As part of our coverage from the sold-out Searchmetrics x Search Engine Journal conference in San Francisco on SEO, content marketing, and analytics, I caught up with Dennis Goedegebuure of AirBnB to discuss internal linking.
AirBnB is a huge site with tons of user generated content, so how do they deal with internal linking to keep everything structured and organized? Dennis explains in the video below:
Here are some key takeaways from the video:
- AirBnB sticks to the basics when it comes to internal linking, with tactics like using breadcrumbs and links going back and forth between user profiles and listings. They also have links going from user profiles to the location-based browsing experience where their listings are.
- Dennis says AirBnB is careful not to overdo it with internal linking because it would hurt the user experience.
- A trend he noticed in other verticals, especially in larger media websites, is no longer having outbound links. For example, if Dennis were to get an article placed in the Wall Street Journal, they would link to a page about AirBnB on the WSJ website instead of to the AirBnB website. This kind of linking isn’t helpful to the user or the website being linked to. Dennis calls this “black hole SEO” where PageRank flows into the site but it never escapes.
- Dennis wants to see Google looking at this more critically, and assess outbound links on whether or not they provide value to the user. If a site is writing about another company, they should link to that company so the user can easily go find more information about it.
- Back on the topic of internal linking, Dennis says he would not trust any kind of software that tries to automate internal linking, unless it’s something that was developed in-house.
- When Dennis worked for eBay, he built a large internal linking tool with the very targeted purpose of linking relevant pages together. This tool was entirely built by eBay. It was very successful for its time, but Dennis questions whether or not something like that would still work in this day and age.
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