- By Carla Bragagnolo
In this year’s Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey,“link signals” were ranked as the second most important ranking factor by leading industry experts (second only by 0.3%).
Link signals are a pretty broad category, so let’s break it down and focus on one key ranking factor: inbound anchor text.
Google’s Algorithm and Anchor Text
The exact formula for Google’s ranking algorithm is still unknown, but experts have a good indication of which variables are important for webmasters to focus on. One of the most important ways search engines determine which sites are most relevant to the keywords used in a search are through links leading to and from that page.
A high traffic site with many of its own high quality links is considered a “high authority” domain. So if your page has a link from said site it is taken as definitive proof that you’re website is legitimate across the web. And in this case quality always beats out quantity. You are better off focusing your efforts on attaining fewer high quality inbound links verses thousands of low-quality ones. The more high quality links that are associated with your web page, the better the chances you have of showing up in the SERPs.
Link Signals and more
Inbound anchor text is the underlined, usually in blue, text with a link that leads back to a website. In the sentence: “The Wall Street Journal gets over 31 million hits a month.” “The Wall Street Journal” is the inbound anchor text. You might be thinking, “I can’t possibly have control over link signals because it’s up to other websites how they choose to link back to me”. Wrong! In fact, anywhere you are able to submit content, and more specifically on high authority sites, you are the one providing not only content but also the anchor text within that content.
Getting Listed Everywhere
Ensuring you have a sound presence across all major directories, social networks, and review sites will increase your likelihood of ranking higher. When including text (such as posts) in descriptions and in any other sections, take this as an opportunity to include a link to your website with relevant and keyword focused anchor text. These high-domain authority sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare will help boost your rankings with little effort on your end.
Listings are a great place to start, but there are other ways to attain these high quality links. Submitting long-form content, like a blog article or an opinion piece, to authoritative websites is an excellent linkbuilding strategy. Depending on your vertical, the type of website you seek out will vary. Keeping things consistent and relevant in terms of subject matter is key in ensuring Google is content. Always remember that submitting content to authority sites requires well-written, high value content.
To learn more about ranking factors read our post on Local Search Ranking Factors here.