It is a proven theory that you need a lot of quality back links to your site in order improve your page ranks with Google ‘the boss’. Less known or more often forgotten truth, however, is that you need to create a healthy number of internal links as well towards much the same cause.
Known internal linking methods
There are a number of popular methods such as the inclusion of sitemaps, tag clouds widgets, plugins to link to older article etc to improve the internal links strength. While these are must-have for any blog, there are few other easy settings and methods that will increase your internal links dramatically.
Can we link better?
Yes. First of all, one should make sure that the number of links you display in each page of your site is the maximum, but without creating irritation to the user. For example, you may choose to display 12 articles instead of the default 8 or 10 in the homepage, probably summary alone and not the full text. If ‘read more’ tags are used, let your old article links appear before that. If you post your articles in more than one category your sitemap will have more links. Similarly more number of tags per post translates to more cloud links and your RSS feed also can have more number of articles than the default value.
Further, you may multiply the links using further access points such as ‘most read articles’, ‘most commented stories’ etc. These, if carefully placed on your blog, will not cause any visual fatigue to your readers and will definitely please Google.
Usually, your page footer is an area where you blindly place your copyright info and a couple of feed links. What about using this space better to place all possible feed links (RSS 1.0 & 2.0, ATOM for both posts and comments) as exposed by platforms like WordPress? If you make sure that your most prominent feed is highlighted well, there’s no confusion and you get four or more internal links free! You can be more innovative with the otherwise boring footer.
External links as internal
Any external links – except for any no-follow category links – may be placed as URL redirects via your own pages in order to create that many more internal links. A couple of weeks back when I had 12 or so posts in this blog, Google was showing 50 odd internal links. A week later when the article count reached 20, the internal links had more than doubled. Though, I am yet to maximize it, a few link pages and multiple link points helped me a bit. I am sure, if I work on it further, it will have an exponential impact.
Probably, the best place to check your internal links as recognized by Google, is Google Webmaster Tools itself. The ‘Links’ section there in lists qualified internal links based on the last crawl information. Keep a close watch on this tool to make sure that you are doing good to yourself by linking internally better and thereby improved ratings by Google.
An old saying: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link!