A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SEO Tip #2: Vary your link text

One of the considerations Google, Bing and other search engines take into account when tallying up the number of links to your web site is something called "anchor text." Anchor text is the text that you click on to follow the link. Search engine robots use this text to help figure out what the web page is about. You probably see a lot of unoptimized links around the internet with anchor text like "Click here for more information" or "To read more, go to www.deschutesbrewery.com." (Note: This is the main reason why it's important to have keywords in your domain name.) The temptation when writing a press release would be to optimize your anchor text. Something like:
Check out the Bend, Oregon Golf Tournament and Culinary Event Sponsored by Deschutes Brewery.
would be a nicely optimized link. But don't write all your links like this. You should definitely pay attention to anchor text when writing releases and other online copy. But Google and other search engines consider it normal for your backlink profile to contain a lot of unoptimized links, and Google especially has heavy penalties when it sees something that looks like the over-optimization tactics that spammers, porn sites and shady mortgage providers tend to use. For this reason, it's important to vary your anchor text when writing press releases and web copy. In addition to the nicely optimized link above, you should include a link that look something like this:
For more information about the Sagebrush Classic Golf Tournament, click here.
and this:
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and how to purchase tickets for the Sagebrush Classic Feast online, go to http://www.sagebrush.org/tickets/.
This way, you give yourself the benefit of a beautifully optimized link, plus some normal-looking links to avoid setting off red flags at Google.
-Adrianne (@msfener)