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Internal and External Links To Add Authority To Your Site

It's All About Usability and A Linking Structure That Works....

The internal links you use on your site are very important to the success of individual pages, both in terms of visitor usability and search engine optimization, and in this article we'll be discussing how to make the most of both.

First let's talk about the basic navigation of your website. Although webmasters tend to design their websites in a pyramid or silo manner, it is important to remember that the majority of your visitors will not get to your site via the home or index page, they will just drop in at any random page on your site. So it is important that, no matter which page your visitor arrives at, they will be able to navigate to any other in three clicks or less, (or at least find what they are looking for...) otherwise you will probably lose them. You also need to bear in mind that if they have come via a search engine, if they don't see what they're looking for, pages related to that one on your site should be easily accessible.

So how do we do this? A search box is important, and one of the easiest ways of directing surfers around your site, but people can be wary of using them and know that they often generate spurious or sponsored results. Next we should look at the navigation bars. Are your main categories obvious at where surfers would expect them in clearly designated navigation bars?

I believe in the strength of embedded links, those that are part of the body text, both for usability and seo. A piece of text without hyperlinks is just like a magazine article and is not taking advantage of what the web is all about - interlinking information that the reader can simply click from one page to another. So while reading your text, put links in to other related pages in your site, external sources of information, etc. Always think in terms of user experience. If I just write SEO in this article it could be meaningless to a reader. If I add a hyperlink, like this: SEO you can click on it and get an explanation of the meaning. That's the power of hyperlinks!

So why is this practice good for your placement results in the likes of Google, MSN, etc? I believe that good external, embedded hyperlinks are like a reference list for your page, just like you would see at the end of a book or magazine. They are helping to show the search engine what your page is all about, beyond just analyzing your text. Embedded hyperlinks help to define the subject of your page, and give it authority. Most importantly though, they are useful to your visitors.

Once we believe that related embedded external hyperlinks bring authority (or trust) to our page, then we should share that trust with other pages on our site by linking to them in the text too. This is good for visitors because it allows them to navigate around your site intuitively, and will draw your visitors to pages that perhaps don't get that high a results in the serps.

In conclusion, don't worry about SEO when linking in your websites. Think about your visitors and how the power of the web, with external links, can enrich their experience of your site. This will lead to happy visitors, which will lead to more incoming links and referrals, which will increase your rankings and number of visitors in the long term.

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