I was recently asked a few questions at Coaching with Josh in regards to Internal Linking Structures.
It’s no secret that the way in which we link our pages from within is extremely important for both the user and the Search Engines, but there is very little in regards to exactly WHAT a good internal linking structure is.
I’ve actually spoken about Internal linking many times before on this blog and elsewhere, but as far as I know I’ve never actually said exactly what constitutes a good internal linking structure.
Which Type of Structure Should I Use?
Firstly, you should know that there are many different types of internal linking structures… flat structures, pyramid structures, silo structures etc. etc. I won’t be going over each of these in this blog post because for one I’m not an expert on each and every one and for two, most people don’t need to know, as many of the “structures” are not necessary unless you want to do some extremely advanced SEO testing.
What I will be going over is the basics of internal linking. So, to answer the subtopic question, None in particular You just need to understand the basic principles to authority flow and attribution.
It All Comes Down to Authority (PageRank, whatever you want to call it)
Most people refer to it as “PageRank” because that’s what Google calls it, although there are 2 different types of PageRank, I call it authority. Whatever you want to call it, it’s what we must control!
If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, I’m talking about the “power” each of our pages receives in the Search Engines every time a new link is pointed to them.
How Authority is Passed
Every page on the Internet, that has been indexed, receives a certain amount of authority. Each Search Engine calculates this level individually, but in general a page with a lot of good links pointing to it will rank well on most major SE’s.
Each page also passes authority! There isn’t really a standard metric for counting authority other than Googles flawed “PageRank” system, so we’ll use Google Toolbar PageRank as an example… just understand it’s only an example!
Lets say a page has a PR of 6 and the page contains 20 links, each going to different pages. Each of these 20 links are going to get an equal amount of that PR6. Of course there is probably a little more to it than that, but in general the authority is split up between each link on the page whether it’s external (to someone elses site) or Internal (to another page/directory on the site.)
If you understand that, you’ll understand the entire concept of Internal Linking! That’s really all there is to the thinking behind it.
Your most important pages should be linked to site-wide! Many websites and blogs use categories to organize their content. So, each category page should be linked to on each and every page on your site. It’s also a good idea to link to your most important “money pages” or pages your visitors really need to see and pages you want to rank more than others. The more internal pages you are linking to on each page, and the fewer external links you are linking to, the more authority your site as a whole will maintain, which it can continue to circulate!
If you have a “thin” site with 20 or fewer pages, you should be linking to each and every page ON each and every page. Site structure complete… that easy!
When you’re dealing with sites with 100 or so pages, you should have your category pages, or other main categorization pages, linked to on each page, plus any individual pages you believe are more important.
When you’re dealing with sites with thousands of pages you have to get creative and come up with unique site structures to ensure your content gets indexed and accrues authority!
So now that I’ve given you a good explanation as to what a good internal linking structure should consist of, get to work on your own sites You can actually increase your own SE rankings by improving your sites internal linking structure!