Sunday, 27 September 2009

Internal Dynamic Linking

In my previous post about How Search Engines work, I explained that search engines used the anchor texts in links to your page to help them decide what your page is about. The theory is that the anchor text summarizes what topic the page being linked to is talking about.

The easiest way to help the bot understand what your pages are about is for you to use internal linking. This helps the spiders crawl your site, especially if all the pages are linked to each other. Internal linking also helps your readers - they can easily go from one page to another simply by clicking your internal links and thus get to read all the relevant pages on your site.

There's another benefit. The search engines do count internal links, especially machine-turned search engines such as Yahoo (Google being a hand-built engine is slightly more difficult to rank for, but even Google will pay attention to internal linking). If you gain sufficient internal links to your pages, you start to rank for those terms on Yahoo. Don't turn your nose up at ranking on Yahoo. Plenty of people use it - indeed the more search engines that find your material the better, because you don't want to exclude any demograhic from the benefit of reading your articles.

One way of adding useful internal links is simply to link to other pages in the body of your post if those pages are relevant, and use an anchor text that summarizes that page (usually a keyword you want that page to rank for). So at the start of this article, I referred to my previous article, and I linked to it, anchoring it on a set of keywords that summarized that article. That way a reader wishing to go to that article can do so (and the anchor should tell them what it is about) and a bot wishing to look at that article can also simply follow the link.

Another way of adding internal links is to put a list of related posts at the bottom of your article, each of which is anchored on the title of that article.

You can also create a directory of your articles in your sidebar. If you have a static website, a directory of links on the home page is vital - that's how users will navigate the site, and also how the bots will find your material. Always make things as easy as you can for your readers, and you find you make things easy for the search engines too.

Bloggers sometime list their "best posts" in their side bar. A side effect of having permanent links in your sidebar to your best posts is that everytime you create a new blog post, it will have these sidebar links - thus the internal backlinks to the posts listed in your sidebar will mushroom, and these "best posts" will start to gain authority. Next, ensure that these "best posts" have related links to other pages on your blog, so that readers clicking on them can follow through to other material and bots can do the same.

Instead of a "best posts" system, you can also use a "summary post" system. This is what I've chosen to do on this blog, so my sidebar contains a post on How to optimise your website for search engines, which contains links to all the blog posts that deal with search engines, and I also list other summary pages which deal with other aspects of making money online, so readers can access all of the lessons simply by using the sidebar.

Finally, when using "Blogger" in the formatting section under "Settings" I always have the "show links field" set to "yes". This then creates a link under the Title field for each blog post. I put my blog url in this field, so every single blog title is pointing to my main blog homepage. When I come to build external backlinks for the blog, I won't be building them to the home page but to individual posts. Therefore using the title of each post to link back to the home page, I shall be redirecting some page juice to my home page.

The next lesson in this series will cover Off-page Search Engine Optimization.

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