Search Engine Optimization : Linking Structure
Your web pages anchor text and structure is one of the MOST important aspects of SEO, for two big reasons. The first is for the web site visitor. If your site is tough to navigate and/or confusing, you will lose visitors. The second reason is that many of the search engines not only give the linking (anchor) text a lot of weight, but good navigation helps their indexing robots or “spiders”. If the robots get stuck or have no where to go, they will stop indexing.
So let’s begin with static text links.
Here’s an example:
<A href=”myPage.html”>My Link Text</A>
This is basic enough. Now you should again add your keyword phrase inside the anchor text linking to a RELEVANT web page.
Here is a good example:
<A href=”/seo/seo-tools.html”>browse through our large selection of SEO tools</A>
Note that the link text, AS WELL AS THE DIRECTORY (named SEO) AND THE PAGE NAME it is linking to, have the keyword phrase. This will help your SEO greatly. If you search for anything on Google, you will notice that the key search terms (if present in the url) are highlighted as well as the key terms “striped” from the URL’s body content. This says to me that naming your links with the key terms for THAT web page is important. I would suggest adding your keyword/phrase 3-5 times in the link text (with 15-25 INBOUND links present). In other words, 1 time for every 5 links.
Now let’s take a look at a good way to implement the links into your body text.
<H1>Since 1987, Search Engine Optimization Inc. has been the foremost provider of SEO Tools</H1>
<P>Search Engine Optimization Inc. has been developing SEO software and tools for webmasters around the world. Founder John Schmit who… Please <A href=”/seo/seo-tools.html”>browse through our large selection of SEO tools</A></P>
Note that the text link is now embedded inside a readable paragraph but DOES NOT take the place of the other key terms in the paragraph text. SE’s like this. We will still need a “menu” for navigation that will contain some of the same links.
I will now be covering good navigation for both your visitors and search engine robots.
Every “important” page on your site should link to every “important” page on your site. Here is what I mean. First, “important” refers to pages (for example) that DO NOT include “thank you pages” after making a purchase or submitting a form. Pages like this have one purpose so you wouldn’t want to link directly to them (but link FROM them for your visitors). If every important page on your web site follows this, the search engine robots will have no trouble indexing your site.
This diagram shows you good linking structure:
A static link (text) menu is important and is easy to build. It can be a basic as the links shown at the bottom of this page.
Another very important tool is the “Site Map”. Every medium to large site should have one. A site map is a page that contains every “important” link to your site. Make sure the layout “makes sense”. This allows your visitors to find what they want easily, and search engine robots will eat them up. I would add a link to your site map on every page on your web site. You can build a “fancy” looking site map, that is search engine friendly. Only the users see it as fancy, but to the search robots, it is just static links. Build your site map now.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Search engines are RELUCTANT to index dynamic pages with query strings. Dynamic pages are WRITTEN to the browser using scripts like ASP, CGI etc. Query string contain special characters like “?”, “&” and “=”, which are read by the these scripts. SE’s are reluctant, but DO index them SLOWLY. They do not want their robots to get trapped and crash. But once they index one dynamic page and things go smoothly, they will index more, but still in a conscious manner. If you must use dynamic pages, then create static links to these web pages for the robots to follow. And try to keep the query strings short.
Here is an example of a static link to a dynamic web page:
<A href=”dynamicPage.asp?id=12&Resource=QueryString”>My Link Text</A>