Anchor Text And Backlinks | The Medium In Keyword Research And SEO
Anchor Text, SEO And Keywords
If you're new to SEO you may have heard of the term anchor text. Just as well I'm sure you're familiar with high velocity terms such as keyword research and SEO (search engine optimization) too. These are the staples in this industry and terms that you can't ignore much less read any article without hearing some mention of them either. With that said, obviously there are elements of high degrees of importance surrounding these phrases. Now of course Google has already had a thing or two to say about all of this and that message has changed over and over and over again repeatedly covering a span of several years. Nevertheless, here we are today still engaged in great debate and discussion over this too and truth be told.. that conversation and debate isn't slowing down anytime soon.
One of the most basic questions when someone builds a website is how do I get a ton of traffic for different search terms ? Well the first thing that you want to do as I've talked about often on my blog is to do your keyword research. It can't be stated enough how important keyword research is when you consider how you want to define your blog post url, your titles and how you are going to write your content too.
If you're not doing your research then you're missing out on a critical element that is needed in this conversation. This research absolutely leads into the development of your anchor text which we'll get into shortly as well.
Now in order to get the basics out of the way, let me explain what anchor text is for those that may be coming across this post that are unsure. Lets assume that you want to target the keyword phrase "blog tips". Anchor text and keywords go hand in hand to some degree. Anchor text is best explained as the clickable text in a link (etc. hyperlink). So for our example here (e.g. blog tips) now highlighted in blue is hyperlinked as a keyword phrase to candidwriter.com. The anchor text is: blog tips.
You may be wondering where the connection is in terms of keyword research to anchor text. Well if you were to do your keyword research, it would tell you whether there's anyone searching for that particular keyword. In this instance, having done my research, I know that the phrase that I've used in our example has a search volume of 390 searches per month and there are 739 million results for that search term in Google. Now for me personally, 390 searches doesn't fall in my "ideal" number of searches per month that I would like to target, but there are different things that can influence that from website to website in terms of what is ideal. For example, if you have a website or blog that focuses on selling a product that costs $500 dollars for each conversion or sale that you make, then approximately 400 searches per month would work quite well for you. Even if you converted a quarter of that traffic at $500 per conversion, you'd still be looking at making $50,000.00 per month. So while that is a digression from our true focus on this post, you can see that even search volume in the 300's can still be quite attractive depending on products associated with your content. With that said, I wouldn't get too caught up in low numbers. Analyze what opportunities exist for you to be able to capitalize and convert your traffic to help you determine the "sweet spot" for search volume that you should be targeting when you're doing your keyword research.
Natural Anchor Text
Now even though I've given an example of anchor text, there are rules and best practices as well. In the example that I provided, what I did was use "exact match" anchor text. So in my research, I see that "blog tips" is highly aligned to the content on my blog right ? Well here's a little history for you. Prior to the Google Hummingbird update, websites would basically build links using exact match anchor text. So hundreds to thousands of links in website link profiles were build with the same anchor's. If you're truly familiar with Google and it's tendencies, anything that looks like link manipulation is a red flag and Google is always watching. So bear in mind that building anchors without any diversification is a really bad idea.
Google is all about natural linking, natural interactions between the user and the website.. nothing forced, nothing manipulated. You've got to think whitehat link building and methods through and through. So with that said, when I speak of diversification, we're talking about changing things up. Linking in a way that a typical visitor would and that is NOT using "exact match anchors". A large percentage of your visitors won't know anything about anchors so they are likely to link more generically in this way:
- Click here
- Link I found
- Dave's blog post
- Website link
- Click this link
- Check out this page
- What do you think about this
- Link I wanted to share
These generic anchors won't have anything to do with any keyword that actually has volume, but it's a signal to Google that it's not being manipulated and those are signals that you want the search engine to see. Signals that reflect positively have a direct impact on how favorable Google views your website.
With that said, now that we've talked about anchors and keyword research, how does this impact backlinking ? Here's a reality for you.. You can write as much content as you want. You can make your headlines as juicy and appealing as possible. You can publish that content "everyday", but if you aren't building backlinks then you're not going to get anywhere with Google.
Backlinks And Backlinking
Everything that we've talked about prior to this all works together. Your research helps you to target keywords that are highly aligned to your website content. Your anchors reflect the keyword phrases that you've targeted and the backlinks that you build help Google to realize that you have different pages and different domains that are linking back to you for the keyword phrases that you are going after. As mentioned in our example earlier in the post about targeting "blog tips". I could go to a website like Quora and while answering a question, mention the keyword "blog tips" and link it back to a website page where I want to build backlinks to and once it's hyperlinked then credit is given for that link. On another note, determining whether this is dofollow or nofollow is another conversation altogether, but that's some insight into how the backlinking aspect of this conversation works.
Again, we're not talking about link manipulation, but moreso how anchors, your key word research and backlinks process all works together. Linking is a natural and common part of the Google recognition process. I do not condone for one second going on out and going after a ton of exact match anchors as that will damage your website in the long run, but also realize that it's not uncommon to do "some" exact match in your own link building, but best practice is to do it sparingly and let people naturally anchor links to your website when they are doing the linking.
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