Technical

Implementing named anchors to improve your SERPs

by on 27th September 2009

On Friday (25th September) Google announced their support for new features, using named anchors found in webpages that provide additional links in the search result page snippets, which allow users to jump directly to more relevant parts of a larger page.

In their first example, Google shows a result for “trans fats” in Google.com:

rich snippets example

And a “jump to:” link, which was first picked up by Rob at iCrossing on the 10th September, 2009:

jump-to-results-google

How does it work? According to Google Webmaster Central Blog:

We generate these deep links completely algorithmically, based on page structure, so they could be displayed for any site (and of course money isn’t involved in any way, so you can’t pay to get these links). There are a few things you can do to increase the chances that they might appear on your pages. First, ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors.

Google have been testing these results for some time, and though we’re not seeing them in the search results consistently yet, I thought it would be worth implementing the approach in my “how to install Ubuntu” guide, if for no other reason than the fact that it would be interesting to see what happens!

Here’s how to quickly and easily review and implement named anchors into a page on your site.

1) First, do some keyword research or check out your analytics for the long tail key phrases bringing traffic to your page and make sure that your page titles and anchors are relevant to the traffic you’re receiving:

Use a little KW research to make sure your anchors represent actual queries

2) Google advised us to use distinct, logical sections on our pages. Review each of your page sub-titles to make sure they’re as relevant as you can make them to actual search queries:

title example

3) Create your table of contents and prepare the anchor ID’s to insert into your HTML source:


And prepare your anchor points:


4) Work through your titles first, rewording them to suit your keyword research if nessecary and inserting the id’s you created earlier on:

HTML

5) Paste in your table of contents at the top of the page and text that all the anchors work:

table of contents

Of course, the next step is wait, and watch. This is one of those SEO tweaks that will take some time to propagate though into your own SERPS, but will be worth the wait when it does.

Responses

  1. It'll be interesting to compare how these rank as opposed to narrow pages dedicated to just one subtopic.

  2. It becomes more and more important to structure the content well and to use the options given by html. I don't have an idea how to use this for bulletin board entries – does somebody have?

  3. I don't like those 'jump to:' links. They break up your carefully crafted description in the serps.

Comments are closed.

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