Hash Link SEO – Google Jump To Results with Internal Links

October 21, 2009Julian10 Comments

UPDATE: I have reposted this post over at SEOrigami.org. Feel free to check it out over there.

Last week while searching for “Fallout 3 multiplayer” I noticed some really cool results in Google.  In the image below you can see that the Wikipedia result has in-site links to subsections of the page.  As if this was not impressive enough to see, the following result included a “Jump to Is there a multiplayer mode?”  Why is this so awesome?  This is another step toward Google supporting onsite semantic markup.  What microformat support could be next?

google-jump-to-link

Any good SEO knows the number one rule of research, “don’t tip your hand.”  I feel this news is less of a secret method or technique, and more of a verification that Google is headed in a specific direction with search.  Plus, we have been using this method for a while now, and I would hope that every website applies this method where it makes sense.

How to Get a Jump-To Link in Google Results

hash-link-example

If you visit the page directly you will find a table of contents, which links to anchor tags farther down on the page.  Notice the use of keywords in question format for the hash link.

hash-link-rank

Farther down the page, name="Is_there_a_multiplayer_mode.3f" shows up in an anchor tag.  This is where the page will load when linked to directly.  By using keywords in the anchor name, and having a link at the top of the page for engines and people to follow, the site is clearly showing that various parts of the page have various question answer combos, or more generally a table of contents.

Tips for Ranking Hash Links in Google

First, I would recommend checking out Googles advice on hash linking.

Second, make sure your pages are semantic.  Properly use your H-n level tags to create good page structure.

Don’t keyword stuff the content.  It is easy to be overzealous when creating titles and subtitles.  Stay away from keyword stuffing!

Create a table of contents at the top of the page and also at the bottom (if its a long page).   I have seen some people make the table of contents slide with the scrolling of the page.  If done right, it can be pretty nice.

Link to the page with hashmarks when it makes sense.  If you are referring to a specific section of the page, use hashmarks to direct the browser directly to that section.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this with aggressive link building, as it may trip a filter, but I do recommend hash linking when it makes sense.

FAQ SEO – One Page per Question or One Page per Topic

A few years ago, I was tasked with creating the SEO plan for a regional clinic.  One of the goals of the site was to rank on some long tail FAQ questions about various procedures.  At the time, long tail wordpress posts seemed to be the key to ranking for specific key phrases.  As a result, one topic with 20 questions would have required 20 individule pages.  The benefit of which is that you can really focus on the keywords in the URL and titles of each post for each question.  This allowed smaller, beginning websites to rank for specific long tail terms with very little page authority or link building.

The downside to building multiple pages is that your pages can become a bear to manage, and category pages were then linking to 20 pagers per topic (think watered down link authority).

As a result, I decided to create a single FAQ page for each topic and use hash anchors and hash links for navigation of the long pages.  The pages preformed fairly well, although we had no control to compare to ranking speed.  This method did require some creative link building to rank for competative terms; however, it is much easier to build the authority of a single page than of twenty.

Semantic Microformat Markup and SEO – hCards and vCards

Use semantic markup, even if it doesn’t have any proven direct ranking value right now.   For instance, to date, Google is not using hCard information in its search results, but I still recommend using hCard in SEO campaigns. It doens’t hurt, and nothing feels better than informing your client that the latest Google change puts their website ahead automatically and with no extra work.  Check out this site on microformat markup if you want to dive deeper into microformats.

Also, I would like to thank Andrew Murphy and Juston Johnson (Justin is also a Principal here at Zebra Kick).  Justin and Andrew taught me the importance of semantic markup a few years ago, and were deadset on making pages as semantic as possible.  Thanks guys!

Finally, what semantic tricks do you use on your pages that you don’t see often elsewhere?  Do you have pages that outpreform competition based partially on better markup?  I’d love to know.

If you would like to see a live example of this method, check out our post on healthshire.com about CPT mental health codes.

10 comments to “Hash Link SEO – Google Jump To Results with Internal Links”

  1. Andrew | October 21, 2009 | Permalink Reply

    Microformats might not be picked up by google but there are ALOT of devices, especially in the hand-held market that do pick them up and provide features like “quick dial this phone number” or “save this address” which improves your user experience.

    • Justin | October 21, 2009 | Permalink Reply

      That might be context dependent, but that is a good point. Especially since mobile devices have less computational power, if you just come right out and say in a standard format that, “this is an address” or “this is a phone number,” it could make mobile applications more light weight and allow them to focus on more important things than implementing a parser that can understand ambiguous semantics (or no semantics at all). Also, since no one likes to use a mobile device for input, this is, as you said, great for the user as they have less to type.

  2. SEO Wanna Be | November 3, 2009 | Permalink Reply

    Hi your post is amazing, It’s incredible, I learned a lot about SEO and Man, this thing’s getting better and better as I learn more about internet marketing. Also as part of my ongoing mission to find the absolute best tools to make money, this is without a doubt at the top of my list. Everything happened so fast!

  3. Brad | November 14, 2009 | Permalink Reply

    I ve been wanting to use hash marks and try them out. I had heard they help with onpage but never tried them. Thinking I should set that up and give it a shot. Good post here

  4. Ryan Norris | December 28, 2009 | Permalink Reply

    I was researching how to use semantic web techniques for SEO a few months back but decided not to adapt it since it’s additional work that doesn’t really help in rankings. Maybe it’s a good time to “semantify” my sites and see the how they would appear in the SERPs.

  5. bwi parking | April 13, 2010 | Permalink Reply

    Hmm will try hash marks today. The Seo world become bigger everyday !

  6. Alex | June 22, 2010 | Permalink Reply

    I ve been wanting to use hash marks and try them out. I had heard they help with onpage but never tried them

  7. Jenn@t1 internet | November 17, 2010 | Permalink Reply

    If you aren’t using correct semantic markup, you can really screw up your rankings. For example, I’ve seen people who put everything in H1 tags because they like the way it looks, but that looks spammy to search engines, which will penalize you. This is a problem when you have non-technical people writing WordPress blogs, for example. They don’t understand that the different formatting styles in their CSS exist for more than just looks. . . and it’s darn hard to explain it to them!

  8. Tom | April 18, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Just came across an example on Google when doing a search for compare toll free plans . The http://1800numberservice.org result has it. Haven’t seen these often though.

  9. [...]  This post was originally posted on the Zebra Kick blog, but I am planning on covering hashlink SEO this coming week so I figured it was worth posting over [...]

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