How can I improve my linking on a Q&A site?

How can I improve my linking on a Q&A site? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from Gus in Massachusetts. Gus wants to know, We have a Q&A section, questions and answers, with 10 questions per page. The oldest questions, which are some of the best, are buried on the fourth or fifth page and are not showing up in searches. Do you have any advice on how to implement paging? Thanks. OK, so I’m making a little bit of an assumption here, but I think what you’re saying is you have one page of Q&A with 10 questions and answers or links to 10 questions and answers. And then that links to page two, and then that links to page three, four, five. So you’re chaining them down like that. If that’s your situation, I can give you a couple recommendations. The first one that I would do is try to include related questions so you have links from one question to another question. There’s relatively good technology for this. WordPress, for example, has Related Posts plugins– there’s several of those– Yet Another Related Post and related things like that. What that let’s you do is as a user comes in, they finish one question, and then they get to see four or five questions that are sort of similar to that. If they’re still interested in reading about that topic they can click on that and find the rest of your content. It’s also good for Googlebot because Googlebot can come in and crawl one page and then find related pages via that crawling mechanism. So that way, the way to get to a question on the fifth page doesn’t have to be going through page one and page two and page three and page four and finally clicking to page five to find that question. Instead they might click through to the first question and then find immediately a question on the fifth page that’s related. In general, the more ways that people can sort of find easily content within the site, Related is a great way to do it. That can to lead to page rank flowing within your site a little more easily sometimes. The other thing to bear in mind is sometimes it sounded like you knew what questions were good. If you know what questions are good then you can highlight those. Now you can include things like voting buttons up and down so that you know which questions people really like. Or if you have things that are looking at your server logs to see what has generated a lot of traffic in the past. Any way you have to know these are good questions you can highlight that, for example, on the root page. You could say these are our top 10 or our top 25 questions of all time. Or make sure that those are questions that show up a little bit closer to the root so that the Googlebot doesn’t have to click through 20 different links in order to find those questions. So those are a couple ways that you can think about to sort of make it so that your content is a little more surfaced, a little more discoverable, and then that way both users and Googlebot might be able to find your content a little more easily.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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