It's something you hear over and over again from SEOs: Anchor text matters. Chris Brogan relayed this familiar advice this week in a post on decisions we make as bloggers:
By the way, HOW you link to something matters. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it Chris’s blog, then you’re telling Google that people searching for “Chris’s blog” might want chrisbrogan.com. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it social media resources or social media strategy or whatever (frankly, I’ve never known what to bother ranking for in search results), then you are telling Google that people searching for social media whatever might want to find my blog.
So in choosing the words for the link text, you’re also making decisions.
Aside: It took me FOREVER to find where I'd read this again. First, I looked back through my feeds from the week, but I assumed I'd read it on a more search-centric blog so I didn't check Chris Brogan's. Then I explicitly searched for it in Google Reader, but I used the phrase "anchor text" and he refers to it as "link text," so it didn't come up. Finally I resorted to a regular old Google search, filtered for "blogs" and "recent," scanning for things I knew I'd read, and Chris's post came up—but only because someone used "anchor text" in the comments. So. Note to Chris Brogan: It's called anchor text.
ANYWAYZ, I simply took this advice on faith until the day I saw the power of anchor text in action. A couple of years ago, I was doing a little healthy self-googling when I found this page in the SERPs:
(Yes, it's on page 31 now, but I swear it used to be on one of the first few pages. Self-googling isn't my ONLY hobby.) I knew instantly why it was showing up, despite the fact that my name, obviously, does not appear anywhere on this page featuring an Italian painting in Boston's MFA collection ("Portrait of a Woman with a Pearl Necklace"):
It's because my friend Adam Golaski once used my name as the anchor text in a link to this painting, because he thinks it looks like me.
Pretty awesome, huh? I bet if more people linked to the painting with "Elisa Gabbert" in the "link text," it would climb back up in the rankings … but at what point would Google deem it a Google bomb?
Search Highlights from the Week
Some good reading:
- Four new signals in search: There's more to Google's algorithm than links. Eric Enge discusses four signals that are growing in importance, including page load time and social media signals.
- SEO Boy also talked site structure this week, in a post called "Information Architecture: A Sometimes Forgotten SEO Basic."
- In the social world, Copyblogger offers some "hard data" on what goes into a retweetable headline.
- And finally, in a long article derived from her speech at this week's FTC conference, Arianna Huffington talks about the future of journalism in a new media world in which "news has become social." She argues that new business models—not desperate pay-for-play ones—are in order, but falls short of actually proposing one.
It's #FollowFriday Time
- @itshumphrey Director R&D @ SpeechBobble Inc. MBA. Social media enthusiast. Trance Addict. Autonut. Neuroscientist. Strategy Consultant.
- @redfly Director of online marketing company RedFly LTD, PPC obsessed search marketer and dance music lover.
- @tokkman PHP Developer, Cocktail-loving
- @DaveChaffey Bestselling author, consultant and speaker who enjoys sharing tips, tools and techniques on SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Site Design & Analytics.
- @webireland .NET code monkey extraordinare.
- @katemorris Search Engine Marketer, MBA Student, Longhorns Fan, Ford Mustang Lover
- @dmarques1 Director of Online Marketing at Paragon Lake. Portfolio Entrepreneur
Follow Us on Twitter
- @WordStream Best Keyword Management Platform ever!
- @WordStream_PPC WordStream is a dynamic PPC productivity tool that helps search marketers research, organize and act on PPC keyword data.
- @LarryKim Avid search marketer, newlywed
- @TomDemers New father, PPC wiz, has a great laugh
- @SMRichardson Trivia, SEM, Red Sox, animals, travel and music
- @Boston_SEO SEO genius, former rockstar, 2 adorable daughters
- @EGabbert Writer, poet, editor, SEO, SEM, foodist, aesthete/rationalist
- @John_A_Lee Consult on PPC, SEO, Social Media & Blogging. Paid Search Manager with WordStream. Teller of bad jokes, music junkie and aspiring chef.
- @Quality_Score PPC pundit (identity unknown), mysterious dispenser of sage Quality Score advice
Or follow us all in one fell swoop: WordStream now has a Twitter list!
Have a Tip for WordStream's Follow Friday?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.