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Within Site Linking Tips

Site Linking Tips Within Site Linking is the linking which occurs from one page of your website to another page on your site. By using a few strategies you can ensure that your linking is done in the most effective manner possible to gain you search engine rankings. Proper linking will also allow spiders to efficiently spider your site. Links to or from other websites are discussed in the incoming links section.

Ideally, your links should be text links in HTML form. This allows for easy spidering by the search engines and offers anchor text for them to use for ranking.

         Example:
          <a href="blue.html">Blue Flying Widgets</a>

Javascript Links

Javascript is sometimes used when linking to pages within a website. Often this is done to utilize mouse events or drop down menus. If your links are in javascript format, many of the search engines will not be able to follow them. That means those pages you link to may not be included in the search engine results. Google is able to read javascript links provided the javascript is not in an external file. In the future, it is likely that all major search engines will be able to read javascript links, whether located on page or in an external file. However, for today it is best to use plain HTML. If you absolutely want to continue using javascript links, there are ways to ensure that those links are followed by the search engines. The first is to list the links in the noscript tag.

         Example:
          <noscript>Put all of your links in here.</noscript>

The second way to ensure your javascript links will be followed is to include a footer menu which is purely HTML. A final method is to use a sitemap which links to all of your pages with plain HTML. A drawback of just using the sitemap is that the links will appear to be two clicks from the home page. That gives them the appearance of being of less importance. See below for further information about footer menus and sitemaps.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text which a visitor clicks on to move from one page to another. In the link Digital Road Consulting, the anchor text is "Digital Road Consulting". Anchor text is important to all search engines but of critical importance to Google. You want to make sure that you use the keywords you've selected for each page to link to that page. For instance, if your keyword for a certain page is "blue flying widget" you'll want to link to that page using the anchor text "blue flying widget" on every other page. Even though the link with anchor text "blue flying widget" is on another page, it's usually more important to the page it points to for ranking purposes.

Images

Sometimes linking is done with images. For search engine purposes, I recommend against such a design. However, if it makes sense for visitors, by all means use images. Search engines can follow image links just fine. However, your site will not benefit from anchor text which is associated with a text link. In those cases some weight is given to the Alt attribute as a means to interpret anchor text.

         Example:
          <img src="location.jpg" alt="blue flying widget" / >

Sitemap

A sitemap is an effective tool to get pages within your site spidered. This is especially the case if all pages aren't linked to from the home page or your links are in javascript form. A sitemap should include a link to all of the pages found on your website and you should link to it from your home page. Make sure to use keyword rich anchor text for the links in the sitemap. Once you've integrated a sitemap you've ensured that every page on your website is within two clicks of the home page. Pages which are deeper than three clicks from the home page often receive delayed or reduced spidering. Another benefit of a sitemap is that it can be an effective tool for visitors to find their way around your site.

Footer Menu

Footer menus provide an opportunity to add html text links to a page which features non html links as its primary means of navigation. This allows spiders to find the interior pages of your site. It can also be used in conjunction with text navigation to expand the number of important pages your home page points to. As you saw in the sitemap section, pages which are located a shorter number of clicks from the home page are given more weight. However, avoid using the footer to list too many pages. Sites which do this look cluttered and spammy. They sometimes even have a footer menu which is longer than the body copy. Footer menus also provide an excellent opportunity to use your keywords as anchor text.

PageRank

PageRank is Google's measure of a web page's link popularity on a scale of 1 to 10. It is a part of how Google ranks web pages. Pagerank is discussed in more detail in the incoming links section. Using a strategic within site linking structure you can ensure certain pages of your website get a greater share of pagerank. Although not lending to a simple explanation, what you'll want to remember is that generally your home page will have the most pagerank. This is partly due to the fact that external websites will mostly link to the home page. The more pages you link to directly from the home page, the lesser the pagerank passed to any one of those pages. So you want to link from your home page to only your most important pages. Additionally, any pages which are linked to from all of your web pages will receive a greater share of pagerank. Make sure these are important pages for ranking purposes.


One method of linking which is sometimes used by spammers is called hidden links. Hidden links are links that users don't see. For instance a 1 pixel wide by 1 pixel high image might be used as a link. Or the spammer may include a link which is the same color as the background. In either case, a site visitor will not be able to see the link, but a search engine will. This allows pages which are not intended for site visitors, but solely aimed at search engine spiders for ranking purposes, to get spidered. Once discovered by a search engine, using hidden links may lead to your website being penalized or completely removed from the listings.

When optimizing your website for search engine rankings be sure to consider these within site linking issues. They can keep a page from being ranked in the search engines or can be the difference in a page moving up the rankings. Be sure to check out the on page optimizing, site architecture and incoming links sections for more tips on getting your website to start ranking higher in the search engines.