If you have ever seen or heard any advice on SEO, backlinks will undoubtedly be mentioned. While it is true that having backlinks to your website from other sites can play a significant role in boosting your rankings, it is also the case that the linking structure you have within your website is important too.
Creating links within your website has several SEO advantages, and if it is done correctly, the benefits can mount because it helps those visiting your website navigate it more easily. The advantage of this is that they have a positive experience and are likely visit your site again. More than that, they may recommend your website to others, a premium free traffic source.
Navigating your website with ease will also make visitors more likely to take action while they are there, such as subscribing to your email list or, better still, purchasing something. You should know by now that Google rewards websites whose visitors stay for longer. Visitors being able to navigate easily through your website is certainly going to help achieve that objective.
These reasons are primarily why you should consider how the linking structure you are putting in place improves your site’s navigation ahead of the specific SEO elements, such as improving page ranking. Google’s algorithm will adjust your ranking up or down to a greater degree based on the visitor data it receives, more than whether one of your pages has a link to it or not.
The best way to start improving your website’s link structure is to plan it properly; doing this visually is preferable. You do not need to be good at drawing, as all you need is to be able to represent the pages of your website with circles or squares and then use lines to represent each link. An even better way is to download free mind map software and use that, as you can edit and save your link structure when changes occur.
The recommended way to start visualising your website and its linking structure is in the shape of a pyramid. The pyramid’s apex would be your home page, and then beneath your homepage, you will have the pages containing the primary pieces of content. These are called ‘cornerstone’ content in keeping with our pyramid analogy. This is the content that you want Google to rank the highest on SERPs
These pages should have links from all over your website, including the home page. You want to hyperlink to them with anchor text using various keywords, but in particular, the primary keyword phrases you want that page to rank for.
Note you must not have every anchor text the same, as this flags up as keyword stuffing. Use alternative phrases, synonyms, and both long and short keyword phrases.
Just as it is important to have links to your cornerstone content, less important pages should also be linked to. The benefit is that any link juice these pages receive will be passed on to the cornerstone pages they subsequently link out to.
Once you have all your hyperlinks created, one very important task is to make sure they all work. Having broken links in your website not only gets spotted by Google when they crawl your site, but it is also one of the fastest ways to have a visitor leave.
If checking every link on your website seems like a lot of work (and it can be), you’ll be pleased to know there are free plugins and software that can scan your website and highlight any broken links that need fixing.