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Internal Linking Question


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8 replies to this topic

#1 digitalrain

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 12:50 PM

Ok, this may be a dumb question but I'm going through a site trying to improve its internal
linking structure. I have one page that specifically deals with a topic. It is the *only* page
on the site that deals with that topic. On the page, search terms that incorporate the topic
name occur with some frequency.

My question is - if I make those occurrences text links (which I want to do), do I make the
links on that page link back to itself since it is the only page relevant to that topic or do not?

Thanks,

C

#2 qwerty

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:10 PM

I don't believe that will help you in any way. It certainly won't benefit people reading the page. They'll see the links, think they mean that there's more information available on the topic they're reading about, click them and find that they've gone back to the beginning of the page they're already on.

#3 Jill

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:33 PM

Agree with Qwerty. Curious as to why you are even considering doing such a thing. Sounds like you may have read some bad information somewhere.

#4 digitalrain

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:45 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Mar 4 2011, 01:33 PM) View Post
Agree with Qwerty. Curious as to why you are even considering doing such a thing. Sounds like you may have read some bad information somewhere.


Well, I haven't done purely SEO contract work in awhile, so I was brushing up and came across a few articles,
forum posts, etc... that talked about self-referencing links and it got me wondering how viable it was, if at all.


#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 02:05 PM

Link-centric SEO has just taken a major hit. I wouldn't think in these terms. Pretty much most SEO advice is going to be suspect for the next month or two as we sort out what should work, what should entail risk, and what should be avoided completely. The rules have changed with the last three major updates (late January, early February, and late February) and I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who think the search environment is still working as expected for them are going to gradually feel the drop in temperature.

There are certain fundamental principles that remain unchanged:
  • You want to publish content that other people feel is useful, helpful, informative, or entertaining
  • You want to use a Website URL naming convention that is easy and helpful
  • You want to allow the crawlers to move freely through your site to discover the content
  • You want to create visibility for your site in places where people are likely to see the references

That doesn't mean you want to go out and grab a bunch of links. It means your Website is your precious baby and you want to give it all the love and nourishment you possibly can. It's fragile, delicate, and sensitive. Treating it like a block of wood you can just lob around with blog and forum links, reciprocal links, self-regurgitating links, etc. is a bad approach.

Treat a Website with the respect you want other people to show to it, regardless of whose site it is.

#6 clandestino

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:27 PM

Everyone agrees that links are very important and links with anchor text are even more important to Google rankings. Google wants to take advice from independent 3rd parties as to whether your site, or page, is relevant to the search being conducted. They believe that if a 3rd party links to your site with the anchor text of "Dog Food", there is a high probability that your site is about "Dog Food". Other signals will help Google confirm this such as Title Tag, Description Tag, On Page Content, the existence of Related Keywords and Internal Links.

Everyone also agree that Internal Links have an effect on rankings, probably because of the reasons that Michael Martinez sites in this thread -- Google is betting that you have an interest in creating the most effective site possible so you won't promote off topic keywords. Most people won't try to rank for "Dog Food" when their site is about "Penguins". Hence Google will make a bet that you're for real if they don't have any better options and especially if the rest of your site is about keywords that are related to "Dog Food". Since Google relies on Internal Links, Inbound Links and their anchor text; it is possible to rank for "Dog Food" when your site is about "Penguins" (depending on competition for that keyword) if you produce enough Inbound and Internal links with that anchor text and the Meta Tags & Content on the page support it. The problem with doing that is that when a visitor shows up and figures out that you're really about Penguins, you will be unlikely to convert that visitor to a sale or the desired action. It's kind of like showing up at a meeting about a business opportunity and finding out it's about Amway, LOL! Since doing everything I just described is an incredible amount of work, it would make a lot more sense to put in the same amount of time building Links, Meta Tags & Content for products and their related keywords that are relevant to the theme of your website; you will get a dramatically better payoff for your hard work.

So back to the point of your question -- Internal Links are important for ranking and many people use them to make it clear to Google and their users what their site is about and how to find the information that they seek. In your example, I would suggest that the best way to create Internal Links that support your SEO Blueprint would be to create a page of content that uses the keywords that are important to your page (the target page) and link to your page (target) using those keywords for anchor text. Then I would link from your page to the next level up, let's say Category Page, using anchor text relevant to the Category Page, then I would link to the Homepage using anchor text which would include your broadest theme level keywords. So the progression would be -- very long tail, product specific with modifiers ---> long tail, product specific ---> broader more generic ---> very broad and hard to rank for keywords. So in my example it might be "fat free Purina dog food" ---> "Purina dog food" ---> "dog food" ---> "dog supplies".

If your topic doesn't fit within the overall theme of the site, "Dog Supplies" in this example, I wouldn't include it. It will just drain the relevancy of your site for little gain. Remember, Googlebot's not that bright and is easily confused. If he has to wonder if this site is about "Dogs" or "Penguins", he'll go somewhere else where he doesn't have to work so hard. It's kind of like writing an essay in English class -- if it flows to a logical conclusion, one part building on the next, people will understand what you mean and be more likely to be influenced by what you have written. Same with SEO.

If your "one lone topic" you want to add is about "Dog Diseases", you may want to consider having another site about that topic. The other way to go would be to broaden your theme to "Dogs" so both "Dog Diseases" and "Dog Food" fit within that theme. The problem with this approach is your site can become so broad and big that it's difficult to rank at the level of detail that you will need it to. Moreover, you will dramatically increase the amount of work needed to rank your site.

Solving these problems is part science, part art and many, many hours of trial and error on many different sites. If you don't have this kind of experience, you may want to find someone to get advice from that you can trust and has that level of experience.

One more point as long as I'm going into this level of detail. It takes a lot to rank on the first page of Google for a term like "Dogs" and you'll never be able to do it unless you follow this kind of approach. Trying to rank for "Dogs" by doing all of your SEO on the Homepage won't work. Even with all of the steps I covered here it will be hard and take a long time and you still might not be able to do it. For some keywords like "Cars", I wouldn't even try unless I had a multi-million $ budget spread across several different channels to include the traditional and expensive methods of advertising. superman.gif

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:06 PM

A digression....

QUOTE(ChuckFinley @ Mar 14 2011, 09:27 PM) View Post
Everyone agrees that links are very important and links with anchor text are even more important to Google rankings....


I don't agree with that statement as you put it.

SEOs have placed far more importance on links than Google through the years.

That links could be so leveraged by the SEO community (and others) that they directly affected Google's SERPs is not disputable -- that they ever had to be leveraged on such scale is questionable. There were always plenty of ways to rank well in Google's search results without links.



#8 clandestino

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:29 AM

That's an interesting perspective, if I understand you correctly -- you're saying that SEO's went overboard with links and have locked themselves into a never ending battle to find links as a result? That is true and I'm sure Google never intended it to come to this.

You're also right about other ways to rank well. I have seen sites structured as I described above rank very well with few links, so it is possible. A good example was a site with 200 -- 300 inbound links (based on Yahoo! Site Explorer) and they had 2,500 keywords on the first page of Google.

A site will rank better with well planned internal links and a well thought out program for inbound links, though.


QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Mar 15 2011, 11:06 AM) View Post
A digression....
I don't agree with that statement as you put it.

SEOs have placed far more importance on links than Google through the years.

That links could be so leveraged by the SEO community (and others) that they directly affected Google's SERPs is not disputable -- that they ever had to be leveraged on such scale is questionable. There were always plenty of ways to rank well in Google's search results without links.



#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE(ChuckFinley @ Apr 20 2011, 12:29 AM) View Post
That's an interesting perspective, if I understand you correctly -- you're saying that SEO's went overboard with links and have locked themselves into a never ending battle to find links as a result? That is true and I'm sure Google never intended it to come to this.

You're also right about other ways to rank well. I have seen sites structured as I described above rank very well with few links, so it is possible. A good example was a site with 200 -- 300 inbound links (based on Yahoo! Site Explorer) and they had 2,500 keywords on the first page of Google.

A site will rank better with well planned internal links and a well thought out program for inbound links, though.


Sure. Absolutely. But most people in our industry seem to be trapped on a merry-go-round of link-based metrics, strategies, and tactics that produce diminishing results. The Law of Diminishing Returns applies to links just as much as it applies to anything else.




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