August 16, 2007

Is This Mistake on Your Website?

by Irene Nash

AnchorWant to make friendly with the search engines?

If you’re like a lot of agents, your website (yes, even your expensive custom designed website!) is losing valuable online traffic even as you’re reading this.

The good news is that if it’s due to the common mistake we cover below, it’s a relatively easy fix.

Here’s the scoop:

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo scan your website periodically to look for updated content. Part of what they’re doing is trying to identify relevant patterns of quality information between links, so that they can provide their users with the best results for specific search terms.

In order to do this, they give higher priority to certain types of content. One type of content that search engines rank as highly important is your “anchor text”.

Anchor text is the actual text that is hyperlinked when you link from a page on your site to another web page.

For example, if from your website you link to a page of school districts for your state on a national school information site like School Matters (, you have these choices:

Correct Use of Anchor Text:

You could say, for example, Get information on California school districts (or whatever state you are in), so that California school districts is the anchor text.

Poor Use of Anchor Text:

Or, you could do what a lot of real estate web sites do, and say: Get information on California school districts – click here. In this case your anchor text is the words click here.

(You can use any type of wording as anchor text, and you can link to other pages on your own site as well as to pages on other websites.)

Here’s why the second example is a poor use of anchor text:

Search engines look at your anchor text, then at the content of the page that the anchor text links to, in order to see how closely they correspond to each other. When your anchor text appears closely related to the content of the page it links to, you gain points with the search engines.

But when it doesn’t…

The words click here mean absolutely nothing to a search engine. There’s no connection between the anchor text and the linked-to site, so you don’t get points for having a relevant link.

In more direct terms, if you wanted your site to come up when people searched for the term “California school districts” in Google, that would never happen. (Because the term you’ve given Google to associate with your link is “click here”, not “California school districts”.)

You can (and should) use relevant anchor text links to increase your search engine ranking for all of the terms that your prospective real estate clients look for online – community information, local real estate for sale, your own name and your business name are just some examples.

So scan through your real estate website now. Is there any hyperlinked text that doesn’t clearly relate to the page it links to? Change it to relevant anchor text, and you’re on your way to building a stronger online presence with smart real estate search engine optimization!

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