LINKS AND ANCHOR TEXT

Links and anchor text are very important when creating a website, and you need to know quite a few things. What is anchor text? Take a look at this simple demo web page created in Microsoft Expression Web.

Links And Anchor Text

The underlined blue text above is called anchor text. You see such text links on nearly all web pages

This is how the HTML code looks to create the above page I have highlighted the anchor text in red. The link text is highlighted in blue.

<body>

<p>Our Demo web page</p>

<p><a href=”http://www.fishthesea.co.za/”>South Africa’s Freshwater & Saltwater Fishing Hotspot</a></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

</body>

</html>

Google differentiated itself from most search engines when it was first introduced by taking into account not only links text and anchor link text on the web page itself but also anchor text and links text on incoming links to that web page. This approach needed a great deal of computer processing power bearing in mind the vast number of links compared to web pages.

Just take another look at only one of the above Touch Graphs and then know there are more than 8 billion sites on Googles database ..

Absolutely staggering and amazing or at least I think so.

Google knows for every link the source web page and the destination web page and it records these data for use in SERPs information.

There was a distinct advantage however in taking specific notice of the backward link in so much that the link back to a web page was often not under the control of the web pages designer. On this basis alone it was more difficult for a designer to manipulate the SERPs results. As time proceeded however it became possible to spam this backward link system in many ways and the power that PageRank held has to some extent at least been negated by the spam techniques used.

Despite the spam the concept of back-linking to your website remains an absolute key to high rankings. Getting lots of links is far more important than on-page optimization.

Google by virtue of its unique ability to collect and analyze anchor link text and proximity of text together with its other full text capabilities however was able to identify such unfriendly behavior and penalize offending pages. This attempt by Google specifically to identify inappropriate linking structures continues at a fast rate and many websites that have occupied high ranking positions have been removed from the SERPs on the basis of this inappropriate (according to Google) engineering of link structures.

A bit later well talk about blogs in terms of SEO these are used by those in the know quite legitimately to create many, and relevant links thereby increasing the link popularity and link relevance factors in ranking terms. As many of you may know most blogs invite comments and this became a wonderful game played by spammers until a new system was introduced to make comment spam irrelevant. Let me explain…

If a determined spammer wanted to he could access hundreds, thousands even of blogs every day. He could make a comment like nice site Joes corner store . Of course in each comment would be a link back to Joes corner store. This way a massive back link structure could be created that had zero benefit to the search engines or search community.

Google and all the other major search engines overcame this problem by discounting blog comments to zero. In other words commenting was of course still allowed but the comments would be totally disregarded by the search engines in terms of back link counting.

They did this by introducing what is known as the nofollow tag attribute. This tag identified to a search spider that any link with such a tag inside it should be ignored. Heres how the above link would look with the nofollow tag incorporated

<a rel=nofollow href=”http://www.fishthesea.co.za/”>The Best Fishing Information In South Africa</a>

This tag introduction, probably unknowingly, provided webmasters and SEOers with a wonderful way to engineer PageRank as well see later.

To summarize You need to get as many back links to your important web pages as you possibly can but stay away from the spam, get rich quick ways.

BUILDING WORDS INTO LINKS ON YOUR WEBSITE

When a visitor arrives at a website, hopefully yours, the challenge is to keep the visitor there by providing valuable or useful information. This is very difficult. It can be accomplished by web page layout and by providing an easy and meaningful way to get to the next part of the websites story through a well located, descriptive text link.

You may have noticed that the more savvy websites are abandoning button type links for the simple reason they cannot accommodate much text and also they add to download time (the buttons are pictures) and they dont work for SEO.

The worst kind of buttons are those that say Next, Back, Home etc since they do not encourage any visitor to explore. If instead of Next the link said click here for a free offer chances are that the link would be clicked upon and that little bit of extra time would be available to convince your visitor of the value of your site.

If instead of Home it said start page; subscribe to our free gardening newsletter then also the visitor would at least know what could be accomplished at the home page.

Read more about the concepts of links and anchor text in links below:

  1. Introduction To The Concept Of Links
  2. Pictures Of Links
  3. Links & Anchor Text (You are here)
  4. Importance Of Anchor Link Text
  5. General Linking Principles

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