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How much variation of internal contentlink-anchors?

 11:04 am on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a small website with 40 pages and the more important pages get about 5 to 8 internal contentlinks.

Often SEOs recommend to vary the anchors as much as possible, also with internal links. On the other hand, when having only 8 internal links and variing a lot, there won't be an effect for each KW or KW-combination.

Lets say a page is about apples, this is the title tag:
Apples and healthy selfmade apple juice.
Main KW is "apples". The navigation uses "apples" as anchor.

How would you vary the anchors considerung the few internal contentlinks in total, lets say 8?



 4:23 pm on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

The anchor would depend on the content of the page that is linking to the apple page. I would do it for visitors and not try to put each KW / KW-combination in anchor.


 5:25 pm on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts has stated that internal link anchors are much less of a consideration for Google than external link anchors. I would be surprised if you're getting much, if any, value from the text you choose on internal links.

Google does not trust the information you provide which is no surprise given the lengths many webmasters go to try to get an edge.

Suggestion: When it comes to internal link text make it compelling for your visitors, bounce/exit rates are likely much stronger a signal.


 6:09 pm on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

What they said -- Just do what's best for visitors.


 9:00 pm on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some months ago MC in a video also stated, that internal anchors are a good way to strengthen the linked pages!
Exit rates depends on using "apple" or "healthy apple juice" as anchor?

Regarding visitors I'm flexible. Pages are long and I just revise the content. "Apples", "apple juice" and "healty apple juice" and " selfmade apple juice" all would be "good" for them --> correct and descriptive.
What may be more compelling? Hm, it's all equal I think.


 11:09 pm on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are the links part of natural navigation, in menu's or something? It seems that's fine.

I have a few sites that have many sections of pages, 50+ total so individual service or product ( detailed pages are only linked to from their section, 8+ links.

Anyone have any problems with cross linking related pages above or at the end of content? ( Outside menu navigation ).
Example, case study on red widgets links to buy red widgets page with Click here to Buy Red Widgets.

I wonder if they use something that might confuse high quality pages with the same structure of article site and downgrade them if I add links.

Robert Charlton

 12:55 am on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

about 5 to 8 internal contentlinks

Regarding contextual linking, I feel it's often overdone in the name of SEO. I feel that it's helpful to users only in certain types of sites, say as footnotes in Wikipedia or the NYT.

In an ecommerce site, though, I'd be very careful about using inline contextual links, as I don't think the provide sufficient clues for users, and the temptation of many SEOs is to overuse them. See discussion here...

Introducing heavy internal linking to well ranking site
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4119868.htm [webmasterworld.com]

And, regarding this comment...
Matt Cutts has stated that internal link anchors are much less of a consideration for Google than external link anchors

Here's a discussion that leads to the video that's probably the source of this comment...

Googler Matt Cutts Quote about internal website links will not cause you any sort of trouble
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4579326.htm [webmasterworld.com]

When we got into discussing the actual video where Matt said something along these lines, it wasn't clear, at least to me, whether the statement applies to all situations. Again, I feel that too many contextual links, particularly those just trying to emphasize anchor text, are at best not counted... and probably likely to confuse users and Google's algo.

In general, when discussing what Matt meant, specific references are helpful so we can also discuss the context of his answer.


 3:09 am on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts has stated that internal link anchors are much less of a consideration for Google than external link anchors. I would be surprised if you're getting much, if any, value from the text you choose on internal links.

Some months ago MC in a video also stated, that internal anchors are a good way to strengthen the linked pages!

This is one of those discussions I think it's easy to get into the minutia of things and listening to then analyzing every word said about an optimization technique -- I also think sometimes we hit a point of diminishing returns rapidly, but with that said, just for the sake of discussing the minute:

I think both of the preceding statements are likely true.

Internal links, much like descriptions, keyword tags, on-page keyword frequency, etc. are very easy to manipulate, which means the larger they are relative to other factors as *positives* in the algo the easier the algo becomes to manipulate.

How Can Both Be True?
Internal links could definitely be used to help determine hierarchy of a site, relative importance of page [especially where there are a number of pages related to a given topic] and even the "depth" of information presented on a given subject.

In those ways internal links could not only strengthen the linked page, but, in-my-opinion, also the linking page. I think internally [meaning intra-site] the linked text could be taken into consideration to help determine which page from a site should rank for a specific query when there are multiple pages from a site that "fit" a query and *could* rank for it, *but*, I highly doubt "healthy widget juice" in the text of internal links rather than consistently linking "widget juice" is going to push you above the competition for a given query.

Search has moved well beyond keywords and Google has been taking into account the text surrounding a link for years to help determine the topicality of a linked resource.

To do that beyond a few words you really have to move the direction it's obvious they're going now and take into account the *point* of the <p> [or whatever surrounds the link] rather than the link text itself.

Example Site A Links:
<p>Learn how to make [link]healthy widget juice[/link] from scratch.</p>
<p>Here's a [link]self-made widget juice[/link] recipe for you.</p>

Example Site B Links:
<p>Learn how to make healthy [link]widget juice[/link] from scratch.</p>
<p>Here's a self-made [link]widget juice[/link] recipe for you.</p>

When you take the surrounding text into account those two sites present exactly the same information. What's linked does not "strengthen" or "change" the content of the linked page, so you really can't treat them any differently in the results based on the text in the links if you want to rank the right page.

To "get it right" you really have to look at other factors like the content actually present on the linked page and if it's more beneficial to visitors on the site linking "widget juice", then that's the page you have to present to them.

They've been running a phrase based system which takes into account the natural frequency of related co-occurring phrases for a given topic for over 5 years and Humming Bird is designed to match "meanings of pages/information in the index" to "intent of a user to find a type of page/information" based on those phrases and related co-occurring phrases and how well they "relate" to a given search query, so I think it might be time for people to quit worrying about the linked keywords and trying to squeeze in the exact right number of repetitions overall on the page, because in the system they're running to find the "right site" and the "right page from the site" the examples above with different linked text have to be considered the same and other factors have to be taken into account. The content of the linked page and likely it's relation to the topic of the page(s) it links to have to be given more importance than what a site owner decides to put in the text of a link.

Keywords are dead; long-live keywords.

Just link what makes sense for visitors and move on.


 3:20 pm on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your comment.

How much is too much, i.e. overdone in your opinion?
8 internal contextual links for a page is too much in a site with 40 pages in total?

My site is not an eccommerce site, it is an informational one with long pages. The average page has about 20 paragraphs.

Are for example 5 contextual links on a page with 20 paragraphs too much? Let us assume the links make sense for the user, with correct descriptive anchors and each has its own paragraph in terms of relevance.

The video of MC which you mention is not the comment of him I mean. I will try to find it and then post here.


 3:55 pm on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot, you make my day. Very interesting.

The contextual internal links make all sense for the users, they all have a correct descriptive anchor. They are not confusing or distracting the user due to their number. I am confident we can can "tick" this and therefore I think about SEO.

Let's say my site is about fruits and every page is about one sort of fruit: one about apples, one about bananas....
It's an informational site, but I also offer my consulting services in the sidebar as hm, nutrition expert.

The usual page is like this, let's say it's the apples page:

-20 paragraphs with about 5-7 lines each
-6 internal contextual links
-Not more than 1 link in a given paragraph
-Every link has recognizable relevant text surrounding it, often the whole paragraph, sometimes only 1 or 2 sentences.

On the apples page one chapter is about vitamins. One paragraph is about Vitamin C which is as high as in cherries. This cherry-paragraph links internal to the cherry-page. Around the link you can read about "cherries" and "cherry juice".

Can you confirm that this is good for users as well as for SEO (humming birg)?


 6:32 pm on Oct 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

What you're doing sounds about right to me. I think personally if there was a page and it made sense I'd link Vitamin C to the Vitamin C page also, but otherwise it sounds like how I'd do things -- Simple and easy to understand.


 11:05 am on Oct 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Fine. So far so good.

Regarding my original question about variation of internal contextual anchors may be you or others may vote for one of four basic variation ways. What may be the best in terms of SEO (all are good for user experience)?

Let's say a page gets 10 contextual internal links. All of the used KW-anchors are relevant, topical.

1: 10 x KW1, which is the main KW and also used in the navi!

2: 5 x KW1 and 5 x KW2

3: 10 x KW2, which should help KW2 notably

4: 2 x KW1, 5 x KW2, 3 x KW-combinations of KW1,2,3


 3:50 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

All of the used KW-anchors are relevant, topical.

@Deeper - I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, or the inputs of others, but pre Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird I would probably have said don't worry about KW anchor text navigation on your site. Google already knew what your pages are about and how the semantics fit together, just focus on the right architecture so the UI can flow. Don't even worry about link juice [ whilst you still want to link you major pages to the home page ] , so long as the bots can follow with a good sitemaps file.

After these updates, I would be much more inclined to ignore the temptation of focusing on keywords still more. They likely won't influence rankings, can get a site into trouble if overused [ which you don't seem to be doing].

Probably you need to do some reading and research of other threads around the new Hummingbird engine, Penguin and to a degree Panda, plus the removal of keywords as a Google referral metric in Google Analytics, and how Google Search likely perceive keywords usage into the future. Basically it's almost totally irrelevant as a control mechanism.

In that context, your question becomes a UI issue, not a ranking question. So do what's best for users - you should know your market and can organise the UI priorities from there. Sorry for the cliché, but it might help your thinking.


 10:15 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

As I already mentioned four posts ago, the user question is already answered:
"The contextual internal links make all sense for the users, they all have a correct descriptive anchor. They are not confusing or distracting the user due to their number. I am confident we can can "tick" this and therefore I think about SEO."

So the links are already "what's best for users", wether using "KW1" or KW2, in BOTH cases. And as I revise the content and the pages are long you really can believe my ability to satisfy them. This should satisfy Panda too.

Regarding humming bird and what JD_Toims said about it, KW-anchors are not dead, but they need more confirmation, for example by surrounding text with related phrases. Furthermore the whole topic of the linking page and the whole site may be considered, but this is not new.

Penguin? On the average 8 or 10 internal contextual links for a page shouldn't be a matter of penguin.

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