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How to create indexable links: Part 1 Internal Links

Links, on both your website and from other websites pointing to you, are important for a number of reasons, but from a purely SEO perspective they need to be optimised so search engines can index your pages and to improve page rankings. In Part 1 of this blog we are going to look at creating effective internal links on your webpages.

Search engines work by sending out robots/ crawlers/ spiders that endlessly visit webpages and then index or file bits of content for presenting to relevant queries in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs). The pathways they use for navigating the web are provided by links set up from one web page to another. One of the most basic and important parts of SEO is to get all the pages of your website that you want to result in the SERPs indexed by the crawlers.

An easy way to achieve this is to make sure there is a link to each page from another page on your website, and that this link structure is in a search engine friendly format for navigation. The most common link structures are similar to the example for Varn below, allowing the crawlers to find and index each page on the site:

Once all your pages have been indexed you can concentrate on improving your rankings for specific search terms. An important contributor to how highly search engines decide to rank your pages is link relevancy. The search engines will try to determine how relevant the link is from one page to another by comparing the link text (called anchor text) to the page text it is linking to. Link tags can contain images, text or other objects, all of which provide the ‘clickable’ area on the page that moves a user from one page to another. Let’s look at the correct format for an internal text link below:

<a href=”http://varn.varndev.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation”> link building </a>

The red text is the ‘link referral location’ telling the search engine where to go to. The blue text is the visible ‘anchor text’ that describes the page it is pointing to. In modern browsers the anchor text is often blue and underlined when hovered over.

If you use this format the search engines will not only index this page but they will use the keyword rich anchor text to determine what the subject matter of the linked-to page is. So in the example above, the link would tell the search engine when it has a query for ‘link building’ that Varn has a relevant page at www.varnmedia.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation. When other internal pages also point to this page with similar anchor text the search engines supplement their understanding of the relevancy of this page and can rank it in more visible position.

One word of warning though, don’t use exactly the same keywords in lots of links all pointing to the same page and make sure your anchor text is relevant to what is on the linked-to page, otherwise you may be penalised by the search engines for spam.

Next week we will look at extending this SEO best practise to external links. In the meantime if you have any questions give us a call on 01225 863047.