Once you’re established for your main keywords, it’s time to branch out and add some more. A client of mine, The Retreat at Sky Ridge, is working on some new keyword phrases. They’ve built a new pavilion which is a great place for wedding receptions, and they’re near Eureka Springs, a very popular place for destination weddings. So of course they want “Eureka Springs Weddings.”
They’re not the only ones who want to rank well for that phrase, though, and they’re up against some stout competition. Naturally, when I made their new Weddings pages I gave them plenty of keyword-rich content, and they’re working on linkbuilding. This is a case in which reciprocal links can be terrific — there’s a nice community of wedding-oriented vendors in their town, so they can get good old-fashioned word of mouth as well as referral traffic by cultivating some relationships there.
They can also place some links themselves. They can fill out forms at high-quality directories and purchase ads at good travel sites, and in both cases they can choose the words they use. They can write blog posts that link back to their new wedding pages, they can write Squidoo lenses or post YouTube videos, they can offer tips on outdoor weddings — and in every case, they’re constructing their own links.
They need to be strategic about their anchor text. Anchor text is the stuff you click on to go to a link. When you make your own links, you control what words you use as anchor text. Whenever you have access to the html on a page, you can use exactly the anchor text you want by typing it into the space between the brackets.
When you don’t have access to it, you can construct code like this and send it to someone, requesting that they add it to the page, or you can ask someone to use a particular phrase as anchor text. You can also often type it into a form. Sometimes the form is asking for the name of the site or something of that nature, but you can choose what anchor text to use unless the site in question has a rule that the name of your site must be the anchor text for your link. Of course, we always respect those rules.
Here are some rules of thumb for choosing your anchor text:
- Use your keywords. While The Retreat could create links like “The Retreat at Sky Ridge is a great place for weddings in Eureka Springs,” they could just as well do “The Retreat at Sky Ridge is a great place for weddings in Eureka Springs.” Since they already have a solid #1 ranking for the name of their business, the second choice is a better one for them.
- Use some variety. When people link to you naturally, they’ll choose different kinds of anchor text, even if they’re all thinking of roughly the same thing. Some would say “Eureka Springs weddings” and some would say “weddings in Eureka Springs” and some would say “Eureka Springs wedding venues.” Having every single link going to your page use the same anchor text looks very unnatural.
- Make your anchor text informative. People should be able to tell where they’re going before they click, and they should not be upset or feel tricked when they get there. The folks at Sky Ridge can’t use “bridal gowns” for anchor text (not that they want to) and they certainly shouldn’t use “click here.”
You can’t control how other people choose to link to you, so make the best of the links you place yourself.