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Internal Link Building Question


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7 replies to this topic

#1 alohame

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:36 AM

Hi There,

I am building an e-commerce site that has around 1.500 products. Due to nature of products, pretty much all products appearing in around 30 to 40 categories. As a result one product is getting 30 to 40 internal links. Is this right way of doing internal link building? With cross sell function these links will increase dramatically.

I am also thinking to link from product pages to the category pages. We have around 100 categories and If I link to average 4 categories from a single product page, Is this right way of doing internal link building?(there is a cross sell function on the product page as well which links to 4 other products)

My other question is:

My understanding correct me if I am wrong is that; every page must have equal number of links (more less). Is this correct? Does it matter if one page has more incoming internal links than another? How about home page. Do I have do carry out similar amount of linking to the home page also?


I would be grateful if someone put me in the right direction?

Many Thanks

Edited by ali0303, 25 July 2009 - 10:48 AM.


#2 qwerty

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 11:48 AM

When it comes to internal linking, the first thing to think about is making things easy and intuitive for users. Don't ever let your desire to improve search engine rankings get in the way of that.

No, you don't need to have the same number of internal links for each page. What you need is a consistent, easy to understand internal navigation structure. After you've set that up, you can think about what you can do to boost particular pages, as long as it doesn't mess with the structure you've built.

#3 mal4mac

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 06:37 AM

QUOTE(qwerty @ Jul 25 2009, 12:48 PM) View Post
When it comes to internal linking, the first thing to think about is making things easy and intuitive for users. Don't ever let your desire to improve search engine rankings get in the way of that.


But it's often difficult to know if adding links makes things better for users or not. You would have to do full scale usability studies to find out. And who has the time for that? If you think adding links will improve SEO try it - as long as its doesn't *obviously* make the user experience worse.


#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:51 PM

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself how much the number of links on a page overwhelms the user. You can start out with a good design and then add so many links to a basic template that the content gets lost in the linking. That's one of the reasons why I advocate periodically redesigning Web sites.

Another good rule of thumb is to point as many internal links at your content as possible -- up to some reasonable threshold. That threshold, in my opinion, is determined in part by when aesthetics and in part by when usability are adversely affected.

If you can get 3 links to a page from different parts of a site, you're doing okay.

If you can get 5-10 links to a page from different parts of a site, you're doing okay.

But if the categorization of products is generating 30-40 links per product, I would have to ask how many links per page that produces. If there are only 3-10 products per category you may be okay. If there are dozens (or hundreds) of products per category then maybe it's time to look for a more user-friendly linking structure.

The average human can only manage to "think" about 10-12 items in a list at any given time. If you must put 100 links on a page, it's imperative that you break them up visually into groups. Otherwise user comprehension declines rapidly.

For SEO, the more content pages a site has, the more flexibility it CAN (and should, in my opinion) have in building its internal linking.

#5 mal4mac

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:21 AM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Jul 27 2009, 01:51 PM) View Post
The average human can only manage to "think" about 10-12 items in a list at any given time. If you must put 100 links on a page, it's imperative that you break them up visually into groups. Otherwise user comprehension declines rapidly.

For SEO, the more content pages a site has, the more flexibility it CAN (and should, in my opinion) have in building its internal linking.


I think 10-12 is rather optimistic. The psychologist George Miller produced a paper suggesting the limit was 5-9. There are cases where breaking into groups is not needed. For instance, book indexes.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 01:24 PM

Heh!

Usually people who challenge my numbers claim the real tolerance level is higher! searchme.gif

I base the 10-12 limit on usability testing I did in the 1990s when designing user interfaces for data entry systems. My test subjects complained when I filled the screen up with buttons and options and the complaining dropped off when I knocked the options down to the 10-12 range.

Your mileage may vary.

But thanks for the reference. I'll have to look it up and share with my design team.


#7 mal4mac

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 05:58 AM

My numbers are based on a classic paper:

http://en.wikipedia....us_or_Minus_Two

Your figures are interesting though (given that they are based on experiments!) Perhaps they reflect that screen items are "always there".

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 01:56 AM

You can read the exact paper here (it is a PDF file). The thesis is concerned with making absolute judgements in comparative memory, which is not the same thing as comprehending multiple objects (and associating value with them).

You are right that having the items on the screen in an "always there" state alters the conditions of the test, although I would say that there is still a streaming aspect to the evaluative process. However, keeping the items on the screen allows the user to move back and forth within the stream. It's just that the complexity of the stream quickly grows beyond normal human capacity to make sense of it.

Most tutorials on writing pitch letters, for example, suggest you present 3 to 5 bullet points.

Most multiple choice tests also seem to follow the 3 or 5 rule.

It seems that the human mind can keep about 5 complex pieces of information in an organized state at a time, but beyond that it needs to move back and forth within the stream (in an orderly fashion).

My tests were focused on how many navigational points I could fit onto a data entry screen -- buttons for the most part, each of which resulted in a specific choice or action.

I'm sure the call for making text scannable by highlighting important points is related to these limits. Scannable text is usually presented in a linear format, even though it may be organized in a tabular matrix. That is, we expect to read things in a certain order so we either go top to bottom, left to right or we go left to right, top to bottom. Some cultures read from right to left but I'm not aware of any that start at the bottom and work their ways up.





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