Internal linking structure in a web page allows the user navigate through the page easily. But the purpose of using an efficient internal linking structure is not limited to assisting the use in his navigation but also it makes sense for information architecture and search engine optimization. The user friendliness of a website is as much important as the optimization for search engine. Anyone having a website must be aware of the fact that Google assigns relevancy to a site on the basis of its content (keywords specifically). Internal linking makes it easier for Google spider to crawl through a page and list it in the index. So, it becomes clear that internal links in a website performs three functions simultaneously. There are certain types of internal linkings. Let’s have brief idea.
Sub-page navigation: Websites having tons of contents must use internal linking to offer access to different segments of the content. From the standpoint of a clean information architecture, the content must be split into sub-categories and post them into sub-pages. Today’s websites of business organizations tend to have categories, sub-category indexes, entertainment contents such as music, movies, and celebrities. Putting all these stuffs on the home page will not only make it incredibly long, but they will also make the page absolutely ghostly to users. In addition, the page will take unusual time to load. From SEO standpoint, the page will become absolutely unsuitable for search engine crawlers.
Breadcrumb navigation: Breadcrumb navigation refers to the process of providing the users with a trail that indicate their location within a program. Usually the navigational path of their present location is indicated in a horizontal arrangement such as
[Music >> Eminem >> Tracks>> When I am gone…]
It offers the user a clear understanding of at which stage of a program they are currently now. For pages that use deep content and huge index of pages, this particular type of navigational pattern is incalculably helpful because the number of links grow exponentially.
In-page navigation: In-page navigation is one of the oldest navigational methods. But there are various kinds of in-page navigation such as jump-like ones or the on-page anchors. Today, when innumerable fancy menu types are available, the popularity of in-page navigation has not seen the least setback. Another extensive use of in-page navigation is found in the use of FAQs. When the pages are vet long, in-page navigation menu becomes inevitable. Though is does not facilitate SEO, they help user greatly. The classic example of in-page navigation is Wikipedia.
Related links: Using related links in a site is the best possible way to leverage user experience for search engine optimization. If users are offered access to pages that are from some perspective related to the present section, they will have an enriching experience. As such links offers switching from page to page, side-bars or subsections offering access to e.g. “Songs similar to”, “Songs you might like” or “Top Songs” can make the task of getting to the right place very easy. On the other hand such links step up your SEO as well.
From the above discussion it is apparent SEO, information architecture and user navigation facility are interlinked and the CMS expert and SEO experts should work together. But in reality, working together is more difficult than it is thought because there are so many examples around. However, creating a solid information architecture with a pleasant UI, one can make the site SEO friendly.