Developing an interlinking strategy is a key piece of optimizing your web properties. Quite often many site owners do not take the time to properly plan their interlinking strategy. The process outlined below is designed to provide some insight as to how you should proceed when establishing your interlinking strategy. While this process can be modified according to how advanced your current interlinking strategy is, if anything else, establishing a process will at least ensure that interlinking is a line item as part of your overall optimization strategy.
- Take inventory of your site pages – you need to have an idea of what you have to work with when it comes to interlinking.
- Evaluate Current Internal Link inventory – using tools such as Google Webmaster Tools http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools, can provide great insight into how your site is currently being interlinked.
• Identify key pages to link from (i.e. donor pages)
• Identify key pages to link to (i.e. recipient pages)
• Identify current broken link inventory using tools such as XENU
- Keyword Research/Anchor Text – become educated on which keywords you want to incorporate into the anchor text of your links.
- Determine Link Type Usage - determine which types of links will best suit the needs of your audience factoring in SEO benefit as well.
• Text links from within page copy
• Top Navigation links
• Sitemap links
• Sidebar navigation links
• Footer links
• Image Links
- Identify Engagement - which areas of the site are users frequenting the most? Which areas of the site are the highest converting? Use data from your site’s analytics and internal site search to identify user engagement.
- Develop an Interlinking Map – Create a visual representation of how you want to interlink your site pages. Quite often this is based on content silos or your site hierarchy.
- Establish Interlinking Requirements – based on interlinking best practices for SEO and usability.
- Finalize Interlinking Map – this identifies the approach that you will be using for interlinking your web properties.
- Implementation - roll out Interlinking Strategy
- Monitor - monitor internal links through tools such as your analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.