Brand Anchor Text – A Link Building Hypothetical

by on September 12, 2011 | posted in Marketing

A webmaster allows you to host a link on their site, but they refuse any anchor text that isn’t the exact name of your website. They will link to you anywhere on the domain, which has a balanced site architecture, and is semantically linked to your business.

Given a potential linking website with those bland, analogous conditions, what specific instructions do you give to the webmaster, and why?

  • Nick LeRoy

    I write an entire pages worth of unique content explaining my website or company and hand it over to the client to build out a brand new page on their website. Within the content that I wrote for them I include a brand anchor text link within the heart of the content. From there I ask them to link to the newly created page from the menu or footer of their site.

    The page where your link is 100% relevant to the linked to website (your website) and the page is linked globally from the entire website and every subsequent page created on the domain. Not only would your page get link value from every page on the entire domain it also would get maximum exposure from the existing traffic the site gets. Remember that links have several different types of value, SERP value and referring traffic value. I think this technique gives you best of both worlds.

  • Kevin Spence

    This is how I’d do it.

    To start, ask yourself two questions:

    1. If you could pick your anchor text, what would it be? Got it? Good. I know you can’t use it, but you’ve just identified relevancy.
    2. Which page on their site is most semantically relevant for your ideal anchor phrase? That’s the page you want the link from.

    You don’t get to pick your anchor text, but by choosing the page that’s most relevant for the term you want to rank for, you’ll hopefully establish some correlation.

  • Dan Cruz

    LOL They will link to me anywhere on their domain?

    I want a link on the homepage in the content as high up on the page as possible. End of discussion.

    I like some of the suggestions made above but a link from the homepage will pass the most link equity. I can create anchor text relevance elsewhere but how often do you get a chance of a homepage, in-content link?

    I like Nick’s suggestion but as a webmaster there’s no way I’m giving up a link in my menu or footer to a page somebody else created unless I know nothing about SEO.

  • Ross Hudgens

    One of the things missing from the “post a link as high up in the main body content as possible” is the concept of co-citation – and it’s one of the main things that prompted this post in the first place. It seems likely that Google is looking at co-citation as a probable ranking factor, meaning that instances of our ideal keyword, even if not in the anchor text, are conducive to ranking better. Searches such as “xcd creator” lend to such an idea:

    We can see here that Google is clearly connecting “Randall Monroe” to xkcd creator because the co-occur frequently, and on trusted domains.

    What this means for me as an SEO is that I will ask for a link as high in the main body content as possible, while weighing most relevant page/highest Page Authority page as which page I would like the link – AND also ask for it to be placed in a sentence such as this:

    “If you are looking for KEYWORDWEWANTTORANKFOR1, HYPOTHETICAL BUSINESS NAME is the place to look.”

    Such that the keyword appears before and/or after the domain name – co-citation would say that this could potentially be helpful in ranking for those keywords. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a “0 or 1″ type hypothetical where it seems unlikely it would ever hurt us. So, when any time where I am forced into a “brand anchor” and/or choose to use a brand anchor by choice, I will almost always surround it with keywords I want to rank for as its potential for helping us rank seems legitimate.

  •!/DRosenhaus Daniel Rosenhaus

    Other than a link from the body content of the homepage with a few hundred characters of unique copy?

    I very much like Nick LeRoy’s answer. The full page of content idea is great, treat it somewhere between a guest post and an advertorial. I don’t know if I’d do a full page, I’m sure 400 characters is enough to include my keywords, say something of value and not have spent too long on it. I’d then ask him to place it on the most relevant page to some keyword I’m looking to optimize for, granted the page isn’t too buried and there is some link juice flowing there. I’d sacrifice some relevancy to make sure that page has some external link juice and/or gets cached with some kind of frequency. While I’m at it, I’d make sure the link was at the top of the page so my link is first.

    In this way we have the most amount of link juice we can get balanced with a relevant link (not looking like a spam link is always a plus) surrounded by keyword rich, unique content.

  • Nemek

    1. Page chosen based on PA and/or topical relevance (I guess usually home page will win)
    2. Link placed in main body content.
    3. Link in context – this would include co-citation of a keyword, but also introducing enough relevant and fresh text to signal a significant update to the content of the page and not just the addition of a link to an otherwise stale page.

  • Jon Cooper

    Ross – on what you said in your comment, I’ve always suspected this, but I’ve never done much research into it. This is why I have problems with tiny author bios at the end of guest posts – they don’t serve much value on-page, and even though I get a keyword-rich link, the link gets old & seldom crawled. The least I could get was a link on the top of the page.

    On the note of co-citation – I will be trying this in the future and will notify you of my results. I’ll go after a keyword I only do onsite SEO for, let it rank for a good 30 days, then start building links through co-citation and see what I get. Hope this helps!

    P.S. do more blog posts like this – as a reader it gets us thinking as opposed to the normal “XYZ” topic with no uniqueness. In the future I’m going to try a post like this once my readership is big enough to where I don’t only get 2-3 comments.

    • Ross Hudgens

      Would love to see your results Jon. I also like posts like this, they weren’t necessarily my intention but spurred from actual situations where I either A) wasn’t convinced of the answer (broken link building post) or B) felt that my own thought process was completely different than 95% of SEOs (this post). I’m sure more examples of that exist.. and I’ll definitely be more aware of them moving forward.

  • Terrell Valenzuela

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