Mastering internal linking:
The key pro-tips

Different sites, different page types, different needs.
Discover the internal linking best practices and pro-tips that best fit you.

Select page type

Breadcrumbs

Good for:

  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current category level


Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:

  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.


Facets / Filters

Good for:

  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)

Risks:

  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

Pro tips:

  • Rigorous URL facet ordering and generation so that duplication problems do not arise
  • Prevent Links when no items are present for the filter. (eg: if a facet has 0 ads, ahref will be removed and the anchor will appear in grey)
  • Sort facets in a unified, logical manner (i.e., abundance or alphabetical order)
  • The best way to prevent crawl budget waste is to avoid generating a link; try to keep a balance between what the user needs and what we want to index (you can leverage Ajax/javascript CSR options)

Facets / Filters

When properly managed, faceted navigation can be great both for UX and SEO. However, we need to stay on top of it or else it will end up causing a multitude of issues on our site.

The main SEO problems that Faceted navigation will cause are: Duplicate content, crawl budget waste, and link equity dilution. Experience with Faceted navigation sure helps in preventing those issues; let’s try to summarize how to prevent them while optimising our internal link equity distribution.

On Faceted navigation we don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Depending on each scenario we will have to use all (or combinations) of the following solutions: 

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…)
  • Canonicalization: the canonical URL sends a clear signal to search engines what page they should show in their index, but it does not prevent them from crawling those other pages.
  • Robots.txt: a good combination of wildcards for depth levels and adding query strings can help us prevent Google wasting crawl budget on inefficient URLs. If this isn't an option for some reason, use the URL parameter handling settings in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to instruct Google and Bing regarding which pages not to crawl.
  • Nofollow internal links to undesirable facets: supporting our crawl budget efforts with the nofollow attribute value to all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. Unfortunately, "nofollow" tags don’t solve the issue entirely; please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow. Therefore step robots.txt is more important.
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.

A general SEO set up for faceted navigation would look like this:

  • Category, subcategory (and sub-subcategory) pages should be crawlable and indexable. 
  • For each category page, only allow versions with (n) facet selected to be indexed. -you can define the threshold looking at the organic sessions vs. URL depth 
  • On pages that have more than the defined threshold of facets selected, all facet links become “nofollow” links or AJAX/JavaScript
  • On pages that have two or more than the defined threshold, a “noindex” tag is added as well 
  • Determine which facets could have an SEO benefit and whitelist them.

BACK

Sorting

Good for:

  • User navigation (UX)

Risks:

  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

Sorting URLs generally lack any SEO value, try to prevent Google from crawling/indexing them by using a combination of Noindex/nofollow meta robots, nofollow links or AJAX/JavaScript links on them.



Pagination

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

BACK

Pagination

Good for:

  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations

Risks:

  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations.

Pro tips:

  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages

Pagination

On the website's navigation design, we aim at keeping URLs crawlable and not further than 3 clicks from the home page. Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on ¡ traditional website architecture practices.

Reducing the click depth will help paginated pages get crawled more frequently, but more importantly it will provide more link equity towards products or view item pages  linked to from paginations.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page.  Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.


BACK

Popular/related searches

Good for:

  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links
  • Vertical links

Risks:

  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution

Pro tips:

  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Modify links at each pagination, to allow higher unique links to be crawled
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for Popular/related searches 

Popular/related searches

Popular and related searches widgets offer a unique opportunity to link towards related or trending categories from other sibling URLs. It is one of the most exciting link widgets a site can have, since it allows us to play via  dynamic rules with the links, using any kind of enhancement that might come to our mind: want to vary anchor texts through extracting from GSC the top keywords of a given URL? Here's your playground; you just need to be creative.

Let’s break down those two features,
Popular Searches generates opportunities both for UX and SEO: properly implemented, this widget allows us to facilitate to the user the most wanted taxonomies in our catalogue; which may have an impact on conversion but also on distributing more link equity towards trending taxonomies from our catalogue; boosting their rankings.

Related searches provide a perfect opportunity to drive link equity towards sibling URLs that aren’t directly linked from the faceted navigation. This means that they can be used to reduce click depth of key URLs regardless of their hierarchy eg: category lvl 1 can link towards category level 2 with 2 facets stacked directly, providing it a nice push in page rank.

BACK
Next

Breadcrumbs

Good for:

  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure


Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.


Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current product


Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.


Pro tips:

  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Ad/Product’s Categories and tags

Good for:

  • Vertical links
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Links towards the ad or product categories aren’t always part of the breadcrumb; for example on a car listing, we might have make model on the breadcrumb but not always the variant or the year. Having specific links towards each, allows the user to directly navigate towards the filters that made him find the product in the first place, while transferring link equity towards the ad’s categories.

Pro tips:

  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost. 

BACK

Dealer/Seller

Good for:

  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

If indexable, Dealer URLs can provide a fair amount of traffic; however they will require enough authority to outrank the Dealer’s own website (or rank on top 3). 

Pro tips:

  • Use the most optimised anchor text towards the Dealer URl (name); avoid linking from “view more ads from this seller” or “more from this seller”.
  • Dealer URLs can benefit from a secondary inlink structure (maybe a Dealer directory HTML sitemap), else, we will only rank for Dealer URLs that tend to have more products/internal links pointing towards them.


BACK

Similar/Related ads

Good for:

  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

We must ensure that all the Ads are linking towards similar/sibling Ads. Here we might want to test performance (both pagespeed and conversion-wise) to understand which one is the right amount of ads.

Pro tips:

  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost. 
  • Focus on leveraging semantics to always link to close-related ads (more semanting links) rather than only looking at ads on the same category/subcategory. 

BACK

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current category level

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Facets / Filters

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity
Pro tips:
  • Rigorous URL facet ordering and generation so that duplication problems do not arise
  • Prevent Links when no items are present for the filter. (eg: if a facet has 0 ads, ahref will be removed and the anchor will appear in grey)
  • Sort facets in a unified, logical manner (i.e., abundance or alphabetical order)
  • The best way to prevent crawl budget waste is to avoid generating a link; try to keep a balance between what the user needs and what we want to index (you can leverage Ajax/javascript CSR options)

Facets / Filters

When properly managed, faceted navigation can be great both for UX and SEO. However, we need to stay on top of it or else it will end up causing a multitude of issues on our site.

The main SEO problems that Faceted navigation will cause are: Duplicate content, crawl budget waste, and link equity dilution. Experience with Faceted navigation sure helps in preventing those issues; let’s try to summarize how to prevent them while optimising our internal link equity distribution.

On Faceted navigation we don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Depending on each scenario we will have to use all (or combinations) of the following solutions: 

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…)
  • Canonicalization: the canonical URL sends a clear signal to search engines what page they should show in their index, but it does not prevent them from crawling those other pages.
  • Robots.txt: a good combination of wildcards for depth levels and adding query strings can help us prevent Google wasting crawl budget on inefficient URLs. If this isn't an option for some reason, use the URL parameter handling settings in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to instruct Google and Bing regarding which pages not to crawl.
  • Nofollow internal links to undesirable facets: supporting our crawl budget efforts with the nofollow attribute value to all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. Unfortunately, "nofollow" tags don’t solve the issue entirely; please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow. Therefore step robots.txt is more important.
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.

A general SEO set up for faceted navigation would look like this:

  • Category, subcategory (and sub-subcategory) pages should be crawlable and indexable. 
  • For each category page, only allow versions with (n) facet selected to be indexed. -you can define the threshold looking at the organic sessions vs. URL depth 
  • On pages that have more than the defined threshold of facets selected, all facet links become “nofollow” links or AJAX/JavaScript
  • On pages that have two or more than the defined threshold, a “noindex” tag is added as well 
  • Determine which facets could have an SEO benefit and whitelist them.

BACK
SORTING

Sorting

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

Sorting URLs generally lack any SEO value, try to prevent Google from crawling/indexing them by using a combination of Noindex/nofollow meta robots, nofollow links or AJAX/JavaScript links on them.


BACK
PAGINATION

Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations.
Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages

Pagination

On the website's navigation design, we aim at keeping URLs crawlable and not further than 3 clicks from the home page. Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on ¡ traditional website architecture practices.

Reducing the click depth will help paginated pages get crawled more frequently, but more importantly it will provide more link equity towards products or view item pages  linked to from paginations.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page.  Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.


BACK
SEARCHES

Popular/related searches

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links
  • Vertical links
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution
Pro tips:
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Modify links at each pagination, to allow higher unique links to be crawled
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for Popular/related searches 

Popular/related searches

Popular and related searches widgets offer a unique opportunity to link towards related or trending categories from other sibling URLs. It is one of the most exciting link widgets a site can have, since it allows us to play via  dynamic rules with the links, using any kind of enhancement that might come to our mind: want to vary anchor texts through extracting from GSC the top keywords of a given URL? Here's your playground; you just need to be creative.

Let’s break down those two features,
Popular Searches generates opportunities both for UX and SEO: properly implemented, this widget allows us to facilitate to the user the most wanted taxonomies in our catalogue; which may have an impact on conversion but also on distributing more link equity towards trending taxonomies from our catalogue; boosting their rankings.

Related searches provide a perfect opportunity to drive link equity towards sibling URLs that aren’t directly linked from the faceted navigation. This means that they can be used to reduce click depth of key URLs regardless of their hierarchy eg: category lvl 1 can link towards category level 2 with 2 facets stacked directly, providing it a nice push in page rank..

BACK
NEW SELECTION

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current product

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


CATEGORIES & TAGS

Ad/Product’s Categories and tags

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Links towards the ad or product categories aren’t always part of the breadcrumb; for example on a car listing, we might have make model on the breadcrumb but not always the variant or the year. Having specific links towards each, allows the user to directly navigate towards the filters that made him find the product in the first place, while transferring link equity towards the ad’s categories.

Pro tips:
  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost. 
BACK
DEALER

Dealer/Seller

Good for:
  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

If indexable, Dealer URLs can provide a fair amount of traffic; however they will require enough authority to outrank the Dealer’s own website (or rank on top 3). 

Pro tips:
  • Use the most optimised anchor text towards the Dealer URl (name); avoid linking from “view more ads from this seller” or “more from this seller”.
  • Dealer URLs can benefit from a secondary inlink structure (maybe a Dealer directory HTML sitemap), else, we will only rank for Dealer URLs that tend to have more products/internal links pointing towards them.


BACK
RELATED ADS

Similar/Related ads

Good for:
  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

We must ensure that all the Ads are linking towards similar/sibling Ads. Here we might want to test performance (both pagespeed and conversion-wise) to understand which one is the right amount of ads.

Pro tips:
  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost. 
  • Focus on leveraging semantics to always link to close-related ads (more semanting links) rather than only looking at ads on the same category/subcategory. 
BACK
NEW SELECTION

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current category level

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Add subcategory links to category pages

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)

It is recommended on an Ecommerce site to place just above the filter/facet widget a menu where the user can browse through the subcategories of the category being displayed.

If in the breadcrumbs we show the user's current position in a given category, in this widget we present the next level of depth in category navigation.

Example: If we are in the "Jackets" category of a clothing Ecommerce, we will place in this menu a link to the main subcategories to benefit the vertical linking.

Pro tips:
  • We will display in order of relevance, according to our traffic data and seo potential, each of the subcategories)
  • In this widget we can also highlight other URLs of interest to us, specific products, offers, etc.
  • Only display inlinks related to the current category for a silo vertical link structure

BACK
facets/filters

Facets / Filters

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

When well managed, faceted navigation will be very useful from both a UX and SEO perspective.

In the case of SEO, however, we must be very careful here, as faceted navigation, although a basic navigability element that allows filtering within the same category, can generate a lot of duplicate content and unnecessarily waste crawl budget.

To avoid at this point an excessive consumption of crawl budget, we will take into account different solutions that will help us to prevent Google robots from crawling attributes that generate inefficient URLs from an SEO point of view.

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…). About nofollow: we’ll use the nofollow attribute value to mark all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. But is important to consider that the nofollow attribute isn’t enough for itself. Please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow
  • Robots.txt: Via robots.txt we can indicate that certain urls generated with the filters are blocked, blocking their corresponding parameters. In the event that Google decides not to respect this indication, which is possible, we can configure which parameters should not be indexed from Google Search Console.
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.

A general SEO set up for faceted navigation would look like this:

  • Category, subcategory (and sub-subcategory) pages should be crawlable and indexable.
  • Avoid faceted versions that have more than (n) attributes selected by using nofollow or AJAX/Javascript, and noindex. You can define a threshold looking at the organic sessions vs. URL depth 
  • Analyze your data in order to find faceted versions than could have a SEO benefit and whitelist them
Pro tips:
  • Rigorous URL facet ordering and generation so that duplication problems do not arise
  • Prevent Links when no items are present for the filter. (eg: if a facet has 0 ads, ahref will be removed and the anchor will appear in grey)
  • Sort facets in a unified, logical manner (i.e., abundance or alphabetical order)
  • The best way to prevent crawl budget waste is to avoid generating a link; try to keep a balance between what the user needs and what we want to index (you can leverage Ajax/javascript CSR options)

BACK
PAGINATION

Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations.

Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on traditional website architecture practices.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page. Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.

Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages
  • Limit pagination depth
BACK
Popular brands

Popular brands

Good for:
  • Horizontal  links
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

In a pre-footer position, it is common to find in Ecommerce a widget where the most prominent brands appear, with a link to the URLs of the products of these brands.  

An easy way of link to multiple categories, specifically with brand keywords in the links, is to create a brand landing page. Often this page will offer a general description of the brand, what products they offer and then link to all of the appropriate categories / products on your website that contain products by the specific brand.

This allows the Ecommerce to be ranked by brand name (although it will be difficult to be placed in the top 3, we can get a remarkable amount of traffic through these URLs) and offers UX advantages for the user who wants to see a set of products of a given brand from the category navigation.

Pro tips:
  • Since this widget may not have space for all the brands in a given category, try to filter out those that, according to your organic traffic data and keyword research, may have more relevance to boost.

BACK
NEW SELECTION

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Product page

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Attribute links

Attribute links

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

This widget of links has an essential difference with the breadcrumbs. While breadcrumbs follow the user journey, attribute links allow us to introduce links to categories or tags that are specific to the product. For example, in a wine store: country of origin, size of the bottle, alcohol content, flavor, etc…

To avoid at this point an excessive consumption of crawl budget, we will take into account different solutions that will help us to prevent Google robots from crawling attributes that generate inefficient URLs from an SEO point of view.

Pro tips:
  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…). About nofollow: we’ll use the nofollow attribute value to mark all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. 
  • Robots.txt: Via robots.txt we can indicate that certain urls generated with the filters are blocked, blocking their corresponding parameters. Furthermore, we can configure which parameters should not be indexed from Google Search Console. But is important to consider that the nofollow attribute isn’t enough for itself. Please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.
Risks:
  • To be useful the list of attributes needs to reflect the category that has been selected, or we will get attributes offered from products in completely different categories
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution - try not to duplicate links between breadcrumb and attributes

BACK
Links within product description

Links within product description

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Product descriptions play an important role in providing detailed information for both the user and the Google algorithm. 

Best selling products usually have separate blog articles that explain how to select the product, how to use them and more. Adding a contextual link where the user can expand on the information has proven to be useful for ranking purposes (MOZ). 

Another possibility is to add a link to the brand URL of the product, in order to improve rankings of brand landing pages.

Pro tips:
  • If indexable, Brand URLs can provide a fair amount of traffic; however they will require enough authority to outrank the Brand’s own website (or rank among top 5).
Risks:
  • It is advisable to avoid placing links that do not expand or add information for the user. For example, linking from the product description to the category or subcategory to which it belongs would not add anything relevant. This type of links from the same vertical are already found in the breadcrumbs.

BACK
RELATED PRODUCT SEARCCHES

Related product searches

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution

Related searches widget offers a unique opportunity to link towards related products from other sibling URLs. It is one of the most exciting link widgets a site can have, since it allows us to play via dynamic rules with the links, using any kind of enhancement that might come to our mind.

Example: using Google Search Console we can identify other related products that are ranking well in a given category to show them in the related products widget. In order to increase the link density going to them, and to improve their ranking in Google.

Pro tips:
  • We can be more precise in the use of this widget from a UX perspective. For example, adding a rule to show similar products within the same price range in a given category.
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for related searches 
  • Focus on leveraging semantics to always link to close-related products

BACK
USERS ALSO BOUGHT

Users also bought / The perfect combination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links

Users also bought widget generates opportunities especially from a UX point of view, and it’s usually added next to related products. The user finds associated products that do not necessarily belong to the same category, but are related products. 

Example: a user who has bought a certain home decoration product in an ecommerce, may have bought other products that are probably related, not in terms of taxonomy, but in terms of valuation and taste of the user.

UX improvement: The user can find in this widget products that are usually purchased together even if they belong to different categories, so we add value to the user experience and invite them to complement their purchase.

Pro tips:
  • You should filter only products that have a semantic and/or conceptual relationship with the product: display products from different sub-categories, but always from the same vertical to avoid non logical correlations.
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Links to non semantic related products

BACK
NEW SELECTION

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links in blogs with many subcategories
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Most blogs concentrate all their categories at one level. For such blogs, we do not see the creation of breadcrumbs as relevant. We can highlight the main categories in a widget at the top and thus provide all the necessary navigability elements for the user, as well as a correct distribution of the internal linking.

However, if we are dealing with a blog with a deeper category structure, it will be worth using breadcrumbs in the blog section to facilitate the user's vertical navigation.

Category level 1 > Category level 2

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Avoid using breadcrumbs if your blog categorisation is single-level. The user will be able to find all navigation links easily in other elements of the page.
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Infinite scroll vs Pagination
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations

Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on traditional website architecture practices.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page. Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.

Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages
  • Limit pagination depth

BACK

Relevant posts widget

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

A common practice is to place a widget where we highlight some URLs both for their traffic and their SEO potential. With the aim of provide authority to blog posts from the given category that are widely read, but published some time ago.

In this way we will avoid steps for both users and robots, reducing the click depth of some content of the blog.

From an SEO point of view, there are several criteria that we can follow here when deciding which content to highlight.

Pro tips:
  • Identify in Google Search Console the blog articles with the most organic traffic and the highest number of potential keywords in a given category level. 
  • Take into account the age of the posts you will highlight, to avoid highlighting content that is too recent.

BACK

Reccomended post

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential

This widget does not usually focus on content in the same category. Here we usually show the most read or featured posts, so it is a block that we can play with for our SEO optimisation goals.

Pro tips:
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Modify links at each pagination, to allow higher unique links to be crawled
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for Popular/related searches
BACK
new selection

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our blog, especially if there is a structure of more than one level of categories in the blog. Also, breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current post

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Internal links inside a blog post

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Overdoing it with the volume of internal links, thus hindering the UX experience and the correct distribution of authority
  • Diluted link equity

It is useful to add internal links in the content of a blog post because they help the user to expand information, and allow us to intensify our SEO strategy. 

Although all contextual links that make sense to add to the text are useful, it is preferable to keep a conservative profile, with no more than 4 links per thousand words.

Pro tips:
  • We can identify in Google Search Console the URLs with the highest SEO potential and prioritise them for internal link placement. With the aim of pushing up those parts of our website with conversion possibilities.
  • The length of the anchor text usually varies between 1 and 3 words on average and usually corresponds to relevant keywords.
  • If we post too few internal links, search engines may not acknowledge them. But if we post too many, it can come off as spam. A general rule of thumb is to post four internal links on a page with 1000 words.
  • UX: Having the user open the internal link in the same window will help to keep the visitors on your site (vs new window)

BACK

Recommended posts / pages

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicated internal links

In the most modern blog posts, visual pieces are often inserted throughout the text that lead to related articles in particular, or to conversion landing pages. 

These types of pieces with a greater visual impact should be combined with textual links, seeking to avoid duplicates or an overload of links for the user.

Pro tips:
  • Use these visually prominent locations to link to your best converting pages with SEO potential, and let the textual links go to URLs that add information for the reader as they read.

BACK

Relevant posts widget

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution

A common practice is to place a widget where we highlight some blog posts both for their traffic and their SEO potential. With the aim of provide authority to blog posts from the given category that are widely read, but published some time ago.

In this way we will avoid steps for both users and robots, reducing the click depth of some content of the blog.

From an SEO point of view, there are several criteria that we can follow here when deciding which content to highlight.

Pro tips:
  • Identify in Google Search Console the blog articles with the most organic traffic and the highest number of potential keywords in a given category level. You can display them with variations everytime a user opens the post.
  • Take into account the age of the posts you will highlight, to avoid highlighting content that is too recent.

BACK
Select Site Type
Select Page Type

Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current category level


Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.


Facets / Filters

Facets / Filters

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity
Pro tips:
  • Rigorous URL facet ordering and generation so that duplication problems do not arise
  • Prevent Links when no items are present for the filter. (eg: if a facet has 0 ads, ahref will be removed and the anchor will appear in grey)
  • Sort facets in a unified, logical manner (i.e., abundance or alphabetical order)
  • The best way to prevent crawl budget waste is to avoid generating a link; try to keep a balance between what the user needs and what we want to index (you can leverage Ajax/javascript CSR options)

When properly managed, faceted navigation can be great both for UX and SEO. However, we need to stay on top of it or else it will end up causing a multitude of issues on our site.

The main SEO problems that Faceted navigation will cause are: Duplicate content, crawl budget waste, and link equity dilution. Experience with Faceted navigation sure helps in preventing those issues; let’s try to summarize how to prevent them while optimising our internal link equity distribution.

On Faceted navigation we don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Depending on each scenario we will have to use all (or combinations) of the following solutions:

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…)
  • Canonicalization: the canonical URL sends a clear signal to search engines what page they should show in their index, but it does not prevent them from crawling those other pages.
  • Robots.txt: a good combination of wildcards for depth levels and adding query strings can help us prevent Google wasting crawl budget on inefficient URLs. If this isn't an option for some reason, use the URL parameter handling settings in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to instruct Google and Bing regarding which pages not to crawl.
  • Nofollow internal links to undesirable facets: supporting our crawl budget efforts with the nofollow attribute value to all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. Unfortunately, "nofollow" tags don’t solve the issue entirely; please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow. Therefore step robots.txt is more important.
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.

A general SEO set up for faceted navigation would look like this:

  • Category, subcategory (and sub-subcategory) pages should be crawlable and indexable.
  • For each category page, only allow versions with (n) facet selected to be indexed. -you can define the threshold looking at the organic sessions vs. URL depth
  • On pages that have more than the defined threshold of facets selected, all facet links become “nofollow” links or AJAX/JavaScript
  • On pages that have two or more than the defined threshold, a “noindex” tag is added as well
  • Determine which facets could have an SEO benefit and whitelist them.

SortingBACK TO SELECTION

Sorting

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

Sorting URLs generally lack any SEO value, try to prevent Google from crawling/indexing them by using a combination of Noindex/nofollow meta robots, nofollow links or AJAX/JavaScript links on them.


pagination
BACK

Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations.
Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages

On the website's navigation design, we aim at keeping URLs crawlable and not further than 3 clicks from the home page. Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on ¡ traditional website architecture practices.

Reducing the click depth will help paginated pages get crawled more frequently, but more importantly it will provide more link equity towards products or view item pages  linked to from paginations.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page.  Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.

Popular/related searchBACK TO SELECTION
Popular/related searches
Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links
  • Vertical links
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution
Pro tips:
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Modify links at each pagination, to allow higher unique links to be crawled
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for Popular/related searches

Popular and related searches widgets offer a unique opportunity to link towards related or trending categories from other sibling URLs. It is one of the most exciting link widgets a site can have, since it allows us to play via  dynamic rules with the links, using any kind of enhancement that might come to our mind: want to vary anchor texts through extracting from GSC the top keywords of a given URL? Here's your playground; you just need to be creative.

Let’s break down those two features,
Popular Searches generates opportunities both for UX and SEO: properly implemented, this widget allows us to facilitate to the user the most wanted taxonomies in our catalogue; which may have an impact on conversion but also on distributing more link equity towards trending taxonomies from our catalogue; boosting their rankings.

Related searches provide a perfect opportunity to drive link equity towards sibling URLs that aren’t directly linked from the faceted navigation. This means that they can be used to reduce click depth of key URLs regardless of their hierarchy eg: category lvl 1 can link towards category level 2 with 2 facets stacked directly, providing it a nice push in page rank.

NEW SELECTIONBACK TO SELECTION

Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

  • Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current product

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


categories and tags

Ad/Product’s Categories and tags

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Links towards the ad or product categories aren’t always part of the breadcrumb; for example on a car listing, we might have make model on the breadcrumb but not always the variant or the year. Having specific links towards each, allows the user to directly navigate towards the filters that made him find the product in the first place, while transferring link equity towards the ad’s categories.

Pro tips:
  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost.
Dealer/seller

Dealer/seller

Good for:
  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

If indexable, Dealer URLs can provide a fair amount of traffic; however they will require enough authority to outrank the Dealer’s own website (or rank on top 3).

Pro tips:
  • Use the most optimised anchor text towards the Dealer URl (name); avoid linking from “view more ads from this seller” or “more from this seller”.
  • Dealer URLs can benefit from a secondary inlink structure (maybe a Dealer directory HTML sitemap), else, we will only rank for Dealer URLs that tend to have more products/internal links pointing towards them.


Similar/related ads
BACK

Similar/Related ads

Good for:
  • Horizontal links
  • User navigation

We must ensure that all the Ads are linking towards similar/sibling Ads. Here we might want to test performance (both pagespeed and conversion-wise) to understand which one is the right amount of ads.

Pro tips:
  • On a classified site, Ad URLs are among the most linked URLs of the site. Increasing (wisely) the amount of outgoing links from Ads, will help us recycle the authority before it gets lost.
  • Focus on leveraging semantics to always link to close-related ads (more semanting links) rather than only looking at ads on the same category/subcategory.
New Selection
Select Page Type

Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current category level

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


SUBCATEGORY LINKS

Add subcategory links to category pages

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)

It is recommended on an Ecommerce site to place just above the filter/facet widget a menu where the user can browse through the subcategories of the category being displayed.

If in the breadcrumbs we show the user's current position in a given category, in this widget we present the next level of depth in category navigation.

Example: If we are in the "Jackets" category of a clothing Ecommerce, we will place in this menu a link to the main subcategories to benefit the vertical linking

Pro tips:
  • We will display in order of relevance, according to our traffic data and seo potential, each of the subcategories)
  • In this widget we can also highlight other URLs of interest to us, specific products, offers, etc.
  • Only display inlinks related to the current category for a silo vertical link structure

Facets / Filters

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicate content
  • Wasted crawl budget
  • Diluted link equity

When well managed, faceted navigation will be very useful from both a UX and SEO perspective. 

In the case of SEO, however, we must be very careful here, as faceted navigation, although a basic navigability element that allows filtering within the same category, can generate a lot of duplicate content and unnecessarily waste crawl budget.

To avoid at this point an excessive consumption of crawl budget, we will take into account different solutions that will help us to prevent Google robots from crawling attributes that generate inefficient URLs from an SEO point of view.

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…). About nofollow: we’ll use the nofollow attribute value to mark all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. But is important to consider that the nofollow attribute isn’t enough for itself. Please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow
  • Robots.txt: Via robots.txt we can indicate that certain urls generated with the filters are blocked, blocking their corresponding parameters. In the event that Google decides not to respect this indication, which is possible, we can configure which parameters should not be indexed from Google Search Console. 
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.

A general SEO set up for faceted navigation would look like this:

  • Category, subcategory (and sub-subcategory) pages should be crawlable and indexable.
  • Avoid faceted versions that have more than (n) attributes selected by using nofollow or AJAX/Javascript, and noindex. You can define a threshold looking at the organic sessions vs. URL depth 
  • Analyze your data in order to find faceted versions than could have a SEO benefit and whitelist them
Pro tips:
  • Rigorous URL facet ordering and generation so that duplication problems do not arise
  • Prevent Links when no items are present for the filter. (eg: if a facet has 0 ads, ahref will be removed and the anchor will appear in grey)
  • Sort facets in a unified, logical manner (i.e., abundance or alphabetical order)
  • The best way to prevent crawl budget waste is to avoid generating a link; try to keep a balance between what the user needs and what we want to index (you can leverage Ajax/javascript CSR options)

Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations

Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on traditional website architecture practices.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page. Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.

Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages
  • Limit pagination depth
Popular brands
Good for:
  • Horizontal  links
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

In a pre-footer position, it is common to find in Ecommerce a widget where the most prominent brands appear, with a link to the URLs of the products of these brands.  

An easy way of link to multiple categories, specifically with brand keywords in the links, is to create a brand landing page. Often this page will offer a general description of the brand, what products they offer and then link to all of the appropriate categories / products on your website that contain products by the specific brand.

This allows the Ecommerce to be ranked by brand name (although it will be difficult to be placed in the top 3, we can get a remarkable amount of traffic through these URLs) and offers UX advantages for the user who wants to see a set of products of a given brand from the category navigation.

Pro tips:
  • Since this widget may not have space for all the brands in a given category, try to filter out those that, according to your organic traffic data and keyword research, may have more relevance to boost.

Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our site. Also, Breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

  • Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Product page

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


ATTRIBUTE LINKS

Attribute links

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

This widget of links has an essential difference with the breadcrumbs. While breadcrumbs follow the user journey, attribute links allow us to introduce links to categories or tags that are specific to the product. For example, in a wine store: country of origin, size of the bottle, alcohol content, flavor, etc…

To avoid at this point an excessive consumption of crawl budget, we will take into account different solutions that will help us to prevent Google robots from crawling attributes that generate inefficient URLs from an SEO point of view.

  • Noindex, follow/nofollow: on URLs that we don’t want Google to index (certain filter combinations, url depth, product abundance…). About nofollow: we’ll use the nofollow attribute value to mark all internal links towards facets that aren’t important for bots to crawl. 
  • Robots.txt: Via robots.txt we can indicate that certain urls generated with the filters are blocked, blocking their corresponding parameters. Furthermore, we can configure which parameters should not be indexed from Google Search Console. But is important to consider that the nofollow attribute isn’t enough for itself. Please note that as of March 2020, Google may choose to ignore the nofollow
  • AJAX/JavaScript link encoding: whenever is possible, we will try to keep irrelevant facet links (eg: colors, size…) accessible to the user (but not to google through Ajax/javascript.
Risks:
  • To be useful the list of attributes needs to reflect the category that has been selected, or we will get attributes offered from products in completely different categories
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution - try not to duplicate links between breadcrumb and attributes
Links

Links within product description

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Product descriptions play an important role in providing detailed information for both the user and the Google algorithm. 

Best selling products usually have separate blog articles that explain how to select the product, how to use them and more. Adding a contextual link where the user can expand on the information has proven to be useful for ranking purposes (MOZ). 

Another possibility is to add a link to the brand URL of the product, in order to improve rankings of brand landing pages.

Pro tips:
  • If indexable, Brand URLs can provide a fair amount of traffic; however they will require enough authority to outrank the Brand’s own website (or rank among top 5).
Risks:
  • It is advisable to avoid placing links that do not expand or add information for the user. For example, linking from the product description to the category or subcategory to which it belongs would not add anything relevant. This type of links from the same vertical are already found in the breadcrumbs.
related PRODUCT SEARCHES

Related product searches

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Inefficient link equity distribution

Related searches widget offers a unique opportunity to link towards related products from other sibling URLs. It is one of the most exciting link widgets a site can have, since it allows us to play via dynamic rules with the links, using any kind of enhancement that might come to our mind.

Example: using Google Search Console we can identify other related products that are ranking well in a given category to show them in the related products widget. In order to increase the link density going to them, and to improve their ranking in Google.

Pro tips:
  • We can be more precise in the use of this widget from a UX perspective. For example, adding a rule to show similar products within the same price range in a given category.
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for related searches 
  • Focus on leveraging semantics to always link to close-related products
Users also bought

Users also bought / The perfect combination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Link equity on non-direct sibling URLs
  • Dynamic link widgets
  • Anchor text variation
  • Horizontal links

Users also bought widget generates opportunities especially from a UX point of view, and it’s usually added next to related products. The user finds associated products that do not necessarily belong to the same category, but are related products. 

Example: a user who has bought a certain home decoration product in an ecommerce, may have bought other products that are probably related, not in terms of taxonomy, but in terms of valuation and taste of the user.

UX improvement: The user can find in this widget products that are usually purchased together even if they belong to different categories, so we add value to the user experience and invite them to complement their purchase.

Pro tips:
  • You should filter only products that have a semantic and/or conceptual relationship with the product: display products from different sub-categories, but always from the same vertical to avoid non logical correlations.
Risks:
  • Content duplication
  • Links to non semantic related products
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Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links in blogs with many subcategories
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Most blogs concentrate all their categories at one level. For such blogs, we do not see the creation of breadcrumbs as relevant. We can highlight the main categories in a widget at the top and thus provide all the necessary navigability elements for the user, as well as a correct distribution of the internal linking.

However, if we are dealing with a blog with a deeper category structure, it will be worth using breadcrumbs in the blog section to facilitate the user's vertical navigation.

Category level 1 > Category level 2

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Avoid using breadcrumbs if your blog categorisation is single-level. The user will be able to find all navigation links easily in other elements of the page.
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


Pagination

Pagination

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority towards products / view item pages on paginations
Risks:
  • Infinite scroll vs Pagination
  • Crawl budget waste
  • Link equity dilution
  • Poor rankings on items linked to from paginations.

Pagination by default, breaks a piece of content into multiple pages, adding therefore more click-depth to the content. Now that Google no longer consolidates paginated pages into one piece of content, we need to rely on traditional website architecture practices.

To optimise our pagination, we will need to put in place internal linking techniques to help reduce clicks away from the home page. Check this pagination experiment done by Matthew Henry at Portent on the effect of pagination links and the click depth of pagination.

Pro tips:
  • Crawl the website to identify the paginated page click depth from the home page.
  • Identify the click depth of pages reliant on paginated pages.
  • Test internal linking techniques to reduce click depth for paginated pages and deeper level pages
  • Limit pagination depth

Relevant posts widget

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential

A common practice is to place a widget where we highlight some URLs both for their traffic and their SEO potential. With the aim of provide authority to blog posts from the given category that are widely read, but published some time ago.

In this way we will avoid steps for both users and robots, reducing the click depth of some content of the blog.

From an SEO point of view, there are several criteria that we can follow here when deciding which content to highlight.

Pro tips:
  • Identify in Google Search Console the blog articles with the most organic traffic and the highest number of potential keywords in a given category level. 
  • Take into account the age of the posts you will highlight, to avoid highlighting content that is too recent.

Recommended post

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential

This widget does not usually focus on content in the same category. Here we usually show the most read or featured posts, so it is a block that we can play with for our SEO optimisation goals.

Pro tips:
  • Define dynamic rules using external API’s (like DWX inlinks)
  • Modify links at each pagination, to allow higher unique links to be crawled
  • Be sure to avoid linking towards 0/low abundance URLs
  • Focus on improving the URL list/feed for Popular/related searches

Recomendations

Breadcrumbs

Good for:
  • Vertical links
  • Breadcrumb snippets on Google SRP
  • User navigation
  • Help Google understand our site’s structure

Breadcrumbs provide a highly recommended feature to our product, allowing our users to navigate vertically on our blog, especially if there is a structure of more than one level of categories in the blog. Also, breadcrumbs let users and Google know exactly where they are within our site architecture while providing indications on how it is organised.

  • Category level 1 > Category level 2 > Current post

Whilst adding breadcrumbs, we need to make sure we also mark them up with relevant structured data to help Google understand how categories and contents are organised.

Pro tips:
  • Keep your Breadcrumbs short by removing the Home level. Typically Homepage is already linked elsewhere (logo, menu...)
  • Make sure all category/taxonomy depth levels appear or else we will generate inequalities on vertical pagerank flow
  • If you aren’t using a silo-based structure, consider using a dropdown menu on your breadcrumb to include horizontal links towards the rest of categories.


internal Links

Internal links inside a blog post

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Overdoing it with the volume of internal links, thus hindering the UX experience and the correct distribution of authority
  • Diluted link equity

It is useful to add internal links in the content of a blog post because they help the user to expand information, and allow us to intensify our SEO strategy. 

Although all contextual links that make sense to add to the text are useful, it is preferable to keep a conservative profile, with no more than 4 links per thousand words.

Pro tips:
  • We can identify in Google Search Console the URLs with the highest SEO potential and prioritise them for internal link placement. With the aim of pushing up those parts of our website with conversion possibilities.
  • The length of the anchor text usually varies between 1 and 3 words on average and usually corresponds to relevant keywords.
  • If we post too few internal links, search engines may not acknowledge them. But if we post too many, it can come off as spam. A general rule of thumb is to post four internal links on a page with 1000 words.
  • UX: Having the user open the internal link in the same window will help to keep the visitors on your site (vs new window)


Recommended post

Recommended posts / pages

Good for:
  • Horizontal / Vertical links
  • User navigation (UX)
Risks:
  • Duplicated internal links

In the most modern blog posts, visual pieces are often inserted throughout the text that lead to related articles in particular, or to conversion landing pages. 

These types of pieces with a greater visual impact should be combined with textual links, seeking to avoid duplicates or an overload of links for the user.

Pro tips:
  • Use these visually prominent locations to link to your best converting pages with SEO potential, and let the textual links go to URLs that add information for the reader as they read.

relevant posts

Relevant posts widget

Good for:
  • User navigation (UX)
  • Providing authority to old blog post with SEO potential

A common practice is to place a widget where we highlight some blog posts both for their traffic and their SEO potential. With the aim of provide authority to blog posts from the given category that are widely read, but published some time ago.

In this way we will avoid steps for both users and robots, reducing the click depth of some content of the blog.

From an SEO point of view, there are several criteria that we can follow here when deciding which content to highlight.

Pro tips:
  • Identify in Google Search Console the blog articles with the most organic traffic and the highest number of potential keywords in a given category level. You can display them with variations everytime a user opens the post.
  • Take into account the age of the posts you will highlight, to avoid highlighting content that is too recent.

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