Having an optimal website structure that Google loves is no easy task. This becomes even more tricky for sites with hundreds or even thousands of products. The good news is that you too can increase your rankings and traffic with just a few changes to your website structure. In this article, I’ll be sharing exactly what you can do to improve your website structure in just a few simple steps.
First, What is PageRank and why should I care?
PageRank (PR) is a 1-10 score Google uses to uses to assess how authoritative a page is and how well it will rank. The score is based on the quantity and quality of links to the webpage. A link from cnn.com is an example of a powerful link while a link from a brand-new site won’t be very strong. Google used to make these PageRank score publicly available to webmasters but officially removed these scores earlier this year. That said, they still use these scores internally to assess the SEO strength of a webpage.
The more links a page has, the higher its PageRank and the better chance it has of ranking. When it comes to website structure, we want to increase the PageRank of our most important category and product pages so they rank better in search engines. Internal linking is the tool we use to make it happen.
4 steps to dramatically improve your internal linking
Website structure doesn’t have to be complicated.
Really all we’re trying to do is bring our most important category and product pages closer to the homepage and other high PageRank pages. This makes them easier for Google to crawl and can help improve rankings.
Google assesses the importance of the page the same way real people do. If a page is linked to from the homepage, chances are it’s pretty important. Whereas if a user has to click through 4 different pages just to get a product, it’s probably not very important and won’t rank very well.
Here are 4 steps you can take today to dramatically improve your website structure.
1) Link to most-searched products from the home page
Your homepage is likely the most powerful page on your website from an SEO perspective. It has the most links and the highest PageRank. Any internal links from the homepage will carry additional weight and help improve rankings. This is why it’s important to link to the most searched product pages from the homepage.
This can be easily accomplished by adding a “Featured Products” section at the bottom of your homepage. But what products do we link to? And how do we know if it’s frequently searched by potential customers?
The easiest way to find products with lots of search volume is with Google’s free Keyword Planner.
Just paste in the names of your product to see which products are searched the most. If you have a product page ranking at the top of page 2 in Google, this will likely be the push it needs to get on page 1.
2) Link to products and categories from most powerful pages
Chances are your home page isn’t the only page with lots of links from other websites. Maybe you have an infographic, a video, or just a blog post that has been linked to by a few bloggers. That’s great! And you can leverage the SEO power of these pages by adding links to your most important pages.
This is exactly what we did for one of our clients, FilterBuy, an online retailer that sells replacement air filters. We were able to increase organic search traffic to some of their most important air filter products by 30% in just 2 weeks. Here’s how we did it.
We noticed there were a lot of links from other websites to their infographics on indoor air pollution and childhood asthma as well as their scholarship page. We knew that these pages had a higher SEO value and that any internal links from these pages would help boost rankings. We decided to add links to our most popular air filters at the bottom of each page. Here’s what we added.
It didn’t take long to see the impact. Within just 2 weeks we saw a 30.4% increase in organic search traffic to these pages. Also, these internal links made it easier for website visitors to find some of our most popular products. A win-win for both SEO and website usability.
3) Add links to related products on product pages
Google can struggle to crawl and index all pages on an ecommerce website, especially larger sites with 100’s or 1,000’s of product pages. This can be frustrating for store owners since product pages that aren’t crawled won’t even appear in Google’s search results.
Luckily there’s an easy fix we can do to improve the internal linking to product pages and ensure they get crawled: add links to related products on product pages. Adding just 4 to 8 of the most related products is all you need to improve your internal linking structure.
This is one of steps 76th and Newbury took to improve their internal linking. This one change made it easier for search engines to crawl and index product pages much faster, while also providing a slight boost in rankings. But the benefits don’t stop there. Having related products can also improve the usability and conversion rate of the website. By showing visitors related products, we can provide them with additional options to choose from instead of looking somewhere else.
4) Add breadcrumbs to all pages on your site
Ever seen these before?
They’re called “breadcrumbs” and they’re a great way to improve the internal linking of your website. Breadcrumbs provide the navigational path to each page. They help users (and search engines) clearly understand your website structure while adding some great internal links to parent category pages along the way. This is especially helpful for larger sites with many subcategory pages. It’s easy to see why Amazon makes sure they have breadcrumbs on all their pages
By implementing some or all of these internal linking recommendations you can create a website structure that Google loves and wants to rank high. Not only can this help increase your keyword rankings and traffic, it can also make your website more user friendly.
180 Marketing specializes in SEO for e-commerce sites.Favorite