Articles about Internal linking usually start with a discussion of how important yet complicated the subject matter is.
On the one hand, internal linking seems a simple concept, and everyone should do it. On the other hand, the process, plan, and best internal linking practices are very complex.
But regardless of how basic or complex, you think it is, no one argues about its importance.
For content marketing, strategic internal linking is an SEO power technique.
So, there’s no doubt that internal linking and site structure are fundamental elements in the SEO process.
But, what is “Site Structure”?
It simply means organizing a website.
The purpose is to create a website that allows search engines to crawl and easily navigate users.
The most crucial step in SEO learning is the practice of on-page optimization.
On-page optimization relies on an on-page organization using headings such asH1, H2, H3, H4, H5, etc.
For instance, let’s compare a website with a house.
The ideal house has a suitable and accessible number of rooms.
On the website, pages are just like these rooms. To make the house cozy and comfortable, you must build up some corridors.
If you don’t have corridors, how can you access all the rooms? You must be thinking about the exterior windows, but that doesn’t look like a better option.
Topics & Keywords
The next major step in creating an ideal website structure is to organize these pages into topic lists.
Ideally, we prefer to write the topics based on our keyword lists. Instead of thinking about pages and optimizing as per your keywords, make your pages look like topics.
In this way, your topics and content would answer each part of the buyer’s questions.
I agree that keyword research is a crucial element of content writing if you want a rank your pages.
But we need to understand few things very clearly.
If you smartly make a list of your low-competitive keywords and start using them randomly in your content creation, it won’t help your ranking until you use in naturally.
Even things are more complicated nowadays.
Search engines are way more innovative and analyze and rank content after checking through many factors.
That is why it is imperative to plan the topics that need to be covered on a page.
When you’re done with it, the process of content creation can result into:
- An expansion of keyword list
- Enhanced user engagement
Information Architecture Structure
Once you’re done with your keywords research phase and planning the main topics your site needs to focus on, now it’s time to build out your site’s IA.
Now, remember the example of a house and a website where the website’s pages represent the house’s rooms.
The site’s information architecture (IA) would be represented by the corridors that connect all rooms.
The above image shows the appearance of a typical site structure.
At the top of this image, there’s a most visited page, called homepage.
Then the homepage is linked to the website’s main topics or categories.
These are the main topics around which your site focuses on.
This is quite helpful as search engines crawl these topics, and they will come across your website and better understand your content creation.
When you place your website on a logical topic, the content is structured to support the other topic.
What happens now?
Well, this builds the authority of your content and subject.
This is where Google’s expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness concept comes into play.
If the site establishes a relevant authority for a subject, there will be great chances to rank for relevant searches within search engines.
Similarly, if a website produces useful and valuable content for its audience, there are chances that users will build trust and recognition for the website around that particular subject.
Now, if the users are looking for more queries or need some help in the same subject category, they will return to your website directly and more often.
In simple words, internal linking is linking between pages on the same website.
This can be done in two ways;
- Navigational items
- Internal links in the body content
So what are the benefits of internal links?
These types of links are helpful for three reasons:
- They allow users to navigate a website. . If a page isn’t linked to, it becomes harder to find and is less likely to be crawled as often, if at all.
- They help establish an information hierarchy for the given website.
- They help flow link equity (ranking power) around websites. This allows for pages deeper within the site to rank better for related terms.
The following steps are a good rule of thumb to set up your internal linking strategy.
1. Determine the ideal structure for your website
2. Decide your most important content
3. Add contextual links
4. Link hierarchical pages
5. Consider adding a related post
6. Try adding navigational links
7. Add links to your taxonomies
8. Consider adding links to recent or popular posts
Don’t Move Pages when Updating
If your website isn’t a new build but rather something old, don’t move pages when updating the site structure.
One of the most serious mistakes many of us like to make is;
- Resetting or changing the URL of a page
- Moving the page within your site
For SEO, it is incredibly dangerous and can have a substantial negative impact.
Redirect is not the most logical way to make a better site structure, though it can solve this issue.
Redirects take the order of the flow of equity from both internal and external links.
While it would be time-consuming to clean up these links to update the new URL.
You can properly implement breadcrumbs on a page to move something from one topic to another.
Once you enable breadcrumbs and have attached the appropriate markup, it’s just a matter of changing the relevant points where you want the page to be associated.
In this way, you aren’t changing the physical location of a page within the structure, but this method allows search engines to see a change whenever they crawl the page.
This method helps to eliminate the crawler’s possibility of seeing this as a completely new page.
For users, it gives them the ability to navigate within this funnel easily. It’s a win-win situation.
As you perform other tasks within SEO, your insight into your competitive websites is another fantastic resource.
Take a look at your competitive content/pages that perform well for the same topics you are trying to rank for.
If their site is doing well, you should be able to look at the structure of their site, giving you insights on things search engines are looking for.
Moreover, you will have the ability to find even a variety of topics to cover within your structure.
The structure of a website is an essential part of the SEO puzzle.
If you establish a well-organized structure for your website, then you’ve built a stronger foundation.
If your site doesn’t have a strong site structure, all of your SEO efforts will have less impact on your success.
In the same way, Internal linking is not overwhelming or complicated.
You will have a more robust link website and better SEO by consistent internal linking. It’s even worth going back and auditing your old content to make sure it has enough internal linking.
Let me know if you have any questions.