One of the most overlooked aspects of a successful SEO campaign is aligning internal link connectivity with SEO best practices. In countless situations, great effort is expended to optimize page content, title tags, meta data, and external links, but little attention is paid to the site’s internal link structure.
While internal links may not count as much as external links (depending on who you ask), they are certainly a very important part of search engine algorithms.
Links = Votes
When we think about the effects of links on search rankings, it’s helpful to remember the analogy of “a link is a vote.” In other words, if Page A links to Page B, Page A is voting that Page B is relevant to whatever words are used in the link text connecting the two pages. And the strength of the vote is determined by a number of factors including overall trust, PageRank, and the relevance of Page A to Page B (to name a few).
The more votes that Page B gets, the better opportunity it will have to rank for keywords it is relevant to. Therefore, the more internal links you have that point to any given page on your site, the better opportunity that page will have to rank highly for its targeted keywords.
So with this understanding, three of the most important internal “link structures” – any preset group of links that exists within a page template – are the global navigation template, the breadcrumb navigation, and “alternative link structures.” Here’s why these three link structures are important, and tactics to optimize them.