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There are thresholds for indexation or rankings which directly correlate to how much link flow or link equity a web page receives from both (1) the site and (2) other sites. In SEO circles, this is known as internal links and deep links respectively.

Structured Linking

SEO Tips for Server Side Includes, Sitemaps and Internal and External Links

These determine if (a) the page has significant worth as a destination or (b) if it has enough link weight to act as a hub page or strong page in your website.

Sharing this weight or equity with other pages becomes more important as a website grows (in order to keep the pages indexed, healthy and stemming with keywords and rankings).

Just like a cascading waterfall, it is important (based on our testing and tactics) to ensure that each page in your website is linked from at least 3 other sources aside from the primary navigation preferably using contextual keyword-rich links.

Link Building is not just about getting links from other pages in your website. The most lucrative source of link equity can come from within your own website.

Search engines pay particular attention to the correlation to the title of the page providing the link, the content and context of the keywords and content and how well that page is positioned within the site architecture of the site.

If this trifecta exists for the primary site and corresponds to the target page – meaning a page receives a link from a themed page (where the topics are synonymous) then the degree of link equity it transfers is greater than receiving a link from a non-related topic and theme.

Under this formula, each page represents an opportunity to cement several keywords from secondary and tertiary landing pages (based on the occurrence of keywords in the body copy which could link to those pages).

Those pages that have excess can be leveraged as hubs. Then, you can reinforce the primary tactic and hub from acquiring link equity from other off page sources to ensure a second level push to ensure the tiered pages stay indexed and anchor various landing pages (for the pages laced with commercial intent).

Three examples or techniques are as follows:

  1. Building Links to Sub folders or Sub domains.
  2. Building Links through Alt Attributes or Server Side Includes.
  3. Building Links to Newly Consolidated Sitemaps.

Building Links to Sub folders or Sub domains: is an ideal solution to ensure that the nested pages within that subfolder cross the tipping point of expression and remain authoritative and buoyant.

Assessing your site by sweeping the pages and performing a deep link audit is the first step in determining (1) how many internal links the page has (2) if the anchor text it is receiving is aligned with its ranking purpose and (3) the volume of internal links to the number of outbound links on that page.

Try to keep outbound links minimal and themed to create a daisy-chain link effect for strong pages to provide tiered load bearing support systems for other key landing pages in your website.

The conclusion is to think of your subfolder or subdomain as a new homepage and by getting that page enough link equity it will send link flow deeper into the site (to the pages that need it most).

A website’s strength can be gauged by the number of pages it ranks for, that is a direct correlation to how much PageRank is flowing through those pages to determine if they (a) get indexed and (b) have a strong enough signal to rank for specific keywords.

Linking to subfolders or subdomains with *wild card keywords (meaning keywords contained on the nested pages will set off the respective algorithmic weights to rank the deeper pages (once they receive enough link flow).

Just consider it like fertilizer and the pages that do not need that specific type or nutrition, will pass it on to other pages through the link ecosystem (depending on how well your link structures are implemented). This tactic is covered in great detail in this post SEO Rankings and How to Create them.

Building Links through Alt Attributes or Server Side Includes: Building links through less common methods such as implementing a series of themed server side includes (such as footer links or link blocks) is a tried and true method for increasing link flow to languishing pages.

This can be as simple as identifying your powerhouse pages through using analytics to see how many keywords or which keywords a page is ranking for, then linking out strategically and (b) adding images which double as navigation and or contextual links (through using the alt attribute to double as a text link).

While this tactic is not rocket science, I have personally seen or used it to rank pages for competitive keywords when the page has less than 50 keywords on the page.

If done properly, infusion through link osmosis is the affect; and through transference a new threshold of link flow pools to the new target page and creates buoyancy for the keywords associated with the link (granted it is themed with a n accommodating subject for continuity).

Building Links to Newly Consolidated Sitemaps: As a website grows, it is necessary to have a sitemap or series of sitemaps to tie things together.

This way the sitemap can double as an irrigation system and funnel link equity to specific pages by acting as a facet of the collected pages contained on that map.

The key is to then build links to specific sitemaps to provide link equity to all of the pages collectively. The sitemap should use the “noindex, follow” meta tag (to prevent it becoming more powerful than the pages it links to).

By creating a master sitemap (which is linked from all pages) to a page that has all of your second tier consolidated sub folder sitemaps or sub domain sitemaps contained within it means that every page plays a part in this tiered architecture that passes cascading link flow from page to page where it is needed most. 

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In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

6 thoughts on “SEO Tips for Internal Links, Deep Links and Sitemaps
  1. when beginning an seo campaign do you map out pages as you go along or just use webmaster tools. I find that if I map out the site on a white board it’s easier to keep track of the internal links.

  2. Hi Al:

    Often, I will use the most lucrative keywords from keyword research and at least decide if they need their own category / subfolder or if they fit into a silo for a more competitive keyword.

    Whiteboard or Excel spreadsheet works well for mapping our correlations for links, anchor text and deep links.

    If you don’t measure it, you can’t effectively optimize it. But in the past, it was all freestyle (at least with the blog). In my opinion, you really should create your corresponding landing pages and silos up front them fill then up with relevant content over time…

  3. idietcola says:

    do you think the implications of the XML sitemaps could have a negative impact on linking sites? – i.e. as most links are manipulated in the 9-5, mon-fri arena when a new link is added and the xml updates – so would you think that links build on a saturday or sunday carry more weight than those build in the traditional 9-5?

    Indeed – mapping the flow and build of changes is a good idea – however must be time consuming!

    A great post either way! Thanks for the read!

  4. Hi Friends,

    “All in one” series discusses, strategies which help a website increase back links, to gain popularity through the links they build with related websites.

    This is a tricky subject to cover, as there are so many ethical and unethical ways to build links, through spamming of forums or blogs, to innocently adding your link to an article or putting your URL in a forum signature.

    For more details:

  5. Local Bend says:

    Glad I found this! I was under the assumption that you lost link juice, not just from linking externally, but from linking to too many pages internally as well.

    I have one site that has two links to authority sources outside, and a couple of links to internal pages with relevant anchor text. Very minimal. It sits at about #5 on Google and is doing better than the ones that supposedly have better internal linking. Could be due to the level of competition; that’s the only thing I can think of.

    Regardless, thanks!

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