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Internal Linking Website Optimisation

Mar 24, 2008
Linking with Search Terms Rather than 'Click Here'

It has been a common mistake since the Internet began for websites to use 'click here' or 'read more' links to take the visitor to internal webpages. Not only is this bad for accessibility, as it does not say where the link is taking the visitor, but it will also provide no benefit in the optimization of your website in the search engines. By adding search terms into the anchor text of the link you will help describe to both users and search engines what the subject of the page you are linking to is about.

Use HTML Links that Search Engine Bots can Follow

To help search engines find all of your website's webpages it is important that you provide their bots with a path to the webpages using HTML links. Search engine bots currently cannot read JavaScript links, Flash links or form drop-down menu links and by using these types of navigation you will prevent your webpages from being indexed. It is best to structure your navigation well and provide top level and sub-level HTML navigation links relevant to each section of your website.

Site Map Alternative

If (for some obscure reason) it is not possible to use HTML links within your main website then you should provide users and search engines with a HTML site map alternative that provides a list of links to all the webpages within your website. Search engine bots automatically look for site maps when they visit a website so providing this service will only benefit the indexing of your webpages.

Cross-Link Pages to Help Pass Relevancy and Pagerank

Search engines give more weight (PageRank as Google names it) to pages that are nearer to the top level of your website than pages tucked away in some remote location. This weight can help increase your rankings for search terms related to that page. By cross linking pages with other pages in your website you will help evenly pass this weight around your website helping all pages rank well. An excellent example of this is Wikipedia. You will see that the text in a single Wikipedia page contains many links to other pages and sections of the Wikipedia website all with relevant anchor text.

Avoid Using Popup Windows and Frames

Do not add important information within a popup window link. To create the popup window the link is likely to use JavaScript which will block the search engine bots and then even if the popup window webpage is found and indexed it is likely that when a user visits that page they will have no navigation to take them through the rest of your website. The same problem happens when using HTML frames where you have your navigation in one frame and the content in another.

Summary

Keep it simple, organize your website structure into top level, categories, sub-categories and so on. Provide users and search engines with a clear path to your webpages using descriptive anchor text and HTML links. Where you can, provide links within your webpage's content to other pages within your website. If all else fails, provide a site map page which is clearly linked from your website's homepage.
About the Author
Steven Balfour wrote this article for search engine optimisation company Position Gold Ltd.
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