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Programming SEO – Cross Linking

YB As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, cross-linking your pages within your site is one of the best ways I know to increase traffic to your site.  In fact, the week I added a plug-in to this site that automatically cross-linked my related pages, I saw a steady increase in visitors.

And that’s just the issue.  How do we set things up so that our pages automatically get cross-linked?  Here are some of the issues we want to deal with:

  • Only pages that have some kind of relation to each other should link to each other
  • As new pages get added to the site the links should change to reflect that new, possibly more relevant content is available.

In other words, we want this to be automatic and we want it to change as the content changes.

The keywords we added to our page are going to help us with this problem.

If you have keywords assigned to every page in your system, this will be a lot easier than if you don’t, but even if you don’t this process isn’t impossible.

The first method of cross-linking is to find the pages on your site that have exactly the same keywords associated with them as you’ve assigned to the current page.  You only want 3–5 of these links on each page, so this may be all you have to do.

Here’s what I’d search for, in order.

  1. Other pages that have exactly the same number of keywords and all keywords are exactly the same.
  2. Other pages that have more keywords than the current page but the keywords on the current page are a subset of the keywords on the other page.
  3. Other pages that have the first N-1 keywords the same.
  4. Other pages that have the first N-2 keywords, and the last keyword the same.
  5. Other pages that have the first N–2 keywords the same.
  6. etc.

I’d set the logic up in an SQL stored procedure for the best performance and just return the top 3 to 5 results.

If you don’t have keywords set up on every page, you’ll need to take a different approach.  If you have full text indexing set up for each of your pages, or some other way of doing a search for content on your site, you are in luck.  All you need to do is search your content for the top 3 to 5 results that come back when you search for your list of keywords.  If you don’t have some way of searching your content, you should fix that now.  Not having the ability to search content makes your site that much harder for your visitors to use.

If you tell me that you don’t need search because you don’t have a lot of pages on your site, you have another problem.  You NEED a lot of pages (more than 100) on your site if you want any kind of traffic to your site at all.  You also need a lot of pages on your site if you want this cross-linking thing to work well for you.


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About Dave Bush

Dave Bush is a Full Stack ASP.NET developer. His commitment to quality through test driven development, vast knowledge of C#, HTML, CSS and JavaScript as well as his ability to mentor younger programmers and his passion for Agile/Scrum as defined by the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Alliance will certainly be an asset to your organization.

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