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linking structure within a site

unconventional methods - do they work?



8:51 pm on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ive been wondering about my link structures within the sites I look after.

usually I stick rigidly with themed internal links - lets say the site is about our freinds the widget family - Id have all 3rd tier sub pages to do with red widgets pointing back to the main 2nd tier red widgets page which in turn points to the top level or home global widgets page.

I tend to stick with the theming both internally and for external links which gives the page a decent chance of looking on topic and having an air of authority about its subject.

Sometimes I get lazy and corrupt this but generally thats the rub and it works well for me.

But some of the competition who seem to out perform me for killer KW's have a bog standard link structure that not only looks crap on the page but seems to go against google version 2004.

What they do is simply lump a whole stack of links from every page on the site - to every other page on the site so you have around 200 text links underlined at the foot of the page. They are all internal links and the page as I say looks terrible. BUT it seems to work and the sites are consistently top doggin despite algo shifts.

Now I dont want to go down this road but Id sure like to know why and how this can possibly have a positive effect on the serps.(and Im talking exclusively the G serps)

Anyone got any ideas?



11:45 pm on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Can we call this the "neural net" approach? A lot of crap does very well in the SERP's. I can't see how having everything link to everything else would hurt. Maybe we're doing it wrong.

Actually, I'm not sure that link STRUCTURE has that much to do with ranking. I've done it several ways with several different sites and get pretty much the same result, or lack there of. Then again, I'm not a full time SEO professional.

The evidence for the effects of link structure (ie. theme, hiarchical, sequential, crappy, etc.) are anecdotal at best. I'd be curious to know if anyone had a better take on this.

I would say that the link text is the primary concern. Having 200 some-odd links with certian/all keywords, all to each/the same page just might do the trick.


11:55 pm on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I hate to admit it, but I gave in and put all those crappy links on my site a few months ago. I only did about 50 at the bottom of each page, but it made a huge difference in the SERP's (hanging my head in shame). Basically I couldn't beat em, so I joined em (and beat 'em)

I hate this kind of thing, but it has got me in the top 5 for almost all my pages.



12:13 am on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This will work for a relately small site, but for those of us with sites of 1000 pages or more it's pretty much impossible. A well-designed site map and a hierarchical linking structure works well for me.


3:14 am on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm in a very similar situation - I've been trying to be very clean about things - but I've seen a lot of people doing better than me -presumably- due to their "link spamming" every page on their site.

I'm thinking the upside to this is the anchor text the various landing pages gain from the links. it also would obviously help more evenly distribute page rank.

I've kind of cut it half-way. on a lot of the less-critical new pages I create I add a bunch of links to various pages with appropriate anchor text - maybe 10 or so to the bottom of each page. Each page gets a different random mix of links - I've put together some scripts to make this easy.

I'm hoping this gets similar effect without hurting user experience significantly. I'm also thinking this is less likely to get cracked down on by google.

I'm keeping my homepage and other major pages clean though.

No results yet - but its only been 10 days or so...


1:26 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have had my site both ways for my catalog Items and I cant say I really noticed a difference. That being said it is had to say what will change in the future or what has changed in just the last 2 months.


4:48 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would imagine it has a positive effect because they are links with anchor text and even though they are internal we all know how Much Google loves them.
I got great results using this technique for about a year but after the shake up at the end of last year I suffered. I think the technique still works to a degree just be careful with your anchor text and page titles.


5:19 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'd say that there's more risk associated with the site-wide nav appropach. Plus, it only makes sense if all the pages on your site are equally important to you, and that is almost *never* the case.

Better to direct focus to the most important sections/pages, IMHO.

We had one site that was site wide nav, about 800 pages. It was fine and very easy to get around in. Then we revised it to focus more on money pages. We get about the same traffic now, but make about 20% more than before the revise.

It's been said before, but if in doubt, look at the way *this* site is organized (and I mean *really* look). :-)


7:59 pm on Jul 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Great post caveman.

It all depends on your goals. If all you are going for is visitor traffic, and don't care how good it is, how long they stay, or where they end up on your site, it is a great way to do things.

If your goal is to keep that visitor, make it into their bookmarks, or make a sale, it might not be the best route.

A different way of looking at it would be to see if there is something you can do to your navigation to make it have some attributes of those sites, without looking like crap.


3:10 am on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Exactly. Use CSS and make the footer links font size=1, and don't put 100 links down there, but maybe your 20 or so money pages not included in the main navigation.

The internal anchor text bonus is well worth it IMHO


7:22 am on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The temptation here is to jump on an seo method that seems to work (in a very competitive industry) - purely for a boost on the serps.

This method has absolutely no benefit for the visitor because when you stuff the bottom two thirds of your page with text links - in no order whatsoever you can hardly expect people to find what they are looking for.

The curious thing is that Google allows it at all. It goes against many of the principles that G is now trying to enforce on webmasters.

Cavemans approach is the puritan white hat version that Id love to think would work and deliver serps stability. But when your sat there staring at a top ranking site that is consistently up there and rocking, you seriously start thinking what theyre doing really does work. And thats when the white hats usually come off.


3:32 pm on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

claimsweb, actually mine is the make-more-money approach, since as I noted we now make 20% *more* on the site than we did when it was laid out as you suggest (with constant site nav on every page).

The fact that you see the homepage above you does not necessarily mean that their site makes more money (although I understand that it *might* mean that, depending upon natural kw dispersement in your category). The best money comes from getting the traffic flows right.

(The difference between two clicks and three clicks, for example, to get to the page you're looking for, is significant wrt site revenues.)

That said, I understand your question completely. I see the sites you refer to doing well all over the place. But I also saw about two thirds of them vanish over various updates starting with Florida. So if you have the resources to crank out a bunch of the spammier variety, understanding that those sites may blow up at any time, then by all means go for it. But if you're in it for the long haul, as we are with our sites, I'd be *very* careful.

For every business, a critical question that must be answered at some point is: What risk/reward profile am I most comfortable with?

FYI, I believe a lot of webmasters in here might ask you: "Why not do both?"


5:48 pm on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Okay, I'll expand on what I wrote before.

Ask yourself why and how this sort of spamming works. It gives you keywords anchor text, link count, and distributes pagerank.

The disadvantages are that it looks like crap to the user; it doesn't add any usefulness to the user; it spreads anchor text, link count and pagerank, but it does not control it; and it will likely fail a manual check and will probably fail in the algo at some point in the future.

So what you need to do is figure out a way, with your normal navigation, to have as many of the advantages, with as few of the disadvantages, as possible.

Do you have all the Good Site Design navigational tricks implemented? Bread crumbs, "you might also be interested in" links and the like.

As caveman said, getting the right user to the right page is more important than raw traffic numbers.


8:55 pm on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This method has absolutely no benefit for the visitor because when you stuff the bottom two thirds of your page with text links - in no order whatsoever you can hardly expect people to find what they are looking for.

I think you are missing the point. These links at the bottom are not made for the user, but for the search engines. It works well IMHO. Looks ugly, but it is highly effective. You can put some space between the bottom of your content and the links so they are not easily seen.

It was really a no brainer for me. My website exists to make money.



10:23 pm on Jul 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't see the harm, on many sites you see sponsored links from sprinks so whats the harm in adding your own in the hope that you get a few clicks from people that scroll down to the base of the page then spot something that may take their fancy, calling it spam is OTT, if you built the site and want to add exit options to your other sites then IMHO thats all part of it, I do it on some of my sites where I'd rather have exit traffic going to my sites and to be honest most are on target with related sites, with regard to SERPS, if done properly then these links would be relevant, although linking to totally off topic sites is a bit pointless (enter hilltop).


8:33 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My impression is that adding internal links (with optimized anchor text) works, but up to a point. I've been able to get a higher ranking by adding 5~10 internal links to a certain page, but adding hundreds of links by including it in the site wide footer didn't do much extra for the ranking.

Also, I read the suggestion somewhere that a link in the normal text flow may be worth more than typical standalone navigation links.

My advise would be:
1. Use a themed/hierarchical link structure, sitemap, etc.
2. Create internal links in the normal text flow wherever relevant.
3. Add some "related links" boxes here and there.

This should give you a fairly optimal ranking as far as internal links are concerned.


12:12 pm on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Depending on the size of your site, it could make sense to put all important pages in the nav instead of some SEO'd footer.

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