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Anchors Away!

Jun 27, 2008
How many types of "anchors" can you name? I can think of News Anchors who bring us the headlines on TV each day, those wall-anchor thingies that you hammer into a wall before hanging a heavy shelf, and of course my summer favorite - boat anchors. But the most valuable type of anchors for most small businesses is of course the anchor text that is used in the links on its web site.

What Is Anchor Text?

First, let's be clear about what anchor text really is. Anchor text is the clickable part of a text link on a web page - it's the text that is usually blue and underlined. As it turns out, the text you use in your link is hugely important to the search engines, especially to Google. The logic behind this is that if certain text is important enough to be used in a link, then that text MUST be something important, right? Well, apparently that's what the search engine spiders think.

Choose Carefully

So it makes sense that you should choose the anchor text for your links very carefully, making sure to use your keywords and phrases as anchor text as much as you can. You may need to adjust your content a bit in order for the keywords to make sense as anchor text, but the benefits are typically worth it. Also, don't waste the power of anchor text on generic terms like "click here" or "more." Instead, be specific and descriptive with your anchor text, and weave in keywords and other meaningful text to take full advantage of the importance that the search engines place on anchor text.

For example, on the Five Sparrows web site we have a page that describes our web support & maintenance plans. (And yes, the link you just read is an example of anchor text, too!) Since this is a natural extension of new web site development, the first paragraph on that page has a link that takes users to our web site development services page. We used the anchor text "web site development" (which is also blue and underlined) because it not only describes the page where users will go if they click the link, it is also one of the keyword phrases that Five Sparrows targets on the page.

Hey Google, Listen Up

When you select text on your web page and turn it into a link, you are telling the search engines that the text is important. You're giving Google a clue that the anchor text you selected is relevant to the content on your site, and that your site should be listed in the search results when users search for that text. You're communicating with the search engines in a language they can understand!

So while boat anchors might be my personal summer-time favorite (well, the boat part anyway!), there's not an anchor I can think of that has more impact on your small business marketing than the anchor text used in a web link. The search engines are paying close attention to the anchor text you choose for your links, so make sure that you are paying attention too.
About the Author
Lauren Hobson is the Editor of Biz Talk Newsletter and the Five Sparrows Marketing Blog from Five Sparrows, LLC. Read the most recent Five Sparrows articles on small business websites and marketing or subscribe at www.fivesparrows.com/biztalk. Copyright 2008 Five Sparrows, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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