About the Author

Michael Doig is a science teacher, web developer, and avid traveler who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The Art Of Riding Escalators or How To Use Anchor Text

When I lived in Montreal there was a hard and steadfast rule when riding an escalator. Stand on the right. This allowed people who wanted to climb the stairs to pass on the left. Common sense right?

Web Etiquette-Anchor TextA few hundred miles south in New York City, I was disappointed to learn that the same rule does not apply. People stand on both sides of the escalator and it prevents stair climbers like myself from passing.

What is going on? Some claim that it is due to the tourists in New York City who are unaware of the rule. Perhaps it is a cultural thing, New York is definitely more culturally diverse than Montreal. I’m not sure that we will ever know why two place that are so geographically close have such different rules for riding escalators.

I tend to visit websites (designers and developers) that are like Montreal, they understand the rules of linking. They use proper anchor text and all is right in the world. I still come across sites, however, that link with here or click here. It is 2007 how can people not know how to link properly? It is probably due to the number of tourists that the web receives, so I’m going to let some of you who aren’t locals in on the rule.

Anchor text, what is it?

Anchor text is the visible word or words that you click on to visit another web page. For instance, if I wanted to link to my friend John Foster’s Beer School site I would link to it as Beer School. The words Beer School are the anchor text, and beer and school are the keywords.

Does it even matter?

Yes, using anchor text and keywords in the link communicate to search engines such as Google or Yahoo what the link is about. Since you are linking to a site or article, you probably want others to find that content as well. Using proper anchor text increases the likelihood of that site being found by someone using a search engine. If enough people all use the anchor text Beer School and link to John’s site, his site will end up higher in the search results.

Guess what, if you search for Beer School his site is number one.

Now you know the rule, so you are no longer a tourist. You should use proper anchor text any time you link to something, and next time you are in New York don’t stand on the left side of the escalator.

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