|Internal linking - a link to the home page on every page?|
Problem optimizing PR and still providing good usability
I am trying to organize the internal linking of a site so that the deeper keyword-specific pages have optimal PR. With all the info and tools available here and elsewhere, this is fairly straightforward.
However the problem comes when linking to the home page. From the usability standpoint, a link to the home page should be on all pages. But this has the effect of building up the home page's PR and significantly decreasing that on the deeper pages.
Has anyone any suggestions?
You are not decreasing the PR of your pages by linking to the homepage, it will increase the PR, in first instance the PR of the homepage, and because of that all pages that get (in the second round) the benefit of links (directly or indirectly) from the homepage.
One thing is clear: No page gets weaker by linking to other pages, however, the more links you have on one page, the less benefit the individual link can give.
There should be a link from every page to the homepage AND to the sitemap. (Too much effort on internal linking may not be worth it: External links are more important.)
Thanks for your input.
|You are not decreasing the PR of your pages by linking to the homepage |
I have tested it and it does. There is only so much PR in the site to be distributed. All those incoming links to the home page raises its PR at the expense of the other pages.
|There should be a link from every page to the homepage AND to the sitemap |
From the usability standpoint, I agree, but linking to the sitemap gives exactly the same problem as linking to the home page. All you end up with is a sitemap with an impressive PR. To combat this I link FROM the sitemap to every page, but link TO the sitemap only from the homepage. This in fact helps the PR of the deeper pages.
|Too much effort on internal linking may not be worth it: External links are more important. |
Not true. Getting the internal linking right is a once-off effort which it pays to get right. Obtaining external links goes on and on.
I still think its an either-or situation. Optimize for usability or for PR. Unless anyone knows of an alternative?
Agreed: Getting the internal linking right is important. Linking back from every page to the homepage and the site-map it a over-simplified cook-book solution, however it is giving good results, sufficient for most cases. (Large sites with more that 100 pages need several site-maps, as Google advises webmasters:
Quote: "Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages." (This is probably because Google will process only up to 100 links from one page.)
Why linking back to the homepage and the sitemap is a must, as long as you are not drilling very deep into the logic behind the PR algo: Normally the homepage is the strongest page because most incoming links (from outside) go to the homepage. And the more links it takes till you reach a page from your homepage, the lower the PR of that page will be.
Example: If your hompage has PR6, the maximum you can achieve (by clever internal linking) for any other page can be PR6. (If you know one site where, without any external link going to page deep inside, an internal page has a higher PR than the homepage, sticky it to me! I will be interest in studying it!) If your sitemap has PR6 or at least PR5 it will boost all other pages to PR4.
In this example the linking back to the site map(s) will not get it to PR7, but probably to PR6. And then it can pass on the benefit of its increased strength to the other pages, maybe up to PR5.
Now: This simple model is really stupid, but it works. Particularly, if you do not know which are the "most important" pages for your site! Once you know which pages need some extra boost, add some more links, where it makes sense.
My understanding of Google is: those smart guys want to encourage user-friendly design and structure. "What helps the user gets good ranking". So do not assume that improving usability will be contrary to your ranking in Google. I made a lot of changes on my sites only with the interest of my target-group in mind, to find out later that this was helpful for the ranking.
In this case I think useability should trump your pagerank considerations and that you should have a link to your home page on every page on your site.
I don't like being on a site where I can't get back to the home page in one click.
I'd build up the PR of the internal pages by making them "nodes" in the site that are connected to by many other pages, and which you ask people to link to directly. I imagine you've already thought of that.
Might I suggest breadcrumbs? Those little Category link > subcat link> subsubcat link > you are here things that you see on the top and bottom of many pages?
It is not the link to the home page or the sitemap that is the problem, it is the lack of other internal links that sent the PR to other pages.
If your only navigation links are to your home page, or a sub page you get half the pr going back up to the home page and half to the sub page. If you have 20 navigation links, only 1/20 of the PR gets sent up to the home page immediately.
Your home page should still have the most PR, but you will get a better distribution in the lower levels.
|All you end up with is a sitemap with an impressive PR. |
It all depends on whether you are very sure, to which page you want to direct the PR boost. I am not so confident that I know for sure, what my target group is searching for. As long as my log-files do not give me clear feed-back, by which keyword-combinations they come, I do not know which page to boost. Once I know through which pages they enter my site, I give the most successfull pages a boost by making more links to them. And the keywords used by the visitors (as I learn from the log-files) will be put in the link-text.
Thanks everybody for the feedback,
|I don't like being on a site where I can't get back to the home page in one click |
Nor do I, so I think usability has to win.
|Might I suggest breadcrumbs? |
The site is ony 2 levels deep, i.e., Index page, level 1 pages, and level 2 pages. And I always link back from level 2 to level 1.
Big Dave -
|If you have 20 navigation links, only 1/20 of the PR gets sent up to the home page immediately. Your home page should still have the most PR, but you will get a better distribution in the lower levels. |
That's exactly the situation now. Every level 2 page links to all other level 2 pages under the same level 1.
Thanks for that. I will certainly consider it.
|I am not so confident that I know for sure, what my target group is searching for. |
Nor me! But nearly all my hits come from the deepest pages, which is why I have been trying to reinforce their PR
If all your second level pages link to each other as well as the home page, there isn't much you can do.removing the link to the home page is not going to help all that much. The reason that it is so much higher is that it is where all the PR enters your site. Your lower pages recirculating the PR back up to the home page only make up a small part of total PR of the home page, most of it comes from the incoming links to the home page.
Get more links, add more content, and get some deep links.
Bigd - I think you have some very wrong ideas about PR.
|If your only navigation links are to your home page, or a sub page you get half the pr going back up to the home page and half to the sub page. If you have 20 navigation links, only 1/20 of the PR gets sent up to the home page immediately. |
This is wrong, if you want correct information why don't you check out
how many pages does your site have?
How many of them are in Google's index?
HarryM >> All you end up with is a sitemap with an impressive PR
Isn't that a shame, now! ;) A sitemap with an impressive PR and lots of relevant pages on your site pointing at it! Do this right and you just might have a stampede coming into your site map. And when the stampede begins, you better have decent site navigation to show them around your site.
|how many pages does your site have? How many of them are in Google's index? |
Currently just under 200. 137 in Google, which is the total number of pages at the time of the December crawl. Estimate will max out at 300-400.
|All you end up with is a sitemap with an impressive PR. Isn't that a shame, now! |
Point taken! :)
As to increasing PR by getting incoming links. Mine is a non-commercial site, not very big, and links are difficult to get. And they are usually only PR3, so it's going to take a lot to make any difference. If the linking site has 10 links on the page, then all I get is a max of PR 0.3.
And until I get a decent PR, who is going to want a reciprocal with me? Catch 22! :)
I'm even still waiting for DMOZ, applied for in September. From DMOZ forum I know I'm among 50 in the queue for my category, but I'm still waiting.