Understanding Internal Linking And Web Code Attributes

There is still an element of ambiguity around implementing coding attributes and their purpose.

Are you aware of what to do when linking internally and when to attribute code to your links? If not then this guide is ideal for you.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is critical to achieving best practice SEO. The way in which you link the pages of your website together enables Google’s bots to can crawl your site, prioritise your pages and provide a richer representation in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

One issue concerning internal linking is whether or not to add the nofollow tag to internal links as a means to disqualify certain pages of your site from appearing in the search results. In response to this, Matt Cutts the head of the Webspam team at Google released a brief webmaster help video to address whether or not digital administrators should be nofollowing links to internal pages on their own sites.

In the clip, Matt addresses the following question.

“Does it make sense to use rel=”nofollow” for internal links? Like, for example, to link to your login page? Does it really make a difference?”

–       Christian Oliveira

For me, I don’t believe that this is necessary. Having links between the pages of your site provides Google with more resources to call upon when indexing your website.

That said, in some circumstances using a nofollowed link can be used on lower value pages such as a terms and conditions page. However, this is entirely at the discretion of the webmaster and again, wouldn’t necessarily have an impact on the SEO efforts and performance of your site.

When To Use The NoFollow Attribute

Nofollow tags are recommended for any link that cannot be referred to as a trusted source. In the past they have been mainly used to eliminate spammers and negative activity arising from inferior external links.

When judging links to nofollow it is advised that you score them against four key criteria:

  1. Is it a trusted and credible source of information? If you are pointing to a source by where information can be changed by anyone, is this information factually correct? Does it bring any real value to your site and content?
  2. Has the site been around for long? What is the nature of the website you have linked to? Does it regularly produce new content?
  3. What is the quality of their site? A clear indicator is the layout of a site; if it looks like a digital dumping ground for unrelated links then I’d advise that you steer well clear.
  4. 4.   Did you approve and validate the link?

Once you have answered these four questions, you can then take the necessary steps to separate your website from an external source.

NoIndexing Pages

As an alternative to nofollowing certain pages, you can instead opt to use the noindex tag. This will notify Google that this page should not be indexed to appear in the search results pages.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”>

The noindex attribute can prove useful for some instances of internal linking; particularly if you have duplicate pages on your site that refer to different sections.

For example, let’s say you have a product page that is listed under two categories on your site, but each of those categories sits under different URLs. You would not want two copies of this same product page included in the search engine’s index as you could risk a duplicate content penalty. Therefore, a noindex tag could be added to your one page’s code so that Goole will only index one page the next time it crawls your site.

For more information visit my link analysis tools page or feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

2 Comments on “Understanding Internal Linking And Web Code Attributes

  1. Excellent Article! Thanks for the noindex meta tag tip. I have two questions. 1) Is there any other way to link sculpt other then trying to use the nofollow attribute? 2) How much of a difference would using keywords in the anchor text on internal links?

    1. Hi there, thanks for your feedback. The most important thing now is that any links you build are as natural as possible in as much as they are useful to users and not just placed to flow PageRank. The nofollow tag is useful for highlighting to Google that the link is not intended to manipulate rankings but is genuinely useful for users and referral traffic purposes.

      Regarding anchor text on internal links, it is still very important as it is another way in which Google can build relevance and understanding of your pages’ content. As long as you don’t abuse this fact by using irrelevant keywords as internal anchor text, it can still provide value to use keywords in internal anchor text, as long as it makes sense to a human eye and doesn’t look forced.

      As a rule of thumb, if you’re doing something only for search engines then you shouldn’t be doing it!

      I hope that helps.

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