The Best Places To Put SEO-Friendly Links

By: Danny Wirken

There are four usual locations of links. Links can either be placed at top-left of the document, at the bottom of the document, at the same height corresponding with the document or embedded within a document. Each link arrangement has its own set of believers as with regards to its efficiency in relation to SEOs.

Discussions on Individual Efficiency

At a study conducted among twenty volunteer participants with age ranging from 18 to 49 and an average of 3 years college education, the performance of the four types of link conditions mentioned above was put to the test. Each was measured according to the degree of accuracy, task completion time and search efficiency. Other aspects taken into consideration are ease of navigation, ability to recognize key information, amount of comprehension promoted and the ability to follow the main idea of the passage.

The results indicated that there were no significant differences between the four link placements in terms of search accuracy, time or efficiency. This would tend to show that the actual navigability is not greatly affected by any link arrangement for documents within a single frame. However, the perception that embedded links within a document was more effective in the other aspects considered such as lack of navigation and the others was very strong. On the other hand, links placed at the bottom of the document was perceived to be the least navigable arrangement. This would suggest that embedded links are the most preferred while the links placed at the bottom are the least preferred.

Accuracy involves being able to find the correct task information. Task completion time is the assessment of the time needed to complete search tasks. Search efficiency is determined by the least number of clinks on the scroll bar and use of back button in finding the information which indicates efficient link arrangement.

The probable reasons why embedded links are the most preferred are its provision for a greater content and requirement of the least division of attention. This is because the embedded links are part of the passage while the links and the passage are both in the same visual area. It is highly possible however that embedded links can make it more difficult to find and refer back to specific links because of its very nature. It would be safe to say that such links are suitable for initial information search while corresponding links such as those located to the left of the passage are more helpful after the information associated with the link is known. This would lend credence to the proposition that a combination of embedded and other link arrangements is much better than either type alone. This is what is commonly referred to as providing redundant links.

The performance of links is also determined whether they are contained in framed pages or not. For quite sometime, frames have been blamed for causing confusion to users due to the division of a website's structure consisting of interconnected but distinct modes of information. For documents however, frames actually work to assist the reader by minimizing the problem of disappearing menus when scrolling down a non-framed page.

The frame condition is perceived by many as being able to promote easier comprehension of the passages. It is very useful for certain content and facilitates site maintenance as well as providing a good way to maintain narrative and design consistency. It can also be used to provide additional interactivity to a web page by clicking a link in one frame to change the contents of the other.

The Linking Strategy

Most website owners have resorted to a linking strategy to improve ranking with search engines and to improve traffic. Links provide traffic that is more consistent than that provided by search engine ranking. In a number of cases, links are able to bring more traffic than search engines.

One-way inbound links are the best type of links to acquire. These are obtained when by virtue of being considered an authority in a particular field or due to the high relevancy of a certain web page, other website owners decide to link. High quality content web pages are required for this type of link that tends to come slowly. Most directories can also provide simple inbound links without any requirement to link in return.

Reciprocal links are links that a website gets in return for linking to another website. It is a good way to build inbound links but it is important to exchange links only to sites that are relevant to a particular website. Finding websites to exchange links with can be done by using software tools that search out related websites. It can also be done manually by searching, based on keywords and looking into website resources that are similar in nature.

Links are evaluated using link description so it is important that this description matches the site. It may be advantageous to vary the link text to make it look more natural. Requesting for a link exchange is as easy as e-mailing the webmaster. A great majority of webmasters respond positively to link exchange requests. Some websites have literally thousands of links but a few good quality sites are worth more than a thousand of poor quality sites. Generally, sites with a PageRank greater than 4 are considered good link site partners. Some sites may have low PageRank not because they are bad partners but because they are new. They are worth looking into if the site looks good and has a matching theme. The key is to exchange value and not links per se. A link should provide value to a reader so it follows that when any site becomes a link, it should be able to provide value as well to the readers of the linking site. It is best to stay clear of link farms which are nothing but a website of links.

Finding relevant link partners takes research, negotiating skills and time. Better results are obtained from search engines if links are established with sites that have considerable traffic. Link popularity should be developed the right way towards the right direction. A website that links to information related to their business serves the ultimate goal of any visitor.

The use of named anchors or different locations in the document to link to a specific place on a different page is better than using within-page links on a single page. Users have a mental model for link following which is violated in all aspects by within-page links. It scrolls the window instead of navigating the user to a new location. The old page does not go away even after clicking. It is simply scrolled differently but contains the same data. A user usually links somewhere in the middle of the page with no navigation bar and clicking the back button will not take him/her to the previous page. This is really a waste of so much time as users get confused about where they are on the site especially after repeatedly viewing the same material even after multiple clicks back and forth. If within-page links must be used, websites should just state so directly to guide the users. One use of this type of link is when users wish to be taken directly to the desired items in a long list of items summarized at the top of the page.

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