Inner linking for ecommerce: The last word information


Inner linking is a vital facet of any web site, however it’s particularly necessary for ecommerce web sites. 

Inner linking helps enhance the navigation and consumer expertise in your web site guests and may also assist enhance your web site’s SEO (search engine optimisation). 

This text will talk about one of the best practices for internally linking pages on ecommerce web sites. To assist illustrate these alternatives, I’ll use a few of my favourite examples of ecommerce search engine optimisation finished nicely – the portfolio of Williams Sonoma manufacturers. (Disclaimer: I’ve no affiliation and have by no means labored on any of those websites.)

However first, let’s lay the groundwork for why these techniques are so necessary.

What’s inside linking?

Inner linking refers to linking one webpage to a different on the identical web site area. When a consumer clicks on an inside hyperlink, they are going to be taken to a distinct web page in your web site. These hyperlinks may be phrases, phrases, or photographs.

Inner linking is necessary as a result of it helps individuals discover the knowledge they’re in search of in your web site and helps them transfer from one web page to a different.

It additionally helps search engines like google perceive the construction and hierarchy of your web site, making it simpler to search out in search outcomes.

What inside linking will not be

Inner linking is not the identical as exterior linking. 

Exterior linking is if you put hyperlinks in your web site that take customers to different web sites. This may help them discover related info from different sources.

Utilizing each kinds of linking is crucial, however they’ve completely different functions. 

Why is inside linking necessary for ecommerce web sites?

Inner linking is a vital facet of search engine optimization (SEO) for all web sites, particularly ecommerce.

Whereas there are most likely many extra causes than I’ve listed under, these are the 4 main causes which might be at all times high of thoughts when engaged on an ecommerce web site with tens of hundreds, if not thousands and thousands, of pages.

  • Ecommerce web sites typically have a lot of pages, together with product pages, class pages, and different informational pages. Inner linking helps customers navigate these pages and discover the knowledge they need.
  • Ecommerce web sites typically have numerous competitors and probably many distributors providing the identical or extremely comparable merchandise. Inner linking may help enhance the search engine optimisation of the web site, making it extra seen in search outcomes.
  • Inner linking may help enhance the discoverability of ecommerce web sites by serving to search engines like google discover and crawl all of the pages on the website. This could result in extra site visitors and potential prospects for the web site.
  • Inner linking can spotlight promotions and gross sales, new merchandise, and buyer evaluations on ecommerce web sites. This could draw consideration to those gadgets and encourage customers to make the most of them.

It helps enhance the visibility and rating of a web site on search engine outcomes pages (SERPs) and improves the consumer expertise by permitting guests to navigate the web site simply. 

However, earlier than we get into common greatest practices, as famous within the gadgets above, it’s important to notice the distinction between navigational inside linking and in-content inside linking.

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In-content vs. navigation inside linking: What’s the distinction?

In-content inside linking consists of hyperlinks throughout the content material of a web page (sometimes a weblog publish), whereas navigation inside linking is when you may have hyperlinks in your web site’s navigation menu.

For instance, if you’re writing a weblog publish about males’s footwear, you could need to hyperlink to a web page about sneakers. This might assist customers discover extra info associated to the present web page’s content material.

In distinction, navigation inside linking helps individuals discover the primary pages in your web site and navigate your web site extra simply.

With that clarification out of the best way, listed below are 9 greatest practices for internally linking pages on ecommerce web sites, damaged down by in-content or navigational. 

Navigation inside linking greatest practices

Let’s begin with a few of the fundamentals for a stable ecommerce web site.

The group and utilization of your main navigation are desk stakes for a sturdy inside linking technique.

When a web page is linked from the sitewide menu, it primarily signifies that it’s linked from each web page on the positioning, which may sign to Google that the web page is crucial. Nonetheless, it’s a necessity to be aware of not overcrowding your menu.

Throughout the Williams Sonoma portfolio of websites, the primary navigation is a grasp class of efficient inside linking technique. I’ll use the under instance from West Elm’s Youngsters part for example.

1 and a couple of – Class / Sub-Class Linking: West Elm hyperlinks to essential class pages from the sitewide menu, boosting these pages’ inside authority. The sub-category hyperlinks help in offering Google with a greater understanding of the group of the web site and the semantic relationships between them.

3 – Specializing in the consumer journey: Having handled this myself, I do know design paralysis is an enormous blocker to buying furnishings. With the Design Assets part, West Elm not solely offers search engines like google an entry to all merchandise within the class (All Youngsters & Child Collections) but additionally solutions widespread blockers to buy (inspiration, in inventory, and so on.).

Ross Hudgens summarizes the extra advantages of together with this content material extra eloquently than I may:

“Integrating content material into navigation classes may help drive considerably extra outcomes. Most individuals don’t care to go to “Assets” or “Weblog.” This can make them ignore dropdowns like that.

They need to resolve a particular drawback and usually tend to be pushed down the trail of studying up on it if it’s naturally embedded inside every class.

This can assist drive customers down the funnel, particularly for merchandise with an extended gross sales cycle. Within the nav, you possibly can hyperlink on to the hub class for the part that discusses that content material. 

If it doesn’t exist, that’s a touch your content material hub may use higher structure across the precise issues individuals have.

You possibly can see how this powerfully ties collectively from an inside linking and engagement profit standpoint.”

4 – Internally hyperlink to assist enterprise priorities: The crucial factor to notice about this instance is the interior hyperlink doesn’t simply say “Sale.” It’s a particular sale (“Up To 40% Off Furnishings”) aligned with the class.

As you navigate every sub-menu, you’ll discover that the sale references align with the first class. Nice use of deep linking, even throughout the sale part.

5 – Inner hyperlink to assist secondary KPIs: In an age the place first-party data collection should be a precedence, West Elm offers a transparent CTA driving customers into their design middle to schedule an appointment. 

Whereas I can’t validate this, I might anticipate the information collected for use to gasoline extra advertising and marketing efforts. 

In the end, if somebody selected to make the most of these providers, I anticipate these common order sizes to be a lot bigger (I do know it was for me), which can be probably why they will supply these design providers for free of charge.

6 – Portfolio-wide inside linking technique: I’ve labored on many ecommerce websites that had been a part of portfolio firms. The standard method is so as to add a bunch of footer hyperlinks to the portfolio domains and name it a day. 

That is the primary time I’ve seen such a centered effort on using an inside linking construction to raise all domains in a portfolio. The necessary ingredient to notice right here is that even the cross-domain inside hyperlink is extremely related (e.g., West Elm Youngsters Furnishings → Pottery Barn Child & Youngsters Furnishings).

Kudos to whoever offered this enterprise SEO technique!

The Williams Sonoma website portfolio makes use of a mixture of international navigation menus. I’ll deal with the 2 within the screenshot under.

mark graham secondary navigation

On the high, once more, we see an inventory of exterior hyperlinks to ecommerce websites within the portfolio. (Hole additionally does this nicely.)

Immediately under the brand, Mark & Graham makes use of a row of “fast hyperlinks” which might be up to date to assist seasonal efforts, promotions and gross sales, new product classes, and different deep hyperlinks to class pages that in any other case won’t have a house within the fastened navigation menu (i.e., Events, Pursuits, and so on.)

This is a superb instance of secondary navigation that provides worth to the consumer (and search engines like google) past simply Discover a Retailer, Procuring Cart, and so on.  

3. HTML breadcrumb navigation

HTML breadcrumbs are sometimes displayed on the high of the class and product pages. They embrace a collection of hyperlinks that present the trail a consumer has taken to achieve the present web page. 

There are a handful of benefits of implementing breadcrumbs:

They assist customers perceive the place they’re on the web site and make navigating to earlier pages simple.

  • Improved crawlability: Breadcrumb inside linking helps search engines like google uncover and crawl the pages in your web site and may help reduce orphaned pages. This could enhance the general visibility of your web site in search outcomes.
  • Enhanced consumer expertise: Breadcrumb inside linking can enhance the consumer expertise of your web site by making it simpler for customers to navigate and discover the knowledge they’re in search of. This could result in elevated engagement together with your web site and may also assist enhance your rankings in search outcomes.
  • Elevated relevancy: Through the use of inside breadcrumb linking to point out the connection between completely different pages in your web site, you possibly can assist search engines like google perceive the positioning construction of your pages – particularly when marked up with breadcrumb schema.

An ideal illustration of that is Williams Sonoma’s utilization of breadcrumbs to construct pure inside hyperlinks to important class pages based mostly on my navigational path to the identical product:

williams sonoma oxo brand breadcrumb
Williams Sonoma’s “OXO” model breadcrumb
Williams Sonoma's mandoline slicers breadcrumb
Williams Sonoma’s “mandoline slicers” breadcrumb
Williams Sonoma's all food prep tools breadcrumb
Williams Sonoma’s “all meals prep instruments” breadcrumb

4. HTML sitemap

An HTML sitemap is a web page that lists all pages in your web site and offers hyperlinks to those pages.

For instance, you would possibly embrace a sitemap in your web site that lists all the pages in your web site and offers hyperlinks to those pages, or you can use inside linking to spotlight probably the most crucial pages in your web site.

pottery barn html sitemap

Making a well-structured HTML sitemap and linking to it from the footer, as Pottery Barn Youngsters has finished, ensures that almost all website pages are only some clicks away, which aids in each consumer accessibility and search engine optimisation.

pottery barn html sitemap footer link

Since search engines like google crawl websites in a sequential method and observe contextual cues, it’s helpful to have a single web page that hyperlinks to the positioning’s main and secondary pages.

This may be useful for customers in search of particular pages in your web site and assist search engines like google uncover and crawl all the pages in your web site.

As soon as created, it’s important to keep up an up to date HTML sitemap on the positioning to make sure customers and search engines like google can attain any web page through minimal navigation.

In-content inside linking greatest practices

Ecommerce websites are infamous for missing content material – particularly throughout class and sub-category pages. Consequently, it may very well be argued a few of these examples are “navigational” in nature.

Nonetheless, I would argue these implementations are much less ‘commonplace’ for navigational functions and sometimes buried on the backside of the web page (the place content material is usually added for class pages).

5. Supporting class web page content material

There are various methods to construct in supporting content material on class pages – that may very well be a separate article.

Within the instance under, West Elm provides just a few supporting paragraphs on the backside of their class pages with extra heading tags and content material that provides worth to the consumer expertise. 

Inside that content material, they naturally embrace hyperlinks to different class and sub-category pages, particular person product pages, and even academic/weblog content material the place it is sensible. 

west elm in content internal linking

6. Inner linking modules

Above the supporting web page content material, Pottery Barn, Mark & Graham, and West Elm make the most of a row of Associated Searches (learn extra about internal link modules here).

pottery barn related searches
Inner linking for ecommerce: The last word information 55

Pottery Barn Youngsters makes use of this identical row immediately above the footer.

pottery barn kids related searches
Inner linking for ecommerce: The last word information 56

In all instances, these textual content hyperlinks take the type of long-tailed keyword-rich inside hyperlinks to sub-categories and product element pages (PDPs).

As you possibly can see from the instance above, this offers alternatives to construct wealthy anchor textual content hyperlinks to pages round shade, texture, and even sizing – extremely worthwhile for these long-tailed however highly-qualified searches.

Ecommerce search engine optimisation 101 requires a associated merchandise widget of some type. This may help customers uncover extra merchandise they could be all in favour of and is among the foundational techniques for inside hyperlink constructing.

Nonetheless, what was historically reserved for the product element web page, has expanded to class pages, and even the “varieties” of associated merchandise have grown exponentially. 

For instance, Williams Sonoma makes use of the usual “Associated Merchandise,” whereas Pottery Barn makes use of a “High Picks for You” widget on their class pages. 

pottery barn category related

On product element pages, this implementation expands to all kinds of implementations and names, sometimes with a number of rows per web page in a carousel permitting for a extra intensive checklist of inside hyperlinks per web page:

  • “Folks Additionally Seen” (Pottery Barn Youngsters)
  • “Folks Additionally Purchased” (Pottery Barn Youngsters)
  • “Additionally in This Assortment” (Pottery Barn)
  • “Pairs Properly With” (West Elm)
  • “Folks Additionally Browsed” (West Elm)
  • “Prospects Additionally Seen” (Williams Sonoma)
  • “Prospects Additionally Purchased” (Williams Sonoma)
  • “Associated Merchandise” (Williams Sonoma)
  • “You Could Additionally Like” (Rejuvenation)
  • And extra!
pottery barn kids pdp related products

These hyperlinks are invaluable for cross-selling, upselling, and flattening the general web site structure.

8. Product attributes

The place breadcrumbs won’t be doable, product attributes can fill the void.

When each can be utilized, they’re an efficient complement for one another and may reference any/all attributes a product might need:

  • Measurement
  • Model
  • Coloration
  • Model
  • Taste
  • Texture

Whereas one of these inside hyperlink is maybe higher showcased on one other website (take a look at, I used to be capable of finding an instance of this on West Elm:

west elm product attributes

On this case, “Be taught extra” hyperlinks to the collaboration web page for Scout Regalia. I might argue that a greater anchor textual content implementation may very well be finished right here.

There are broader alternatives throughout the collective websites to make the most of interlinking amongst collaborations and model pages on product element pages themselves.

9. Consumer-generated content material (UGC)

UGC content material can tackle many kinds:

  • Critiques.
  • Testimonials.
  • Query and Solutions.

It’s arduous to search out fault in Williams Sonoma’s search engine optimisation technique. This, nonetheless, is one space the place there is likely to be a big alternative.

pottery barn ugc

Within the instance above, a Pottery Barn affiliate left a response to a remark with a unadorned URL. Nonetheless, the hyperlink will not be clickable. 

Usually, the Q&A piece throughout the domains provides many alternatives for inside linking automation. 

What are common inside linking greatest practices?

Now that you’ve got a roundup of the why and the place to include inside hyperlinks, you would possibly marvel “what to do” and “the way to do it.” 

A myriad of articles outlines these inside linking greatest practices very nicely, together with Moz, Semrush, and, after all, Google

I counsel you dive into the hyperlinks above for a extra detailed breakdown. For my part, the 5 most important inside linking greatest practices to observe, in no explicit order, are under:

  • Hyperlink to deep pages.
  • Use descriptive anchor textual content.
  • Hyperlink to related/associated pages.
  • Hyperlink to the canonical model of the URL.
  • Don’t use the identical anchor textual content for a number of pages.

How do I implement inside linking on my ecommerce website?

A lot of this may occasionally require some grunt work and a partnership together with your improvement staff to implement these methods successfully.

The implementation with probably the most bang in your buck (and probably the best degree of effort) is inside linking modules. I linked it above, however I extremely suggest studying this article from Holly Miller Anderson for extra particulars.

Alternatively, auditing your present inside hyperlinks to find out which pages may benefit from elevated inside linking is at all times a terrific place to start out.

Paul Shapiro defines this course of as figuring out “internal PageRank,” which is an clever mind-set about it.

Regardless of the way you outline it, the end result of this train will little doubt present worthwhile insights to get began.

Maximizing inside linking for ecommerce

Inner linking is a vital facet of any ecommerce web site. 

By following one of the best practices mentioned on this article, you possibly can be certain that your web site is straightforward to navigate for customers and is optimized for search engines like google. 

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed here.

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