The internal linking on your site is of vital concern for search engine optimization. Not only do the actual URLs of your pages matter, the way that you link them all together into one cohesive website matters a great deal. It matters to search engines and it matters to users. Your links will serve your visitors better and help you to get better search engine positioning if you follow some rather simple guidelines.
Use Useful Descriptions
When you link together pages within your own site, make sure that you give them links that describe what they actually are. What follows is a good example of how to structure a link and a bad example of how to structure a link.
• Bad: “Click here to get more information.” with the word “here” linked.
• Good: “Click to get more information on Anytown Italian restaurants.” with the words “Anytown Italian restaurants” linked to the appropriate page.
Market researchers have been able to demonstrate over and over again that Internet surfers are not particularly enamored of surprises. When they click on a link, they want to know exactly where that link is going to take them. For the visitors to your site, structuring your links so that they are very descriptive in so that they tell the visitor exactly where they’re going makes their time at your site much more productive and, of course, increases the likelihood that they’ll come back.
For the Search Engines
There is a keyword advantage in using longer links, as well. In the examples given above, the link that demonstrated the good way to link together your own pages – or pages that aren’t on your site – made use of the keywords “Anytown Italian restaurants”. For the search engines, this indicates that your site is giving information on exactly those keywords, which would be the entire point of the search engine optimization campaign for a website that wanted to dominate the rankings for those keywords.
In addition to linking your site together so that your links are very descriptive, you’ll want to make certain that you have a navigation structure that allows users to access your entire site from one page. This is called a site map, which is usually constructed in the XML markup language. The site map functions essentially in the same way as does the table of contents in a book. It allows people to get a broad overview of the structure of your site, the sections and subsections and, if you’re smart, the titles for all of your pages with the keywords included.
On your site itself, navigation menus should include keywords wherever possible and should be text based. The thing to remember when constructing navigation menus is that the entire point of having them at all is to make it easier for people to navigate your content. This means that the names on the navigation menu should be consistent with the names on the site map, which should in turn be consistent with the actual titles and URLs of the pages. The more you can repeat those keywords you’re after the more you’ll realize search engine optimization benefits.
The fact that very clear and precise page links within your site serve both search engines and your visitors well is illustrative of something that is generally true where search engine optimization is concerned. The more useful your site is as a resource and the easier it is to find good information on your site, the more the search engines are going to want to recommend it to people as a good destination. Make your site easy to navigate, and search engines will oftentimes reward you for it.
Many premium wordpress themes have excellent navigational tools and link structuring tools built into them.
This is a guest post by Anny solvay
Anny Solway is an original writer at ThemeFuse - a leader in the premium wordpress themes industry. She is fond of sharing SEO and blogging ideas.