.