My recent article on the power of anchor tags sparked some interesting discussion in the WebProWorld forum, and revealed an aspect of anchor tag optimization I hadn't heard mentioned before.
AussieWebmaster claims to have spoken with Google directly and learned that "placing title tags inside the href tag will improve optimization."
He said that he's "slowly integrating" these link titles and it may be "helping a little with terms that were floating on second pages moving them up slightly."
JayDrake gave an example of what a title tag within an href would look like:
AndiLinks wondered if it would "be better to provide an alternate title rather than just repeating the anchor text?"
Here's her example:
"Titles," she points out, "can be longer and more complex than anchor text because they don't eat up valuable screen real estate..."
Krapulator points out the original purpose of the link titles is to add more information about the nature of the link itself. (Which is pretty much what the W3C have to say on Link Titles.)
"Thus correct usage," said Krapulator, "would be closer to:"
If you're feeling high-risk you could stuff your titles with keywords - I wouldn't advise it though, as the overall benefit (if there even is a benefit - I've seen no solid evidence) is liable to be quite small. Though I've never heard of anyone getting banned for link title stuffing, I'd say they're best used in the interest of your site visitors. Mostly.
Thanks to WebProWorld for the tip.