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5 Fast Tips to Improve Internal Links

This guest post was written by James Hay, Social Media Coordinator for Fasthosts Internet Ltd.

Playing to your strengths is an important part of SEO, and before going out and spending all day endlessly pursuing external links, it is important to look at your own site.

You control what is displayed on your site and the SEO tips below provide a number of ways to increase your rank strength and improve your blog’s internal link architecture.

Just in case you’ve not come across the phrase “Internal Linking” before, here’s a quick definition from SearchPath:

The process whereby words or phrases within a web page are linked to other pages in the site. Internal links are considered important in SEO terms, as they are often spidered and displayed by Google.

So here are my top five tips to help you improve your internal link architecture.

1. Use keyword-relevant anchor text

Ensure that the keyword(s) you’re trying to get ranked for is used as your anchor text (the text within the link). For example, if the phrase you are trying to get ranked for is “Internal Links”, and the page you want people to find for that phrase is your article “Guide to Internal Linking”, then use that phrase as the anchor text for your link. The search engine spiders will then understand what your target page is about, and it will increase the content’s ranking strength for that phrase.

2. Use absolute URLs

Although there is no empirical evidence to say that search engines spiders prefer absolute URLs (i.e. http://yourdomain.com/pagetitle.html) over relative URLs (i.e. /pagetitle.html), it is good practice to use absolute URLs. It help spiders determine exactly where the page is located on your site, and if your content gets copied, then at least the links will point back to your website.

3. Improve your site’s speed

The speed at which your pages load certainly affects your page rank. I recommend using Google Webmaster Tools and adding a sitemap to your blog. You can then look at your site performance and how quickly your pages load. Google seems to regard 1.5 seconds or less as a good load time. Compress any large images and refine unnecessary code to help speed up your site.

4. Use text menus

Although search engines are improving all the time, the search engine spiders still have difficulty crawling non-text navigation menus. It is advisable to use text menus rather than those that require Flash or JavaScript.

5. Clean up your links

It’s important to keep in mind that search engine spiders love to move freely and quickly through your site, which is why I’ve provided the tips above. But one thing that spiders really dislike is hitting a dead-end, and broken links are the cause of this. The Google Webmaster Tools can also identify broken links on your blog. Go through those links and either remove them, or change the anchor text and redirect the link to a valid page.

These are my top tips for improving internal links on your blog. What others can you add?

This article was written by James Hay, Social Media Coordinator at Fasthosts Internet Ltd and the main contributor to the Fasthosts Blog which provides advice on everything from B2B Marketing to Social Networking.

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Comments

  1. Currently attending a blogger’s conference and sat in on an SEO session. She def recommended using Googles tool to create a site map.
    Lots of great tips here!
    Bernice
    Eating for Balanced Living

  2. erd says:

    I did not know that SE might prefer absolute url’s for internal links. Gonna test it out myself, thanks!

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks James! I find Google Webmaster Tools helpful… now I need to clean up my links…

  4. Andy Merrett says:

    #1 – as others have said, there is some evidence that using the same anchor text repeatedly harms your ranking. You should use variations from time to time.

    #2 – possibly, though it’s worth noting that you could be penalised for having links returning to your site from bad neighbourhoods.

    #3 – upgrading your web host may be just as beneficial. I know Fasthosts has made a big song and dance about this recently, though I’m not sure if their UK reputation has recovered yet after the data loss/security debacle? They’re certainly spam-marketing to anyone who’s done business with them a heck of a lot.

  5. I’m definitely going to be spending tonight checking all my links.

    I recently installed a plugin that minimizes the category level of category links, creating more focused urls, so I need find every link I created in order to ensure they’re in working order.

    Anyone know of any plugins for wordpress that suggest related posts while you’re drafting a new post? Perhaps suggesting posts from the mutual category or tag?

  6. Neil Jones says:

    Using absolute URL’s is a bad idea – what if you switch domains or re-engineer your URL structure? A simple search an replace might not do the job. Also it completely messes up your development environment.

  7. soleroo says:

    good advise. I,m really appreciate the advise no 3, because before this, i just blogging without monitoring my site performance. After read it, i go for check my blog performance. I was shocked because it takes about 18 sec to load, which is really bad. Thanks again. The advices really wake me up

  8. Michael says:

    One thing I was curious that the post didn’t go enough into; How do I actually find out what links are dead and what aren’t. And what if a dead link comes from a site to my site, how can I have then fix the link?

  9. rakesh kumar says:

    Though we all know these are the basic tricks to improve our website, still we sometimes ignore them,It is the time not to ignore them otherwise , we will be ignored by the search engines.