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A little or a lot of cross-linking?

Is it better to cross-reference a lot of similar pages, or not so much

   
1:49 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm involved in a series of local area guides. Each has thousands of listings for businesses in a tightly defined area, from restaurants to cafes, real estate companies and hotels (basically the typical local area guide I guess).

Anyway, the current link structure looks like this:-

Restaurants
->Japanese Restaurants
-->Restaurant 1
-->Restaurant 2
-->Restaurant 3
->Mexican Restaurants
-->Restaurant 1
-->Restaurant 2
-->Restaurant 3
etc.
Cafes

The key point is that under the current structure, once you drill down to the listing for a specific business (each has its own page) then all the other businesses in that category appear in the LH navigation.

The upside is that a visitor can much more easily see all the other businesses in the category within the area.

The downside is that for categories with a lot of businesses, it stretches the LH navigation massively (and much longer than the RH content section) - imagine a category with 150 businesses in it.

The net effect of the current navigation structure is that every business links to every other business within the category (i.e. if there are 150 businesses listed, then each business links to the other 149 businesses within the category)

We're ambivalent about the current structure from a navigation/usability perspective, so SEO considerations could push a change "over the top" and make one or other link structure definitively worthwhile.

And so to the question... From an SEO perspective, is it better to interlink every page in a category as we have it now, or is it better to go for a pyramid-shaped site structure, with no interlinking at the bottom-most level, and rely on breadcrumbs and category navigation in the LH navigation menu to go between listings?

Thanks in advance for your help!

[edited by: Edwin at 1:50 am (utc) on Feb. 4, 2009]

2:30 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Which way is best for the end user?
2:55 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



As I was trying to explain, it's hard to tell. From an end-user perspective, there are benefits and drawbacks (which I already outlined) so really the choice is probably "which is better from an SEO perspective" unless, of course, there's a 3rd type of link structure I've not considered yet, one which outweighs both the ones I outlined in terms of usability/SEO benefits.