Wednesday, February 08, 2006

SEO - The Power of Text Key Word Anchored Links and Theme by Association

Over the past decade I have kept a small number of clients consistently ranked well in their respective searched terms. Even as someone who has a sound understanding of SEO, I am continuely asking myself, what are the most important factors. I have experimented continuously, and I would like to share with you a technique I use that I call Close Analysis.

As an example, let us look at the key word phrase "Pro Audio". At Overture, this phrase was searched in December of 2005 a reported 9991 times. That is a respectable number of people, not an obscure term. When we do a search for this term, we find that www.cakewalk.com ranks #1 for the term. Upon Close Analysis, and visiting the website, one can do a View Source, to see the underling code behind the homepage. As it turns out - there is not one occurrence of the term "pro audio" in the HTML, or on page. Not in the Title, not in the Meta's, not as a phrase on page. In other words, their site is in no way optimized for the term - whatsoever. In fact - when you look through the website - I'll doubt you'll find the term on any page, whatsoever, anywhere!

With all the talk of search engine optimization these days, and the importance of Title tags being done properly, Metas's, Headers, domain names, etc., this is almost hard to believe! How then could they do so well for a term, that the website is in no way associated to? And a term that has obvious usage, at that?

The answer is key word phrases anchored in text links, and "on page association", or "theme". A well known and hot topic, for sure... but who would believe it could be EVERYTHING. Turns out Cakewalk USED to make a product called Cakewalk Pro Audio. They don't anymore, but residual links are all over the Internet. Their company name is displayed next to the term Pro Audio, on thousands of pages (theme). Try this search at Google, with the quotes, and without the brackets: [cakewalk + "pro audio"].

Google reports 1 of about 600,000 pages that show both the words cakewalk and the phrase pro audio. Many old links likely have the text joined together, as in a product link to "Cakewalk Pro Audio 9".

It only goes to show the associations that are built.
Even though the company has long since changed their multi-tracker software to the name SONAR, the association lives on, and consequently so does their Google attachment to the term "pro audio". Naturally the combination of links and high PR help, yet oddly Cakewalk.com does not rank Top 10 for either "multitrack software" or "digital audio software". I wonder if their CEO knows about this :)

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