Internal Linking Strategies for E-commerce Websites

Internal Linking Strategies for E-Commerce

Need more from your online store?

You could probably do with internal linking for e-commerce growth.

It may seem complicated initially, but once all the links are set up it’s nothing to worry about: you just need to keep on top of it.

We’re here to help you get to grips with internal linking, and here’s how it can help the success of your e-commerce business.

1. SEO and Internal Linking

These are deeply connected in e-commerce.

A well-structured internal linking strategy can be a powerful tool to boost your website’s search engine ranking and visibility.

The Power of Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.

In the SEO context, it is a lot more important than you may think.

To optimise your strategy for search engines and users alike, consider these:

Keyword-Rich Anchor Text:

When creating internal links, use anchor text that includes relevant keywords.

These keywords should align with the content they link to.

Search engines rely on anchor text to understand the content and context of the linked page, aiding in the ranking process.

Balanced Keyword Usage:

While it’s a wise idea to include keywords in the anchor text, it’s equally as bright not to overdo it.

Over-optimisation can lead to penalties from search engines.

Aim for a natural, balanced use of keywords.

Variety in Anchor Text:

Avoid using the same anchor text for all internal links (especially ones going to the same page), as it can seem pushy and unnatural.

Incorporate anchor text variations using keyword synonyms to provide a richer and more organic link structure.


The Importance of Relevance and Context

An effective strategy doesn’t involve adding links for the sake of it.

Links must be contextually logical and directly related to the content they point to.

  • Content Relevance: Internal links should make sense in the context of the content they appear in. A link should enhance the user’s understanding of or provide extra information.
  • User Experience: Prioritise user experience when creating internal links. They should guide users to content that is genuinely useful and valuable to them.
  • Deep Linking: Don’t limit your internal links to the homepage or high-level pages; link to specific product pages or blog posts.


Structuring Your E-commerce Website:

How your e-commerce site is structured plays a vital role in its SEO performance.

Consider the following structural elements:

Hierarchical Structure:
  • Organise your website into clear categories and subcategories.
  • Create a logical hierarchy that helps users and bots understand the structure.
Breadcrumbs for Navigation:
  • Provide users with a clear, always-present way to quickly navigate pages and their overall site position.
  • From an SEO perspective, breadcrumbs provide an incredibly clear outline of your site structure for search engines to understand.
URL Structure:
  • Optimise your URL structure to include relevant keywords.
  • Maintain a clean and easily readable format.
  • This contributes to both SEO and user experience.

2. User Experience Matters

A structured site with intuitive navigation can significantly reduce bounce, keep people engaged and drive conversions.

Let’s take a look at the symbiotic relationship between internal linking and user experience.

Creating Clear Navigation Menus

User-friendly navigation menus are the backbone of a seamless browsing experience.

Use these practices to create effective and intuitive navigation:

  • Simplified Categories: Organise your products or content into clear categories. Avoid clutter and complexity. Users should be able to find what they need quickly.
  • Intuitive Structure: Subcategories should logically fit within overarching categories, creating a sense of logic and order.
  • Prominence of Key Pages: Place links to key pages like the homepage, products, categories, and contact information in prominent places on your site.


Enhancing the User Journey with Related Suggestions

A seamless user journey makes all the difference in retaining and converting visitors.

Internal linking can actively improve this by suggesting related products or content:

  • Related Product Suggestions: Example: If a visitor is browsing laptops, suggest relevant accessories like a laptop bag or mouse.
  • Content Recommendations: For content-based e-commerce (blogs or knowledge centres), internal links can suggest related articles or resources to keep users informed.
  • Personalisation: Take advantage of personalisation algorithms to offer tailored recommendations based on a user’s browsing and purchase history.

3. Technical Considerations

Internal linking in the e-commerce world isn’t just about content and keywords; it also has a significant technical aspect.

Your web developer is a pretty big deal when it comes to optimising your website’s internal linking structure to make sure it supports your SEO efforts.

This section explores the technical bits that are vital to a successful internal linking strategy.

Canonical URLs: Preventing Duplicate Content Issues

The risk of duplicate content is ever-present and left untreated, it can damage your SEO rankings.

What can you do to combat it?

Canonical Tags:

Use these to designate a preferred version of a page when there are multiple similar pages.

This is particularly important for product pages with slight variations.

Canonical tags guide search engines to index the primary version of a page, reducing the chances of being penalized for for duplicate content.

Parameter Handling:

If your e-commerce platform uses URL parameters for filtering products, make sure your canonical tags are configured correctly.

This prevents search engines from seeing filtered pages as unique content.

Regular Audits:

Regularly check over your website to identify and resolve any canonicalisation issues.

Tools like Google Search Console can assist in identify potential problems.


Crawlability: A Clean and Logical Link Structure

Crawlability is a critical part of SEO.

Your site must be structured in a way that allows search engine bots to easily crawl and index your internal links:

  • Sitemaps: These sitemaps provide a map of your website’s structure, making it easier for bots to find and start indexing pages.
  • Robots.txt: Use this file to prevent indexing of non-essential pages, such as login or checkout pages.
  • Logical Link Structure: Avoid overly complex link hierarchies that can confuse bots and users alike.


Mobile Optimisation

With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, optimising your e-commerce website for these users is essential:

  • Responsive Design: Make sure that your site can be used on different screen sizes, and provide a seamless browsing experience, regardless of the user’s device.
  • Mobile-Friendly Links: Ensure that links are appropriately sized for touch interactions, and there’s enough spacing to prevent accidental clicks.
  • Page Speed: Mobile users tend to have slower internet connections. Optimise the speed of your mobile pages to reduce bounce rates and improve UX. Google’s PageSpeed can help with this.

4. Data-Driven Decisions

Data analysis plays a pivotal role in shaping and optimising internal linking strategies.

The ability to use data-driven insights allows businesses to make informed decisions and continually refine their internal linking approach.

Harnessing the Power of Web Analytics

Web analytics tools are useful for monitoring user behaviour and understanding how visitors interact with your website.

When it comes to internal linking, here’s how to use them effectively:

  • Page Performance Analysis: Identify high-performing pages that drive traffic and conversions and prioritise them for your internal linking.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): Are users clicking on the links you’ve provided? If not, it may be time to reevaluate their placement and context.
  • User Flow Analysis: Find the navigation paths where users tend to drop off to help you make internal linking adjustments.


Setting Up Goal Tracking

By defining specific goals and tracking conversions associated with internal links, you can measure their impact an effectiveness:

  • Goal Types: What are yours? Common goals include completing a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or reaching a specific page.
  • Event Tracking: This monitors user interactions with specific elements on your website, like tracking clicks on internal links to gauge their effectiveness.
  • Conversion Funnels: These visualise the path users take to complete a goal; find where they leave and consider optimising the internal links along these paths.


Experimentation with A/B Testing

A/B testing involves creating variations of your internal linking structure and measuring the results to fine-tune your strategy:

Hypothesis Formulation:

Start by coming up with a hypothesis about the potential impact of a change in your internal linking structure.

For example, you may hypothesise that placing a link to a best-selling product on the homepage will increase conversions.

Variation Creation:

Create variations of your strategy based on the first step’s results.

They might involve changing the placement of links, altering anchor text, or testing different call-to-action buttons.

Statistical Significance:

Make sure your A/B tests run long enough to achieve statistical significance.

This means that the results are reliable and not due to chance.

5. Marketing and Internal Linking

Whether you’re promoting discounts, cross-selling, or running targeted campaigns, internal links provide a seamless way to enhance your marketing strategies.

Highlighting Promotions

Promotions and discounts are central to e-commerce marketing.

Internal linking offers a strategic way to draw attention to ongoing promotions and entice users to explore your offers:

  • Promotion Banners: Utilise internal links within promotion banners or graphics on your homepage to direct users to specific product pages or categories related to the promotion.
  • In-Content Links: Embed internal links within your content, blog posts, or product descriptions to seamlessly guide users to discounted items or special offers. Ensure that these links are contextually relevant to the content.
  • Navigation Menus: Feature promotions in your navigation menus using internal links. For example, create a “Deals” or “Promotions” category to help users find discounted products easily.


Cross-Selling and Increasing Order Values

Cross-selling is a valuable strategy to boost average order values.

Internal links can facilitate this practice by guiding users to related products or services:

  • Product Recommendations: Within product pages, use internal links to recommend complementary or frequently purchased items. For instance, if a user is viewing a camera, suggest related accessories like a tripod or camera bag.
  • “You May Also Like” Sections: Incorporate sections on product pages with internal links to items that other users have bought in combination with the current product. These sections can significantly impact cross-sales.
  • Cart Page Cross-Selling: On the cart or checkout page, implement internal links that suggest add-ons or complementary products. Users may appreciate the convenience and add more items to their cart.


Landing Pages for Campaigns

Marketing campaigns often require dedicated landing pages to showcase specific products or services.

Links can direct users to these campaign-focused pages:

  • Email Campaigns: When running email marketing campaigns, use internal links to direct recipients to dedicated landing pages. This ensures a cohesive and targeted user experience.
  • Banner Advertisements: If you’re running online banner ads, make sure they are linked to campaign-specific landing pages. Internal links should guide users to the content related to the ad.
  • Social Media Promotions: For marketing campaigns on social media platforms, share internal links leading to the campaign landing pages. Make sure the link descriptions are enticing and informative.

Final Thoughts

If you want to grow your conversion rates, you have to start linking well.

Before you get going, audit your site and check your current SEO rankings to give yourself a baseline to work from.

We’ve developed WILO to make your internal linking journey as easy as pie, so don’t miss out on what it can do for you and your business.

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Last updated: November 27, 2023