Trying to rank on search engines can feel like you’re ticking the right boxes, only to discover that those boxes actually didn’t matter and need to revisit your entire box related strategy. Don’t worry, it’s not just you feeling this way and today we’re going to talk about yet another box –website architecture– and how to best structure your internal links for optimal ‘link juice.’

First, a couple of core concepts you need to be aware of in order to make the most of this strategy.

Cornerstone Content – High-quality content that targets your primary keywords through high-quality SEO copywriting, combined with valid anchor text that flows naturally. This is the content you wish to rank for, and it’s where you will target your backlink strategy.

Importantly, your cornerstone content should be based on two factors

  • Your keyword research (customer)
  • What you’re an expert in, or your primary product (reputation)

Link Juice – when a backlink is received from another site, the “juice” from that link is dependent on the quality of the site and how the link is allocated. This means that you can get more juice from a link if your infrastructure is created correctly.

Also, as we will soon discover it’s possible to spill the juice. Or milk the juice… metaphors are hard. You can make your backlinks go further.

Don’t freak out. Optimising your website from a content standpoint won’t involve an advanced coding course or the need to fork out a small fortune to pay a developer to rebuild your site. It just takes a bit of time and an understanding of how Google allocates domain authority.

Let’s get visual. Below is a site map that shows the architecture of a website. You’ll notice that the homepage links to the blog, which links to the pages within the blog and so on and so forth. You know, like a website. For the sake of not creating a needlessly long article, we are going to focus on the blog itself, but all of these principles can be related to any page on your site and any of those pages can be regarded as cornerstone content.

display of backlink structure using inbound links

 

In this case, the site has three pieces of cornerstone content in three categories. If you were an accountant they could be:

  • – Taxation
  • – Starting a new business
  • – Financial reporting standards

As you can see, each of these categories links to other blogs using internal links and in doing so will create a logical flow for the reader. For example, the accountants cornerstone content article on taxation could link to a blog post on critical errors to avoid during tax season, or what to do if you are being audited. The trick is to not use any tricks; make sure that links are natural and enhance the reader’s experience. If you don’t think Google can recognise forced links, you’re wrong.

Now, using a blogger outreach tool such as BuzzStream, our accountant friend attracts a backlink from a highly reputable industry site called… I don’t know, industrysite.com. The link on Industry Site’s post looks like this –

This backlink is directed to the cornerstone content article on taxation, which is, “cornerstone content category 1.”

Graph of cornerstone content showing allocated links

As industrysite.com has a good reputation, we can expect some solid improvements in this page’s rank over the next month or two. Of course, our accountant won’t rest on his laurels and will continue to acquire backlinks from high-quality sources.

That, of course is not the end of the story. Through linking with another relevant blog on his website, our accountant friend can share some of the link juice provided by the backlink with the secondary blog post. In other words, because (what is now) high-quality cornerstone content is linking with another blog in a natural fashion, Google not only gets a clearer picture as to what each post is about, but is also more likely to give the secondary blog added authority as a result.

Through focusing on the creation of high-quality cornerstone content and creating blogs that naturally compliment that content, backlinks can have the maximum possible impact and the search engines can more easily understand what it is your site is trying to achieve.