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anchor text and proper internal links for SEO

Last month I was working on a new project, and since it wasn’t a start up project, I needed to get familiar with all of the pages and the website's architecture. On the other hand, it was necessary to select the keywords that were going to be used to optimize each page. In order to do that, I made a diagram that helped me be consistent when matching those keywords with:  internal links, anchor text, meta tags, and body text for every page that was part of the website.

Two posts from Rand helped me understand the importance of being consistent when working on internal links, anchor text, and keywords. One of those was “My Personal Opinion: 90 % of the Rankings Equation Lies in These 4 Factors," and the other one was “Best Practices for Targeting Generic & Specific Terms & Phrases." If you didn’t read those, I highly recommend them.

Example and Diagram

Suppose you are working on a website that has 3 subpages (more than 3 pages were complicated to diagram on Powerpoint, so I tried to make as simple as possible). I use “KW” for the word “keyword,” and numbers to specify the different keywords.

Suppose the company sells toys (with "toys" being the most generic word for the company’s products), and the company’s website is toysabc.com. Let's say that we select 4 keywords to focus on (you certainly can work on more than 1 keyword per page, but for this example I use only 1 on each page).

  • KW 1= toys (on homepage, in color blue)
  • KW 2= dolls (on a subpage, in color pink)
  • KW 3= balls (on another subpage, in color green)
  • KW 4= games (on another subpage, in color red) 

SEO internal link
 

Once you established the list of keywords to be optimized on each page:

  • You can decide the URL you are going to use per each page
  • You can optimize the use of those keywords on different pages on the website
  • You can write down the different meta tags (meta title, meta description, H1….)
  • You can optimize your body text considering those keywords
  • If you have an image on the homepage, you can include the keyword on the Alt attribute of that image
  • You can include internal links from the homepage to other subpages with the proper anchor text

On the body text of subpages you should include links to other pages (if they are related and relevant), and even more importantly, include the link back to the home page with the proper anchor text.

anchor text keywords SEO internal link
 

It is very important to have internal links within the body text on each page, even if they are on the navigation bar. Why? Both for user experience (usability issues) and search engine (indexing issues):

  • Based on Jacob Nielsen’s usability studies, people expend considerably more time looking at the content area than looking at other sections such as the header, the right bar, and the left bar (where navigation links usually are).
  • Search engines will crawl links within content, giving you the opportunity to improve the chances of all pages being indexed. On the other hand, you have the power of assigning the anchor text that you consider best for each page, which for inbound links is very difficult to achieve because in most cases, you don’t have control on the edited content.

The final diagram helped me be consistent when matching each keyword with:

  • URLs and pages
  • meta tags (such as title, description, and H1)
  • internal links on body copy
  • proper anchor text on links pointing to other subpages
     
  • alt attributes for images on different subpages

SEO internal link with anchor text keywords
 

I hope some of you will find this diagram helpful when deciding the proper anchor text of internal links.