Archive for March 17th, 2011


10 Step SEO # 5: Internal Links

What? you say? My internal site links affect my SEO? Crap! Is nothing off the table here?

Answers: yes, the links you use on your site—navigation links, text links in content, footer links, and even links that point to other sites—can affect your search performance. And no.  When it comes to SEO, nothing is off the table.

Here’s one useful way to think about links. Every webpage is a big old bucket of beer.  Every link pointing to the bucket is a tube dripping fresh beer into the bucket. Every link pointing away from the page is a tube carrying beer elsewhere. Now, note that I did not say every website is a bucket. Every page is a bucket.

So, a website with 1300 pages is 1300 separate buckets of beer, with tubes running beer in and tubes running beer out. With me so far?

Some buckets have more tubes coming in than they have going out. Those buckets have more beer. They have a positive supply. Buckets with more tubes leading out have less beer. A negative supply. (Okay, these are magic buckets and they never actually run out. I want one.)

The question of beer quality also arises. Buckets with lots of tubes coming in have better beer than buckets with few tubes coming in. Tubes that come from buckets that have better beer, deliver better beer.

For a bucket of beer to get really good, then, it needs either lots tubes coming in, or at least a few tubes coming from really good buckets.

Suppose that every bucket points to every other bucket on the same site. That’s pretty much a wash, right? One tube in, one tube out, no net gain in volume, anyway.

Suppose also that some buckets on the site have better beer than others, due to the quality beer coming in from other sites.

Now one last “suppose.”  Suppose a site manipulates the tubing so that buckets of the best beer put in more tubes pointing to the buckets that need the most help.

Ah. Okay then, now I need a beer. Let’s switch back to the world.

The more links a webpage gets, the better it will rank for its targeted keywords, particularly when those keywords are used in the link text of the link pointing to the page.

So, stay with me.  If you want to improve your rank on a high-value keyword, say “free beer,” and you have a 1300 page site

  • that makes beer,
  • sells beer, and
  • discusses beer, and
  • gives away free samples

And the home page is doing really well for the keywords “beer site” and the discussion forum ranks high for “beer info” and what you want now is to rank really high for “free beer,” you can help the free beer page by doing one or both of two things:

  1. Put a link that points to the free beer page on the home page and on the forum page.  Emphasize these links by making them <h3> or bold or green or something. Be sure that the link looks like:

    free beer!

  2. Put a link on every page that says

    Don’t miss our free beer giveaway!

SO then. Now you have two giant links from high-quality buckets and 1299 links from average buckets all pointing at one page and even better all using the target link text.

Don’t be mistaken: a few links using the target link text coming in from quality outside sites will work a bit better. But all those internal tubes will definitely bring the beer.