Jim Boykin recently offered tips to help webmasters understand how to audit a site to see what pages are the most link rich, how internal link equity flows around websites, and how to optimize your internal link architecture. In addition to Jim's tips, you can also improve your internal link structure by using some of the following tips.
Create Promotional Content Sections
The following ideas display social acceptance (which helps improve conversion) while also funneling PageRank at important pages without looking spammy.
- heavily promote seasonal stuff in advance (internally and externally)
- use sales data or other metrics to create a what's hot in this category and what's hot on our site section to flow more link equity to best sellers (these can be called anything like what's hot, top rated, etc)
- create pages high in the site structure to support high value keywords that were only tangentially covered on lower level nodes
- over-represent new content in your link structure to help it get indexed quickly, see how well it will rank, and learn how profitable it is
Internal to External Link Ratio
Doing theses sorts of things will still give you all the good karma and benefit that linking out does, while minimizing any downside caused by funneling a significant portion of your PageRank out of your site.
- if you have a blog cross reference old posts where and when it makes sense
- if you link out heavily on a page ensure you also place numerous internal links on the page
- use breadcrumb navigation or other navigational schemes to help structure the site and improve the internal to external link ratio
- if you have a ton of outbound site-wide links change some of them to only list them on a single page or section of your site
Keep the Noise Out of the Index
- demoting an entire section of the site in the link structure if it has a lower ROI than other sections
- use robots.txt and meta robots exclusion tags to prevent duplicate content and other low information or noisy pages from getting indexed
- instead of using pagination try to display more content on each page
- check your server logs for 404 errors. fix any broken links and redirect old linked to pages to their new locations
Bonus Idea: Create Cross Referencing Navigational Structures
This idea may sound a bit complex until you visualize it as a keyword chart with an x and y axis.
- Imagine that a, b, c, ... z are all good keywords.
- Imagine that 1, 2, 3, ... 10 are all good keywords.
- If you have a page on each subject consider placing the navigation for a through z in the sidebar while using links and brief descriptions for 1 through 10 as the content of the page. If people search for a 7 or b 9 that cross referencing page will be relevant for it, and if it is done well it does not look to spammy.
Since these types of pages can spread link equity across so many pages of different categories make sure they are linked to well high up in the site's structure. These pages works especially well for categorized content cross referenced by locations.
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