Google Webmaster Tools; Improving Inbound Linkage

To improve your ranking on search engines it is good practice to find other websites to link to your website. Then, it’s about using the right keyword phrase (also called anchor text) in the link. Google Webmaster Tools has added a new feature that shows external websites linking to your site and a sampling of the anchor text they use. With this valuable information you can see what Google thinks about your website. Let’s dig a little deeper to get a better understanding of anchor text along with more details about the new feature in Google Webmaster Tools.

What is Google thinking?

Google continuously crawls websites to find out what they are about. In addition, it analyses the data to see what these websites are saying about your site. That means other websites help Google determine how your site is ranked! Let’s hope they are ranked with words that are related to your industry.

Perusing websites you might have seen links that say ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. This is unhelpful to Google. If your company specializes in cheese, use ‘Read More About our Award Winning Wisconsin Cheese’ as an alternative.

Example of detailed anchor text being used.

Note: Sometimes, the way the site was designed; there isn’t enough room to add more than one or two words. Ask your website developer to add Title Attributes and ALT tags to the links.

When mousing over the ‘Read more’ text the Title Attribute will appear.

Let’s take a peak at the new features in Google Webmaster Tools…

Within Google Webmaster Tools you can see an overview of the sites that link to your site. In addition, it will tell you how many times they link back.

Overview of links to your site within Google Webmaster Tools.

Top domains that have links to pages on your website…

Under ‘All domains’ is a list of the external sites, number of links, linked pages, and which pages they link too. In this example it looks like the website is linking to an interior page about webmail; and this is good news. If every website linked to the homepage, Google would think the rest of the site does not have worthwhile content.

Under ‘All domains’ it will list the top domains that link to pages on your website.

Linking with anchor text…

Here is the most important part; anchor text. This report will provide words (or phrases) that are used as anchor links. In the example below, it is indicating ‘ llc’ as the most popular phrase while ‘read more’ is not far behind. We would like to see ‘award winning website designs’ or ‘application development experts’ up there. That means we have a lot of work ahead of us!

Anchor text used to link to

In the above example item 55 (seite) is German for ‘page’. With the potential of thousands of websites linking to your site, (and in many different languages) it might not be possible to get all of them to link back using quality anchor text. Start with local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and visitors bureau.

  • Remember that ‘click here’ and ‘read more’ is not helpful anchor text.
  • If room is not available, have your website developer add Title Attributes.
  • Link to other pages besides the homepage. (Spread the wealth.)
  • Start with your local Chamber of Commerce, visitor’s bureau, vendors, etc.

With the new features built into Google Webmaster Tools we now have a better idea what Google thinks about a website. Besides finding out who is linking to your website, you can see the keyword-enriched words being used as anchor text. When the opportunity arises take advantage of using quality anchor texts to tell Google what your website clearly is about.