Keyword-rich anchor links might help you win the short-term organic ranking battle, but to win the SEO war, you need to focus on building a strong brand.
[Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), you might want to check out these SEO FAQs I’ve put together.]
It takes three things to see your site appear near the top of Google for keywords relevant to your business. First, you need proper site structure. Your site must be coded and structured in a way that makes it easy for Google to find and crawl. Second, you need unique and relevant content. Third, you need other relevant and reputable sites linking to you.
Many businesses and marketers invest too much time on what I would consider to be relatively short-term SEO tactics. A great example is creating keyword-rich anchor links back to your website in the form of guest blog posts, blog comments, forum links, and press releases. Not sure what keyword-rich anchor text links are? Read this blog post on RankingSignals.com (written by fellow SEO guru Jon Payne from Ephricon).
While creating backlinks to your site with keyword-rich anchor text might help increase your website’s ranking, it’s an SEO tactic unlikely to yield long-term results. Businesses with websites that rank well in the long run spend far more time and attention on building a strong brand. They focus on the two to three things that differentiate them from the competition. They focus on creating web content that is truly remarkable (quality vs. quantity).
Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, said that the web is becoming a cesspool of spam. He indicated that strong brands were the answer to many of the problems on the web today. I think his statement is pretty telling about where Google is going with respect to SEO (note—I said, “where Google is going” vs. what they reward today).
Think about it … as a homeowner in Baltimore, are you more likely to visit Baltimoresleadingplumbingcompanies.com or LenThePlumber.com? If you’re like most people, you’re going to visit Len The Plumber. You’ve seen their offline marketing, you recognize their brand, and you know that they are a legit local company.
If you want to build a website that will rank well for the long haul, focus on executing an SEO strategy that supports the development of a strong brand. Leave the short-term SEO tactics for the spammers. They might win the short-term organic ranking battle, but my guess is that you’ll win the SEO war!