Whether you’re launching a new website, refreshing an existing site, or restructuring your content, your internal link structure will be essential to your Chicago SEO success.

Internal links are any links that connect your webpages to one another.

If you don’t have an internal linking strategy, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to boost your SEO efforts and simultaneously create a more user-friendly website experience for your visitors.

There are five essential best practices for internal linking structure success you need to know:

  • Structure around content topics
  • Utilize unique content and canonicals
  • Indexing and prioritization
  • Put the user first
  • Manage internal link value and flow

Context & Hierarchy

Don’t be afraid to have your site visitors click and scroll.

seo

We don’t have to keep all technical and deep-dive content on the first or second level page of the website. Organize your content around topics and prioritize what gets top level focus versus being multiple clicks deep.

Without a need to have a page per keyword of the old SEO days, we can think much more like a term paper outline.

A natural structure of our content from high-level down to specific allows us to develop topics and topics-within-topics on our site.

The biggest challenge you’ll likely face is the stakeholders in your organization or within your client’s organization that think that everything is important and needs to be on the home page or in the top navigation.

In addition to diluting link value mentioned earlier, having too many focuses and links on the home page interferes with what you’re doing to build context for your content and depth in the proper order.

Crawling & Indexing

All of our our efforts are in vain if we don’t ensure that navigation is crawlable and that only necessary primary and sub-navigation are coded out into each page.

By putting unnecessary navigation into each page we can waste precious crawl budget and focus.

The key is not only to get the search engines to see all of our content and have an easy linear path to get through the depth of content in our topical areas but also to understand the linking association between the pages based on topical relevance.

When we don’t have crawling focus and can’t get the spiders to certain pages, we’re losing out on an opportunity to be highly ranked

By putting unnecessary navigation into each page we can waste precious crawl budget and focus.

User Experience

Be good to your site visitors.

Don’t hit users with things that are bad for SEO like thin content, too many ads above the fold, or disruptive interstitials. These will make a visitor bounce back to the search results page.

No matter how great your value proposition is for your site visitor, if they can’t discover it then you won’t meet the bottom line goals – or why you wanted them to come to your site in the first place.

Search engines put emphasis on rewarding positive user experiences as they care about their end customer – the searcher.

When the searcher uses Google or Bing and finds what they are looking for at the top of the search results, the site is giving their user value.

With billions of data points on how users interact with search results and websites, the engines have the ability to tune algorithms based on user experience factors and this is only expected to grow moving forward (especially with the use of machine learning and automated algorithm updates).

Flow of Link Value

Don’t take off your link building hat when links get to the site. Link value passes from page to page within the site based on the same logic.

Years ago, when we had a clearer picture of Google PageRank, we could see how much value each of the pages on our site have and manage our linking structure to push PageRank into areas we care about most. The rise of PageRank sculpting came and went, and now we can’t see PR scores at all. Now we rely on SEO tool-specific metrics, but you can’t forget that PageRank is still in play.

Knowing where inbound links from other sources land on your site is still critical as well as setting up your site structure to ensure that you don’t dilute all the value on the landing page.

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