Note… this post has now been bettered by THIS ONE

At search engine strategies, Avinash Kaushik talked in part about just how difficult it was for the human mind to interpret row after row of spreadsheet data and looked at some other ways to view referring keywords. It occurred to me that when it comes to back-link anchor text, there is a similar challenge and opportunity to better understand – and visualize – back-link anchor text. Let’s take for example:

Wordle: Backlionk Anchor Text of

This is a great idea. Before, we had lots of key phrases, many with overlapping words. When you are trying to see what a search algorithm might think of the backlinks, visualizing them in this way can help. The cloud above is for a root domain which is especially broad in nature. So we see the Ebay brand, of course, but the keywords soon spread into a long tail. But what about an inner page from Ebay? Let’s look at the backlinks visually to an internal page – their Collector cars page:

Wordle: Ebay's Collector Cars backlink anchor text

Here there is much more targeting and a much smaller long tail. You can see straight away what the page would be ranked for if your favourite search engine relied solely on link data.

Unfortunately for Ebay, They do NOT appear in the top 30 for “collector car enthusiasts”. Do you think they might be duplicating a bit too much?

Check out the Titles: and

Exactly the same!


  • Colin Alsheimer

    Interesting idea. I think this might help link builders (and SEO folk) better understand what their link graph looks like. Since it’s important to get anchor text links for your target keywords, as well variations of your target keywords, a technique like this could go a long way towards helping you see where you’re succeeding, or where your campaigns might need some work.

    February 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm
  • Erika

    I really liked this tip from Avinash – great application of it! Would also be interesting if the size of the text could come from perceived trust of the link and then compare against the volume version…

    February 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm
  • Dixon

    Warning… Wordle breaks when you add too many phrases! Do I have done a much more comprehensive post with another option at

    March 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm

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