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Old 01-04-2006   #1
Chris Boggs
 
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Question How far to go when linking internally?

It seems that I have seen a few comments recently on various forums and blogs about taking internal linking "too far." According to at least one comment I saw (sorry can't find it now), Google frowns upon "excessive" internal linking. Now of course I am always quick to question these kinds of statements, feeling that it is hard for G or any SE to determine intent unless blatant, but a current client is exhibiting signs of possible over-internal linking. I have also consistently felt that internal linking is one of the most-often overlooked keys to rapid success.

The client I have provides a certain custom manufacturing need for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM's). The site has been carefully optimized in order to break down the different products by internal differences, most of which are competitive and searched often. For example, product "A" comes in internal makeup "1A," "1B," "1C," and etc. Searches are very common for "product A 1A," "1B product A," etc... based on PPC campaign data as well as log file analysis.

Each of the products has different technical data sheets available in both HTML and PDF, linked-to from the product pages (second level). Additionally, there is a page titled "data sheets" (or similar) which leads to all data sheets. We were careful to mix up the anchor text, but did include either "product A" and/or "A1, B1, etc.." in each of them, different from the anchor text found within the specific pages.

Since the site is still working on getting links from external sources, I feel that we may be having a problem with gaining rankings because of too much internal linking when looked-at as a percentage of total links. The Yahoo linkdomain reports approximately 18 percent of total links from within the domain. The site should at least be ranking for some of the desired keywords within the top two pages by now, in my opinion and based on past experience dealing with similarly competitive terms. Instead I am looking at about page 4 and 5 at Yahoo and G, respectively, for many of the terms I am targeting (all between 2-4 million competing pages non-exact match).

My questions: is the internal linking possibly a problem, based on your own experiences?

(If I know you and trust you please IM me and I'll send you the specific URL for analysis.)
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Old 01-04-2006   #2
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Quote:
Google frowns upon "excessive" internal linking...is the internal linking possibly a problem
Yes, you can definitely have 'excessive' internal linking--and it actually ends up being an 'over-optimization penalty' (OOP). I've experienced it myself.
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Old 01-04-2006   #3
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*I have also consistently felt that internal linking is one of the most-often overlooked keys to rapid success.*

Too true, thankfully for some ;-) flip-side is that logically there must be a sanction for attempting to overly manipulate it, and I believe there is.

Most cases I've seen involved artificially inflating the site with basically empty pages with extensive internal linkage, some were doing it for PR/ranking purposes, others for AS.

IMO G is fairly tolerant with internal linkage, and it would need to be at an obviously ludicrous level before it got "dangerous".

One caveat though, IMO the external linkage pattern may well effect just how the internal one is viewed, and vice-versa.
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Old 01-05-2006   #4
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chris, the situation that you're describing doesn't sound to me like something that would get you in trouble. if i'm understanding you correctly, you've simply built a site that provides thorough technical information for each of the various internal makeups of a set of products. if that ends up being a lot of unique pages, then that's what it ends up being.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
Most cases I've seen involved artificially inflating the site with basically empty pages with extensive internal linkage, some were doing it for PR/ranking purposes, others for AS.
i've seen sites get penalized for this as well, but in those cases it was really flagrant, e.g:

widgets + synonym1
widgets + synonym2
widgets + synonym3

red widgets + synonym1
red widgets + synonym2
red widgets + synonym3

green widgets + synonym1
green widgets + synonym2
green widgets + synonym3

etc.

it doesn't sound like you're doing this in any way, shape, or form, so i wouldn't sweat it if i were you.
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Old 01-06-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshopper
chris, the situation that you're describing doesn't sound to me like something that would get you in trouble. if i'm understanding you correctly, you've simply built a site that provides thorough technical information for each of the various internal makeups of a set of products. if that ends up being a lot of unique pages, then that's what it ends up being.
Thanks grasshopper. You are correct that there are different pages for each version. The question is however geared to how many times I can get away with linking to those pages from different pages within the site, using slightly different anchor text each time.
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Old 01-06-2006   #6
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*..using slightly different anchor text each time.*

Depends on the numbers and whether it's done to broaden or just vary the term, but that could increase the risks IMO.
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Old 01-06-2006   #7
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Chris, before you go thinking that you've done something wrong (and it doesn't sound like you have), is this a new site/domain?

If so, you're simply a victim of the aging delay and nothing you do will matter until your time is up.

If it's an older site, then my advice is to look at it from a visitors perspective. Does everything that you've done on the site in terms of your linking make perfect sense to a person reading and using your site? Or will things really stick out at them as being odd, and they might be wondering why certain links are there or worded as they are?

If all looks good from a real visitors perspective, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
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Old 01-06-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
If it's an older site, then my advice is to look at it from a visitors perspective. Does everything that you've done on the site in terms of your linking make perfect sense to a person reading and using your site? Or will things really stick out at them as being odd, and they might be wondering why certain links are there or worded as they are?

If all looks good from a real visitors perspective, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
yeah that's what I am hoping...it's not a new site, but I was worried about an additional page which seems to duplicate content (or more precisely links with different anchor text) found among other pages, even though it is doing so in a sort of "index" manner. Just curious to find out people's opinions on the possibility of over-internal linking. I agree with you that if it looks OK from a human perspective (which it does), I should have nothing to worry about. but you know with all the talk I thought I'd get some varied opinions in here. thanks for your accurate assessment, as usual.
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Old 01-06-2006   #9
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*If all looks good from a real visitors perspective, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.*

Were it so, unfortunately a "real" visitor couldn't tell the difference between a blatant attempt to manipulate internal linkage and a hole in the ground ;-)
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Old 01-07-2006   #10
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Yes, but you as the webmaster/owner can. And if you don't have the common sense to know if you're over the top or not, then nobody can really help you, imo.

(And I mean "you" in the generic sense.)
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Old 01-07-2006   #11
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*..if you don't have the common sense..*

--the thing about common sense is that it isn't all that common in reality. --
Fergus O'Connell - Simply Brilliant.

As shown on a daily basis in all those "dropped from Google" posts ;-)
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Old 01-07-2006   #12
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IMO, if you don't have common sense, you have no business in the SEO biz.
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Old 01-07-2006   #13
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Right, but notice how we've moved from a "real" visitor to an SEO professional? ;-)
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Old 01-07-2006   #14
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Well, I still stand by the fact that a real visitor does notice when there's fishy stuff going on the page. Certainly if it's something an engine could automatically discover, a real person would have to wonder what was up. (Unless of course we were talking about something that was not visible to real visitors.)
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Old 01-07-2006   #15
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*I still stand by the fact that a real visitor does notice when there's fishy stuff going on the page.*

I've often heard you say it, but as you see, it doesn't hold up to any scrutiny ;-)
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Old 01-07-2006   #16
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yes so let's try to set a number here or a range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill Whalen
Yes, but you as the webmaster/owner can. And if you don't have the common sense to know if you're over the top or not, then nobody can really help you, imo.

(And I mean "you" in the generic sense.)
yes I agree...blatant over the top can be easily seen. So Jill do you feel that if you looked just at the numbers and saw 18% of total links being internal (via Y lindomain:site.com -site:site.com) could that be something you would look into?

What about others? Any particular threshold for percentage of total links that are internal that you may try not to exceed?
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Old 01-07-2006   #17
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yes I agree...blatant over the top can be easily seen. So Jill do you feel that if you looked just at the numbers and saw 18% of total links being internal (via Y lindomain:site.com -site:site.com) could that be something you would look into?
I have no idea, because I don't even know what that means.
Throw a percent sign into anything and I'm lost.

When you say internal links, you're talking about how you are linking from one page to the other pages of your same site? If so, how could that EVER, EVER, EVER be a problem? It's your site, create your navigation however you want to create it.

Why would a search engine care that you link to the other pages of your site?

And how could this command: linkdomain:site.com -site:site.com tell you about your internal linking? It would be excluding your site, no?

Now I'm just confused.
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Old 01-07-2006   #18
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My questions: is the internal linking possibly a problem, based on your own experiences?
You can absolutely overdo it with internal linking and trip a filter. That's not theory, it's based on experience. Been there, done that.

Quote:
too much internal linking when looked-at as a percentage of total links
Other than that (which may or may not be a factor, some sites are HUGE and will always have more internal than IBLs) - look for repetitious linking across pages and percentages of anchor text.

Last edited by Marcia : 01-07-2006 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 01-07-2006   #19
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Care to explain how?
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Old 01-07-2006   #20
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Care to explain how?
Repetitious linking across pages and percentages of anchor text.
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