Did the NYT take a SEO Play from Wikipedia Inlinking Strategies

nyt first commentThe other day on twitter I mentioned a dramatic change in the way the New York Times was creating their content and the start of a new in linking strategy for them.

nyt commentWikipedia does have an incredible internal linking structure. And now it appears as if the NYT is going to try and become the Encyclopedia Britannica of all news, events and world atlas in development.

How sites link to their own content internally tells the search engines more about what matters most to the site. In this case we are talking text links. No image links, No Javascript Links, No Image Map Links – Only keyword focused embedded text links to other content and relative  items.

WikiPedia links internally to it’s own  pages, every time a word or phrase with it’s own page is referenced. All pages every time  site-wide for Wikipedia. If a topic has a page anywhere on WikiPedia, the page links from any use of that word or phrase back to that page about that word or phrase.

nyt older article less links

nyt links in articles current

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Check out the  screen shot on the left of a NYT’s article from July 24 2009, notice there is only one link in the first 300 words of the article.  The article  itself has many opportunities for more links but the only one showing takes you to, wait for it, the exact same page?

Is this an automated process by the NYT’s to create an internal linking structure that has proven to be an awesome strategy for wikipedia?

Now lets look at an article screen shot on the right from November  10th 2009.

The topics are relatively the same and the keywords in many cases are similar.  But notice the amount of links to other NYT articles has literally quintupled!!

Clearly someone over there has gotten on the SEO bandwagon in a serious way. I am predicting the intra site linking strategy will prove to be a major ranking success for the New York Times.

Newspapers that use “Related Stories” pages are doing a good job at creating usability and maintaining topical relevance.

So what are the big takeaways from the NYT’s new strategy? have they learned from the likes of wikipedia?

1) Create content rich definition pages that explain your products, service or creates reference pages clearly

2) Wikipedia’s success comes from people knowing what to expect when they click on the site –The NYT links are becoming highly relevant and will continue to refine over time.

Watch for the NYT’s to improve their landing pages to align users expectations based on what they read in the search engine results and the actual content of their site.

3) Use intra-site links, instead of navigation. Wikipedia uses an intensive intra-site linking strategy where a new page is “linked to (with the key term in the anchor text) from one (usually more) other Wikipedia pages.”  This is where the NYT totally gets it right!

4) Make more — and more — content. Text, images, audio and video. In this instance we are referring to

5) Don’t be afraid to edit your site, especially if you are creating new intra-links, you are rewarded for updating content, so go for it.

6) Create an authority page that attracts links, needless to say the NYT is a high authority site.

7) Whenever you add a new page, skim through the rest of your content to look for ways, even creative ways, those other topics relate to your new page

8) Sitemap Links, make sure you site has one, everyone one is familiar and agrees with this basic tenant of a site map

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