3 Types of Anchor Text

Anchor text has become a hot button issue ever since Google rolled out the initial bit of its Penguin update in April. I’ve been warning of the dangers of over optimization for awhile now and one of the biggest culprits involved comes in the form of anchor text. It goes against the nature of what most SEOers have been taught in that it preaches to not use keyword rich anchor texts much of the time. Google doesn’t need anchor text to determine what a page’s content is about and too much keyword rich anchor text just doesn’t look natural – the biggest error you can make today in SEO.

But let’s not get confused when I say “keyword rich” anchor text. This article is going to talk about the 3 types of anchor text/link text you can use to link to your site. Any keyword you can possibly think of falls into one of these 3 categories, so let’s identify each so you can get a better idea of what type of keyword you should be using as your anchor text in different scenarios when linking to your site.

Generic Keywords – These are keywords which have nothing to do with anything. Examples of generic keywords include “click here”, “check this out”, “read this article”, or even something somewhat contextual like “see why”. Generic keywords are the easiest to use naturally and consequently are the safest to use, particularly in situations where you’re building your own links to your site. Aim for somewhere in the 45% ratio for using generic keywords as anchor text compared to other types.

Branding Keywords – First we have branding keywords which are simply keywords which are those which relate to your site’s web address, business name, product name, etc. These keywords are fine to use because just like generic keywords they are natural and genuinely relate to your business. Additionally these are all keywords which more or less belong to you in that its for your business, so you SHOULD be ranking for these keywords naturally without much help. Aim for the 35% ration for branding keywords.

Targeted Keywords – This is where the red flags are raised because targeted keywords are typically only used with the express purpose of raising your ranking. This is why Google can so easily take issue with them and use them against you now to easily spot the SEOers who are trying to game the system and get one up on Google. Targeted keywords should easily be the least used anchor text option and you should aim for one in five or 20% or below for these targeted keywords and even then be sure to mix them up with LSI keywords to fulfill that 20%.

Make sense? Fortunately this is all pretty much intuitive when you think about it. Any webmaster linking to your site from theirs is going to use either branding keywords related to your site or generic keywords; the vast majority of the time they’re not going to go out of their way to try to use any kind of targeted keyword for your site. A few here or there are perfectly fine, particularly from high PR sites, but for the vast majority of your links which you create yourself you’re going to go with one of the first two types of anchor text.

Note that the percentages I offer for each type are by no means hard set rules but more just loose guidelines to keep in mind to keep you from overusing one or another.

What Is Spatial Anchoring in Presentations and Training?

Some “Professional Communicators” mistakenly tend to feel that walking around the stage is the best way for them to “get in contact with the audience” and, at the same time, subconsciously burn-off excessive adrenalin. However, this can cause certain problems for the audience. This article is to provide the reader with information about spatial anchoring, it’s relevance and practical use to presenters and trainers and those who wish to develop or improve their advanced communication skills.

Anchors are an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) term for something that acts as a trigger that creates a specific response or reaction in the mind and/or body of someone. For example, consider how you feel when you hear that “special” song that marks a special moment in your relationship with your other half. The song can be considered an anchor for the reaction your body or mind produces of that “special moment”. Another example is that of Pavlov and his dogs!

There are many ways that anchors can be used both in a clinical setting and in a business one so I shall focus solely on Spatial Anchors in the indicated business contexts.

Spatial anchoring.

This occurs when a specific place becomes anchored in our subconscious as having a special meaning or significance: One example might be our childhood bedroom where we felt protected, loved, surrounded by OUR things, and with many happy memories, etc. Every time we go into our old bedroom, the old feelings automatically return! Another example is when we have had a car accident. Afterwards, every time we approach the scene of the accident, we have a reaction: fear, caution, etc.

As a trainer or presenter, I ALWAYS set up spatial anchors for my communication by conducting the first few minutes of the presentation or training from one specific point – usually close to, and in front of – the screen so that my physical presence (image) is psychologically linked to my verbal input and the image(s) displayed on the screen. This takes advantage of both Focussed and Peripherical vision which is known to increase retention of material. This static location is known as the “Presentation Point”. One thing that I NEVER do is wander around the room talking, looking at the screen, etc., while I am training or presenting. There are various reasons for this:

– The Australians have a great phrase for this – “Going walkabout”. to wander through the bush or (Informally) to be lost or misplaced or to lose one’s concentration. (thefreedictionary.com). I want my audience focussed on me and the task at hand – and nothing else!

– Constantly moving does NOT anchor anything in the audience members subconscious minds therefore nothing is perceived as being memorable and is easily forgotten.

– The constant movement may be interpreted by the audience as a sign of the presenter’s or trainer’s insecurity which could subconsciously reduce the perceived validity of what is be communicated or result in a loss of control of the situation by the presenter or trainer. Examples of loss of control include: people using iPads/ tablets / laptops /smartphones; parallel conversations, people “off-task”, etc.

– If you are constantly moving, how can you observe the audience’s reaction to your communication and adapt your delivery accordingly? It is widely recognized that Non-Verbal Communication is an integral and vital component in influencing other people. The main elements being posture, gaze, orientation, proximity and gestures. It is vital that the presenter is continually reading the NVC of the audience AND controlling their own NVC, too.

– Constant movement makes it difficult to effectively handle the three different elements in the group: The Powers, influencers & hot bodies.

– There are other, more effective ways to burn-off excess adrenalin caused by the stress of presenting or training that do not provide non verbal information about the mental state of the communicator.

– I want to avoid giving my audience members “tennis neck” by making them repetitively turn their heads to follow me as I move around the room.

As a presenter or trainer, I want the audience to associate:

1. The visual aspects of the training or presentation (me + images on screen+ use of both focussed & peripherical vision) with the following two elements.

2. My verbal language and the brief text elements written on the screen.

3. The emotional elements that are created by the communication.

An example of spatial anchoring that I use in training sessions is that I stand for the first 10 to 12 minutes which is when attention often starts to decrease… and then move and sit on the corner of a table near the audience to tell them an anecdote, a short story, answer a question, etc. This change of activity ensures that attention will rise once again when we return to the presentation or training. Once this has been done a couple of times, the audience will have learned subconsciously, that when I go to the corner, they can put down their pens, kick-back and relax a bit and know that what is coming is not “pure” content. Once I stand up and move back to my presentation point, they know that some form of “content” is going to follow so concentration and note taking will probably be required. The same applies to the use of a flipchart: when I move to the flipchart, the students learn that what I am presenting is something that is not contained in the training manual and requires them to take special note of the information.

Another example of spatial anchoring is that of having one specific place where only BAD news is given and another place where only GOOD news is given. If you are sacking a group of people give the bad news from one place and then move to a totally different place to talk about the “good” (?) news such as out-placements, support, etc.

One of the greatest problems that many speakers have today is that of the lectern: That horrible (usually) wooden thing that stands between the presenter and the audience so that the presenter looks like they are in a trench with only their upper body sticking up and the rest of their body safely protected from the audience. Another problem with lecterns is that they are usually fixed in place which means that all type of news – good or bad – are given from the same point which means that if the same audience has received presentations in the same place, they probably have subconscious anchors (either positive or negative) based on previous experiences. I prefer to use a low table placed where I decide is the best place to hold my laptop instead of the lectern. in this way, I avoid all the problems indicated above. Also, I refuse to let someone or something determine the success or failure of my task (presentation or training) as my reputation and future depends on my success.

In summary, It is time for trainers and presenters to pay much more attention to the importance of their non-verbal communication with groups by using all of the available techniques to ensure that their message arrived elegantly, effectively and memorably. The elements dealt with in this article will, I am sure, cause many inflexible or traditional trainers / presenters to feel threatened as it required them to consider – and maybe break – the habits of a life time. As a famous, and true, NLP presupposition says:

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten!”

Is it time for YOU to change?

Anchoring – Finding a Spot To Anchor

Elementary considerations regarding anchoring spots need to be observed. Check the charts to make sure firstly, that you will have enough water at low tide, secondly, for the nature of the bottom, thirdly, for any underwater obstructions such as wrecks, pipelines, cables etc, and finally to ensure you have enough swinging room for the amount of scope you are likely to pay out. Check with the charts and local regulations to make sure anchoring is not prohibited.

Crowded Conditions.

Anchoring in narrow channels require special vigilance at the turn of the tide, as there is always a possibility of swinging into the side of the Channel and grounding. On a falling tide this could be serious, thus there are special techniques you can use to limit your swinging circle dramatically. The Bahamian Moor is one of these, and it will be covered in another article.

In crowded conditions, where you’ll have to anchor in amongst other boats establish whether any of them are on moorings as opposed to anchored. It is not wise to anchor around moored boats, as your ground tackle can end up fouling their mooring chains. In these cases you will have a real job recovering your anchor.

If you’re anchoring amongst other anchored boats, try and gauge where they have laid their anchors, how much scope they have out, and thus estimate what their swinging circles are likely to be.

Some boats with substantial underwater sections lay more to the tide, whilst those with high topsides and shallow underwater sections are more affected by the wind. In crowded conditions it is best to anchor nearer to boats that will behave the same as yours does.

There is really a whole art to anchoring in close quarters situations that only practice will make perfect. The etiquette involved is that the newcomer must keep clear of people already anchored.

If space is tight, one way of making sure you do not drop your anchor on top of or across your neighbours, is to motor up behind them (into the prevailing forces), and drop your anchor close to their stern. You then fall back on your anchor rode and snub it when you are far enough behind them (or have let out the correct amount of scope). This way when the wind or tide turns, you should both swing together, and your swinging circle should never impinge on theirs. This is of course dependent on you both having roughly the same scope deployed, and this is why anchoring on rope is considered antisocial.

If after having deployed your anchor and settled back on it, you find you are too close to another anchored boat….. you have to pull it all up and try again with good grace.

Good spots to anchor in all conditions are hard to come by, many will offer shelter from one direction but be very exposed to another. Spots with all-round shelter tend to get crowded, and often tend to fill up with permanent moorings. Many rivers and creeks fall under one jurisdiction or another, who’s minions will chase you for ” anchoring fees” (as if they’re providing a service !). We try to mention these irritations in our harbour coverage.

For short stops it is not necessary to find a bombproof anchorage, it is sufficient to be in the lee of the land, with enough depth of water and no underwater obstructions. Obviously you are looking for a place with no swell or waves, and you need to take into account what would happen if the wind shifted. In UK waters SW winds are liable to suddenly shift to the NW, therefore finding a spot with shelter from both these directions makes sense if staying a little while. Close attention to weather forecasts is required in an “open” anchorage, but anchorage off a beach etc. for lunch is the norm.

Deepwater Anchorages.

It is quite possible, and indeed used to be normal, to anchor in rather tenuous places to await a fair wind or tide. Nowadays even sailing yachts have powerful engines, and most skippers choose to smash on regardless. Vessels with puny engines and propellers very often used to have to anchor “at sea”. Having commenced my sailing in such a vessel I have found myself anchored in some very strange places. In the Thames estuary (out of the shipping channels), behind headlands (like Dungeness), dodgy places with little or no shelter.

Sometimes when you don’t have a fair wind there seems little point in motoring full speed ahead, burning what precious little fuel you have left, and staying exactly in one spot… at times like these (bearing in mind weather conditions, sea conditions etc.) It may be worth anchoring. Maybe getting in behind a headland to wait out the tide.

Anchoring in these conditions, with deepwater, often none too calm, need special consideration. The first thing is don’t use your main anchor, even if you have an electric anchor winch to pull it up again. Anchoring in deep water with heavy chain is inviting trouble, as the sheer weight of the chain when you break out the anchor is backbreaking.

I heard of one account where a ship suffered engine problems in the Indian Ocean. It was flat calm, and the problems were going to take some time to fix. The bosun thought it would be a good idea to keep the crew busy, so the anchors (both of them), were lowered away into the unfathomable depths and the chain lockers were chipped and painted. The problem came when it was time to raise them… the anchor windlasses simply did not have enough power to pull up the weight of the chain that was dangling in the ocean. Both anchors were lost.

The same thing has almost happened to me on a much smaller scale obviously, as I struggled away with the weight of many metres of chain hanging up and down. Even an electric winch would have problems in these conditions.

Advice… use your Kedge anchor and loads and loads of rope. Swinging circles won’t be a problem in these cases.

Anchoring to seek shelter in heavy weather.

Passagemaking, no matter how thoroughly planned, can sometimes result in being overtaken by unpleasant weather. Often there comes a point where trying to push on forwards is a futile exercise, and the thought of losing all the ground you have just made doesn’t appeal either.

If you are heading eastwards down the English Channel the prevailing SW and NW winds will be favourable… you’ll be sailing like a freight train.

With the first blasts of strong winds normally originating from the South West, passage making westwards along the channel offers plenty of opportunities for shelter, for the prepared.

This is the time to have a good study of the charts to find out what natural land features can give you some protection from the wind and waves. Getting onto the port tack and sailing close-hauled as possible in a stiff SW wind, gives you access to many of the bights and bays in the western channel. Within these bights and bays the sea is likely to be a bit calmer, and you may be able to harden up your course a bit.

The net result is you may well be able to tuck yourself under a headland and anchor fairly close inshore out of the main blast the wind, in relatively calm waters.

Should it be impossible to push forwards into one of the bays, it may be that running back a little way and tucking in behind some headland will give you respite.

Extra special care is needed as headlands often have tidal races plus large areas of disturbed seas extending offshore in heavy weather. You need to keep well away from all this.

When choosing a spot look for somewhere that will also give good protection should the wind be swinging round rapidly to the Northwest. With a bit of luck you won’t lose too much ground, and you may also have access to harbours within the bay that are sheltered from the wind, and thus relatively safe to enter.

After all the commotion of heavy weather at sea, even a tenuous open anchorage in the lee of the land will seem blissfully peaceful.

Any kind of open anchorage needs special care while working on the foredeck, with harnesses and life jackets essential. It is very easy to be pitched over the side, especially while struggling with cables… I know… it has happened to me !

And that about concludes this little article on anchoring spots.