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Internal Linking Strategy... best policy in 2011?

     
9:07 am on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys

Some advice if you don't mind. I manage a network of sites and am looking at revisiting my internal linking strategy as a project. There seem to be various suggestions out there as to how to do this although many of the more recent ones allude to the fact that linking up and sideways is most effective which is something that I have done myself quite regularly.

However, while this looks nice structurally and might make perfect sense for a site where all the relevant content/articles are nicely structured in this way, the reality is that I often have articles and pages which could point to relevant content almost anywhere, particularly on the larger sites.

Looking at some of the sites it's clear I have over time fallen into the trap of linking articles to articles that are barely relevant, purely to get more links pointing at an article.

I am thinking that with this project I will start to analyse each page and remove internal links to articles with only tenuous relevency and add in new links to articles with more relevancy, regardless of where they sit in the site structure.

Does this make sense? Or would you really try and keep the up and sideways approach by shifting content around? Obviously the latter way becomes a big old job with redirects and stuff - in fact it's probably not viable on one or two of the larger sites - but if it has significant value in 2011 then maybe it's worth considering.

Your opinions and views on these or any other effective internal linking ideas in the current climate would be appreciated before I dive in.

Many thanks,

Simsi.
12:09 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am thinking that with this project I will start to analyse each page and remove internal links to articles with only tenuous relevency and add in new links to articles with more relevancy, regardless of where they sit in the site structure.

Done wisely, I think this is a good idea, but I would do it slowly and gradually, starting with few page copies and watch the behaviour in SERPs for:

- linked from page (page where you added/removed links)
- linked to page (for newly introduced link)
- previously linked to page (page to which the link was removed)

Obviously the latter way becomes a big old job with redirects and stuff

I do not understand what redirects have to do with this? If you remove link to an existing (not relevant) page and introduce a link to existing (relevant) page, I cannot see the need for redirect anywhere.

<added>Shifting content around should NOT change your URLs</added>
1:08 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think as long as the page being linked to is relevant and of interest to viewers, there's no problem as long as you don't go overboard. I would remove the links that are stretching it as far as relevancy is concerned, and as suggested above, do it in small batches, watching to see if there are any changes in the SERPS.

By removing some links and replacing them with others, you are just refining the page, and I don't think that would cause any problems. I've done this from time to time in very small amounts, just because a newer page was a better fit, and never experienced any issues due to it (to my knowledge).
1:19 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks both of you :)

@aakk9999 : By shifting content I would envisage new URLs would be necessary because of moving content between directories, not the actual page names per se.
2:27 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Up and sideways in NAV and direct-to-resource inline. Keep the relevancy tight, or you totally screw your context/semantic profile.

If you can't avoid restructuring (and I would try very hard to avoid it), I would change the content and structure in 2 stages, and make damn sure 301s resolve in a single step, and preferably one-to-one.
2:40 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Up and sideways in NAV and direct-to-resource inline


Yes it's primarily inline I am doing here - thanks Shaddows.
 

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