Internal Linking Strategy | Link Silos

Link Silos help boost SEO

link silosA couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about internal linking strategy which only skimmed the surface of the reason behind your need to adopt an internal interlinking plan in your website.  Internal linking is not only a convenient navigational tool for visitors to your site, but the Google (and other SE) bots also need some kind of guidance in order to remain interested in navigating your site whenever they come around to gather SEO analysis information.

What is a link silo?

There is neither time nor space to cover the specifics of silo design in this article, and that will be reserved for a future post.  This is just an introduction to the idea.

A link silo is a specific hyper-link directed page interconnection structure on your website.  A silo’s design is to distribute what is known in the SEO world as “link juice”.

“Link juice” is SEO influence.  It benefits your site’s recognition in search engines through external links to your site fromlink juice more powerful sites.  If your site has any intrinsic professional value,  people will begin to pay attention to it.  If they are important and authoritative people, then if they value your site enough to link to you, their link comes from what Google considers to be an authoritative site.

There are other ways of getting good backlinks from authoritative sites. What Google promotes in an ideal world is the occurrence of honest to goodness backlinks from people who truly value your site.  There are other “grey hat” methods for getting powerful backlinks to your site, which we will also cover in future posts.  For the sake of this post, it doesn’t matter where your backlink comes from.  We are only here to discuss its effects.

Google PR (Page Ranking)

Google (and the other search engines, but I say Google generically) has a system of ranking the relative effectiveness of every page, and ultimately every website that it analyzes.  That system is called PR, an acronym for “page ranking”.  A website with a high PR has a lot of clout with Google.  They consider a high-PR website to represent authority and their recognition of value.

link siloOther search engines also have some kind of ranking system  equivalent to Google’s PR,  but since Google is the primary search engine, we focus only on Google PR.

Google grants PR numbers ranging from 0 to 10, with 10 representing Google’s idea of the most important and authoritative websites.

The power of external links, aka backlinks

The concept of taking advantage of the power of back links is simple.  When someone that Google thinks is important provides an external link to your website, then the next time a Google-bot sees that link, it gives you a Gold Star!  Google figures that you must be pretty special and important if somebody with more recognized online authority than you have is providing your website as their reference.

What kind of backlinks do you need?

It should seem pretty obvious that you need backlinks from other sites that have more PR than you do. Those kinds of links are going to provide link juice to pages in your site that need it.

link siloWhich pages in your website need link juice?

Every page can benefit from the influence of a backlink. You need to do some key word analysis in order to decide which of your pages need the most help getting recognized in searches.  On the basis of your analysis you can decide which pages need the most empowering.

 

In short, broad general key words get the most searches.

Likewise, the more concisely and narrowly defined is a key word, the fewer searches it gets. 

Therefore it is much easier to get a page ranked high in search results on narrow and specific key words.  And it is more difficult to get a page ranked high in search results for a broad and general key word.  Not only are there less people searching for that specific key word, but you also face less competition to rank highly for a more specialized key word.

What does applying link juice to a page do to its search ranking?

A page that has received a shot of stimulation by link juice via a backlink is going to start ranking higher in search results than one which has not.

Again, broad key-word-based pages need more link juice than do pages based on narrowly defines key words.

But they all benefit from link juice.

Here is where link silos come into playlink silo

Every page can, and should benefit from getting juiced by an external link.  That’s why we need to design an appropriate internal linking system.  We want to be sure the link juice is effectively put to work in helping you to benefit EVERY post and page on your site.

A high PR backlink needs to be directed at some high level page on your site (your home page for example).  You can then design a linking interconnection which distributes the link juice first to the pages written around the most competitive key words, which need it them the most, and ending with the pages written around the most specific key words, which need it link juice the least.  That is a link silo.The next post will cover a specific case study designed to show you exactly how to design a link silo in your website that will maximize the boost your website will receive.  See you there!

How to design a customized silo structure

The next post will cover a specific case study designed to show you exactly how to design a link silo in your website that will maximize the boost your website will receive.  See you there!

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Internal Linking Paves Way for Backlinks

Designing a backlink plan and internal linking plan
internal linking

Paving the way to backlinks

A good backlink plan and an internal linking plan which interconnects the pages and posts of your website and blog can do wonders for improving your search engine ranking results.  Here is something valuable and extremely simple about an internal linking plan that I have proven that is worth a mention.

How do Google algorithms work?

Understanding the operation of Google algorithms is what really drives the subject of designing an ideal backlink and site inter-linking plan.  And who understands Google algorithms?  Apparently nobody does except for the guru-geeks at Google, who are not about to make that common knowledge!

While we are kept in the dark we can only learn about the effects of search engine algorithms by trying, doing, and listening to others.

Back to Basics
internal linking

Sometimes it helps to go back and re-invent the wheel.

Every once in a while it is helpful to go back and review the basics for yourself  – just be  sure that the basic idea of a wheel is properly conceived in your own thought.  Listening to so many different voices can be confusing until you see the big and simple picture clearly in your own thought. Today I thought I would get back to the basics by just reading what Google had to say about how web crawling works.

What is Crawling ?

Google defines crawling as navigating the web from page to page by following linksThat is the key, links!

If you watch your statistics on search results, as you need to be doing, you may wonder to yourself why some original and quality content posts that are carefully crafted around non competitive key words still seem to be getting completely ignored by Google.

Maybe they are just not getting found in the first place because you’re unintentionally not showing them to Google!   The fact is that links direct crawlers where to go next after they have finished with a page.

internal linking

Here is an actual Googlebot. I caught this one crawling through my site.

Have you been providing the crawlers with information on how to find your next post? Crawlers need links if you hope for them to find your content.   If all you have given Google is a sitemap but you have no real linking plan in place, then you are not really directing the crawlers.  Something else in that mysterious and great Google algorithm is directing them, and to who knows where?

A sitemap does tell the search engine what the structure of your site is, but it does not direct web crawlers through it. Links are the necessary to ensure that they see all that you want them to see. Welcome the crawlers!  Design a path with links for them to follow through your site.

A Revised Link Structure

In a nutshell, if you establish a set of key word related hyper links within the text of each post that interconnects each of your blog posts – crawlers will

internal links

Some links in need of maintenance and TLC.

then have links they can follow to find all of your content.

With no interconnecting links between your pages and/or posts, each post is more or less independent of the others.  If a crawler finds your post but doesn’t see a link as to where it’s best to go next, it probably will not go where you want it to.

After you implement an interconnecting linking plan, you will actually “open up the gates” so that crawlers find the paths that you want them to navigate through your blog, and the crawlers will go into places where they otherwise never would have ever before been.

The results are immediate

I proved this to myself by taking one of our sites which had no interconnecting links at all, and then implementing a thorough link looping plan.  I added hyper text driven linking loops until every post in the blog was connected by a link or series of links to one of the front pages of the website. During  the process of adding the links, I watched  the WordPress statistics page with he StatPress plug in, which monitors crawler and spider traffic.

There was an immediate  massive increase in crawler traffic through the site.  Crawlers were landing on a new post each time they saw a new link to it from the previous post which  they had just finished.

I’m not saying that this will have any immediate effect on improving any key word search result ranking.  It most certainly eventually will have such an effect, but it does have the immediate effect of allowing more growth inducing spiders to crawl their way through the site into crevices and nooks and crannies which would they otherwise might well have missed.

Final Analysis

Keep in mind that this increase in activity had nothing at all to do with backlinks from external sites, while remembering that this internal linking is a necessary prerequisite to taking full advantage of the use of external high PR backlinks once they  do get put in place.

internal linking

When you open the channels the water will flow!

The lesson here is that you can open up paths through which crawlers can gain access to your posts if you simply specify links for them  to navigate through.  If you don’t do it , then the crawlers are far less likely to find your posts than if you do.

Additionally, if you put high PR backlinks into place, you will have an already in- place system through which powerful link juice can be spread throughout your site.  For more information see my post on silo concepts.

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Good Linking Strategy Drives Traffic

What does linking strategy have to do with traffic?

linking strategy

Keep the traffic flowing!

Before you start messing with designing a linking strategy within your website and/or blog, it’s best to first have a handle on the general guidelines of good SEO practice.  That means that each time you create a new post, you should already be in the habit of including the key word in the title, URL, and meta description, and be following a few other basic SEO rules.

It also helps to use an SEO quality checker each time you post.   We work in WordPress, and for SEO checking that we use a plug-in called SEO by Yoast, but that’s not our subject here.

If you’re at least that far along in getting a blog rolling, this post may help you.

Linking strategy and the power of backlinks

My purpose in this post is to introduce the concept of linking strategy to those striving to increase their traffic, and who  already practice good SEO habits in their content creation.   Various SEOs seem to have different experiences and therefore different recommendations about linking strategies.

Perhaps nobody except the algorithm writing gurus at Google understand how the search engines really look at and treat backlinks. Therefore I’m not going to make any recommendations about how to design a backlink plan that works.  I’m only going to introduce the idea and then advise you to think about it.

Outbound links and backlinks

Don’t stop reading now because you don’t know the difference yet.  It’s easy.  Outbound links refer to links you put in your site directing people to otherlinking strategy sites.  Backlinks is a term that refers to any link which points back to your site.  One is outbound, the other is inbound.

What does a backlink do for you?

A backlink links to your site from somewhere outside of your site.  Search engines maintain a continually changing database of every webpage’s level of importance.  That level of importance is called its PR, or page ranking, and is on a scale of zero to 9.   The higher is your PR, the more likely is that page to rank highly in searches.

Search engines raise your PR when more highly recognized authority sites, those with higher PR, link to yours.  Of course, there are other vital factors.  The most important other vital factor is that the site that provides a backlink to you only contributes to raising your PR if it is a site that is related to the same subject as yours.

So the bottom line about backlinks is this:  Your site gains significance when search engines see that sites of higher relevance than yours are linking to you.

linking strategyThe Concept of Link Juice

When sites of higher PR than yours link to you, you gain power from them.  In SEO jargon that power is called “link juice”.   As your site is empowered by more and more link juice, the pages that are getting juiced from them get higher search engine rankings.  That’s an over simplification, for now.

 What does an outbound link do for you?

There are differing opinions in answer to that question.  Again, only the Google gurus know what they are doing this week.

One school of thought says that outbound links to important sites are good for you, and that Google wants to see them.  I cannot pretend to know whether that statement is true, partially true, conditionally true, or false, but I think it falls somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes outbound links are really helpful in terms of providing significant content for the reader, and it makes sense that Google would recognize that as a factor to rank by.

Another school of thought says that outbound links only serve to bleed vital link juice off of your site and back out into the web world.   Few also can verify the truth of that statement.  We have been experimenting with the line of thought that says it can do us no harm at all to remove any outbound links that add no real quality to the content of the post.

Can external link juice be amplified within your own site?

linking strategy

Amplify the juice!

In short, yes, and that is the subject of another post on the concept of link “silos” and internal links.  You can boost the importance of posts on your blog which need the most boosting using external juice from a high PR site,  and then spread that juice within your site by passing it on to boost your other pages or posts that don’t need quite as much help.  We’ll address silos and their effects on PR in a coming post.

linking strategy

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