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SEO Basics Course. Module 8
Linking your Site's Pages Together
OK lets recap!
In Module 1 we looked at SEO Scams and Cons so you can avoid the companies that could cause your website considerable harm.
Module 2 covered personalized search so you don't make the very common mistake made by many website owners and think you have good rankings when you don't!
In Module 3 we saw how Search Engines go about deciding who should be in their Search Results Pages and in what order they should rank.
Module 4 was all about how you can decide what you want to rank for in the SERPs so you don't waste your time trying to compete with much larger players or ranking for phrases no one searches!
Module 5 outlined how we can help search engines understand the basic structure of our website.
In Module 6 we went through how to check if the key elements of a web page are optimized.
In Module 7 we got to grips with how to audit and optimize our code without needing to know anything about programming to ensure it is correctly marked up for search engine bots to read and understand clearly.
Now how can we put this all together at a site level to maximize the impact with search engines. The secret to doing this is in how you link your pages together.
Lets imagine a real life situation for a moment. A large grocery store or supermarket is divided into sections, baked goods, fruit and veg, dairy products and so on. You might hear someone say "That store has an awesome dairy section" which basically means its got a large and comprehensive choice of dairy products.
Just like the store your website should also have a structure with similar themed pages gathered together
So search engines can say "that website has an awesome section on food and on cars and on cats"
Individual web pages have more impact with search engines if they can see a page is part of a more comprehensive set of pages on a theme.
Creating your website this way is known as Silo Structuring. Like agricultural silos that store different types of grain we want to create a website which is structured into areas which store different types of information.
Lets consider how we apply this to our website "How to be a Carpenter". The site already has a home page, a page about tools, a page about wood and a page with a project. In earlier modules we learnt how to optimize each page.
Now we'd like search engines to understand that the site is highly relevant to Types of wood in carpentry so lets head over there.
Our site already has a page about this but lets expand that and add a page about hard woods and a page about soft woods. While we're at it for Hard woods lets add a page about oak and a page about ash and for soft woods lets add a page about pine and a page about cedar.
It seems obvious to us when we look at it this way that our website now has a comprehensive section, or silo, about types of wood, but how can we demonstrate this structure to a search engine bot that is crawling pages one by one and can't see this pretty diagram?
Its all about how we link the pages of each section together.
The first step is breadcrumbs - those links near the top of each page that tell humans where they are in the great scheme of a website. So make sure you have them.
To carry the greatest weight with search engine bots these need to be coded using structured data.
Structured data spells out to all the major search engines that these links are breadcrumbs and from there its much faster for the bots to understand the silo structure!
To check yours head over to Google's free structured data testing tool. There's a link below this video and in the module text to take you there. Just paste in the url of any one of your pages and Google will tell you what it finds. In this example it found all our breadcrumbs because they were properly marked up with structured data.
The second step is to make sure any page which has sub pages has a menu with links to them.
In this example we've added those links within the navigation menu. You could also add them somewhere else such as before the content. In this example we have not only included links to sub pages but the sub pages of those sub pages.
We could even do both.
Sub menus help your visitors and, as we'll show in a moment, reinforces your silo structuring.
By implementing these two steps we have ensured that there are multiple and consistent links between the pages of each silo of our website. Far more than between each silo.
Now search engines understand that our sample site is a highly relevant website when it comes to carpentry tools and types of wood in carpentry because it doesn't just have one page on each subject, it has multiple pages organized into clear to navigate silos.
Sometimes in SEO we don't need 'more' content, we just need to structure what we have better in order to rank higher.
We've talked a great deal about 'adding pages' but lets just be clear. Each page needs to contain high quality content of its own. This is not a numbers game where more pages equals higher rankings!
Before we are done with silo structuring its important to understand the error many people make when they have a blog on their website.
We're not talking here about websites that are blogs but websites that are something else and have a blog, like company or information websites.
The great mistake is, instead of updating or adding content to the site silos, updates and additions are made in the blog. This dilutes the silo structure, confuses search engine bots and makes it harder for your human visitors to find the information they are looking for.
In this example we can see where some of the content belongs and we should move it there.
Furthermore if you spot many of your blog posts start to have a common theme then its time to make a new section, or silo.
If you are moving content don't delete the blog posts, use them to announce the new content, why you added it and where it can be found on your website. This way anyone who has bookmarked them in the past and any search engine that has indexed the posts will find a clear route to the content's new location.
Leave your blog free for announcements about your new content or updates, reflections and so on. Its your place to build a relationship with your clients, not a location for core content.
OK. So if our individual pages are optimized and joined together in a well organized silo structure what else is there left to do? Our final On-Page SEO work is Accessibility and we'll cover this in the next module.
Has this video highlighted issues with your SEO work or with a website you are working on but you don't know how to resolve them?
There are simply too many ways a website can be built for us to offer a comprehensive how to part to these tutorials however we would recommend the following steps.
Google it! If you know what platform your website is built on (say XCart or Wordpress) just try googling what you need. For example "How to make WordPress urls SEO friendly" to find out how you can make changes to the urls of your WordPress based site.
You'll be surprised how often issues have already been resolved by others and sometimes they have even created plugins so you can make the changes you need to without needing any technical skills.
If this doesn't resolve your issue you probably will need the help of a programmer. In this case see the 'Need Help' link below this video or in the module text for options.
That was module eight, linking your site's pages together. Next up Module nine, being secure, fast and readable ,and, as they always say at the end of these videos, if you like what you saw, remember to subscribe.