Keyword Basics Part 8: Building keyword rich inbound links

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Key Points

  • Website pages must score well on both ‘on the page’ and ‘off the page’ factors
  • Simple steps to start getting keyword rich inbound links

Most of the links that come to your website will point to your home page and normally use your domain name as the ‘anchor text’ (also called ‘linking text’). In this eighth article in the Keyword Basics series, Ken McGaffin advises how to turn that into keyword rich link text in order to attract more search engine traffic.

Give your search engine traffic a boost

The online bookshop, will usually be linked to using

That’s because it’s the obvious way to give a link, and the people who are linking rarely give it a thought.

However, if the anchor text includes important keywords, then that can give you a significant search engine boost. sells used books and so would get a search engine boost for the keyword, used books if it was used in the anchor text pointing to their site. For example, ‘used books from'.

So it would be useful to if they can persuade people not only to link to them, but to go one step further and use an important keyword in the anchor text.

Likewise for your site – if you can persuade people to link to you using important keywords in the anchor text, then you’re likely to benefit from higher rankings for those important keywords.

Thankfully, there are easy ways to influence the anchor text that people use when they link to your site.

10 ways to influence anchor text

Here are some practical ideas:

1. Internal links

People can forget that keyword rich anchor text on your own site also gives you a search engine boost. So instead of using the generic …

'for more information, click here'

use …

'click here for our new gourmet chocolate range'

or even better…

‘click here for our new gourmet chocolate range’.

The great thing about this is of course that you have complete control over the anchor text you use on your own site and so you can make sure they contain your important keywords.

2. Tell people how to link

You can influence the anchor text that people use simply by giving them the code to do so. For example:

If you’ve enjoyed this site, why not share it with others by linking to us? And we’d really appreciate if you’d include ‘gourmet chocolate’ in the linking text - just cut and paste this code:

<a href=””>delicious gourmet chocolate</a>

This code will produce the link: delicious gourmet chocolate

Here’s the pattern to use for your own site:

<a href=””>your important keyword</a>

Many people will respond to this type of request.

3. Contact people who already link to you

People who already link to you have shown that they like or are interested in your company. This gives you at least two opportunities to get keyword rich anchor text:

  • You’ll find that they’re likely to be open to the idea of including an important keyword in the anchor text they use. A short email or telephone call is often all that is required.
  • When you launch a special offer, new product or a publication, you’ll have an opportunity to contact them again and ask them to use a particular anchor text when linking to your new resource.

4. Directory listings

Use keyword rich directory listings.  Many directories, whether free or paid-for, allow you to specify the anchor text that you use. Make sure you use a variety of keywords in the directory listings that you create.

5. Blog posts and articles

Include keywords in the headlines of blog posts or articles you write on your own site.  People who link to articles or posts on your site often use the title or headline as the anchor text.

So it’s a good idea to have keywords in there.

An article headlined, “Our Hot New Products” doesn’t tell search engines much about what type of products you’re promoting.

Much better to include a keyword as in “Hot New Mountain Bikes” – then search engines, people who link to you and people who come across those links are going to know that it’s mountain bikes that you sell.

6. Signature boxes for articles

Include keyword rich links in the signature boxes for guest posts or external articles that you publish.  Writing good, original posts for external websites is one of the best ways to promote your site.

With such posts, you get to describe yourself and link to your own site. Usually that’s within your own control, so make sure the link includes an important keyword.

7. Guest posts

Include keyword rich links in the body copy of articles or guest posts that you write.  Guest posts may refer to and link to your own products or to other posts that you’ve written on your own site. Many external sites will allow you to include a small number of links to such resources within the body of your post.

Make sure that any such links are keyword rich but look out for any restrictions or guidelines individual sites might have.

8. Offers, publications

Include keywords in the names that you give to special offers, publications, contests, new products and so on. People invariably will use these names as the anchor text.

So if you run a gourmet chocolate site and you decide to run a contest, don’t call it ‘Grand Recipe Contest’, call it something like ‘Gourmet Chocolate Recipe Contest’.

9. Slogans, tag lines

Use a keyword rich slogan or tag line. If you associate a slogan or tag line with your brand, some people will use the slogan when they link to your site.

10. Press releases

Include keyword rich links in any press releases that you send out. Reporters and bloggers are very busy people who are usually working to tight deadlines. You need to help them by doing as much of their work for them as possible.

That means writing a good newsworthy press release that they can quickly edit to create their story. Include keyword rich links in the body copy and you increase your chances of a keyword rich link being used.


So while you can’t always control the anchor text that points to your site, you can often influence the keywords that people use. These suggestions are a great place to start – but the more creative you can be in using them, then the more keyword rich links you’re going to get.

And here are links to the other seven articles in this series:

Keyword Basics Part 1: How search engines work

Keyword Basics Part 2: Finding keywords

Keyword Basics Part 3: Understanding a keyword's structure

Keyword Basics Part 4: Targeting your primary and secondary keywords

Keyword Basics Part 5: How to narrow down your keyword list

Keyword Basics Part 6: Keyword mapping

Keyword Basics Part 7: Using keyword modifiers

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