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Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about interlinking and what is the best approach to take when interlinking your website pages. This is a great discussion and so earlier this year I thought that I would share some interlinking tips that you might find useful. In the past, I’ve discussed interlinking benefits for B2B websites, but really interlinking is something that all site owners should take seriously. I have reproduced my post on five keys for interlinking success below.
Before we dive right into the tips though, let’s make sure that we are on the same page when we refer to interlinking. Interlinking as it is being referred to here is simply the process of linking from one of your website pages to another of your own website pages. The purpose of interlinking at the heart of it all is really in terms of navigation, to take the user from one page to another relevant page. So as an example, if you are a website that sells hockey skates, you might have a page on how to properly tie your hockey skates, it then makes sense to link to a page about skate laces. Relevancy is a key factor when it comes to interlinking.
Of course there are those out there who are going to tell you that interlinking has to be a complex web sculpted in such a manner to maximize the linking that is taking place… blah, blah, blah. We are not going to get into things like PageRank sculpting and such. I, personally, have never been entirely sold on the whole PageRank sculpting thing anyway. Interlinking does not have to be complicated to be successful, it just has to make sense. The following tips can help you make sense of your interlinking strategy and the means to which you effectively interlink your site’s pages.
5 Keys to Interlinking Success
Take Inventory of Your Web Pages – the first thing that you need to do before you even start interlinking is to take an inventory of your site pages. This becomes difficult for all of you large dynamic site owners out there, but really you should have some sort of idea as to the size and structure of your site. If you do not, you may have made some mistakes with your site redesign. Regardless, taking inventory of your site’s page is a good first step in planning your interlinking strategy. In fact, taking inventory of your site pages is a necessary step when planning your interlinking strategy.
Determine Areas of Strength & Areas for Improvement – evaluate your current internal linking structure. This is important to determine which areas of your site are currently well interlinked and which areas are not. Again, let’s keep it simple, no need to complicate things here.
Map Out Your Interlinking Ideas - once you have taken inventory of your webpages and you have determined which areas of your site need some help, you can map out an initial plan for interlinking your site pages. Is there a section of your site that the focus needs to be on? Or perhaps there are certain product pages that require some lift? Wherever the issue, mapping out a few interlinking scenarios can help illustrate where you can get the best bang for your buck when it comes to interlinking your site.
Leverage Proper Tools – there are a number of free and inexpensive tools that can be of great assistance when evaluating your current internal linking structure. For starters I recommend using Google Webmaster Tools. This is a great tool for performing link analysis (both internal and external). Be prepared to review your internal links regularly with GWT. Want to check for broken links, use tools such as XENU to determine where you need to tidy up and update some of your existing links. Another tool that can come in quite handy is SEOmoz’s LinkScape tool. While, we’re not big fans of MozRank and such, this tool can be used to gain some insight into your own interlinking status as well as that of your competition.
Remember the things that make a “good link” a “good link” – As a reminder, link quality is what we are all looking for. A quality link from an SEO perspective is one that comes from a relevant page that features relevant keywords in the page title, in the linking text (anchor text) and in the page copy from the page that is linking. When interlinking your own site pages, keep this in mind so that you can improve the quality of your interlinking practices.
Interlinking is an important part of optimizing your website, not just for search engines, but for your site visitors. A link is like a teleportation device that can take your user from page A to page B with but a simple click. Make that click meaningful. Planning and mapping out an interlinking strategy can provide your site visitors with a cleaner and more efficient site experience.