Hint: It’s Something your Website Designer Probably Didn’t Know to Do. And It Could Be Costing Your Website Search Engine Rankings.
We offer comprehensive SEO evaluations, so naturally we see the blunders and mishaps of tons of websites that are not performing well in the search engines.
The most common structural mistake we see contributing to a weak organic search engine presence is inconsistent linking to the index page.
I know, it sounds like something your website designer should have known to do properly.
Yet site after site, we see pages linked without a thought to consistency. The trouble is, unless your website designer is an SEO specialist, they may not even be aware that consistently linking to major pages can impact the SEO performance of a website.
How Inconsistent Linking Affects Your Website’s Search Engine Performance
Inconsistent linking to your most important pages can dilute the search engines' perception of the importance of those pages.
When you link to your index page in different ways, the search engines treat each as a separate page. For example, if you link to your index page with http://www.domain.com/index.htm in one place and http://www.domain.com/ in another place, search engines do not recognize this as two links to the same page. So, even though your intention is to link to your home page in each case, you are actually linking to two different places in the eyes of the search engines.
These real-life scenarios illustrate the impact that inconsistent link structures can have on your search engine performance:
- A new client whose website was suffering from inconsistent linking throughout the site realized a major jump in search engine performance within one month of SEO implementation, increasing website leads by 4 times. Other SEO tactics were also employed, but it's likely that correcting the link structure accounted for much of the immediate result.
- Another client had some work performed by a designer who inadvertently used inconsistent linking structure. Google PageRank fell by 2 points immediately, and the site's performance suffered until the structural corrections could be made.
How Can I Tell If My Website’s Linking Structure Is Consistent?
You don’t have to be a website designer to check a few URLs.
Simply mouse over hyperlinks on your website that link to your home page. When the pointer is on a hyperlink, the URL for the page it points to will show in the bottom left of your browser window. Make sure they all use one format (e.g., http://www.domain.com/) and keep track of any that vary.
Keep in mind this principle also applies to your website’s inbound links from other websites. So make sure that you use one consistent URL for each major page that you pursue a link-building strategy for.
Now, it must be said that consistent link structure alone will NOT guarantee your website rockets to the top of Google. Effective search engine optimization requires a combination of many factors executed over time. But maintaining consistent link structure does seem to be one of the most commonly overlooked elements that can hold your website back and inhibit your SEO results, even if you’re doing everything else right.
One last word – don’t be too hard on your website design team or web designer. Just forward them a copy of this article. Even a good SEO company has to check over its work to make sure links are used consistently.
About SEO Advantage®
Led by Stone Reuning, SEO Advantage®, Inc. is an online marketing and search engine optimization firm that helps businesses turn their web presence into a powerful revenue generation medium. Our clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services implemented by a multidisciplinary team of SEO engineers, copywriters and web designers. You'll find us referenced in books such as "Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale" and the BusinessWeek bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," as well as the popular ebook "The Small Business Blogging Blueprint." Find out more today by calling us at 1-800-366-1639 or email us here.
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