Internal linking strategy

by Gary on November 19, 2006 · 14 comments

in Link Strategies,SEO

Internal linking

Many sites I come across use a ball internal linking structure which leads to each page getting an even share of internal PR:

Ball link structure

When conducting SEO for sites that have multiple main areas of business, I try and build a multi-pyramid internal linking structure. This distributes the PR as I wish, and gives a level of control as to which of my pages appears in the SERPs.

Here is the linking structure I use in this instance:

Pyramid link structure

If I wish to give the home page a boost, then I give each page a tunnel home as in the diagram below:

Pyramid with home tunnelslinkibg structure

This strategy has really worked for me. Further details on dynamic linking.

Comments, suggestions for improvement are most welcome.

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  • Joost de Valk

    Hi Gary, this looks pretty solid, if i were you, i’d interlink the pages on the same level as well…

  • Gary

    Joost, I believe you are right and that could be the best way in some instances. It certainly would if you wanted to keep some of the PR in the lower pages.

  • Joost de Valk

    Some random linking might help as well, from the more top level pages deeper down into your site. So from level 1 to 4 for instance, while making sure most of the links are in a regular pattern, this might make sure you have decent PR all around.

  • Arnie SEO Company

    Joost – I agree with the random linking. We do quite a bit of that. I believe what the search engines want to see is easy navigation from one page to another that is in the body of the page — not the nav bar.

  • Gary

    I am all for this type of linking it’s a fact that linking to a page about red widgets with the text “red widgets” lets the search engines know what the page is about, hopefully, yep red widgets.

    But for this type of linking i usually use a nofollow attribute, as I do not necessarily want to also pass PR.

    My internal linking strategies usually involve only passing PR upwards in the hierarchy of pages, as I target the more competitive key phrases here. The pages at the bottom are usually kept for my less competitive keywords, and therefore only need a lower PR.

  • Joost de Valk

    Interlinking the pages lower in the hierarchy can ensure that all of them get crawled though :)

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  • Mike

    Let’s say you have a site architecture similar to the one in the second diagram above. The designer puts in css drop down menus (using li and a href tags) which makes essentially everypage link to every other page via the navigation include. Is this bad? Should you just link to those second tier pages instead. What about the navigation on the third tier pages, should those have links to each of the second tiers, plus the homepage?

    • Gary

      Hi Mike,

      Have a look at this site http://www.doublespark-seo.co.uk you will see all links on the home page/menu have a no-follow on them other than the sitemap, ensuring the search engines are taken directly to and only to the sitemap. The sitemap has a no-follow on all apges other than the home page. I then link every page back to its parent (via the breadcrumb menu) and sometimes every other page within that section. Where I feel necessary/benificial I link randomly to other pages within the section. If I want to give the user a link but not the search engines, then I do so but use a javascript link.

      On a mult-tier site this enables me to pass link juice upwards only firstly to the main section pages and then on to the home page. This allows me to target the hardest keyphrases on the home page, the next hardest on the main section pages, and the least hardest on the lower pages. I then use the blog to target the long tail keywords.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Gary.

      • Joost de Valk

        I hate nofollowing internal links, don’t you think it looks shabby??

        • Gary

          Hi Joost,

          Maybe and maybe not.

          I use nofolloow on my blog posts as I believe I would pass on too much PR where I do not necessarily want to. I wish there was a plugin that allowed you to auto nofollow links but with a manual bypass if wanted. I have also split the top commentators so that the top have pass PR, and of course I pass PR to my friends.

          On commercial sites, the user rarely realises there are nofollows in place, and if it helps SERP performance, then that is the way to go for me.

          Cheers, Gary.

          • Joost de Valk

            How would you feel if someone has written a lot of stuff, and says “well this isn’t worth much attention” and the stuff he points to that should be worthy of your attention is not really much more than a bunch of links? Exactly…

            If you can think like that, an algorithm can too… I think you’re a bit too obsessed with PR, and you should just make sure your internal site structure is good, and NOT nofollow internal links…

          • Gary

            “How would you feel if someone has written a lot of stuff, and says “well this isn’t worth much attention” and the stuff he points to that should be worthy of your attention is not really much more than a bunch of links? Exactly…”

            Sorry Joost I am not sure what you mean by that.

            “If you can think like that, an algorithm can too… I think you’re a bit too obsessed with PR, and you should just make sure your internal site structure is good, and NOT nofollow internal links…”

            I take your point but I am not so bothered about PR for pages, although I did not explain what I was trying say as best I might have. I believe I use good internal site structures, but use nofollow to enhance it.

            My main reason for using them is to pass reputation where I want it ie a page on “web design” has links to it they say “web design” and is grouped with other pages relating to “web design”. I would then do the same for a section about say “Web Hosting”. I rather this linking of simialr content, than just one big ball structure that Brian was referring to.

            I am not saying that there are not better strategies, but I have been using this strategy on my client sites for some time now, with good results.

  • SEO Carly

    I always try and use diagram 3, with all pages having a link to home. This isn’t just for the bots but for a userbility standpoint as well.

    I really hate browsing a few levels deep in a site and having no 1 click option to get back to the home page.

    Internal Nofollow is very handy if used correctly regardless of PR. I don’t want my crawl budget blown having thousands of forum/calendar.php pages crawled/indexed that have essentially no worth.

    Likewise with multiple copies of the same page, ie archive, print versions etc. It blows crawl budget, creates duplicate and i could end up with the print version higher in the serp’s then the regular version.

    So a liberal and well planned use of the Nofollow internally can be very beneficial.