Stop! Do This BEFORE You Start a Link Building Campaign

Before You Start Link Building:

Before you start a link building campaign, you need to decide what keywords you will include in your anchor text.  What is anchor text?  The anchor text is the hyperlinked text that when clicked on sends the user to your site. 

Anchor Text- The Key(words) to Great Links & Rankings

Most people wrongly just have the site linking to them decide this.  This ends up with them having their website address hyperlinked or the words click here.  While getting links is great, this is the WRONG WAY to have your link put on a site.  While a link from a trusted site will help your website you need to have the correct keywords as the anchor text.  These keywords are the keywords you would like to rank for on Google. 

 Why is this the case?  Google search technology is rapidly getting smarter and smarter.  It can more or less "read" (loosely used) the text of a link and compare the page its linked to for relevance.  So if a link says Greenville Used Cars and leads to a site that is about Greenville Used Cars Google says, "this page is about Greenville Used Cars", so when people type "Greenville Used Cars" into Google, I will show them this page as a top result, and not their competitor that also sells used cars in Greenville but has as the anchor text."  See the picture below to get the idea:

Courtesy SEOMoz

Another example:  Let's say you have a painting company in Lake Norman area north of Charlotte, NC your anchor text may be:  Lake Norman Residential Painter, not (or whatever your site is).  But how do you know which keyword phrase or phrases to choose for the anchor text of your links?  Take a little time to do some keyword research to find out the actual terms people are typing into Google to find your product or service.  You can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. 

In Deciding Which Anchor Text to use for you links, remember these DOs & Don'ts:

Don't make the anchor text too broad, like "residential painter", "painter", "house painter", or you will be competing with every residential painter in the country and won't show up on.

Don't use just one phrase for your anchor text (such as "Lake Norman Residential Painting") if you are a large site or target multiple main keywords. Use a phrase for a number of links and then a phrase for another number of links (like "Lake Norman Pressure Washing" if you were a painting contractor that also does pressure washing.

Don't use keywords that may have possible obvious multiple intents such as "Lake Norman Paint", "Paint Lake Norman", etc. because this person may not want a professional painter but rather just where to buy paints.

DO choose anchor text that is relevant to what you sell or do. Don't use anchor text such as "Lake Norman Landscaping" when your site is about window cleaning. Your links should be from sites relevant to what you do to a site that matches the anchor text.

DO Remember, links are a vote of confidence. You wouldn't believe the recommendation for an excellent Italian restaurant from a person who hates Italian food. But you would from a person born and raised in Rome. Google also doesn't give as much weight to links to sites that aren't relevant, but on the positive side it does to sites that are authorities and relevant to what your site is about.

DON'T have keywords that are either too broad in scope or too narrow.  Choosing a keyword phrase such as "Lake Norman Professional House Painter Custom Painting" for your anchor text is to specific. You're looking for a keyword phrase that people actually type into Google enough times a month that they will visit your site, but not one that is way too competitive.  Again, see the picture below to get the idea:

Courtesy SEOMoz

Does this sound like alot of work even before you start the tedious but important work of actual link building?  How do you do this Keyword Research?  Are you worried you'll get it wrong and not choose the correct keywords?  To be honest, you should be.  Because if you choose the wrong keywords and your competitor chooses the right keywords for their anchor text, they will show up higher in the Google search results page in most cases.

For a fantastic, in depth article about link building, please read: 

17 Ways Search Engines Judge the Value of a Link (from

 Shameless plug:  If this is way above your head or you have absolutely no desire to do it, hire a professional internet marketer.  Depending on your budget, you can hire him/her straight out, or for just a few hours of consulting or training to show you how to do this (yes, we do both).   But please do the above BEFORE starting your link building campaign.  Failure to do the above initial keyword research can result in frustration and much time wasted. 

What are your thoughts on link building, and using the right anchor text.  Let us know!

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