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What does this mean in plain english?
How do you make every other page point correctly to the target page? Will text navigation links be enough?
Basically the more pages in your site that point to a particular page, the more important it probably is. That's the number part.
The greater the profile of the links in your site pointing to a particular page, the more important it probably is. A low profile link is a little tiny one buried deep on the page somewhere. A high profile link is at the top of the page, maybe one of the first ones, and may be in an <h1> or <h2> or other prestigious location.
A common way to structure links is called breadcrumbs. You've seen this, it looks like:
Home > Widgets > Blue > Round > Pricing
This will make the homepage the most important in the sites internal linking structure, 'cause it will get the most links (every page) and it always comes first. Near the top of the page.
Lets reverse engineer this a little though.
Content pages will be the only ones indexed in the long run, the link pages and directory pages seem to fall off fairly quickly now. Under that premise the links on the content pages (the end of the breadcrumb trail) are most important.
A link back to the main page and a link back to the directory level immediately above it seem to be most important. NOT placing a link back to other directories on the content pages might actually improve how relevant those links are.
Treating each directory as a seperate entity, except from the main page, seems in order.
Yahoo and google do this now too, actually if I asked you to find an article from Feb 15th, 2004 on Yahoo I bet you couldn't from the main page, there is no directory. You'll only find a link to that Feb 15th, 2004 article today on pages that have nearly the same subject... The serps still love the old pages despite their being hard to find.
Visit big G and you will see some things that make you wonder about structure and PR.
Big G (main page) is PR10 of course with zero content on that page.
The first link is "images" with a current pr of 7 but no content.
Next link "videos" with lots of content but no PR yet.
Next link "News" only PR6, lots of content.
Next is "Maps", lots of content but no PR yet.
Next is "Gmail", the log in page. PR10.
But wait! if you go to news from maps the PR is different. Go back to the main page from "maps" and big G pr is only 5 (although the same page the URI is slightly different because going to maps triggered the page ID process and the URI has some extra code on it).
PR fluctuates on the same site, same pages, depending on where you came from. I'm guessing it has to do with inbound links. People link to the main page, not to the main page with its identifier in the URI. Although technicaly both the same page... the exact URI spelling matters.
I know theres something to learn here but im too tired.
Every site has some content that is a major traffic generator. Why not move the people pleasing content to a directory page?
For example, a fun name generator that people will link to out of frivolity, why not place that on a directory page instead of making a single page out of it?
Directory pages are like commercials, rarely anything we want to see. Maybe we need to place some of our sites best content on those directory pages? Links to directory pages are harder to come by.