Join Steve Harris for an in-depth discussion in this video Crafting internal links to help search engines explore your site, part of SEO: Ecommerce.
- Search engines move through your website in the same manner as a human would, by following both internal and external links from page to page. It's very important that your site contains these links so that pages aren't lost or buried where search spiders can't find them. Well-crafted links also accomplish our number one goal in SEO which is to improve the user experience and make navigating the site easy. Encouraging users to explore deeper into your site can have a major impact on rankings and balance rates.
If we look at the Apple iPhone website you can see that we have our main navigation items at the top. However if we scroll down to the bottom of the page, all the way to the footer, Apple's implemented this huge footer and I'll zoom in to show it better. You can see in this footer that they've included links to almost every page on the site. This does two things: it helps search engines to find these other pages and links everything together, and it also encourages visitors of the site to find what they're looking for easily and quickly.
Let's take a closer look at the structure of a link. Any link created that points to another web page contains something called "anchor text". This is the portion of the link that's actually visible on the page. You can see in our example on screen that we have a link pointing to mixathletics.com/about and there's a section of text in the middle of this that says "About Us". That middle block of text is the anchor text.
It's wrapped in the link tag and it's what's going to show up on the page for users to click on. Using keywords in anchor text can be extremely beneficial for telling search engines what the page is all about and if other sites also link, using similar anchor text, your chances for ranking well for that term are greatly increased. Here's some tips for crafting your links and using anchor text. First, avoid using generic anchor text, like "Click Here".
If a link points to a specific page, be sure to include relevant anchor text to help search engines understand what that page will be about. Do not use images as links without alt tags, or if possible, use real text. Because there's no anchor text present and the link is hard for a search engine to understand. Lastly, consider making design improvements like implementing a large footer area to include several navigation links throughout the site.
The easier you make it for users to explore deeper, the better chance you have of them staying on the site for longer. A major trend in navigation design today is something called "persistent navigation" which means that internal links are always visible on the page. Take for example this website which is the Awwwards.com. This is an awards site for the best websites on the web. As you can see if I scroll down on this page our top navigation bar stays fixed at the top of the site.
This is an example of persistent nav where it's always visible. Make sure that there is a clear and logical path for both users and search spiders to follow to find all of the pages on your site. If a page on your site isn't seen, then it won't be ranked.
- How SEO affects the buying process
- Researching customers, keywords, and competitors
- Using simple and long tail keywords
- Eliminating duplicate site content
- Using rich media
- Designing landing pages to drive engagement
- Blogging for SEO
- A/B testing with Optimizely
- Measuring traffic with Google Analytics