Free SEO Course Part Four: Site Structure And Internal Linking

Following on from Part Three “Site Content“. This is Part Four of a series of posts forming a beginners guide to search engine marketing techniques in 2007.

  • Optimal site structure serves two functions: allows visitors to navigate site content, and allows search engine spiders to navigate site content. Spiders and visitors often have different requirements.
  • Unlike most of your visitors, a search engine spider is “blind”. It navigates your site by following links and reading code. It has difficulty reading the contents of image, flash, sound, and other multimedia files.
  • To ensure a spider can crawl your site, use HTML markup and text links for navigation. Use W3C HTML Standards as a guide, although you don’t need to conform to all W3C standards in order to be crawled. Spiders are getting better at reading scripted links (i.e. links embedded in executable code, such as Javascript), so it is possible to go beyond WC3 specifications, however the further you stray from basic web page specifications, the more problems you’re likely to encounter. One way to help ensure a spider can read your site is to use a free web spider, like Xenu. If Xenu has problems crawling your site, this may indicate that a web-based search engine will also have difficulties.
  • Consider using a site map to point to each page on your site. This will help the spider find each page on your site. Check out Google’s Webmaster Central for help and resolution on crawling issues.
  • Links should be used within the body of the text, and for navigation. Search engines often place particular emphasis on links that appear within the main body of text.
  • Use keyword terms in your links. Point these links to the pages that cover each keyword topic.
  • Generally speaking, the page with the most, or highest quality, inbound links stands the best chance of ranking well in search engines. Pages within your site that have few, or no links pointing to them, have less chance.
  • Ensure your important pages are well linked within your site, and keep your architecture reasonably flat. Many people advocate arranging a web site pages into logical, and descriptive, directories. For example, www.cars.com/jaguar/, www.cars.com/bmw/ etc.
  • Similarly, you could keep all pages on the top level. For example, www.cars.com/jaguar.html, www.cars.com/bmw.html etc.

Tomorrow: Part Five – External Links

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