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Is Link Relevance as Effective as Anchor Text?

Kristi Hines
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Recently, I've been writing a lot about getting away from repeatedly using the same keyword-based anchor text (which may lead to a hop into the Google penalty box) and steering toward a larger variety of keywords and brand building with company names as the anchor text instead.

So if you quit obsessing on anchor text with the keywords you want to rank for, how will you be able to rank for those terms?

Where to Find Relevant Links

Don't focus on where you can get keyword anchor text. Instead, focus on where you can get links on pages with strong relevance to the keywords for which you want to rank, or links that use other ways to correlate to the keyword aside from anchor text.

For example, if your website's main keyword is "web design," you could get a variety of links on pages that are relevant to web design using your business name as anchor text on sites such as:

  • Directories: These offer specific category relevance. Look for categories on the directory that are specific to web design, make sure all of the sites listed in that category are web design related, and get your site listed there.

  • Blogs: Guest posting is a great way to get links that will bring traffic back to your website. Submit posts to blogs that are devoted to web design with your best web design content.

  • Social Mentions: Google and Bing use social updates from Twitter and Facebook in their calculation of what's popular. Be sure to use relevant keywords within your tweets and Facebook updates, as these can be related to the link in the update.

  • Image Links: For good keyword relevant image links, you're looking at doing the same thing you would do to optimize the image for search. The image that your website is linking to should use your keywords in the file name and the alt tag.

  • Link Requests: If you're asking other webmasters, make sure the site and page you are requesting your link upon is relevant to your site's main keywords.

Does This Work?

I've done some research on clients and their competitors, looking at information such as where they build their links to (mostly to the home page or a mix to their home page and internal pages), what anchor text they use (keyword rich or a mix of keywords and brand/business/domain), the types of links they build, and how they rank for their primary keywords.

Surprisingly, the websites that are building links (or gaining them organically) with primarily brand name anchor text are ranking well for their main keywords while only using them as anchor text maybe 20 percent of the time.

So essentially, what you're looking to do is gain links on high authority pages to increase your own authority.

Don't sweat the fact that maybe the high authority sites aren't letting you use your preferred anchor text. For that matter, if you don't specify and just ask to have the company added as a resource, you're more likely to get the link.

You'll build the site's authority, build a solid brand reputation, and avoid Google penalties for your keywords. A win-win situation!

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