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How long can a text link be if it should improve your rankings?

The words that are used in the links to your website have an effect on the search engine rankings of your website for these keywords. For example, if very many websites use the word "blue widget" to link to your website, it is likely that your website will get a high ranking on Google for the keyword "blue widget".

How many keywords does Google consider?

It's absolutely certain that Google considers the words in the links to your site. The question is, how many words or characters does Google count in a link? Is there an optimal length for text links? Blogger Shaun Anderson did a test to find the answer.

The test set-up

Shaun Anderson created a long text link with 50 nonsense words. Each of the nonsense words was 6 characters long. For example, he might have used a link like this:

wergsd woivsd mliwdc woiuby 3245sc plorxc werxcd ...

Then he added that link to the home page of a website that has good rankings on Google.

After some time, Shaun did a search for a keyword that the linked website ranked number one for and added the nonsense words to the search. By doing so, Google would only list the site in the search results if links to the site contained the nonsense word.

For example, if a website has a number one ranking for "buy used cars in dallas" then the website will only be returned by Google for "buy used cars in dallas wergsd" if Google has indexed a link with the text "wergsd" that points to the website.

The result: the perfect length seems to be 55 characters

Out of the 50 words in the link text, Google counted eight. Everything after the eighth word was ignored. Eight words that consist of six characters make 48 characters. The seven spaces between these six words add up to a total of 55 characters.

What does this mean for your website?

You should make sure that the important keywords come in the first 55 characters of the links that point to your website.

As many websites use the title of a web page to link to it, you should also consider the way you write your web page titles. If your important keywords are at the beginning of your web page titles, chances are that these keywords will also be used in the links to your site.

If you want to know if your web page titles are correct and if you also want to know if all other elements of your web page are ready for a top 10 ranking on Google, you should analyze your website now.

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October 2008 search engine articles