SEO Basic Tip #8 – Audit Your Links and Look for Wasted Opportunities

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This SEO tip should be an easy 2 points.

This one will be easy.  Maybe that’s why so few people do it.  I think it’s ironic that the stuff that we don’t do is the very easy stuff and the very hard stuff.  The very hard stuff, yeah, I get that.  Maybe I get the procrastination on the easy stuff too; it just can’t be very effective if it isn’t at least a little hard, right?  But enough rambling…

Most websites have unseen link value sitting there, waiting to be made use of.  I’m talking about the infamous “Click Here” and its surrogates.  “Click Here” is probably the most common link text on the iPlanet.

Definition of Link Text – The text you click on in a link, the text that is visible to your site visitors.  The text that attracts them to the link and explains what will happen with the visitor clicks on it.

We know that Google pays attention to links.  There are two parts to what they pay attention to

  1. The theme of the target page
  2. What the link text says about that target page

If your link text says “Click Here,” you’ve optimized it for the keyword phrase, well, “click here.”  Brilliant.  Yes, “click here” is a useful phrase.  I admit it.  It tells people to do something (actually it’s a little on the bossy side, but we’ll just call that a “call to action”).  But how does that support the theme of the target page?  (Hint: it doesn’t)  However, there’s no reason we can’t add some SEO value to “click here” so it does support the value of the target page.

For example, “click here for our SEO class schedule” (notice how I got a little bit of my own optimization in there).  Usually something can be done with a “click here” to tie some keyword significance to the action.  Typically your keyword text should match the theme of the target page.  If it’s not accurate, the mighty G will catch on and slap you for clumsiness.  The mighty G hates bait and switch.

There are lots of examples of wasted link text out there.  Here’s a partial list…

  • home
  • about
  • contact
  • view now
  • find out more
  • more info
  • blog

Don’t take what I’m saying too literally.  I’m not saying that every one of these phrases can be optimized in all situations.  But take a look at the navigation on this site as an example of how you can add value to many of those phrases.

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So now that you have the principle in mind, I’m going to give you a quick tip for finding the targets of opportunity on your site.

Use the Google “site:” operator to search for occurrences in your site that you might want to optimize.  The syntax is simple.  Go to Google and type in the following:

site:www.YourDomainHere.com “click here”

This will search your domain specifically for all occurrences of the phrase “click here.”  Then do it for some of those other throwaway link text.  I guarantee you that you’ll come up with a ton of prospects for adding value to otherwise wasted linking real estate.  You should be able to significantly improve the keyword optimization of much of your internal linking overnight.  Easy 2 points.

(By the way, does anyone need me to explain that you replace “YourDomainHere” with your own domain?  No?  OK, just checking. )

Now go out and turn throwaway link text into high value link text.

Ross Barefoot

Ross Barefoot is Chief Technical Officer with Horizon Web Marketing in Las Vegas, Nevada.He also is the founder of FLEXISS Digital Design and a Certified Search Engine Optimization Trainer for the Search Engine Academy.

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