Link juice is the power behind high quality backlinks that lead to a website as well as the internal connecting structure, a reflection of the concept that such connectivity does attract more attention from Google and other search engines. Most emphasis is usually placed on attracting high quality ones to increase that connecting power; however, navigation is another important way to generate attention to the website and its many pages. When properly optimized, navigation can be more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B.
Besides inbound links, another way to increase connecting power is for the homepage to connect with the many existing website pages. Using as short a path as possible, preferably three links or less, such a pathway can help internet spiders easily find all website pages and give that location more attention. Even though anchor text within featured content on the homepage is useful, global navigation is actually better because it appears on every page in the same location, usually above the fold and higher in the HTML code. The trick is to keep such pathways as short as possible, as connecting power decreases further away from the homepage.
Just like almost everything else on a website, navigation can also be optimized. There are actually two ways to accomplish this: optimize with links and optimize with keywords:
- Keywords – Navigational optimization with keywords is like the regular use of keywords. Putting the right ones in the right places increase SEO and link juice as well. Each time a keyword shows up in a navigation link, ranking for that keyword is increased as well. The emphasis here is that navigation must be labeled with the whole keyword phrase in order to provide the most ranking benefit.
Design and Website Aspects
There will always be conflict between SEO and web design, so a good balance between the two is the best avenue to take. Providing the best optimized navigation is possible unless it alienates users or spiders from lack of indexing, functionality, or a good appearance. Using navigation to generate and spread link juice requires close attention to the actual website design – yet SEO and good web design can be jointly achieved.
For currently existing websites, a good way to test the validity of such a theory is to find end pages with the most incoming link juice and find a way to connect them into the global menu. This method can work out better, even if it does seem backward. Then, when these pages have been indexed, it is easier to modify the global navigation in general while sticking to the basic rules of good website design.
As with anything SEO related, using this type of technique is going to work better for some sites than for others; however, there is no arguing the fact that internal navigation connections from the homepage contain the most link juice. By leveraging such powerful connections more strategically, it is indeed possible for increased search engine attention to the website to be achieved!