Search engine optimization (aka SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website so that info seeking bots from search engines like Google and Bing can crawl your site quickly and read all of your content. By doing this the search engines can direct searchers to your website if your content is relevant to their search query. Unfortunately, just being relevant won’t get you to #1 in Google.
Another part of SEO is a link value system search bots use to evaluate the importance of each site on the web. The more links you have to your website from highly trusted websites (like CNN.com or your local newspaper’s site) the more important those bots will think your site is.
If the search bots think your site is of some importance they will place you higher in the search engine result pages (i.e. third result on page 1 instead of result #18 on page 2) than sites with similar information but no sites linking back to them.
Here’s an example:
Website #1 is considered very trustworthy because it has been around for 10 years and has over 25,000 other websites linking to it. If Website #1 links to Website #2 (your site) then the info seeking search bots see your site as more important and trustworthy than Website #3 which has no links from other sites to it.
That leads us into our Monday Q&A question…
“What is anchor text?”
The link text Website #1 uses to describe your website will play a major role in how the search bots use your site. That link text is called “anchor text”. For example, if Website #1 links to your site with the anchor text “Sarasota, FL real estate” your website is more likely to appear near the top of the search results when someone searches for “Sarasota, FL real estate” than competing Website #3 above which still has no links from other sites vouching for its relevance to that topic.
Here’s an example of anchor text in a link courtesy of Wikipedia.org’s definition for anchor text:
The anchor text in this example is “Wikipedia”; the unwieldy URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page displays on the web page as Wikipedia, contributing to clean, easy-to-read text.
How do I use anchor text to rank higher in search engines?
You won’t always be able to control the anchor text used to describe your website but when you can be sure to focus on a set of keywords that you want your site to rank higher for.
Doing keyword research with tools like Google’s Keyword Tool will help guide you on keywords and phrases that are most frequently searched for so you can target the largest possible audience.
Have any questions about anchor text or finding keywords for your site? Feel free to leave a comment below!