Every quarter I run a seminar Bristol for SMEs and start up businesses called How To Market Your Website. On this course I outline best practice for optimising your website to be found by your prospects using search engines, specifically Google.
So on the last course the entrepreneur who runs this Bristol Fashion Boutique asked how she could write better links in her website copy, or indeed when someone links to her site.
Well, the above link is a pretty damned fine example even though I do say so myself. I'll tell you why...
The "Anchor Text" (the blue, underlined bit) is useful to Google and humans. It describes what you will find when you click the link, and Google loves good anchor text...
In this case the anchor text is "Bristol Fashion Boutique", which means that Google will improve the landing page's (the page that the link points at) standing within it's index for the words "Bristol Fashion Boutique". I could have used the domain name: www.elsieriley.com as the anchor text, but that just means that Google will rank the page more highly for that search term and the website will always rank highly for that, so it's a waste of time. Plus, if people know the domain name, then they already know what the business does, so we're unlikely to win any new sales. The search term "Bristol Fashion Boutique" is much more likely to be used by people who don't know that Elsie Riley exists and therefore is likely to win more new sales from new customers.
I could have used the other crappy web page standards of 'click here', 'more info' and 'find out more' as the anchor text, but these would tell Google to rank the landing page more highly for the words 'click here', etc and who wants to rank highly for that?
If you mouse over the link to Elsie Riley's site again, you'll notice that a little bit of descriptive text pops up to tell you a bit more about the landing page than is already contained in the anchor text... this is called the 'title' attribute for the link (not to be confused with the page title). This is great for people using screen readers (devices which 'speak' the web page to a blind person) and again, for Google!
So, in short you should put descriptive keyphrases (the search terms people would use to find your site on Google) in your anchor text links, and in those anchor text links, include keyphrase rich title attributes anywhere you can, such as:
External links - links from other sites
Internal links - links on your pages
Links on your main page
Here's a template you could use to create good anchor text links:
<a href="http://www.your-web-page.com" title="another keyphrase about the landing page">A Descriptive Keyphrase</a>
It's really useful to use this format as a link in the signature you use in any forums to help build link popularity too.
If you find this all a little difficult, just create a word document telling your web designer what you'd like the anchor text and title attribute to be for each text link on your site (if you have lots, just start with those on the most popular pages) and send it to them asking for a quote. If they tell you it's not relevant or it's too time consuming then send them to me. I love making web designers bend to my will.