Gaining links from sites is obviously beneficial but isn’t enough on its own to help ensure you rank in the search engines for your desired phrases. Links that include relevant anchor text will play an important role in your SEO campaign.
This is especially important if you are looking to target competitive terms. However there are a few things that should be taken into consideration along the way.
So What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the wording that makes up the link and it’s this text that is so important.
For example gaining a link using the text “Click Here” (as the clickable link) isn’t much benefit to you (beyond the basic value a link offers simply by being in place). I doubt very much you are looking to rank for the term “Click Here” and so from an anchor text point of view you would be missing out.
If this link was to read “Click here for more information on meat pies” (with meat pies acting as the link), then suddenly the link becomes more valuable to you, assuming of course that meat pies is a targeted term of yours.
So by gaining a link that includes one of your key terms in the anchor text you are improving its value to you.
But Just How Important Is It?
Anchor text used in a link provides the search engines with some initial information regarding the subject of the page the link is leading to. The more pages that use relevant anchor text in their links, the more this becomes an indication that your site or page is truly relevant to the subject being suggested.
It is important to note that it’s not just enough to create optimised links to your site and an on-page optimisation exercise should also be carried out.
What Terms Should You Use?
Hopefully you will already have (at least) basic SEO work in place on your site and your keyword research completed, so you should know which terms are being targeted on which pages.
It’s then a matter of ensuring that any links you create use targeted terms relevant to the page you are linking to.
However, it is just as important to vary things up a bit. Use variations.
If you were to create say 100 links all using the same anchor text this would stand out to the search engines. Remember links are supposed to be natural. 100 links, all with identical text isn’t natural. So vary it up.
If we use our Meat Pie example again, your links could vary in a number of ways:
Gordon’s Meat Pies
Tasty Meat Pies
Meat Pies Online
And so on. It may be that you aren’t targeting some of these variations, but they will still be relevant, helping to build context, and will still have the desired effect.
Also, don’t be afraid to have links using your company name as the anchor text even if it doesn’t contain any key terms. This will again help add a natural feel to your links.
So don’t just create links, optimise them.