The Importance of Internal Linking and Site Structure

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Building a website for your small business is the first step in finding new customers and growing your company. The internet is home to millions of potential customers, and it only takes a few seconds for them to find your website and begin browsing. While you might be tempted to get online and start posting content, it’s important to remember that internal linking and site structure are just as important as having a website.

Though internal linking may seem like common sense, many small business owners take shortcuts that can hurt their search engine rankings. In this article we’ll cover internal links from the perspective of both users and Googlebot crawlers.

Users will appreciate well-structured internal links because they provide an intuitive browsing experience when your website. Clicks on internal links can also assist those looking for certain topics or information throughout your website, improving overall user experiecne.

Best practices to include internal linking and proper site structure to your website and common questions:

When should I use internal links and when should I use external links?

What do I do to make sure my website has a good site structure?

How do I plan content to fit within my site structure?

What is a good internal linking structure for my site’s architecture?

When should I use internal links and when should I use external links?

Internal Links vs. External Links

Internal Links – internal links are hyperlinks that go from one webpage on your website to another webpage on your website. There’s no requirement that they link to pages within your domain, but most people would expect them to.

External Links – go to another website.

When internal links are present it makes the user journey through your site much easier. They can click on internal ‘bread crumbs’ within link text or internal hyperlinks in the body of the page to get to other areas of the website if they choose to do so.  It also helps search engines like Google, that use internal links as a ranking signal, determine what the most important pages on your site are. If you have internal links within your content then you’re basically telling Google that this content is more relevant than other pages on your site which lack internal links.

You want internal linking because it increases the likelihood that users will navigate all over your website and find everything there is to offer rather than leaving before a conversion action can be recorded.

What do I do to make sure my website has a good site structure?

You want internal linking because it increases the likelihood that users will navigate all over your website and find everything there is to offer rather than leaving before a conversion action can be recorded.

The internal link structure you use when building your webpages should help provide internal navigation for your website. This internal navigation structure should also relate directly back to the higher level pages of what you are trying to accomplish in terms of lead generation, conversions, etc. Basically, if someone reads one page on your site, they’ll have no trouble finding related information deep within your site or close by in terms of internal linking. Using easily unerstandable and relatively structured child and granchild pages is important. You don’t want them to have to dig through several pages just so they could find the specific thing they were looking for.

How do I plan content to fit within my site structure?

To help you plan for website structre, break up your content into small, digestible chunks. Make main pages for each general topic, service, or product, and sub-pages for each individual offer.

Although creating more pages to break up content helps visitors find what they’re looking for quickly, it’s important to be wary of over doing it. Don’t make pages so numerous and obtuse that your site becomes difficult to navigate or you risk losing the visitor before they even find what they were looking for in the first place!

What is a good internal linking structure for my site’s architecture?

Consider internal linking when you plan your website’s layout. Internal links, cross-references to other pages on your site, help the reader follow a chain of related topics and provide context for what they’re reading. This sequencing can be difficult to track in longer works with multiple storylines or offerings and it is essential that the author remembers to periodically refer back to the main page or have a header that can return the user to the starting point.

Keep these points in mind when building a website structure to be compatible with marketing and SEO startegy. Need help with redesigning your site? View our other posts about website-building strategies, or contact us today for a free consultation.

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Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

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