Building Keyword Relevance with Linking

- November 13, 2008

Building links isn’t just a good way to increase the PageRank and positioning for a page in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It can also increase the keyword relevance for a page for its specific key phrase. This is because, in addition to the content in the title tag, the text content on the page and the name of the file where the content is found, search engines will also give a page keyword relevance based on the anchor text of any links leading to a page. For example, this link will give a little boost of relevance to this page: for the key phrase “search engine optimization”:

Search Engine Optimization

This is how some sites manage to rank very well for a key phrase even though all their content is hidden from search engines in images or other SEO unfriendly media. If enough pages link to the page with the appropriate anchor text, the page will rank well — even without indexable content. This is also why a good text anchored, keyword rich navigation menu is important in any well-designed site. However, on-site links only get so much credence from search engines. Links coming from other sites with your keywords in the anchor text — particularly if that other site is a highly respected site in your sector of the internet — are the most valuable in this kind of keyword targeting. As anyone who has attempted to do any amount of link building for their site will tell you, getting links from these kinds of sites can be tricky and having them anchored with your chosen key phrase can be downright impossible. That said, there are a couple of things you can do to increase the chances that the anchor text on a link leading to your page will have the appropriate keyword targeting:

1. Include the keyword in the name that you use to refer to your company. Some sites will only link to other sites with the company name. If your company name (or tag line) includes the keyword, it will be more likely to appear in the anchor text of links leading to your site.
2. Include the keyword in the title tag of the page. This is always good advice anyway, but some sites will use this as anchor text so keep the title short and well-targeted to your primary key phrase. Directory sites, in particular, are more likely to publish the link with keyword rich anchor text if it is also the title of the page.
3. Include the key phrase in the URL filename of the page. Many sites do not sanction individual anchor text and just choose to include bare links instead. If the URL filename contains the key phrase appropriately separated with dashes, then the URL filename carries its anchor text baked into its structure and anyone publishing the link automatically publishes the anchor text as in this example: This kind of strategy works especially well with a social media campaign where the link is spread virally rather than by careful submission and the webmaster has less control over how the link will be built.

Building links with keyword-rich anchor text can be challenging, especially if the focus is on the kind of natural in-bound linking strategies most beloved of Google and the other search engines, but taking a little care in the design and labeling of the page can make the task a little easier. Happy linking!

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