Menu links, as the name suggests, are the links that appear in the header section (main menu) on your website. This point links to all the major sections on your website, and are usually static on each page. This is the major reason they don’t carry much significance with regard to SEO, since the search engines consider these links only once on a site.
Benefits of Header Links
Although SEO benefits of menu links are infrequent but from user perspective they contain utmost importance in all webpage elements. Still it is always recommended to optimize them well to get the best outcomes. Before we go deeper, let’s have a look at how these links can benefit you.
How Menu Links Affect SEO
Search engines like Google consider links in menu as home page links (opinion is subjective) and we all know that home page can be the oldest webpage on any domain. So, this is necessary to understand the importance of home page and then links available on it. We can conclude that links on home page transfer the highest worth to internal webpages due to its authority.
Tip: Make sure you are using the right keywords and webpages in your menu links i.e. the prime keywords of most important webpages on your website.
How header links affect usability
Your main menu is equally important for your site’s usability as it is for SEO. Well organized links in the header area help the user to navigate all the major sections easily and without getting confused. This increases the chances of the users staying on your site, hence lowering the bounce rates.
Header links SEO best practices
Now that you know how beneficial header links can be for your site, it is significant to know that without good optimization, there is no benefit you can reap. Here are some best practices you should implement to write user and SEO friendly header links.
Say No to Long Tail Keywords for Menu Links
Your entire website should be built with one key factor in mind; to communicate with both, the users and the search engines. So, unlike other linking strategies, anchor texts used in menu links should be generic. If descriptive and long tail anchors are being used, they will create a clutter in small space which will spoil the user experience.
Tip: Use generic keywords in main menu and medium tail keywords in sub menus. This way you will be transferring a good amount of link juice to highly competitive keywords, as they would be linked from menu, as well as user experience will enhance.
Use Drop down Menus Wisely
Drop down menu with links mostly annoy the users. The worst part is that many users skip your most important pages that are obviously placed on the top of your drop down menus. This results in lower visits on important pages.
If you have a big site, with numerous sections, you can use” mega drop down menus”. In such cases, they often perform very well.
Keep your Main Navigation Organized
Link only to the important sections on your site, otherwise you’re at the risk of overwhelming the user. The strategy is; make user happy, they will make you happy.
Place your Items in the Right Order
Start with the most important section of your site and end on the least important; in left to right order. Users tend to pay more attention to what they see earlier.
The practices explained above are optimal for both, the users and the search engines. Use the techniques and you’ll be rightly optimizing your header links for the search engines and your users as well.