LAST EDITED ON May-16-10 AT 01:12 PM (PST)
For those that don't know, I've been doing SEO for longer than Google's been around. And during this time, I've always felt the forgotten on-page SEO factor was anchor text.
Many think of anchor text as "off page" optimization, where the anchor text POINTS to a page. But I've always felt that Google places a lot of importance on the anchor text that is ON a page.
In the early days of Google, I owned as many as 18 out of the top 20 spots for a very competitive keyword. Back then, all you had to do was use the keyword in a bunch of links (anchor text). Google loved links (and anchor text).
Even PageRank (and Hilltop) are based on links. And rankings are based on links.
And I believe Google still loves anchor text. Not as much as they did back then, but enough where I feel it's still a very important ranking factor.
The thing about anchor text is that we think it has to point to another page. However, using anchor LINKS, we can add keywords to our anchor text and "link" to the page we're on.
This is a very important concept:
With search snippets, a page now has multiple "entry points". We think of search engines sending people only to the very beginning/top of a web page.
But that's all changed. With search snippets using anchor links, searchers can now potentially "enter" your page anywhere you have an anchor.
This has two big opportunities:
1. You can optimize a page for multiple keywords using anchor links.
2. Realize that people may be entering your pages at places other than the top, or "above the fold". Because of this, we may want to adjust were we put our "most wanted response" info.
This is easy to check...If you have decent stats you should be able to see if people are reaching your site using an anchored link.
Here's an example...A normal URL will look like:
But if they have an anchor, we can link to that anchor:
Notice the #tips at the end of the URL. That link not only takes you to the html_tutorial.htm page, it takes you to the specific spot on the page that has the anchor "tips".
If that was our page and we saw that the URL with the anchor #tips was getting steady traffic, we may want to test adding AdSense above and below that anchor, so that they are visible when people reach that page at the part of the page.
This also gives us another opportunity for linking. Instead of always using the "plain" URL for linking to a page, add a few anchors and use anchor links when you bookmark, etc.
I won't get into all the details of the html, you can google that, but when you set the anchor, use keywords as the anchor.
And also use keywords in the anchor text that points to the anchor. Most of the time, try to have these keywords match. Other times, "semi-match" and a few times be mismatched.
Dog Training-->Dog Training (use 70%) match
Dog Training-->Obedience Training (use 20%) semi-match
Dog Training-->Pet food.....(use 10%) mismatched
Also, mix up your SEO "recipe" from page to page and site to site.
For example, try adding other HTML elements considered to have an effect on the SERPs.
Let's set an anchor around "dog training":
<a name="dog training">Dog Training</a>
Notice is used the keyword as the the name, and as the anchor.
Now let's add another HTML element, the head1 tag:
<h1><a name="dog training">Dog Training</a></h1>
Add an italic, strong or bold tag:
<h1><b><a name="dog training">Dog Training</a></b></h1>
This last one should ensure the phrase "dog training" is emphasized.
These are three different options and each should be used. This gives us different formulas for different engines, more diversity and lets us test for any SEO advantages.
This stuff is new...Don't wait for others to tell you about search snippets. Instead, make some pages using anchor links, promote some links containing anchors and come up with the best strategies for using anchors and snippets.
-Boom boom boom boom.