Pleasing the search engines
and visitors

There is nothing more I frustrating than getting on a website I really like and not being able to find my way around. You get to a page you like and click around the website. Then you want to go back to your entry page and you just cannot find it.
 
The webmaster might have forgotten to put some links back to the previous pages or forgot to put a link to the home page altogether. Bad website structure, I say.
 
This could also lead to poor rankings at the search engines. I say might, because no one really knows how Google ranks websites or pages. This is a closely guarded secret. There are numerous websites that tell you what you should do, but no one really knows.
 
There are however, some things that you would need to do to make your site easier to navigate and this could earn you much earned brownie points with the search engines. Remember, your goal here is to impress your visitors so they will stay and maybe click on a link that will earn you some money. Not just that, but you want the search engine spiders to find it easy to crawl your site so you can get indexed with the search engines.
 
If the search engines find your site easy to navigate then they might give you a better ranking. This in turn might give you better impressions and that means people will click if they like what they see. 
 
Search engines don't just look at a single thing when they index and rank sites. There are a lot of things they look for when indexing and ranking sites. They call this the, search engine algorithm. All the little things you do right will add up and make you rank better. 
 
However you look at it, it's a win win situation if you get your website structure right.
 
Anyway, let's look at the structure. We did discuss this topic on the previous page. I just want to talk more about linking to and from your levels or tiers.

The structure

Below is a typical diagram of what your website structure should look like. At the top you have your index or home page. This is level one. The start of your website. Then below Level 2 and then Level 3. Level 3 will be where most of your content will go.
 
Website structure with multiple levels
Website structure tiers
 
How many Level 2 pages do I need?
 
This depends on what your website is about and how you want to get your message across. I would say that 5 to 25 is enough. Start with 5 and then work your up. Remember, your level 2 pages make up your menu. If you have to much, then your menu bar might become cluttered and difficult to read or navigate.
 
How many level 3 pages then?
 
Again, this depends on what your site is about. Your level 3 pages will hold the bulk of your content. So whatever you need to write about, put in in level 3. If you see that you are using more than 15 to 20 level 3 pages, rather see if you cannot create a level 2 page and spreading your content in this way.
 
I doubt if any search engines will index more than 250 pages of a website. If you get to this stage then you will probably rank very well with Google and you will definitely receive lot's of traffic. But don't let this stop you. You need to get your message across, and content is the way to do it. I'm only giving you the basics here. If your site has 1000+ pages, then great. This will only reaffirm you as the expert in your field.
 
My best tip I can give you here is this, concentrate on your content. Keep the website structure in mind, but write good content, and lot's of it.

Linking levels

Let's talk about how should use your internal links to link to the different levels. Always make sure that you link your level 1 pages with your level 2 pages and back. The same goes for level 2 to level 3.
 
Link from level 2 to level 3 and then from level 3 back to level 2. Then link from level 3 all the way back to level 1. Your level 1 or home page should be the most linked page on your web site. Below is picture that explains this in more detail.
 
Website structure tier links
website structure tier links
Notice that I only showed how you to back link from one of the level 3 pages. I did not want to clutter the picture with too many lines. Remember to also link back to the home page from all your level 3 pages.
 
Using this strategy will ensure that your visitors and spiders will find it easy to navigate your site.
 
So, how do you actually create these links?

Creating the links

The easiest is to use normal text links. With Yola site builder it's really easy. You just highlight the text and choose the link tool at the top of the page. I'm sure that it will be just as easy with whatever website builder you use.
 
I always put these links at the bottom of my pages, but you can put them anywhere on the page. If you think that the page will flow better with the links in your content, then go for it. I would suggest that you always put a link back to your homepage at the bottom of each of your websites pages.
 
I show you how to create these links on my page about physically creating a website. Just follow the white rabbit.
 
If you don't use a website builder, then you can program it using the html code itself.
 
Below is an example where I link back from my level 2 page to my level 1 page.
 
<a href="index.php">Return to computer Basics</a>
 
There is no way that I'm going to explain how html works and how to program it. There are numerous websites on this topic. I do have a page on basic tags in html that you may want to use.
 
Links are specified in HTML using the <A> tag. Notice that you open the link with a <A> and close it using </A>.
 
The syntax is as follows: <a href="URL">Link text</a>
 
You can use uppercase or lower case. The page you link to is put in the href="URL" part. In my example, I'm linking back to my home page by using the "index.php" as my URL entry. The link text is typically the text that you want to display for the link.
 
You can also use the <a> tag to link to pages outside of your page. Let's say you want to direct the visitor to a website where they can buy a product or something similar. In this case you would use the whole URL, like this:
 
<a href="http://www.buystuff.com">Click here to buy the product</a>
 
You could also use an image instead of text to link to other pages. Below is an example of what the html would look like for this:
 
<a href="somepage.html"><img src="picture.jpg"></a> 

Do I need to use links on my home page to level 2?

No, not really. The reason is that you have menu's pointing to your level 2 pages. This is if you are using a website builder such as Yola, if you don't, then you have to put the links in manually.
 
I always include my level 2 links at the bottom of my home page with a description of what the level 2 pages is all about. You may even use the description meta tag to describe the level 2 pages. Have a look at bapetjo.com's home page to see what I mean. You can also go to my homepage by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
 
All my websites are based on this website structure. I have found that this works the best and that most other search engine optimizers use this website structure as well.
 
Don't forget the most important factor, create great content and the visitors will come.
 
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