Friday, 12 April 2013

Internal linking - Best Practices for SEO

| Friday, April 12, 2013 | |

Many people do not take internal linking serious enough because they do not understand how it affects their SEO. Sure, linking up your website internally is not going to shoot you to the number one spot on Google, but being improperly internally linked may result in you never reaching the top spot. Internal linking is an on-page SEO matter that affects the usability of your website if it is not done correctly. Poor website usability is one of the big things that Google hates, and will subsequently punish your website for.

Every page should have at least three internal links

This is just good practice. Every page needs at least three internal links. If your external links outnumber your internal links on too many pages, then Google is going to look upon you with suspicion. Keep it under your hat, but part of the Panda update was to “red flag” websites with excessive links pointing out of the site. One of the factors that determines an excessive factor is when the links outnumber the internal links. Plus, you want your website to have good internal linking, which means you need to give your viewers at least three links to get them to other pages.

You should run an internal link checker to find broken links

This is common sense, and should be done after you have done a few updates. You do not have to do this on a regular occasion. Imagine that it is a little bit like a good dusting. You may dust your house now and again, but you only need to give it a good dust cleaning when you move the furniture around. The same goes for checking broken internal links on your website. You only need to check for broken links on occasion, and when you move things around on your website.

Do not duplicate your anchor text on your website

You can get away with doing this a little more than Google is letting on, but as a good rule of thumb you should try not to duplicate your anchor text. Try to mix it up a little bit every now and again. Instead of “Back to the Cheese Page,” you could try, “Return to the Cheese Page.” Or, upon occasion you could just have “Cheese Page,” or “Navigate to the Cheese Page.”

Make sure you can find the cart on every page

The internal link that leads to the cart and the checkout needs to appear on every page. That is why it is a good idea to use a widget for the job. People use a widget because the image of a cart is easy to see and understand, plus it means that they do not have to find alternate text for the words “Cart” or “Buy Now.” Many people use a JavaScript link to go to their cart because JavaScript is not indexed by Google, and there is no need for Google to index the shopping cart links or checkout links.

Consider putting a sitemap at the bottom each page

This is a relatively new trick, so you will have to research into how the websites in question are avoiding any penalties for having the same sitemap anchor text on every page. Suffice it to say that it does actually help the SEO of the website. It also makes the whole website a little easier.

Internally link your website as if it is a family tree

This may sound silly, but he premise is very simple. Your family tree starts with one and then splits and splits again, etc. Your website needs to do something similar. All the pages should link to the home page, but the home page should just link to your main categories. The main categories should link to the sub categories, etc. Doing it this way is a very uniform and organized way of making sure your website is internally linked.
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