Monday, July 5, 2010

Internal Website Links

by Robin Ive

Internal website links are an often overlooked. It's assumed that external links are the must-haves if you want better search engine rankings, but internal links can also improve your position.

They act as 'signposts', not just for human visitors but also for the search engines, which use them to burrow into your site, finding the pages you want them to.

Navigation Bar

Start by improving the internal website links on your main navigation bar. This is one of the first things search engine spiders see when the visit your site, so it should be carefully optimized. There isn't always room to place the entire keyword/phrase of the destination page on the navbar but do it if you can, rather than having generic descriptions such as Products, Services or Resources.

Anchor Text

Don't use anchor text like 'click here.' This doesn't give the search engines any clue as to the subject matter of the content you are linking to. You want to signal to them what your destination page is all about.

If you use the keyword of your destination page as the anchor text you can boost the destination pages' performance in searches for that keyword.

So, in your content you might have, for example: 'good dog nutrition means feeding your dog a raw food diet.' If you have an article written about 'raw food diet' then you can use this as the anchor text to that article.

Inline anchor text is given extra weight because by its very nature it is highly relevant to the subject matter.

Subheadings

A good way to set up anchor text links which are the same as the destination page keywords is to use them in subheadings. For example, let's say you have written an article entitled 'Dog Nutrition.' Your subheadings might be 'Nutrition And Dental Health,' Importance Of Fibre In Canine Diet' and the previous example, 'Raw Food Diet.'

Write a paragraph under each heading. Then, when you have written the article relevant to that subheading, you can use it as anchor text - a hyperlink - to the appropriate page. The paragraph you have already written then becomes a 'taster' for the 'main event'!

You can also 'cross-link' pages to others which have a similar theme but which don't fall into the natural hierarchy. This is especially useful if you link from the popular pages on your site to those which need more traffic.

Footers

Don't overdo the links here. A footer is mainly for the benefit of your human visitors who will find a convenient way to navigate back to your key pages once they have reached the bottom of a page.

One more thing... make sure your links work, and take your visitor (human or robot) to the page you intend.

Good and efficient internal website links are often neglected but they are simple to put in place and will have a powerful cumulative effect. They won't rocket your site or its pages to top ten positions overnight, but if you get into the habit of including them wherever you can you will give yourself a competitive edge.

They are visitor and search engine friendly, allowing your visitors and the search engine crawlers to explore deeper into your site - so don't neglect them, and outlaw the 'click here' link!

About the Author

Robin Ive is the creator of BuildAWebsiteBuzz.com, a free resource for advice on website building, hosting, content creation, promotion and monetization. So if you found this article about internal website links useful please visit www.buildawebsitebuzz.com