One of the most important aspects of your website infrastructure is your internal linking structure. You really need to give it some thought as to how to make the most use of your internal links. There is one site structure that I recommend for most websites that will help you keep a handle on this very important aspect of website maintenance.
Using a tiered page system, you can ensure that you drive traffic and spread your PageRank around so that you get the best benefits from your search engine optimization efforts. The tiered page system looks like this:
Page A Page B Page C Page D
A1 / A2 B1 / B2 C1 / C2 C1 / C2
Don’t add any pages below tier three – the bottom run of this structure. The home page is your hub. It should be optimized for the one or two most generic keywords related to your niche. The second tier of your website are the pages that are optimized for your best keywords (designated above as Page A, Page B, Page C, and Page D). Each page links from your home page menu bar, which will also appear on every page of your website unless there is a compelling reason not to use the menu bar on a certain page. Because you are linking to these pages from your menu bar, you will effectively have internal links from your home page to each of these tier two pages, from each of your tier 3 pages to each of those pages, and from all other tier 2 pages to each one. Such an internal linking structure allows your visitors to visit the pages that are most important to them in terms of their interests.
Tier 2 And Tier 3 Pages
You have any number of tier 2 pages that you can feasibly include in your menu bar. But I wouldn’t overdo. There are some other things that you can do to make sure that your site doesn’t look over full of links and that your menu bar isn’t too crowded, but that’s another blog post. Suffice it to say, your tier two pages will get the most traffic when you use this internal linking structure.
Your tier 3 pages (designated above as A1 / A2, B1 / B2, etc.) are spin offs from your tier 2 pages. Each tier 2 page should have several tier 3 pages linking from it, but don’t put tier 3 pages on your menu bar. They only link from the tier 2 page that is most closely related to them. The only cross-linking at this level of your site should be between tier 3 pages that are related to each other in a lateral sense but are not so closely related that they deserve to be under the same tier 2 page.
You can have any number of tier 3 pages you want and they should all be highly optimized around a specific long-tail keyword. These are good pages to sell your items on because they are optimized for very specific keywords.
If you utilize the three-level tiered site structure, you can manage your internal linking very effectively. If you pay close attention to your links, you should never have a broken link. But if you do it will be very easy to monitor and track your internal links and their effectiveness and how it impacts your overal search engine optimization.