By Randy Zlobec (c) 2008
Anyone who runs a website should be aware of a few basic search engine linking tactics. Used properly you can interlink your website so that Google, Yahoo and the other major search engines will rate you higher in both page rank and search engine results for your keyword/key phrase niche terms. If you're unaware of what internal linking means, here's a basic overview.
Internal linking involves the links on your website that point to other pages on your website. Internal linking is very important because it allows the search engine spiders, those automated bots that scour the Internet looking for information, to find all of the pages on your website. In comparison, external linking are links that are on your website which link out to other websites, and there are specific tactics for those as well. In this article, however, we're going to cover a few simple tactics and strategies to get your internal linking up to speed.
When you're developing your website, you will tend to put a whole lot of pages of similar information tailored to a specific niche or subject that you want to convey to your visitors. You probably will have information, news, how-to articles, tips and sales pages, where informed visitors can buy your products or services. Your internal linking structure will not only benefit your visitors, but it will help you rank better with the search engines as well.
Having a good navigation system makes Google and Yahoo happy, and in turn, they will reward you because you are doing things to improve the visitors' website experience. So, for example, if you have an internal linking structure that is seamless, intuitive and allows your visitors to quickly find what they're looking for, search engines will give you more page rank, index more of your web pages and return higher search results for user queries.
Why? You have taken the time to help your website visitors have an excellent customer experience. As a result, your tactics and strategies should be geared towards giving arriving visitors not only the information that they seek, but have it presented in a way that they, and search engine bots, will love.
So how do you accomplish this? There are a few basic tactics, you can use that will improve your internal linking structure right off the bat.
Number 1 - use the rel="nofollow" HTML tag for pages that you don't want to pass rank to Google. For example, let's say you had a three-page site. Now, we all know that most people have more than three pages for an entire website; however, this will make it easier to follow.
The first page is your home page which gets 100% of the search engine ranking and love. The second page is an information or information/sales page, with the third being a checkout page. If you don't use the nofollow tag on one of the pages, both pages will be passed half of 50% each for the link from the home page. So, they'll each get 25% of the ranking and love passed through from the spiders. The search engine spiders will naturally give your home page the best page rank and index it first. Say, you want to link to the information/sales page and make sure that a lot of people find it, because the information page is what will sell your product or service. For ranking and indexing purposes, you consider the checkout page as useless, so you don't care if the search engines find it or not. In fact, you'd prefer it if they didn't index it all. What do you do?
When you link from your home page, you can do one of two things.
Link to the information page only from the home page. Link to both pages but use the no follow tag to the checkout page. In that way, if someone arrives who is already sold on your product, they can go directly to your checkout page and buy the product. However, if it is an uninformed visitor, they can clickthrough to your information/sales page or they click on the indexed Google or Yahoo link that's been picked up by the spider.
Two things happen with scenario #2. You give the customer/visitor the option. Because, the search engine is applying SEO love to one page and not two, the page rank passed will not be 25% and 25% for each page, but 0% for the checkout page and 50% for the information page which needs it. You maintain the search engine indexing and page rank for those pages that are important.
This is just one thing that needs to be considered when setting up your website. Professional SEO firms use this algorithm in order to get specific pages on your website to rank higher and return results in the search engine results pages that are much higher than other pages like your checkout pages which you don't care about.
Number 2 - Add extra links in your navigation area or footer area that link to important pages and main sections on your website. This extremely easy tactic is often overlooked by many websites, but it does return very good results for deep linking, and most SEO firms will review your footer links when they take you on as a candidate in order to utilize that other form of deep linking.
These are only two of the tactics that are covered when you hire a professional, savvy SEO firm to optimize your web layout and linking structure.
About The Author
RZ Concepts a search engine marketing company specializing in website promotíon and internet marketing.