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Guest Blog from Nick Hibberd at Dial-a-Phone

Hi,

Fresh Egg have given me the run of their blog today, so I’d like to do a little testimonial on my company and the work that Fresh Egg have done for us.

My name’s Nick Hibberd and I’m the SEO Manager at UK mobile phone retailer Dial-a-Phone. We’re a company that place a lot of importance on SEO and we contacted Fresh Egg and Ammon about a year ago for some guidance.

One of the things that Fresh Egg really drilled into us what the importance of getting your anchor text right, and this is something we consider with every new page we put onto our site, or onto our blog.

I’ll start from the beginning because it amazes me how often people fail to grasp, or appear to be unaware of this concept, so apologies if this is child’s play to you.

When you link to another site, the text you use to make the link is called the anchor text. So if for example I were to write the phrase “ for great deals on mobile phones go to Dial-a-Phone”, the phrase ‘mobile phones’ would be the anchor text. (Anyone spot the cheeky link in there? Think I got away with it!).

The power of anchor text has handed an automatic advantage to those companies that were smart enough to put their top term into their brand name. Analysis of Dial-a-Phone’s backlinks shows that a huge proportion of people that link to us do so with the anchor text Dial-a-Phone, which, though beneficial in terms of overall link value to the site, actually hands the biggest boost to our ranking under the term Dial-a-Phone, which to be fair, we’re not going to be anywhere other than number one for!

For all the importance supposedly associated with on-page content, the weighting given to anchor text has actually made it possible to rank for a term that doesn’t even appear on your page. If you type the words “click here” into Google, what’s the number one result? The Adobe Reader Download. Why? Because millions of people with web pages across the world have linked to that page with the anchor text “click here”! Not that helpful for Adobe really, but an interesting observation!

The realisation of this possibility gave rise to the practice known as ‘Googlebombing’ whereby mischievous webmasters conspire to target well-known sites with agreed and usually defamatory anchor text. The most famous example was the targeting of George Bush, whereby the number one result for the search query ‘miserable failure’ was the website of the President of the United States of America! To everyone’s great disappointment Google responded to this and have apparently made a change to their algorithm to spot Googlebombing and the top result for ‘miserable failure’ these days is a BBC News piece on the same subject. Have a look at the following article for more information.

As a result of all this we are mindful these days of the importance of using appropriate anchor text on our website and in our blog. If you consider a page to have a certain overall strength, you are effectively dividing the link weight between the number of links you have on the page. Links with non-targeted anchor text are therefore not only a wasted opportunity, but are also taking away from the power of some of your other links on the page. A good example of a link that is often wasted is the “Continue reading” link at the bottom of a entry onto a blog homepage. By linking to dedicated page for the whole post with the phrase “Continue reading”, or “Read more” you are passing link value to that page for an irrelevant search, whereas by using the title of the blog post in the link you are at least given yourself a better chance of ranking under that search. Have a look at our mobile phone blog to see how we do it.

Its really about getting a balance between what looks good from a customer perspective, what's going to help the search engines do their job better and what’s going to improve your internal link structure. Obviously there are occasions when its just not aesthetically possible to stick your ideal links all over the page, for example in a main navigational area of a site, but often there are small changes that can be made that will make a big difference to the SEO performance of a site.

Keep up the good work guys!

Nick


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