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Anchor Text: Will it Make Your Website Traffic Sink or Swim?

Aug 17, 2007
There has been a lot of talk about the merits of "anchor text," the technique of using keyword text linked to your website URL. For example, you could link "bass fishing" to your bassfishing website.

You can use anchor text on your website to link to other pages within your site, or you can use it with your links on other websites. This technique can be quite effective.

One well-known example of the effectiveness of anchor text is "failure" -- just go to Google and type in "failure," and you will get the website of George W. Bush's biography!

How did this happen?

Well, many of Bush's detractors put the text "failure" on their websites and linked it to Bush's biography. Over time, and with enough anchor text on many, many sites linked to Bush's biography, now Bush's biography is listed number one in Google for the keyword "failure."

This teaches us an important lesson. If you want to get listed number one in the search engines for a keyword, then pick a keyword you want to be listed for, and then put a link to your website behind that text keyword on hundreds or thousands of websites.

But, hey, not so fast. Bush's "failure" story has gone its rounds and a lot of people know about it. In fact, so many people have used this ploy that Google now has a name for it: "anchor text spamming."

It's like so many things on the Internet -- what worked for a while doesn't work as well any longer. In fact, now Google gets suspicious when they see the same anchor text linking to the same website over and over. And so, it's better if you pick a half dozen keywords and then vary them as anchor text to your website link.

(However, it is interesting that Google has not de-indexed the sites using the anchor text of "failure" to Bush's biography ... but that's politics.)

What's also effective is to use keywords of 3-5 words for your anchor text. You not only reduce the competition by using more keywords, but you also narrow your traffic to just the people who are interested in your website.

Let's face it, using a keyword like "fish" as anchor text to your website probably won't get you the most qualified traffic. After all, "fish" has a lot of meanings -- you can even attract people just wanting learn how to play the card game Fish.

But if you use keywords like "bass fishing tackle," then you will get qualified traffic to your site -- people who actually do bass fishing and want to know how to do it better. Even better is "bass fishing tackle lures." With that, your visitors can really zero in on your website.

Using 3-5 word anchor text keywords will always do better than one or two words. Also, vary the text, like "fish for bass tackle" or "best lake bass fishing lures" -- use your imagination. The more words and the more variations, the better your chances to get your pages picked up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You really don't want to compete with all of the anchor text for "bass fishing."

For best results, use 3-5 keywords in your anchor text and vary it from link to link ...
About the Author
Karen Kirby has 25 years' in the computer industry and an MS in Computer Science. For more on Internet marketing analysis see
http://www.solutionmarketingsystem.com. Get "Internet Marketer's Guide to Traffic" at http://www.aimbright.com/ebook
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