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Using Link Text Management to Go Vertical

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 15:03

(The Following is a post by Ken Lyons )

How to create a diversity dashboard

Varying your link anchor text is an effective method for ranking on a wide variety of search queries. And the more keyword variations you rank for, the more verticals you penetrate, the more traffic you can drive to your website. But diversifying link text isn't as simple as it sounds. Aimlessly varying link text without a plan in place is counterproductive.

To be truly effective, you should engage in link text management, which includes:

  • Identifying relevant yet popular keyword variations to target
  • Organizing those keyword variants into actionable clusters
  • Tracking your link text efforts, including anchor text variety and frequency

Having wrestled with these issues, I'd like to share some tips and techniques I've developed to create a link text management system. Also, I'm going to introduce you to a new free tool that helps to streamline link text management, by finding and organizing relevant keyword variations into actionable groups for you.

New tools from WordStream

Finding Keyword Variants and Creating Clusters

To start varying your link anchor text intelligently (be it for internal or inbound links), you first need to develop a portfolio of keyword variants. These variations should be diverse yet closely related to your root keywords and include modifiers, gerunds, plurals and stemming alternatives. Now, there are a number of free keyword suggestion tools out there that can help you come up with keyword variants, like our (WordStream) Free Keyword Tool for example. Trouble is, these tools are one dimensional: they spit out keywords and do nothing else.

For link building, particularly for creating varied anchor text, the ideal tool would take keyword suggestion to the next level, by not only discovering new keywords but by also segmenting those terms into narrow groups. With that in mind, we went and created The Keyword Niche Finder, a (new) free tool which both discovers and clusters keywords variants into semantically-related groups.

Let's take a look at how it works. Imagine you run an online pet store and you already rank pretty well for your core terms, yet you want to drive even more traffic to your website. You can accomplish this by building links to your content with varied anchor text that target new search verticals and niches. 

Using The Keyword Niche Finder, you could type in some of the products you sell, like “dog toys,” for example. The tool then detects your themes, discovers new keyword suggestions, groups them semantically and orders the groups hierarchically. Note that any groups created can easily be deleted if the suggestions don’t match your needs or goals.

Keyword Niche Finder

As a result, your “dog toys” query has returned a slew of diverse, yet tightly-organized groups of keywords, which contain very granular variants that you can use to inform your link text varying efforts. You can then have your groups emailed to you in a .CSV file, which allows you to move to the next step of text management: creating a link text dashboard.

Creating a Link Text Dashboard

To better manage your text varying efforts, I recommend you create a link text dashboard. By mapping your link text and text frequency to corresponding content pages on your website, you’re implementing a highly-organized text management system to chart and monitor your text varying efforts.
Here’s an example of a link text dashboard I’ve created in Excel. I’ve populated it with the “dog toy” groups and keyword variations I received from the Keyword Niche Finder from my online pet store example above.

Creating the dashboard

With this link text dashboard, I leave nothing to chance. I’m continually mapping my anchor text targets to each individual page of content on my website, and tracking text variant frequency with precision. Doing so gives me a clear picture of which keyword variants I’m using and how often I’m using them in my link building efforts.

By practicing this level of link text organization, I gain valuable insight into the quantity of link text occurrences needed to achieve my ranking objectives per variation, which also informs my future efforts. In addition, I have a record of my text link frequency should I happen to trigger any over-optimization penalties. As a result, my link text management system allows me to be better positioned to penetrate more search verticals, maximize link text effectiveness and rank on a wider variety of search queries, creating additional “pull” and new conversion paths for my website.


About the Author – Ken Lyons is a member of the SEO Dojo and Marketing Manager at WordStream, a provider of SEO and PPC tools for keyword research. You can follow him on Twitter and check out the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog where he’s a frequent contributor.


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