Search Engine Optimization Tip: Links Surrounded by Text

Links are a big part of the success of your Search Engine Optimization efforts and the overall traffic from organic search to your site. However, there are several issues related to links to your site, including anchor text that you need to pay attention to. One of them that you may not know about is the text that surrounds your links. This is just as important as your internal links with anchor text.

You may have a link in the footer or the sidebar of someone else’s web site. Yet you need to find out what the surrounding text is around those locations. You don’t want to appear to be nothing more than on a list of paid links located on another site. Instead, you want those links to be promoting you as a trustworthy site that has something of value to offer them. You want the links to your web site surrounded by text, as if the other site is “talking about” and thus pointing to your web site.

Let’s take a look at an example list of links:

- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Roundtable

That above is a list of links. Although it is a list of some of my favorite search engine related web sites, those links are not really the “ideal” type of links. Sure, they all include keywords related to “search engines”. Let’s take a look at the next paragraph of text:

The search engine news web site that has been around the longest is Search Engine Watch. SEW was run by Danny Sullivan, who now operates Search Engine Land. Barry is in charge of Search Engine Roundtable, which updates their site several times each day–and tends to have information that you won’t find on those other search engine sites.

The text that is around the links in the paragraph above provide context and are relevant to the paragraph. So, the search engines (mainly Google) tend to “like” those links better than if the links might appear as a list (as shown above). While there are other factors involved, such as whether or not those links appear on a sidebar, in a footer, or somewhere lower on the site (perhaps you have to scroll down a bit to see them), it is always preferred to have your link surrounded by text.

If you already have links to your web site, or are analyzing your current links, you may want to see the the text that surrounds your links. If you aren’t happy with it, or if the text that surrounds your link is not on-topic, take the time to talk to the web site owner that’s linking to you–you may be able to get it changed.

Read more of my search engine optimization tips for more info about link building and overall SEO.