If you frequent this Link Love column, you likely know that getting links from other sites is important. However, that's not the end of the game. Internal links are just as important to think about as external links.
Lately, an awful lot of sites from really big companies aren't giving internal linking any thought whatsoever. Possibly you haven't taken time to think about this either.
Let me first start by telling you why this is important.
Every page on your Web site has a coolness factor. Google calls this PageRank. But it could just as easily be called the cool-o-meter. It works just the way it did back in high school. People were either cool or not cool based on who they hung out with. If you wanted to be cool, and you weren't already, you had to get a plan to beef up your coolness status.
I did this very thing.
Early in high school, I decided there was a group of kids that I wanted to hang out with. I had been spending all my time with a few skater dudes I'd grown up with, but they seemed to be going in a direction where I didn't want to go.
After breaking off all ties with my old friends, I began to dress different, got more serious about school, and became more outgoing. The majority of my sophomore year was a transition. I didn't hang out with my old friends and I slowly made my way into the perimeter of this new group.
Then, finally, one day it happened. I was having a nice conversation with Suzzie (yes, her name really was Suzzie) when she stopped in the middle and said she would be right back. She walked over to her clique, my hopeful future friends. After quietly talking with them, she then came back and told me that she and her friends were having a party on Friday and she wanted to know if I'd like to come. In my head, I screamed a reply of, "HELL YES!" Then I told Suzzie, "Sure, that sounded pretty cool."
That was it. Everything was different from that day on. And everything else I did had a different air to it. I played the cello. That became cool. I got good grades. That became cool. I sang in choir. That became cool.
Until I met Suzzie, all those things I had been doing were unremarkable. Other than not skateboarding anymore, everything else was about the same. The difference was Suzzie and her friends.
This is exactly how linking works. Suzzie is your external link. She's hard to come by. And if you really want to hang out with Suzzie and her friends, you have to put in a lot of hard work and dedication. But once you do, then the things you do become cool, as long as you work them in right. The cello, grades, and choir are my internal links.
For example, one day I was hanging out with these people and I mentioned I had a regional orchestra concert. I was principal cellist. And if they weren't busy they might come check it out. The music would be good and the orchestra was good, too.
That's like putting a link on my home page to my cello. Because I was now accepted into the group, I just had to point out what was important to me. That then became important, too.
Now, I was also a closet geek back in the day. I had a Commodore 64 and would program Basic programs into it on the weekend. I knew that would never fly with this group. So I buried it. I didn't bring it up. I didn't link to it.
I bet, however, that there are many parts of your site that you think are important but you bury them. Maybe you just link to them a few times on a weak subpage of your site. This will never make them cool. If you want them to be cool, you have to display them proudly all over your site. Think about all the places it would make sense to link to things you feel are important.
Every time you think about how to get a certain page better positioned in the search engines, just remember how it all worked in high school. If you follow that formula, you'll never fail.