This opinion was originally published on this site before the SEO Blog existed, around 2003. The date shown on this post is simply the date of the republication of the article on this SEO Blog.
The Power Of Anchor Text
Successful search engine optimization employs many factors. However, one of the most important factors is the anchor text of inbound links. Because Google, among other search engines, puts a significant amount of weight on the anchor text of inbound links, anchor text can be a decisive factor when going after top ranking on extremely competitive search terms.
Precisely how powerful is anchor text of inbound links? It is entirely possible to achieve top ranking for extremely competitive keywords without any hint of on-page-elements SEO.
Same thing applies when you do a search for leave, for which Yahoo! is listed in the #1 spot. Yahoo is also #1 for the search term exit, due solely to the anchor text of hundreds of mature content sites.
So how do you, as an SEO, utilize the power of anchor text? The easiest – most cost effective – way is to choose a descriptive name for your site, and by descriptively naming your folders and files.
We are currently analyzing data from market research into consumer behavior in regard to domain names. The completed analysis will be published in an article entitled Descriptive Domains for SEO. As a preview of things to come, let me say that preliminary data shows descriptive domains – keyword domains, that is – to benefit from a much higher CTR than non-descriptive domains.
Looking through the traffic logs of websites we maintain is a daily chore. Early detection of shifts in search engine ranking is a must in this business. One thing I’ve often noticed is search strings containing words that appear neither on the page, nor in anchor text of inbound links – except where the URL of the page has been used as anchor text. This is where we see the benefit of descriptive file naming.
To give a poor example, I recently noticed this search string in the traffic logs of Quality-Web-Hosting.net:
“quality PHP search engine optimization”
But those words don’t appear in the link text of inbound links! Unless, of course, you use the URL itself as link text:
As one of the most powerful search engine optimization tactics, I believe that keyword anchor text link-building should be a high priority in any search engine optimization campaign.
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