Website Optimization: Interlink Your Content
Over the years a lot has been said about linking. Not much has changed, except possibly the weight that Google, and possibly other search engines have put on links. Here in early 2013 many people supposedly in the know are downplaying links. This may be premature, however, since the web is built on linking.
Here in this short article I am mainly considering internal linking of website pages on your site. Although I am mentioning WordPress sites, interlinking applies to any type of site that you want the search engines to crawl and index.
Internal linking is an effective method for preserving “link juice” throughout a blog. Backlinks into your site – meaning those links from other, external websites — pass on a certain amount of authority from the referring website. Likewise, strategically placed internal links also bolster the rank of designated pages on your blog.
The practice of internal linking is vital to the overall structure of a blog, or actually most other types of sites too. Often, the importance of any particular post or page is determined by the links it receives from within the same site. Also, to some degree, it gives you the power to engineer what keywords pages will rank for.
Unless you take a proactive approach to linking your pages, WordPress will default to its standard linking method. The majority of WordPress linking is formulated through categories, tags, footer links, and navigation pages. As you can imagine, this “helpful” built-in gesture is not always best for SEO purposes.
Failure to take control of how your content connects is a lost opportunity to capitalize on some hard-earned link juice. It’s not just external links that count, it’s the internal ones too.
For bloggers, trying to go back and manually sculpt internal links becomes a laborious process. To avoid this burden, keep these tips in mind from the beginning:
- Use keywords as anchor text rather than “click here”. For example if your keywords are ‘SEO Tips from Google ‘ then you would create a link using those words, indicating to the search engine that this is what the page you are linking to is about.
- Although “click here” or something similar is not relevant, still it can come in handy if you have a lot of outbound links on a page and in such a case it could be worthwhile to use them.
- When possible, input the same keywords for the anchor text (linking to the page) as the page title (page being linked from).
The idea of internal linking is simple, but it’s not the easiest of SEO tactics. Good WordPress plug-ins will relieve you from internal linking confusion by automatically connecting related information. There are several such plugins you can use. Two worth mentioning are:
- Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in
- WordPress Related Posts Plug-in
One word of note which applies to YARPP or Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in mentioned above is in the case you have a lot of pages and/or traffic. I was using this plugin on my Wish Good Luck site. With Hostgator hosting I started having problems, the page loading was slowing down and ultimately I got a couple of notices from Hostgator’s service reps that I needed to quit using YARPP because it was causing their servers to bog down.
At the time I had at least 700 pages on the site and was adding at least one long page a day. I think I had about 1500 – 2000 visitors a day at the time. I ended up disabling the plugin and adding interlinking manually to avoid bogging down my account. I think these types of plugins are quite valuable, but potentially can slow down page loading if you have a lot of traffic and pages on your site.
Note this nothing against Hostgator as I have multiple accounts with them for my sites.
The end goal of an internal linking strategy is to evenly distribute link juice throughout key pages, to prime your blog for better crawling by the search engines, and/or to pass on authority. All of these elements play a role in SEO.
Sometimes not everything you learn is new. I remember way back many years ago when I was in StomperNet one of the main things they taught was to interlink pages and how important it was. With that being said, being concerned and careful about your website’s internal links are well worth the challenge.
Copyright © 2013 Charles Harmon
Here are two videos from Google about the effects of “nofollow” and “dofollow” links on your blog or site.
Are nofollow links irrelevant?
Published on Youtube Feb 10, 2010
Dan from Bucharest asks: “Are nofollow links worth getting? Or are they almost irrelevant?”
Can having dofollow comments on my blog affect its reputation?
Published on Youtube Feb 22, 2010
Brett from Michigan asks: “Are there negative SEO implications to having a blog with do-follow comments? What about commenting on do-follow blogs?”