Your browser is out of date. The site might not be displayed correctly. Please update your browser.

Semrush academy logo

FREE online SEO course: Technical SEO course with Bastian Grimm 

Prioritization and relevancy

34 lessonsNov 1, 2018

Recap

Content Prioritization Using Internal Linking: How Google Evaluates Page Priority

After making sure that everything is accessible, we now need to talk about priorities. Basically, Google evaluates the priority of a page according to the quality and number of incoming links.

Depending on your website, as well as say products or contents that you have on your domain, you need to understand what is most important from a business perspective. If you have an online shop, you obviously will have lots of categories that usually target very generic, high volume keywords.

Then you also have your product pages. These product pages usually target more specific, long tail keywords; therefore the search volume per URL and that of the keywords is usually lower.

How to Create a Hierarchical Website Structure Based on Prioritization

From a hierarchy perspective, you should ensure that the most important categories are very closely linked from the homepage. The subcategory pages where the targeted generic keywords have less search demand compared to the main category would only be selectively linked from the homepage, instead being primarily linked from the main category page.

The same works for products. If we take a closer look at the products, it quickly becomes clear that they have rather long tailed targets. This means that they can only be found in a very specific search.

Therefore, product pages are not as important as main category pages, which have a much broader targeting. That's why products are usually linked from category pages. The only exceptions are important products that are linked from the homepage to indicate to Google that they are highly significant in the information architecture.

Creating Topical Clusters

To ensure a very precise distribution of available link juice to all the important pages of a given website, it might now look tempting to just create huge amounts of crosslinks from one page to other – that's really not a good idea. Instead, you should consider clustering, especially if you are offering products or content from different industries.

Google needs to understand what kind of topical clusters they are in, so to make it easier you could instead link from the homepage to a category, and from that category only link into subcategories, but not necessarily link to all the other main as well as sub-categories cross content-wise.

Other Techniques to Improve Internal Linking

Alongside the contextual relevance, another useful approach to improving internal linking is to do a link count of all internal links that are pointing to all your internally available pages, and then sort it based on the amount that has been returned. If this showed that a product page has more internal links than your important category pages, that would tell you that your internal priorities ultimately are not in order.

Google can differentiate between the type of link and also, generally speaking, the location of all links. Links in the main navigation are probably the most powerful ones, because they usually exist site-wide; however they might be missing context. In-content links for cross linking on the other hand have the most value – simply because they are a specific recommendation from one item of content to the other. It's kind of like an 'editorial vote', which has a higher value than a site-wide link. Image links can obviously also be used for internal linking, but make sure that the attribute is present because Google itself wont assess the content of whats actually shown on the image. They will replace it and use the attribute as they link text.

Furthermore, websites often come with sidebars, where links usually refer to similar items – this also works quite well. Footer links usually contain global links, say to a contact form, an FAQ or data protection statement. Because of the location all the way down the page, most people do not go there unless they want to find something very specific. These links generally have less SEO value and it is recommended that internal linking should not be dependent on footer links alone.

The Importance of the Anchor Text for Internal Linking

What is really important for internal linking is the anchor text or link text. You need to tell Google clearly what the purpose of the page you are linking to is. The anchor text you use is the main keyword that the destination page is supposed to rank for. Be aware that if you do not describe the destination properly, Google can't really understand what it is all about.

Also, do not create internal competitions. If you link to five different URLs, and you use the same anchor text for all five, it is hard for Google to differentiate which of them is actually the one URL on your domain that's supposed to rank for the given keyword.