SEO – Link Building Series: The role of Keywords in Links & on page

Having touched upon the importance of linking in the last post, I am going to talk about keywords today. In order to improve your web pages’ rating and visibility in the eyes of Search Engines you have to not only link well but also use the right material in your links. Yes, we are talking about various properties of the link itself!

Structure of a link in your HTML

A link in your HTML page or blog post would look something like this.
< a href="" title="Blog Money" rel= "nofollow" > Blog Money < /a>

Of course there could be other properties for the link (anchor) tag but rel, title and the actual anchor text are of utmost importance to us in SEO.

As I mentioned in the last posts in this series, when the search engine spiders crawl your pages, they will try to ‘follow’ the links on those pages unless the rel property is set to ‘nofollow’. Now, these links open doors to new crawling opportunities and search engines somehow use the anchor text (Blog Money in the above example) to tag and remember the target pages. This simply means that, if you use anchor text carefully the target page is at the advantage of being tagged well. And if you pick the anchor text in a consistent way, that particular text becomes your keyword. For example, if I want my keyword as ‘Blog Money’ and if many links pointing back (backlinks) to use that keyword in the anchor text, I am going to get a lot of weightage in the eyes of Search Engines and hence Search Results as well.

The above description does not mean that a keyword is something that appears in links alone. A keyword, in fact, is that special word (or words) that you use to distinguish your page or site from others – usually used for marketing, Search Engine Optimization, tagging and branding purposes, in order to get visibility with humans as well as search engines.

Keywords in links and their visual aspects

’Bolding’ of keywords is something that is supposed to hint the SE bots that these words are important. I am not sure how true it is, though it improves click-through rates as it catches the eyes of the reader. Another important property of the link is the title property that displays a tooltip like text while moving the mouse over the link. This does not have any SEO advantage as well but can make the reader curious and hence attract clicks.

Places where Keywords matter

We talked about keywords in links. However, if you are to optimize your pages for your special keywords you should learn to put them where it matters the most. To drive my point, please take a look at a typical search result page on Google and give special attention on how links appear.

how search results appear on google serps

The three main entries seen on each search result row are in fact the title of your HTML page, meta description in the header area and the URL. Needless to say all these three should have the presence of your keywords in order to get a good search ranking.

In addition to those three special areas through out your web page you should have enough repetition of that keyword (and its simple variations) so as to increase the keyword density of your page. Other relevant areas were your keywords should appear are:

  • The ‘keywords’ meta tag in the header
  • The very first sentence of your page content (after title)
  • Relevant header tags H1, H2, H3…
  • Three or four links on the page as possible – if you don’t have one, you can self link to the page
  • Any image ‘alt’ property, especially when the image itself is a link
  • Several times in the body text, preferably in bold

Basically keyword relevancy (with respect to links, for example) and the density of keywords, play a big role in getting your pages good search visibility. The other important aspect is backlinks to the page. We will talk more about this in the link building chapter.

Useful tools

The following free tool is helpful to check the keyword relevancy and keyword density of your pages.

Submit Express Meta Tag Analyzer

(Fun Exercise: Analyze this post’s keyword density, relevance and tag properties using the above tool and suggest changes 😀 )

When you are on a page, in order to check whether a particular link on the page has ‘nofollow’ atribute, right click on the link, and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu. This will show a popup box that lists the link properties (Works on Firefox)

If you want to check which all links on a page is ‘nofollow’ in one shot, use the NoDoFollow Firefox add-on. This is an excellent tool to check your backlinks and outgoing links as well (Right click on the page and select NoDoFollow from the context menu to visually mark all links according to their Relation properties)

By now, I hope that you understood the importance of keywords in the context of linking as well as on-page relevance and density. I shall talk about link building technics and keyword optimization tricks soon. Until then, please provide your valuable feedback.

Part V: Internal Link Building & Optimization >>


  1. Great explanation ajith. I never heard about the bolding the words will catched by SE’s. Is this true?

    TechZoomIn’s last blog post… Meet Mozilla Team Right in India

  2. Nice tips ajith, very useful info. I do give a lot of importance to keywords which has sure made a lot of difference, Google keyword research tool is a very useful tool to research about keywords for a particular site. Thanks for sharing yet another cool and informative post about Search Engine Optimisation. eagerly awaiting for the next post of this series 😉

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  3. Nice writeup. Use of keywords extensively within a page and in all possible areas (headings, titles, urls, links, anchor text, etc…) is super important. I have noticed that the pages which I have spent time optimizing are indeed targeting their keywords better than other pages.

    As for your advice on using keywords several times in bold, I haven’t actually done this. I usually stick to 1-2 times. And I might also place it in emphasis tags. I also have never ‘self-linked’, however, I find that a lot of people do use this tactic.

    Great tool.

    Shirley’s last blog post… Google AdSense vs. Affiliate Marketing Programs

  4. in reply to the comment above; and generally; self linking and linking from other posts internally; works very well for keywords as well as linking form new to old posts as this will in the later case force a recrawl and the prior add emphasis.

    Bottom line I have seen it to be an effective method to edge one or two serp placements.

  5. Nice! Anyway, Ajith I recently read an article regarding how important the Page Rank is to an Entertainment Blog. It’s because we are always on a “breaking” news post. The higher the Page rank, the more we have the chance of getting the top spot of the search engine. I’m a bit surprised with the Bolding of the title.

  6. I have read from several resources recently all of them saying internal linking method is very important, I am planing to give a try, can you tell me how long will it take to gaining higher ranks for selected pages with do follow links pointed? will those pages getting no follow links drop from the search index? Thanks.

  7. Nice post Ajith. It cleared a lot of my doubts.

    Madhur Kapoor’s last blog post… Synchronize files and folders with Allway Sync

  8. Too nice buddy! Bookmarked. I am going to try these. I was waiting for this one. Nice sum up. 🙂

  9. Really good work Ajith. Quite comprehensive too.

    binaryday’s last blog post… The perfect example of how to conduct a blogging contest

  10. Keywords play a major role in SEO. So Search engines do a great job in it. Hey Ajit I was expecting a lot from bloggers about SEO. Thanks for posting about it.

  11. Keywords…ah! the holy grail of Search Engine Optimization.
    You have provided a good introduction on Keywords and hope you build onto short tail vs long tail, keyword importance in domain names, etc.

    I think bold facing keywords (< b tag) does not have any effects on SEO although some SEO guys have pointed out the importance of strong tags (<strong) tags.

    Nice post and I am looking forward to the next part about Optimizing keywords.

  12. Nice explanation Ajith. It will be very useful for me If you can provide more information regarding the difference between ‘nofollow’ & ‘external nofollow’ .

    Prasanna’s last blog post… How to use your website or blog URL as an OpenID

  13. @Lax, it’s still a mystery… I actually do not bold keywords, but my important lines or phrases in the post.

    @Nicholas, thanks. I will write about keyword optimization and related tools soon.

    @Shirley, most of the keyword tips are word-of-mouth or read-elsewhere…though I found some of them to be true. I too get some decent traffic for those pages that are optimized (e.g. the example in this post alone gets 10-20 vists day)

    @Donace, thanks for sharing your experiences. Internal linking with keywords is really important as you rightly said, so is self-linking.

    @qarla, for blogs like yours you need more than one strategy. You should use more ‘hot trends’ based keywords and then for all-time-favorite posts, use proper long term keywords

    @Chinese girl, internal PR updates happen on a regular basis. It could be a matter of few days before your internal pages get indexed and granted PR. I see mine changing very often.

    @Madhur, thanks buddy, am glad to know that it was useful to you.

    @Kurt, thanks a lot for keeping this post bookmarked 🙂

    @SK, Thanks bud.

    @Harish, you are welcome buddy. After all, it’s a blog for bloggers 🙂

    @Richael, optimizing keywords will follow soon… This weekend I have not been keeping and hence wrote a little more about internal optimizing.

    Not sure whether it’s strong tag or b. But I am yet to fully subscribe to this idea 🙂

    @Pras, external will only inform the SE bots that the target page pointed to by the link is an exernal domain page. This may sound redundant as the SE bots can anyway get this information from the href value. Unless, some search engine spiders are specifically programmed to check for this word, I don’t see any other implication here.

  14. Thanks for the wonderful tips here Ajith.
    If I do not specify anything in the link properties, will it be considered as ‘No Follow’ or ‘Follow’? In order to increase the search traffic, should they be ‘Follow’?

    Read 2 Know’s last blog post… Microsoft issues Emergency Fix for Browser Flaw

  15. @Read2Know, If you don’t specify anything then it will be Follow.

    @Ajith, One more great post! This will definitely help lot of them to get a clear understanding of keywords.

  16. @Read2Know thanks for your query and @Nihar thanks helping with me the answer 🙂

  17. Well written info Ajith. As I am a newbie on the web I found your explanations quite clear with my limited web knowledge and have not implimented much at this time. I will do so shortly and hopefully your info we be as useful at it appears.
    Many Thanks, Patrick

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