Internal Linking: Thinking Inside The Box

As a website owner, you’ve thought about the ways that incoming links affect your ranking in the search engines. But have you considered how your own internal links might give you a boost? Wayne Hurlbert explains this often-overlooked potential source of popularity.

When website owners think of linking, they are usually referring to inbound links from external websites. While adding more incoming links from pages in external sites is very important, it’s very easy to forget the internal linkage factors at work in your own site.

The site’s incoming links provide Google PageRank to the receiving Web page. The inbound links boost both the page itself and help the site  receive an additional link popularity boost overall. The links received from external sources are only part of the overall linking program for a website.

Some very important link popularity increases will arise directly from a website’s internal linkage system. In fact, some improvements in the site linking and navigation can give a site a major boost in the search engines. This very important optimization technique is often ignored by link-seeking website owners.

Think inside the box: check over how the internal linking of the site is working – or not working – on your website’s behalf. It’s not a complicated procedure, but it can pay large dividends in better search engine rankings and stronger sales of products and services.

The revenue increase will result from the site becoming easier to navigate, to the benefit of the site’s visitor traffic. If a site is difficult to move around, the potential customer will simply leave, and seek out a site that provides better usability.

Several factors require examination for improving a website’s internal linking system. As a starting point, every website needs a good, easy to navigate site map. The site should also have menus that are easy to read, understand, and use, to enable the visitor to get to where she wants to travel within the site. If flash menu buttons are used, additional html links should be included as a precaution against possible search engine spider omissions.

Footer links, while not the most powerful of navigational tools, will help provide additional links to the site’s pages. The various clickable links should contain keyword link anchor text relevant to the receiving Web page, to emphasize the page’s theme for the search engines.

By setting up a solid easy to use internal linking system, with proper use of keyword anchor text, a site will gain higher placements in the search engines. The improved usability will result in much stronger online sales because of the ease of site navigation for the potential customers and clients.

While gaining incoming links complete with keyword laden anchor text from outside sources is important, a website owner should not neglect a site’s internal linking structure.

By judicious use of targeted keywords in a site’s internal links, more theme relevance can be given to the receiving page. By strengthening a page’s theme in the eyes of the search engines, higher search rankings can be obtained.

Through the use of a well designed site map, properly linked site menus, and good page footers, a site’s keyword density and themes can be consolidated into a better overall search engine package.

While gaining benefits from the search engines, a properly linked site aids the users of the site as well. Better site navigation helps visitors find the desired information, resulting in longer website stays. As a result, more opportunities for conversion from visitor to paying customer are created.

A proper internal site link structure assists a site in both the search engine rankings and in overall website based sales.

It’s time to redesign your site’s internal linking structure and improve the existing link anchor text to better target your most important keyword phrases for each linked page.

It pays dividends in more ways than one.

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