Anchor text: not everyone knows what it is, and yet it’s vitally important to the business of SEO. It’s quite possible you’ve written some yourself, without ever realizing you were doing so, for it is one of the fundamentals of the web. Like most things that fall into that category, it can be shaped to benefit your search engine rankings.

The concept is quite simple. Say I were to link to your website, and you sold cakes. I might write my link like this: You can find this fantastic cake shop here.

However, I might also choose to write: Recently I found the best cake shop I’ve ever come across in my life.

Now, it’s not just people that read web pages: search engines’ crawlers do, too, and they set great store not just by links, but by the text used to write them. Yes, incoming links from high-quality websites will do your own site a lot of good, but the text used between those ‘A’ tags will benefit you even more. In the second example, anyone searching for ‘the best cake shop’ may well come across your site. Conversely, not many people search for the word ‘here’ when looking for a cake shop, that’s for sure.

Clearly, incoming links are to some extent out of your control: you can’t choose what other sites write about you. But you can always ask, and that’s what many successful sites do: they’ll include a page named ‘linking to us’, with a message such as ‘you are welcome to link to this site, but please use the following text’. Some might find this a little too transparent and heavy-handed, but the net effect of hundreds of folk linking to you, using the same text, will mean that you rank very highly for that phrase in the search engines.

If you don’t like to display your needs quite so blatantly, the other method is to contact web editors and bloggers directly, choosing those who are in a similar arena to your own site. Offer to exchange links, or give them some incentive to link to you.

This is one of the hardest slogs in SEO, but it reaps huge dividends if done diligently. The other option, as ever, is to delegate the donkey work to a company such as ourselves: we can get you inbound links, with the anchor text you desire, at a very reasonable cost. That way, you won’t be relying on the very few people who search for ‘here’ when what they are looking for is cakes.