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What kind of tools do you give your website visitors to find more relevant information on your website other than the first page they land on? Are the Search Engines finding every page on your website and understanding how your pages are related?
Internal link structure can address both of these issues, plus others. When we talk about internal link structure we are referring to the links within one page’s content that lead site visitors to other pages of the website with similar or related content. Not only do these links help visitors but there is also value in internal link structure for SEO.
What is Link Structure in SEO?
Before we go further into why internal link structure of a website matters, let’s first talk about link structure for SEO. Links are one of the most important factors that Search Engines like Google look at when deciding how to rank your website. An internal link is simply a link on your website page that goes to another website page on your website. These internal links help both your visitors navigate through your website and help the Search Engines establish your Site architecture or hierarchy, which is how your pages are related. If needed, review How the Search Engines View Linking before continuing on.
Here are 7 ways the hyperlinks and link structure of your website can help improve your SEO, visitor behavior, website rankings.
1. Link Structure Creates Ease of Access
A visitor lands on one of your site pages. After skimming or thoroughly reading the content, they may want more information. Providing links within the content directly to similar or supporting documentation makes it easy for them to maneuver around your site based on their needs. Learn more on how SEO and User Experience Work Together.
2. Link Structure Helps Googles Crawlers Find All Website Pages
Websites with poor internal link structures can be more difficult for crawler bots to follow. Providing internal links between pages makes it easier for Search Engine crawlers to analyze your website and index/rank all your pages. New pages can compel the bot to crawl them, and also re-crawl the accompanying pages to which you have linked. Learn more by reading Understanding Crawl Budgets and How to Increase Your Website Crawl Budget with Google.
3. Link Structure Increases Page Strength
Links pointing to your site from authoritative websites can improve your ranking. That is what we refer to as an external link or a backlink. Visitors who arrive through these external links may choose to then follow your internal links to other pages on your website. Theoretically, your internally linked pages from the original page can benefit by accumulating more exposure and potentially acquire direct links of their own.
4. Link Structure Utilizes Anchor Text
The anchor text you use for the link indicates to the visitor what the page is about and can have some SEO benefit for when the Search Engines crawl the page. Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the content found on the subsequent page. Using the page title or a relevant keyword phrase can be useful and easily understandable. You can find more details in the article What Does it Take to Rank #1 on Google?
5. Link Structure Points Upward and Non-Circular
In general, a best practice for SEO is to have your internal links point upward to their parent page. In this way, you are pushing link juice or link credit from pages deep within your site to your main pages. For example, on a renovation company’s website they may have their Kitchen Renovations page link to their Home Renovations page which then links to their Homepage.
Another best practice is to avoid circular internal linking that can cause the visitor to click in circles and get frustrated. This circular linking can also cancel out the link juice you are trying to structure.
6. Link Structure Requires Review and Updating
Run a quick link structure analysis and examine the status of internal links from existing site pages. Make sure that these links:
- Are still active – do not 404, do not rely on a 301 redirect.
- Are still relevant – have current pricing, product features, service list, etc.
- Are still the most useful page on the site – have you since created a better more useful page?
Update old links with new links to more current content, and similarly connect your latest content to your more dated pieces, rejuvenating interest in them. If you are thinking of updating or changing link structure soon be sure to read the article Top 8 Ways to Rejuvenate Old SEO Content for New Exposure.
7. Link Structure Relies on Content
How many links you should provide from one page to another is going to depend on the length of the original page, and the number of suitable pages to which you can link. Do some internal research before you post the item and arrive at a number that makes sense for your readership.
A Little Link Structure Optimization Goes a Long Way!
- Users have a much better experience on websites that provide relevant internal links from one page to another.
- Effective link descriptions (anchor text) make users aware of where they are going and can help with SEO.
- Internal link structure helps Search Engine robots find all the pages on your site, preventing any “orphaned” or unlinked pages.
For more information on link structure for your website contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.