How to Determine the Effectiveness of Your Internal Link Structure

Feb 8th

Question: How do I determine how I am best utilizing my PageRank? How do I know if my navigation is successful?

Answer:

  • Google Webmaster Tools shows your internal link counts to different pages. You can use that to show which pages are being emphasized on a crude level.
  • Optispider ($129) shows on site link structure and compares link text to page titles
  • SEO4Fun has a free PageRankBot tool which shows internal link flow. I think it is a bit complex to set up, but is cool when you get it set up.
  • If you have pages of limited importance but link to them frequently (like sitewide links to your privacy policy, shipping, or about us page) consider using nofollow on those links.
  • Track a few pages of your site with a tool like CrazyEgg to see what links users are clicking on and if you are drawing enough attention to the most important assets on your site.
  • Use data from your web analytics tools to focus more link equity on your most important (highest traffic and best converting) pages

A few more advanced ideas

  • If your site is large and you keep producing new content, use Google's date based filters to look for new pages that are of low quality / noisy (like a page dedicated to a photo but with no text on it, or other common duplicate content issues)
  • Use analytics to track how many pages (and which pages) are pulling in traffic. Compare those pages with all the pages on your site to see if you can free up some dead weight, or if you have a valuable section of your site that is not well linked to. You can use Xenu Link Sleuth, a sitemap generator, or data from Google Webmaster Tools to see what pages are linked to (and perhaps getting indexed).
  • If a particular page works well for you consider adding more content to that page to pick up a broader basket of related keywords. If a particular query works well for you consider creating a second page to target that query.
  • If you have a high authority page that links out to many other websites consider adding more internal links to that page to keep more of the link flow internal.
Published: February 8, 2008

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Comments

February 8, 2008 - 6:43am

Hey Aaron, I've been reading your blog for over a year and I would like to thank you for all the valuable information you have written over this period.

I just registered and I don't have the time to fill my profile but I will do soon. I just wanted to point out that there's a broken link which directs your users to a 404 page to [fixed it...thank you]

It's sunny and not so cold in Rome!

Regards,

Jesus

February 8, 2008 - 6:47am

Hi Jesus
Thank you for stopping by and saying hi, and for noticing that...I fixed my borken link. :)

February 8, 2008 - 9:23am

Thanks for the SEO4Fun link. That tool looks very useful.

February 8, 2008 - 10:03am

hey Aaron.
how about the PageRankBot tool? that would be helpful here no?
http://www.seo4fun.com/php/pagerankbot.php

February 8, 2008 - 10:19am

Aaron,

Great post - this is a subject I've been reading up on quite a bit recently.

About 3-4 months ago I tried getting the PageRankBot installed after some discussion of the "siloing" technique peaked my interest. I wasn't ever able to get it running properly, unfortunately, much to my chagrin - looks like a great tool. Halfdeck was nice enough to offer me some tips on getting the tool set up, but I have a suspicion the aging environment I'm running here at my day job (Windows 2000!!! Can you believe it?) is causing some problems.

Also, the Optispider link above doesn't seem to be pointing anywhere.

-Mike

February 8, 2008 - 1:39pm

Some nice links there. I've never heard of a few of those until now, thanks. The SEO4Fun seems like a neat little tool.

February 8, 2008 - 2:56pm

I can't help but think that Optispider is not linked because the developer, Leslie Rohde, is a big fan of utilizing the nofollow on all no money links. It is my understanding that Aaron Wall does not agree with this....even though it's effective.

February 8, 2008 - 4:45pm

I fixed that link. I don't suggest using nofollow on thin affiliate sites that are pushing the line, but on larger thicker and real sites I think it is a good idea.

February 8, 2008 - 3:42pm

I wish Jesus loved my blog too!

February 8, 2008 - 4:44pm

He probably does.

February 8, 2008 - 5:03pm

I have found that Google Webmaster tools does not adhere to your internal nofollow rules when reporting on your internal links. I posted about it over here. So, I am not so sure it is that helpful of a tool to gauge effectiveness if you are using internal nofollows.

February 8, 2008 - 5:37pm

Google webmasters doesn't observe it on external links either. Optispider, does have that option though to ignore nofollow'd links..which is pretty helpful.

February 10, 2008 - 8:02pm

Enjoyed your post! How about your thoughts on the benefits of having a high page rank? Is it becoming more important?

February 10, 2008 - 11:49pm

PageRank is good for ensuring you have enough link juice to get your deep pages indexed, your site is within the subset of results selected to re-rank, and for giving you credit for being the original source when someone steals your content. Beyond that it is more down to anchor text and community link building.

February 11, 2008 - 4:43am

The tool from seo4fun looks fantastic. However, it is way to complex to install. I am not sure if the author of the product is reading but I would recommend improving the installation system.

I downloaded the tool, unzipped and clicked on the mentioned file. Nothing happens. I expect that the problem lies in the use of .jar and the incompatibility with zipgenius and vista.

Next the author asks to go to dos, do some settings and stuff and email the errors to the author. If a product is giving errors before even seeing the first screen I move away from the product.

The only reason I kept on trying was because it is mentioned here. Although I really like people making free software, I know that I am not a full blown technical programmer and cannot get systems like this to work.

it is a pity.

February 11, 2008 - 8:15am

Has anyone done any research on the ideal ratio between internal and external links? Are there outside factor which drive this?

February 11, 2008 - 6:01pm

I have never looked at it on that granular of a level. But if I have an authoritative document with many inbound links four easy strategies to keep more of the link equity are

  • add more reference links to internal content
  • extend the document and add more internal links
  • remove some external references or replace them with links to internal content (you usually don't want to change the document intent to heavily though)
  • figure out a way to move many of the outbound links to an extended reference page (like breaking the document into pieces, as an example)

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