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Link Theme Pyramid

     
8:34 am on Jun 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is just my opinion.

1. Anchor text should match the page it's linking to.
If the anchor says red widgets, particularly for a page meant to convert for red widgets, it should have the phrase red widgets on the page.

I know some people will say this opens you up to OOP but I think as long as there are variations in the links, then you're good to go. Because of the natural non-solicited links I've received on some sites, I've become a believer in the ability of the linking sites relevance to a query being able to transfer over to the linked-to page.

Why would one consider a page about red and blue widgets to be relevant for blue widgets? Looking at it from the point of view of relevance to the query, does it make sense to return a page about red and blue when the user is looking for blue? Looking at it from the point of conversions, if someone is querying for blue doesn't it make sense to return a page dedicated to blue?

PPC advertisers understand the value of having a landing page that matches the query. PPC advertisers understand the value of an optimized ad for inspiring targeted and converting click-throughs. Organic SEO should follow suit. A dedicated organic page can utilize a specific title and meta description for the same purpose. This means building specific links to specific pages.

I don't think it's adequate for the search user to query babysitting for boys and get a page for babysitting in general. So why build links to a general page when a specific page will not only be more relevant but convert better?

2. Hubs
Getting back to Brett's theme pyramid, imo general anchors should point to general pages. Specific anchors should point to the specific pages. I don't understand why people are trying to obtain specific anchors to general pages.

Why are hub pages being created that are simply a big page-o-links to specific pages? Hubs are great starting points, imo they should be more than a page of links. I think this is especially critical for ecommerce where high level topics include brands or kinds of products and sub-pages include models or specific manufacturers.

These second level pages can be cultivated to perform for more general terms, but also in conjunction with, for example buy-cycle longtail phrases like reviews, comparison, versus, etc. Take that into account for the link building.

3. Is the home page really the most relevant page of the link?
Here is another place where link building is wasted, imo. I think it makes sense to focus on relevance/links to supporting pages that then create a groundswell of relevance back to the home page for the more general terms.

Reviewing affiliate conversions and AdSense earnings, it's been my experience that specific pages perform better than general home pages. If you're lucky or by design people will click through to the pages they are looking for. But shouldn't you be showing those pages to the user first? And don't you think the search engines want to show those specific pages too? I think this may explain some ranking drops some people are experiencing for home pages that used to rank for multiple terms.

4. Longtail Matching
This is where on page SEO comes into play. This refers to geographic and buy-cycle phrases. Building partial matches works, imo. Someone showed me a site that was a leader in specific searches but those pages would perform better if they had the names of cities and provinces on the page. Ranking for Babysiting for Boys is fine, but Babysiting for Boys + (on page) Tampa is better.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:04 pm (utc) on June 18, 2008]

12:42 pm on June 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand why people are trying to obtain specific anchors to general pages.

I run a site for a small charity and as much as I try and promote links direct to topic related pages most webmasters insist on sending specific links to our home page.
4:13 pm on June 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is the home page really the most relevant page of the link?

Agree with everything you said under that. For a multi-section site I don't expect anybody to come to the home page from an SE except for navigational terms or some arcane phrases that really don't mean anything.

And again, it goes back to Brett's theme pyramid. For a multi-section site let's call the home page what it really is: a hallway page. A good hallway page, but nevertheless a hallway page all the same. If visitors happen to wind up there we present them with a series of doors from which to choose.

Though we need some external links to the home page to support the themes of the next-level pages, these are more likely to come naturally (lazy linking). So yep, concentrate on inner pages.

7:41 am on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Groundswell of links
This is something I've been pondering for awhile now. Instead of thinking of all the phrases you should be ranking for and aiming that to the home page, I've been thinking of building a groundswell of relevancy so that the home page pops up with that superlisting with the extra links to deeper pages. But not just for the sake of the superlisting, but to build a groundswell of inbound-relevancy for all the different parts of whatever niche you're in and the home page is the tip where it all erupts and comes to a head.

Though we need some external links to the home page to support the themes of the next-level pages...

I'm turning that around. We need inbound links to the next-level pages to support the home page. That's the groundswell. Home page is good for what? One word and two word phrases plus the name of your site/product? I'm thinking that it's the other way around, the next-level pages support the home page via the inbound links the next-level pages are receiving.

In terms of AdSense clicks, the home page generally sucks. In terms of conversions, a dedicated next-level page for a multi-topic website is probably a better page for the search engine user to land on. I think that's some of what's happening to people who are losing their rankings in the latest go around.

Where are you driving those links?
I was clicking around and discovered the link network for a prominent SEO yesterday. Geez, I found a half dozen different keyword phrase anchors pointing to the same page. These weren't variations of a phrase, they were different services. Imo, and YMMV etc. the conversion rate for that page is likely getting driven down for lack of focus.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:08 pm (utc) on June 18, 2008]

10:35 am on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I guess it is all a matter of time and money your site makes. If the site makes little money you are unlikely to allocate big resources to promote it properly. Instead you point everything at the homepage so that site gets more links more quickly and has some chances in the race.

Most of the people prefer 1 page with 100 links to it than 10 pages with 10 links each.

12:04 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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most webmasters insist on sending specific links to our home page.

I agree with this, and I'm one who often does that. Home page links are a lot less likely to break and cause me extra work later to keep my own site up to date. If you want me to link to an internal page it had better be something really special.

1:42 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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most webmasters insist on sending specific links to our home page.

That could be me.

At most, I'll sometimes link to an inner page, in addition to the home page link, but generally only in conjunction with the homepage link, and only if there's something on that inner page that I REALLY want my readers to see.

Too often I've found links to inner pages that are broken because the url has been removed. I'm done playing that game. If you ask other webmasters to link to inner pages at least have the courtesy to let them know when the link needs to be changed because you changed your site. At a minimum, put a redirect on the old page so the potential visitor doesn't just get a 404.

As far as anchor text goes, why not get a good name for your site or business and get used to the idea that it will be the anchor text, use it for branding, then hope for the proximity of text that accurately describes your site/product/opinion//whatever.

6:14 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Good one.

URL clustering
/james/bio.html /james/cv.html all poing to /james/index.html as the center of cluster.

Links coming to cluster
Links can come to various pages of this cluster but can be used to strength the real center of the cluster. Homepage get links otherwise as well, so homepage should be the center for most important cluster.

Homepage
It is nothing but the center of the most important cluster.

Long tail
Long tail is a tricky stuff, many hire a group of content writers to create long tail. Sad, long tail is something else, it about normal talks and thus normal searches than professional targeting.

Regards,
Aji

6:21 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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#3

The thing that makes me have to link mainly to the homepage on many focused sites is that 99% of the natural links wind up going there so it's like starting over to link to other pages.

I also find i can rank for 10-15 MONEY words on the home page alone on many of our sites so it's not a huge issue if you have decent link nav...

Why would one consider a page about red and blue widgets to be relevant for blue widgets? Looking at it from the point of view of relevance to the query, does it make sense to return a page about red and blue when the user is looking for blue? Looking at it from the point of conversions, if someone is querying for blue doesn't it make sense to return a page dedicated to blue?

This may or may not hold true. If I sell widgets. Cheap widgets, buy widgets, best widgets, cool widgets, etc all apply to the same page. I find it hard to believe that all natural links would say the same thing AND it would be totally unnatural to dedicate a page to cheap widgets and cheapest widgets.

7:51 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It matter on which domain you are promoting, if the domain has trust then so do the subpages and any junk will do.

Get a load of trust to the index page, then if you really want you can point anchor at the internals. This usually works. If you have trouble with internals ranking on page 2 only then you need some more juice to the overall domain or even the internal pages.

11:14 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was just thinking recently, "hey I need to post on WW about this topic": we have 9 country-specific domains, .nl, es, .fr etc. On the page footer of each page on all the site mirrors we have links to the root domain of each country mirror, "CA ¦ DE ¦ ES ¦ FR ¦ IT ¦ NL ¦ PL ¦ UK ¦ US". Now, would it be a benefit to program those links so they point to the exact URI of the page where they reside, as opposed to just the global domain on every page?

Such as, if you are on MyDomain.FR/products/, would it be an advantage to have it's footer links pointing to MyDomain.FR/products/ instead of simply MyDomain.FR. A simple thing to code but potentially huge in it's results.

11:53 pm on June 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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1. Anchor text should match the page it's linking to.

technically i learned, that the keyword in the title of the referring page should be matching the landing page key:

Source title: Blue widgets and red widgets

link: red widgets

target: Red widgets are not green

and now, build your rings :)

P!

8:59 am on June 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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1. Anchor text should match the page it's linking to.
If the anchor says red widgets, particularly for a page meant to convert for red widgets, it should have the phrase red widgets on the page.

I agree with pontifex its not just that it should have the phrase on the page. If you want it to be really powerful the page being pointed to should have the phrase in its title.

In fact I think that it is important to have the page optimised for the term. Use the term early in body text and I use it in H1 tags although you have to be careful not to over optimise. The page should be "about" the term and be semantically rich around the term.

This is very powerful and can help both the linkee page and the linkor page for the same term.

Cheers

Sid

8:33 pm on June 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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with regards to anchoring keywords, I'd like to add here more thing or may be its a question. I have 98% of web traffic which is generally driven on the home page or you can say index page of the website for many hot keywords. I used anchor on different hot keywords and then destinate those anchored keywords to their landing pages. The worth the site has gained is amazingly good. By using anchoring formula I've attained maximum traffic and stability of those keywords is about 9 months on first 10 results in google and yahoo. My question is that whether I can get the same traffic for the landing pages by having worth of those anchor linked to their destination pages or not?

Thanks,

Bilal

2:48 am on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I run a site for a small charity and as much as I try and promote links direct to topic related pages most webmasters insist on sending specific links to our home page.

You can't force natural links and most people will link to the homepage. I figure you just use all that good link juice to strengthen the rest of the site.

What you don't want to do is to concentrate your efforts on the home page when most search traffic goes to specific pages.

I have to admit I'm guilty of it. I love it when my home page does well in the serps but it's really just ego. The good traffic goes to specific pages and the earnings come from the specific pages.

4:56 am on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"1. Anchor text should match the page it's linking to."

Yes, using researched semantic variations of the same keyword. I strive for three total variations.

"Why are hub pages being created that are simply a big page-o-links to specific pages?"

For the same reason that LSI and themed semantic hierarchies are not often used in creating website taxonomies and url structure - it is dependent on research and the skill level of the SEO and the developer.

"These second level pages can be cultivated to perform for more general terms, but also in conjunction with, for example buy-cycle longtail phrases like reviews, comparison, versus, etc. Take that into account for the link building."

Absolutely, and when setup properly, those phrases match the type of indexing Google and the SE's would expect to see in the hierarchy.

"I think it makes sense to focus on relevance/links to supporting pages that then create a groundswell of relevance back to the home page for the more general terms."

I would agree, on two fronts - both from relevancy and conversion / visitor, and on the basis that having 50-60% of your links as long tail phrases pointed at specific deep pages is a great thing, and IMHO shields websites against flux and drops.

"Ranking for Babysiting for Boys is fine, but Babysiting for Boys + (on page) Tampa is better."

Even including the subphrase in the title at the end, or somewhere in page content, increases relevancy for the next level phrase that the SE's will encounter.

Not only does this help the odds of ranking for the longest tail terms, but it also helps create double listings

[edited by: CainIV at 4:58 am (utc) on June 20, 2008]

7:15 am on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can't force natural links and most people will link to the homepage. I figure you just use all that good link juice to strengthen the rest of the site.

I think it depends on the subject matter.

Good 'evergreen' content can attain powerful deep links naturally. We have sections (as opposed to 'pages') on a site that have deep links from .gov, .edu and mainstream media sites (e.g. a radio station that I was interviewed by), as well as links from multiple NPO's.

Think about it. If you put up a link to download Acrobat Reader, do you link to Adobe's home page?

We have a site in which roughly 10% of the inner pages are linked to from non-affiliated sites. Even a "weak" link such as a personal blog coming into one of these pages can lead to a dramatic boost in the SERPs - and it helps the site overall to boot.

I think Martinibuster is right on the money with his post. I suspect any site would benefit from this strategy. I was recently looking at a mainstream ecommerce site dealing with espresso machines (which I am in the market for, but that is a post for Foo), and they had this down to a 'T'.

4:35 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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But even a good evergreen content site will tend to get a lot more links directly to the home page. People may find a site through a specific content page but if they are impressed with the overall site they will link to the homepage.

That's not to say you don't get links to individual content pages but a lot more link to the entire site. Even bloggers tend to link to the site though in a specific blog entry they are more likely to link to the page related to the entry.

Obviously our energies need to go to getting links to individual pages but it's hard to do. I have better luck getting links to subsections of my sites.

4:42 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You're right, annej. It's frustrating to be cited for the great articles about whatsits and whosits and instead of linking to those specific articles they link to the home page and let their audience figure out where those articles are.

For a blogger it's possible to email them and point this out. Not so when it's the website of a magazine or newspaper.

4:49 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's frustrating to be cited for the great articles about whatsits and whosits and instead of linking to those specific articles they link to the home page and let their audience figure out where those articles are.

But doesn't that just show that it might be time to rethink the site navigation on the target site?

5:18 pm on June 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Good site navigation is important, I agree 100%. However in my case the site navigation is not the problem. In this particular case, some sites choose to link this way. Maybe they want their users to start at the front of the site, like sending someone to the table of contents, who knows? If they can be contacted to correct it, and it's worth it, I do. A site about a specific area is a good link to the specific area. I'd rather they get it right.
4:17 am on June 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Maybe they want their users to start at the front of the site, like sending someone to the table of contents, who knows?

It's crazy but that's what is often done.

5:58 am on June 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Maybe they want their users to start at the front of the site, like sending someone to the table of contents, who knows?

The site I referred to earlier has several links to the site map. That is probably a better way to send someone to a table of contents - or an index.

4:56 pm on June 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is a good post - particularly the point about not having the link always point to the home page - that is something that is often overlooked...
5:38 pm on June 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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generally traffic driven on the home page.. you can't stop driving it on to... to get favorable results for the landing pages, use cross linking, this could also enhance reader approach towards the landing pages. No one in the above posts yet says the word "cross linking". I think this is the one best solution of getting pages ranked in search engines.