SEO Academy

Navigation

Your websites internal linking and architecture greatly influences individual pages ability to rank competitively. 

What is Navigation?

Internal links (navigation) not only provide a path for users to access your content, they also provide a path for search engine crawlers to discover pages on your website.

From an SEO perspective, your homepage is usually the strongest page on your site. This is because external links normally point to your homepage, giving it the most authority. 

Your homepage disseminates that authority amongst pages it links to. We call this internal link equity distribution, some SEO’s call it “link juice”, but we aren’t keen on that phrase.

The hierarchy of your website is extremely important, we want to ensure that your most important pages receive the maximum amount of link equity.

A good real world example of this is to think of a retail store, they showcase their most important products in the shop window, and the least important products are at the back of the store. If you think of your website the same way, you want to organise the hierarchy of your website to showcase the most important content high up, with the least amount of clicks from your homepage.

Frequently asked about Navigation

We’ve put some common questions about internal linking and hierarchy. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please contact us and we’ll update this section.

Site structure is largely dependant on the number of pages on a site. Websites with thousands of pages need to think carefully about the structure of their website to ensure key revenue driving pages aren’t buried in the site architecture requiring users to click 5-6 times to reach their intended intent.

For a large sites we’d recommend 3-4 clicks maximum to reach your revenue generating pages. We’d recommend clustering pages through taxonomies, similar to what you’d see on an ecommerce site, with “mens t-shirts” under the “clothes for men” category. 

For Wordpress sites, keep categories to a minimum, having hundreds of categories negatively impacts the performance of the site, so as your site grows organically, its worth reviewing the structure of your site regularily. 

For smaller sites, its easier to link to all your key pages off the navigation with dropdown submenus. However it’s still important to put the user first and review your analytics.

From an SEO perspective, we often recommend promoting internal pages through the addition of internal links from pages higher up in your sites architecture. A good example is a travel site which lists its top destinations on its homepage, thats often to push more authority to those destinations as well as to serve product by providing content users search for often within a single click.

Firstly, bit of backgound on the nofollow attribute:

In 2005 the search engines huddled together in a dark room (we have a wild imagination) and created the “nofollow” attribute. This attribute was created to fight comment spam.

The nofollow attribute is added to a link to tell search engines not to pass any value/credit to that link. Here is an example of how its instrumented:

<a href="https://somewebsite.com" rel="nofollow">Buy Nike Air Jordans</a>

At that time forums, comments, user profiles were full of spam with automated tools such as Scrapebox being used to build links through comment spam. 

The search engines responded by implementing the nofollow attribute. Webmasters then begain enabling the nofollow attribute to any user generated content (i.e. comments/forum posts/user profiles/bios). This meant that any comment spam wouldn’t pass any link equity/credit and this strategy of black hat SEO was stopped in its tracks. 

Not only was this spam impacting Search Engines link graphs, it was really annoying for site owners (and us!). 

The dofollow is the opposite, and this is assumed and it isn’t necessary to specify that a link is dofollow. 

This has many names, including hub/spoke (our favourite) and Cluster/Hub. It describes the organise of content around a single topic/theme within a separate silo from the rest of the site. 

Essentially its the practice of having a single page (hub) with multiple internal pages linking to this page (spoke).

The idea behind this strategy is to provide internal contextually relevant links to your own hub page. This would make it the authority within your site.  

For example on our site, the SEO page is our “hub” and if we write content related to SEO we’ll link to this page from our spoke pages (which is our case may be services under SEO or blog posts).

In short, Click Depth is the number of clicks from the homepage before the user arrives on another page. 

Click Depth is very important from a search engine optimisation perspetive. If you have a large ecommerce site, and your product pages are 4-5 clicks from the homepage, from a search engines perspective, your product pages are not as important as they are lower down your sites architecture. 

Here is what Google’s John Mueller said on the subject:
What does matter for us … is how easy it is to actually find the content. So especially if your homepage is generally the strongest page on your website, and from the homepage it takes multiple clicks to actually get to one of these stores, then that makes it a lot harder for us to understand that these stores are actually pretty important.”

“On the other hand, if it’s one click from the home page to one of these stores then that tells us that these stores are probably pretty relevant, and that probably we should be giving them a little bit of weight in the search results as well. So it’s more a matter of how many links you have to click through to actually get to that content rather than what the URL structure itself looks like.”

Click Depth/Page Depth are interchangeable and essentially describe the same thing, but different nomenclature. 

Anchor text is the text contained within the link to your website.

This is the anchor text

The contents of the anchor text suggest to search engines what your website is about. 

 

 

Firstly to explain the difference, a sub-domain is a child of your parent domain e.g.
https://support.yourdomain.com

A sub-folder is where it appears after your domain name e.g.

https://yourdomain.com/support/

Normally we recommend sub-folders over sub-domains.  Sub-domains do not inherit domain authority from the parent domain and seen as separate sites in SEO.

So if you were writing a blog, and decided to use the URL
https://blog.yourdomain.com

That would be seen as a separate site from an SEO perspective, and wouldn’t inherit domain authority from yourdomain.com

However:
https://yourdomain.com/blog/ 

That would inherit authority from your main domain.

Where SEO isn’t important e.g.a support ticket system, webmail, or internal logins then we can use a sub-domain otherwise we’d recommend using a sub-folder.

Our five pillars of SEO

With over 200 different ranking signals which influence your visibility in search engines, to make it easier to manage we’ve divided it into five key pillars. 

Ensuring your website has a strong foundation, free from technical errors, enabling crawlability, mitigating loss in visibility.

External inbound links, ensuring links are from authorative relevant domains, with optimised anchor text, and a healthly follow/nofollow ratio.

Optimising your websites information architecture, increasing the weighting of key pages. Optimal anchor text and internal link equity distribution.

Ensuring all ranking signals such as page titles, meta data and content is relevant for the target search phrase. 

 

Understanding whats SEO strategies and effective. Visibility is the output of the other four pillars, providing valuable insights and learnings in search engine optimisation.

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