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Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Power of Internal Link building

I'm sure a lot of you have noticed how I always place internal links all over my website. Sometimes, Link building is not all about building backlinks. Internal links are links which are found on your website and link to other pages on your site. Backlinks or Inbound links on the other hand, are links from other websites linking back to your site, you get these from directory submissions (One of the places I always suggest to submit to is DMOZ Nigeria, Internet section, or just the general DMOZ, although its not what it used to be, its still free) and link exchanges. Outbound or External links are links from your website to other websites, like this. It took me weeks to get my head around all these types of links! Sometimes I still get confused! But anyway, I'm going to talk about the power of internal links and how it helps a website or blog.

Usually, when a website is indexed for the first time, the search engines only register the home page, then in time the inner pages of the website gets added. Based on this, a lot of web designers/developers would create links to all the inner web pages on that first page to get it indexed by the search engines; this is not a bad thing, technically. However, it depends on the type of website, that is, an e-commerce website, a static website or a weblog. If it is a simple static website, which doesn't have much content or changes, that's fine, after all, the site would most likely have about 5-10 pages. However, if you're dealing with an e-commerce website or blog with content added regularly, you might have to rethink your strategy of putting all your pages on the front page. This is where categorizing your content and putting the main pages on your home page works a great deal. The process of 'sculpturing' your website in such a way to balance the architecture and hierarchy of your web pages is known as Page Sculpturing. The concept is a lot more complicated than this because it links into Google's Page Rank algorithm, but frankly, I think that's getting too technical so I'll save that for another day. The bottom line is you need to structure your website in a way that you put your best foot forward. Best foot in this case would be your best web pages which then act as a gateway to your inner pages. Think Accessibility Usability - how will people navigate your website?

Now back to Internal Links. The way I use internal links relates to three main points (there could be others):
  • User Experience, 
  • Link Juice and 
  • Keyword Anchor Text.
User Experience: This post is about Internal link building. A new visitor could come to my blog, see this post first and might get a bit confused about link building concept. Instead of confusing them further, I give them information to help their foundation so they don't just leave my site. Since I've talked about my definition of Link building in earlier posts I link to it. Hopefully, they'll be curious enough to click on it, read the post and come back to this post to read it again and Volia! it makes better sense and I possibly, I have a new visitor who would come around more. Maybe one day this visitor would mention my post somewhere... (hint hint).

Link Juice: Okay, this is a little more complicated. Every webpage has link juice which it can distribute to other links found on it's page, once again this is related to Page Ranking. This is one of the reasons why you shouldn't have too many links on one page; Let's say a page has link juice of 50, with 10 links on that page, the link juice passed on to the other pages = 50/10 = 5 link juice count. The more links you have on a page, the less link juice is passed on to those pages. When your link juice flows through to different pages on your website it helps your Search Engine Rank Position. It also makes it easier for crawlers to crawl your website and index your inner pages better and faster. Now the algorithm to calculate link juice is more complicated than that once again but you get the gist.

Keyword Anchor Text: This is something I recently discovered and it's really useful. My blog is related to SEO for Nigerian content, so when I mention SEO Blog Nigeria, I link my home page (or any page which is related to that phrase) and this helps me rank better for that particular key phrase. However, it should be relevant to your website, else it might not work. If you still do it anyway, that's a 'black hat SEO trick' and there's a penalty for it if you get caught.

Internal link building is only part of the SEO process but it goes a long way overtime; especially if it's a habit you pick up and stick with whenever you blog. If you haven't got much of an Internal linking structure in place, its never too late to implement it.

As usual please share your opinions on internal link building, do you think it's overrated or overdone? I've also raised a discussion on my fan page to find out what you guys think my next posts should be on. I would love to hear from you guys so please drop a line or two here http://bit.ly/cTTqm7.

For further reading on Internal Linking visit:

If you've come across any other post related to Internal Linking building drop me an email or a comment and I'll add it to this link.
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