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E-Commerce SEO Internal Linking: What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

June 12, 2023 | Author:  Cassidy Burns
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To aid Google and search engine crawlers in discovering your website, one effective method is to provide them with an exploratory pathway. This pathway is created through internal linking, a fundamental eCommerce SEO strategy that enhances your website's influence in search results. Therefore, it is vital to carefully plan and incorporate hyperlinks as you add pages to your eCommerce website.

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Besides helping search engine crawlers understand your eCommerce site, internal links improve the user experience by providing a smooth flow. Search engines can quickly recognize your website as an authority in the query area, giving you more prominence in search results. However, care must be taken when creating in-site links to maintain your pages' authority (link value).

Internal link building boosts your site architecture, but having too many internal links can be a recipe for failure. Problems like broken links may arise, especially when you delete pages from your platform. So, we’ll give you the best practices for SEO internal linking on eCommerce websites.

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What is Internal Linking?

Let’s assume you’ve optimized the product listings on your platform. I ran a Google search for an item, and your website appeared in the search results. I click on the link that takes me to the product page.

While on that page, I clicked another link to your category page. Those hyperlinks within your landing pages or product pages that take users to other pages on the same website are called "internal links." Hence, "internal linking" refers to placing hyperlinks to other pages of the same website.

Provided you attach the hyperlink, in-site links can be phrases, images, calls to action, etc. They do one job: take users and search engines from one web page to another on the same site.

Here are important terms you must know regarding internal linking structure:

  • Anchor: This element carries the hyperlink to the other internal page.
  • Hyperlink: The hyperlink is the page URL you want to link to.

External links point to other websites. They are equally important in the overall SEO strategy.

Again, let’s take this blog post as an example. You’ll find links in the headers, footers, and content. That shows that these hyperlinks can appear in different positions on your platform.

Types of Internal Links

Based on purpose and position, in-site links are divided into:

In-Content Internal Links (Contextual Links)

These hyperlinks appear within the content of a page, linking back to other site pages. They are mostly text links and occur naturally, meaning they flow with the content of that web page.

In-content hyperlinks help users and search engines understand the content better. For example, let’s assume we mention backlinks building on this page. Then, we place a hyperlink to another piece of content that explains backlinks better.

That is a clear example of an in-content internal link. You’ll find a few more in this article.

Navigational Internal Links

These hyperlinks do more than take users and search engines to relevant pages. They enable movement and carry the site architecture.

You should use them to improve link equity flow on your platform (link juice). They are often found in headers, footers, and navigational buttons.

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Why Do You Need it?

As you scale your online retail business, your website will expand. That means you’ll have more internal pages on your site to accommodate more product pages. Moreover, you’ll need a description and checkout page for each item.

Your website developer will handle most of the internal linking, at least for the header and footer links. You must include the rest while you create the content.

Here’s why eCommerce websites need an internal linking structure:

Easy User Navigation

E-commerce sites can have from a few to hundreds of products. These products may require several sections to inform the visitor and ultimately land on the checkout page. Hence, navigation becomes essential to the user experience.

Navigational in-site links help users navigate from the landing page to the category and product pages. As a result, they can quickly find any information they want.

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Easy Understanding of Site Structure

Search engines  index pages using the internal linking structure. The more organized that is, the faster they can index and return your website in the search results.

This visibility can boost your click-through rates and, ultimately, your conversion rate.

Authority

Hyperlinks can help pass authority to important pages on your site. So, you can pass authority from a page with authoritative external links to the linked pages.

Google uses an algorithm called PageRank to rank sections during a search query. Hence, you can create links to distribute authority from your most authoritative sections to others.

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Internal Linking Best Practices for E-Commerce Sites

With over 2 billion online shoppers in 2023, the race is on for eCommerce websites to be more visible and capture attention. Proper internal linking is one of the many steps to ace the search ranking race.

These are the best practices when adding internal links:

Optimize the Sitewide Menu

The sitewide menu is essential to content marketing as a whole. It helps users navigate to other pages quickly. Nevertheless, it must not be overcrowded.

Sitewide menus can be in the headers or the footers, with links pointing to important pages on your site. They are often category pages and other sections. However, sections on the sitewide menu become linked to your entire website.

Placing important pages in the sitewide menu improves authority. However, be careful not to overcrowd the menu.

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Prioritize Your Pages

You can pick important pages, especially the product sections, while creating your website. These sections must have priority over incoming internal links.

Here are the sections that should be prioritized:

  • Pages with high external linking pointing to authority sites
  • Pages with high traffic and session time

You can use Google Analytics to see which sections have high traffic and generate more revenue. This does not mean neglecting others.

Create link equity from your high-authority pages to the lower ones. Summarily, prioritizing your pages involves building links from high- to low-authority sections.

Optimize Your Anchor Texts

Anchor texts should indicate the topics on the pages you are linking to. Hence, they must be strategically chosen and placed within the content.

Users and search engines use descriptive anchor text to determine the linked page's content before clicking it. Search engines take things further by using anchors to determine the overall site structure.

Make the anchor texts brief, relevant, and natural. You can also use exact matches to the linked page, but avoid keyword stuffing.

Don’t use the exact anchor text to link two different sections. That might confuse the crawl bot and hinder proper and faster indexing.

Provide Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation is a series of text hyperlinks that appear at the top as you go from the home page to the category and product pages. These "breadcrumbs" enhance the user experience and ensure smooth and quick navigation.

It can also enhance indexing for search engines and help build link equity.

Create a Site Map

A site map uses text links for all the sections on your website. It is an essential SEO component for users and search engines. Hence, it is worth making it as user-friendly as possible.

Create a well-structured site map and link to it in the footer links. Besides helping users quickly find sections on eCommerce sites, it also helps search engines crawl from the primary to the secondary pages.

Ensure you update the site map as you add and remove pages from your platform.

Use Internal Linking Modules

Have you seen sections on an eCommerce page where you have a series of related searches? That internal linking strategy helps you keep important pages close and within reach with a few clicks.

Internal linking modules are ideal for using long-tail keyword text links. They are also valuable for spreading link equity to sub-categories or product description pages.

Have an Internal Link Audit

The Google Search Console has a feature that allows users to see how their hyperlinks are set up. You can see the number of internal links pointing to different pages on your platform.

This information can help you optimize your internal linking strategy. You can quickly tell which authority pages need more incoming internal links and which don’t.

How Many Internal Links Should E-Commerce Websites Have?

The ideal number of hyperlinks for a page is debatable, especially since Google removed its initial 100-link cap. So, how many links should you have?

Include as many as necessary. Instead of asking how many you should have, be more concerned about where they point. That is why it is essential to have a proper internal linking strategy for your eCommerce platform.

A number you can work with is two to six for every 1,000-word piece of content. 

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Conclusion

Internal and external links are essential to any robust SEO strategy. There are several internal linking best practices, but the best approach is spreading link equity. Distributing authority to more pages makes your website more relevant to search engines.

As harmless as it might look, avoid having too many in-site links on one page. Instead, prioritize linking to relevant content and ensure that all links provide value and relevance to the user. If you're interested in learning more about BlueTuskr's SEO services, contact our team today! 

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