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SERP effect of too many internal links

     
8:44 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is it good SEO practice to have a lot of internal links on a page? Or keep them at the minimum?

After reading tedster's Mega Menu post [webmasterworld.com...] I get a feeling, it has something to do with the number of links.

What's your opinion and experiences? I have already cut down on the links :)
9:05 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Not really sure what can be added to that discussion; it encompasses pretty much all of the issues concerning mega menus and many links on a page.

The one thing I will say is that you should really forget about the relationship between "a lot of internal links on a page" and SEO and think more about the links users need to find information on the site. Do they have to read through a laundry list of possibly unrelated items? Or can they get the "scent of information" by scanning six or seven well-chosen category links?

It sounds trite, but a well-structured site from the user's point of view usually turns out to be more effective from an SEO point of view.
10:18 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I read that thread a while ago and don't remember it too well, but I would say these two things:

1.) Build it for visitors 1st

2.) IMO Number of links from an SEO perspective is site specific... Do you have a bunch of links to the home page you need to spread the weight from throughout the pages because you're competing for long tail searches and don't need much weight to a specific page, or do you need to send the link weight only to a few pages because you need those pages to rank above 'strong, competitive' pages, or (a huge number of other possibilities here) ...

It's really site specific and depends on your specific situation, visitors, inbound links, ranking needs and a bunch of other factors ... SEO from my perspective is usually not a one-size-fits-all thing.

On some sites I have limited navigation in the main sections, but inner pages break the rules a bit and have over 100 links on the page in cases ... Interestingly(?) the pages are still usable and rank and hold visitors, go figure...
10:57 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There are two possible challenges I see with having many internal links on a single page.

1. Link equity is too evenly split into small piles. This blurs natural signals about relative importance of the target pages.

2. I think that anchor text is an on-page factor, not only a factor for the target page. As the anchor text on a page becomes more diverse, relevance signals for that page itself tend to get blurry.
11:01 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Unless: This is what you want, and it's by design OR you use proper document relationship markup in conjunction with the linking [w3.org...] ...

Edited: My response actually helps with both points, and again it depends on what you want to do specifically... On some sites I don't care if the home page ranks... They are deep enough I'd rather get visitors to the info, so I try to 'flatten' them out as much as possible and rank the internal pages... There's a link to the home page people can click if they want to see it. ;)
11:17 pm on Jan 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Let me expand a bit:

If I'm working with a site I'm trying to 'flatten' and get visitors to the info I usually combine: TONS of Nav, document relationship markup, noindex

I've done fairly well this way to indicate which pages should rank.
That's all I'm givin away ;)
5:48 am on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks a lot for the priceless insights, I appreciate that a lot. I am a TOTAL newbie so have almost null idea how ranking works.

For example I used to think, till just a moment ago, that ranking was website (domain name) specific - pages of a website worked together to make the website 'rankworthy'. But it looks like pages are mostly responsible for their own ranks, and can vote for the website's rank if needed be. I tell you it was whoa! moment for me.

From my experience you can guess, I was providing those links not for spreading the weight or flattening etc, but just regular layman links. The links are actually queries on the website. The search result page is marked noindex.

Thanks a lot again, everyone.
7:10 am on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Pages are responsible for their own ranks (quality, linkability etc) but they can only influence the ranks of others :-)

Tip, instead of creating links to your search results page link to the first few results directly. If you don't want the search results pages indexed linking to them isn't a great idea, even with nofollow or worse - noindex. (Pagerank still accumulates on noindexed pages and some believe it gets wasted)
2:55 pm on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For a "TOTAL newbie" what will give you a bit of a jump start is to read through tedster's Google Hot Topics [webmasterworld.com] starting with the --SOME BASICS-- heading.
5:58 pm on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Pagerank still accumulates on noindexed pages and some believe it gets wasted

I suggest using a "noindex,follow" attribute to provide explicit direction. Then the accumulated PageRank definitely does circulate.
9:31 pm on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the advice, guys.
4:57 am on Jan 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Build it for visitors 1st


Absolutely true, but only if one does understand visitors. Not just in this particular case, but in cases where one advices people to write content for visitors, design a site for visitors and so on. I have seen, "for visitors" means "for him/herself" for most people, unless they get that task done by a real good pro who does understand visitors in that niche. When one can't afford to hire a pro, general guidelines such as "this is good, that is not so" helps, IMHO.
5:20 am on Jan 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have seen, "for visitors" means "for him/herself" for most people

Yes - completely. And not just for the individual, but even for big companies. It takes real discipline to get out of your own position and really understand your visitor.

If you track which links on a page actually get clicks, you usually end up seeing that a huge majority of visitors don't give a hoot for almost all of them. Instead, it's very common for the extra links to be there for the business itself. The insiders want to get around the website like an old, familiar application. But that's not what the average visitor wants at all.

Here's my secret advice. Build your page as if you were designing a toy for pre-school kids. Seriously.
5:30 am on Jan 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It takes real discipline to get out of your own position and really understand your visitor


Couldn't agree with you more.
 

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