Title Tags and link exchanges

by admin on October 28, 2004

I just got a link exchange request, where the requestee was a legal site, and was asking for a link title of “Colorado DUI Gunslinger”.

Links are, of course, what makes the internet work. Link titles, or link text, which is the piece of text attached to the link, like this, is critical for Search Engine Optimization purposes. The link text tells the search engine something about the page when the link is crawled, and is a vital part of what is known as page reputation. Page reputation is one of the more important factors in how a page is ranked in the search engines.

For example, if you search for news on google or yahoo, you’ll find CNN.com ranked at number 1 or 2 (sometimes the BBC site outranks it). Why is this, you ask? What makes CNN one of the top ranked news web sites? It’s not due to “on page” factors, like having the word news repeated many times in the text of the page. CNN.com doesn’t even have the work news in the Title Tag, which is probably the single most important on-page factor.

Nope, it’s all about the text links. There are thousands, if not millions of site that link to CNN.com with the word news in the link, just like that. Every link is like a vote for how important a page is, and what that page is about. And CNN gets a lot of votes, and the search engines count those votes as one of the most important factors in how sites rank.

There is an entire industry of text link brokers that has sprung up to service this need. People buy (or more likely, rent per month) text link ads on pages with high pagerank to enhance the page reputation of a certain page for those specific keywords.

Therefore, choosing your link text is a very important decision, whether trading links with other sites, or in choosing the menu navigation on your own site. It makes no sense to choose words that aren’t the most important and relevant keywords for searches to that page. In the case of the link request mentioned above, I’d say it’s a safe bet that there aren’t many people searching for a “DUI Gunslinger” on google. A “DUI lawyer”, or “DUI attorney”, you bet!

About Dave Matson

Dave Matson is the owner and operator of High Steppin' Searches. Dave Matson on g+

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jon Payne December 1, 2004 at 12:29 pm

Great points. What’s really surprising is the number of people still using things like “click here” as anchor text!

Another good practice is to keep your anchor text natural. Don’t always use the exact same two or three word keyword phrase. Mix it up a bit, and don’t be afraid to have a couple of real words in there every now and again (i.e. the Gunslinger won’t hurt in a few links, although I would shy away from using it any more than that or the site might be pegged as being a theme having to do with gunslinging…).


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