When it comes to link popularity there are two types of link popularity you should concern yourself with. The first type is pretty well known and most webmasters already know about it. The entire SEO community has built itself around this type of link popularity and many SEO businesses have survived as a result of it. It’s the type of link popularity that involves building inbound links from other websites back into yours. There are various methods of doing this and they’ve been covered to great depth on this blog and everywhere else, so I’m not going to talk about that type of link popularity today.
The second type of link popularity gets less airplay, but it’s not any less important. In fact, it’s equally important. This type of link popularity doesn’t have anything to do with inbound links or links from other websites and you have a lot more control over it as the webmaster of your company website. It’s internal link popularity.
What I’m referring to is the link popularity of the internal pages of your website as related to the link structure of your website as a whole. In other words, which pages and how many pages link to each page of your website? It’s important to think about this, not just for now but for the future as well.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to think about internal link popularity for a small site than it is for a large site. The way link juice works is like this: Your PageRank is divided among the pages that a particular page links out to. So if a page links out to 100 web pages and has a PR 5 then the link juice attributed to that link is divided among those 100 web pages. That means a page that links to 100 other web pages passes less link juice to each page than a web page that links to only 10 other web pages, no matter what the PR is. This is very important to keep in mind for your internal link structure.
Let’s say you have a web page that is rather old and has built up quite a bit of authority. Let’s say its PR6 is at least one point ahead of every other page on your website. You need to think carefully about which other pages you want that page to link to. You probably don’t want it to link to every other page on your website. You’ll want to be selective.
Here are a few tips to help you think about your internal link structure and decide which pages should link to which other pages on your site:
- Include a nofollow attribute on links pointing to your About and Contact Us pages
- Don’t include every page on your site navigation bar
- Break your site down into tiers and only include tier 1 and 2 pages on the Nav Bar
- Consider building separate navigation bars for sections of your website if those sections appeal to different target markets or if it makes sense to do so
- Use in-text links to point to pages that might be relevant
- Don’t link to every page from your index page and don’t include in-text links on your home page
- Don’t overload your pages with too many links; this will create an effect of diminishing returns for all of your links
Internal link popularity is just as important as external link popularity. Use links judiciously and don’t just superfluously link to pages on your site thinking that will benefit you. It could hinder you.