Case study: The tale of two internal link tweaks
Contributor Dave Davies shares a case study that shows how smart internal link building and targeted SEO can have a significant impact on rankings and traffic.
Back in 2016, I wrote a piece on optimizing internal linking structures. In the article, we discussed a range of issues from PageRank and link equity flow to anchor text and more. I wrote the article after performing an audit on a large e-commerce site called Trophy Central.
Since several years have gone by and the site now has a slightly different SEO focus, the owner has graciously allowed me to share the details of that audit, the SEO optimization plan that emerged from it and the results.
There were two core recommendations I gave the owner after my research, review and audit, I’ll outline what they were, why, and how they were implemented by the dev team.
1. Recommendation: Navigation
At the time of the review, the site did not have drop-down navigation. Having drop-down navigation doesn’t apply to all sites but works well for many e-commerce sites and did on this one.
The principle at play here is to drive PageRank to deeper pages. There is a caveat, however. The more links you put in your navigation the less any one of them is worth. Basically, each page has a set amount of PageRank to pass and that PageRank is divided among the links on that page so the fewer the number of links, the more weight they pass.
Pages with products and categories should limit the links they have pointing to pages of importance. With a combination of keyword research to discover search volumes and the client’s understanding of the return on investment (ROI) of product sets we ended up with:
You’ll notice that we link to the most important second-tier categories followed by the most important third tier. The structure this is most similar to from the initial article is: