One of the first on-page elements that I look at when performing a site audit is the internal link structure. Even though tweaking the link structure of the site is a very advantageous quick win, it’s a method that still gets marginalized.
To make sure you’re getting the most of your internal linking, make sure you aren’t committing these internal linking “sins”.
Go Easy On The Sitewides
Do you really need 20 sitewide links in your sidebar? Probably not. This is common with category pages, archive pages, or custom sections like “recent posts”. If you have key pages that are more important, those are the pages that need sitewide links, if any.
This fix is easy, simply decide which pages are more deserving of the link equity and put them in place of whichever pages are deleted.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “bloat” in SEO context, it refers to excess pages that probably don’t need to be on a site at all. This is common with blogs that have an excess of category and tag pages. Generally, every category will a page, just as every tag will have a page. If you’re a tag-happy blogger, you’re site probably has a significant amount of bloat.
Two things happen when you have significant site bloat, 1) you waste equity on generally meaningless pages that should be spent on other more important pages on your site 2) you waste the robots crawl budget on those same pages, causing more important to pages to not get crawled as often and/or in depth.
The first step to combating this is getting a crawl of your site with a tool like Screaming Frog or Xenu. This will let you see all your pages so you can identify any signs of bloat easier. Because you’re going to be looking for large portions of content, I would recommend looking through your sites directories (eg. /category/, /tag/, etc). When you’ve identified pages that fit the “bloat” criteria, you’ll want to noindex them, block them with robots.txt, or delete them altogether.
Be Mindful of Navigation
Does every page need to be linked to in you main navigation? No. Since every link on a page takes some power with it, it doesn’t make much sense to send as much power to an “About Us” page as your “Services” pages. Build your navigation so that only key pages on on it.
This mistake is commonly made with drop down menus that list pages in a parent-child format. Instead of having navigation like this, only list the main page in the navigation, then link to the other child pages from the main page itself. Doing this will help keep the flow of equity to the pages that need it most.
All in all there’s a lot of spring cleaning that can be done with internal linking. Most of which can provide some tangible results in the form of rankings, better search engine indexation, and even clearer navigation for your visitors. Hopefully this post has helped you get an idea of some of those methods.