One of the fundamentals for constructing a website with SEO in mind is ensuring that all of the pages for the site are accessible to both the site’s visitors and the search engines in as concise a path as possible. Internal link structure is an important factor in determining a site’s performance in the search engine results pages. The faster a search spider can access all of your pages mitigates server latency and will make sure your most important pages are served in search results. Also, by linking explicitly to all of your top level, category and service level pages, you are alerting the search engines to their relative importance on the site.
If using less SEO friendly coding elements is something you just can not avoid (because of CMS constraints or the website architecture is not conducive to coding manipulation), web developers can always make certain that their site’s pages are also accessible via the internal, html sitemap page, the external XML Sitemap pages and footer navigation.
If you want to analyze the internal links on your site, Google Webmaster Tools has a section that will let you view how it sees these links and how many other links from your site are pointing to them. From the Webmaster Tools dashboard go to: Your site on the web>>Internal links. This will list the pages on your site (listed underneath the “Target Pages” column”), along with the associated count of links Google has found to be pointing to them:
In past blogs, we have talked about how important it is to get other websites to link to your site and the benefits associated with this. When focusing on your linking strategy it is also important not to neglect your internal linking structure. An internal link is hyperlinked text that points to a different section of the page you are viewing, or more commonly to a different page on your site. The most common internal links are found in the main navigation of a website and throughout the body text of the pages.
If your page keyword targeting and the anchor text of the links pointing to those pages don’t coincide, now might be a good time to revisit and make the anchor text reflect the page keyword targeting. When you optimize a page for a certain keyword, the links from your site pointing to that page should reflect the same keyword theme. The first places to consider a change are in the main and footer navigation. Use keyword rich text in these areas to give extra weight to the targeted page. Instead of just using the word “Services” in your navigation, you should use a term that is more keyword targeted such as “Internet Marketing Services” or “Banking Services”.
Another place to use keyword rich anchor text is within the text of your website when you want to direct a user to another page with more information. Many times we will see that a website uses the hyperlinked text, “click here” or “learn more” to lead a user to a page with more information. These terms are great if the page you are leading them to is optimized for “click here” or learn more”. In most cases there is a better phrase to use. When leading a user to a services page, use the main keyword phrase of the targeted page as the hyperlinked anchor text. Example:
Please see our Internet Marketing Services page for more information.
In this example the page that the hyperlink is pointing to is about “Internet Marketing Services”.
When using anchor text to point to other pages, it is important to use different versions of the text to point to the page. This will allow you to target more keywords and not make it so repetitious for the user. It is important to note that when varying your anchor text, you should use keywords of the same theme. So for our above example, other beneficial keywords to use for anchor text would be “Online Marketing Services”, or” Web Marketing Services”. While online press releases might be a product of “Internet Marketing Services” it would not be good anchor text because it does not describe the whole theme of the page but rather one point within the theme.