For a huge website (ecommerce, directory, etc.) with many variations of the same product or service, whether by location or by brand, the effort to work individually on each one would be monumental. For that reason, we often focus on:
a) The home page, which is naturally where a fair number of links will have to go.
b) A selection of the most important interior pages (such as those cities which might yield the best ROI) with a purposeful effort to help them rank better for relevant searches.
Some of the activities we do will help just those pages; some will help the entire site. To understand this better, it helps to understand what types of ranking signals the search engines look for. They include hundreds of specific signals, but most of them can be grouped as follows:
On-page relevance to a specific search query.
The changes we will make to the template(s) will bring benefits across the site to every page they apply. In other words, even if we identify 10 city-specific pages on which to focus, every city-specific page will benefit. If we add text or other elements on a page-by page basis, only the pages we work on will benefit.
Off-page relevance to a specific query.
Links that we obtain to 10 city-specific pages will often (but not always) confer relevancy. The extent to which this occurs will depend on the content of the page that is linking, the anchor text of the link itself, and a number of other factors. This relevancy is specific only to the page being linked to. For instance, a link to the Chicago page of the website confers no relevancy to the London page.
Inbound links to a page also convey “importance” or “popularity”. They represent a “vote” for the page in the eyes of the search engines. That importance or that vote is specific to the page that is being linked to. But, Google’s PageRank algorithm also spread the link-love to other pages that are directly linked.
For instance, let us assume the Chicago page links directly to other Illinois city-specific pages, such as Rock Island, but not to any Florida city-specific pages. If we obtain 20 links to the Chicago page, that will greatly boost the popularity of the Chicago page. It will also boost the popularity of the Rock Island page, but not the Miami page (at least, not noticeably).
This is why internal linking patterns for a big site like this are so important.
This is the exciting part. Every quality link we build into the domain, strengthens the credibility/authority/popularity of the entire domain. Every day the domain ages, strengthens the entire domain. Every time a high-authority site links into the domain, every time there is a social media mention, every time the domain is renewed for a longer period of time…the entire domain – every page – benefits.
So the efforts we make for a few specific pages can benefit them all to some degree. For a highly competitive sub-niche, that might not be enough. For a smaller, less-competitive niche, the page might rank well without any direct attention to it.Written by David Leonhardt
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