The internal linking structure is very important in many ways. A good navigation enables your visitors to click around the several parts of your website without having to think about it. An intuitive linking structure is important to offer your visitors the best user experience on your website.
No one needs a website that is so complex nobody understands how to get from A to B. The only consequence of that will be a high Bounce Rate, and in addition a high Bounce Rate may downgrade the rating of your website.
But actually a good user experience is not the only reason why it is important to have a good and intuitive navigation and linking structure. When search engines crawl your website, the navigation is an important element. To crawl a website, the crawler clicks from link to link to capture all the URLs in the domain. Since those crawlers have limited time on your domain, the linking structure has to be easy so they can capture all the URLs in the limited time.
Another point is that among other things Search engines measure the importance of a document by the amount of incoming links to it. This basically means that documents that you consider as more important than other documents, should also be linked more often than other documents. In the following paragraphs I will show you some important points you should consider when building a webpage with WordPress.
- Main navigation:
The main navigation should include at least all the categories of your website. It is visible on every document, so the linked URLs get measured as important. In case you have more categories than space in your main category, you should definitely put the most important ones in there.
The Sidebar is like the main navigation visible on every document. Therefore important article should be linked here. Keep one thing in mind, when I am talking about important articles I donÂ´t mean important to you, I mean important to your visitors. Place articles that already gain much traffic here. You can use an Analytics Tool like Google Analytics to get data about this. In case you do not use Google Analytics yet for your WordPress Blog, I recommend you my article about adding Google Analytics to WordPress.
A Slider also is a good spot to place important websites. Every visitor who accesses your website via the home page gets to see the slider. Well placed articles in here can decrease the bounce rate and keep visitors longer on your website.
- Archive pages:
To be honest I donÂ´t consider archives as important pages. I recommend to not place links to any archive page at important spots of your website. Definitely there are other pages that are much more important. But anyway, you still should link them at some place. I think the very bottom of the sidebar or even the footer a good spots.
- Author pages:
It is enough to link the authorâ€™s page on the corresponding article and on the teaser. There is no need to put extra links in the sidebar or other places. But to be clear, they really should not be missing on the articles of the author. Furthermore those links should include structured data. This enables Google to show the authorÂ´s name in the snippet of the article on the Google SERP.
In WordPress it is very common to have a URL structure like this for the categories:
Basically this looks like a regular URL but when you take a second look you will notice that the actual category is not in the root directory of the website. Instead it is in the directory category. This is very unnecessary. In general, Google considers a document less important if it is in a high directory. Therefore the category should be in the root directory, which means the URL should look like this:
The problem is that WordPress put categories by default into this directory. But donÂ´t worry, I will now show you how to fix this issue very fast. The only thing you have to do is go to your WordPress Dashboard, click on Settings and then click on Permalinks.
At the bottom of the page you will find a formula like in the image above. Write a simple dot in the field Category base and thatâ€™s it. But hold on! Before you click the save button keep in mind that the URLs of your category pages will change. This means you have to set up 301 Redirects form the old URLs to the new ones! When you donÂ´t set the redirects, the googlebots canÂ´t find the old URLs anymore. This will definitely not have positive impacts on the ranking of your website.
So here is how to set up a 301 Redirect.
Open your .htaccess file via FTP and paste the following code:
Redirect 301 /oldfile.htm /newfile.htm
ThatÂ´s it! I would like to mention one last thing. I really recommend you only to work with the .htaccess file if you are aware of what you are doing. If you put in some wrong code, your whole website could be ruined!