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SEO: Contextual Linking of Pages

Here's a little tidbit of interesting information. The links throughout a single page of your website are not all created equal.

Every web page has a variety of different links. Top menus, left navigation, right navigations, breadcrumbs, ad links, and links in the copy of the page. As it turns out, Google has the ability to measure the context of the information before and after every link.

That additional context provides additional signals to Google regarding the validity and importance of the link. The more relevant the surrounding words are, the more they'll produce higher link validity.

This is a reasonable example of contextual relevance:
"We have a great selection of diamond and 14kt _engagement_rings_ available."
The words _engagement_rings_ represents a link to your product catalog page. It is preceded by the word diamond and the phrase 14kt, both of which are contextually relevant.

On the other hand, the following would not be as contextually relevant:
"Make sure you remove your _engagement_ring_ before cleaning with bleach."
Even though that's a valid statement found on your jewelry care page, it has zero relevance to the product catalog page that _engagement_ring_ is linking to.

Let's switch gears now and talk about the links in your navigations on the top menu and on the left or right sides of your site. These navigations have no real contextual relevance because they are nothing more than a list of links that look nice side by side or lined up.

Without the contextual relevance, Google is not using those links as a strong signal in their rank scoring.

Sometimes you will find websites with 4 or 5 word descriptive links on the side navigations. All 4 or 5 words are linked, so that doesn't count toward contextual weighting, but it does provide signals for long tail keyword discovery, which we'll cover tomorrow.

Footer links also have minimal impact as a ranking signal because they are nothing more than another list of links without contextual relevance.

In conclusion: A long navigation on the left and a link menu across the top is not as important as the links in the copy of the body of your page.

We will continue our basic SEO Nuggets tomorrow. Until then Google TFYQA and have a great day.
AT: 12/30/2010 10:25:26 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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