Most pages in your site are limited to being placeholders due to lack of external link weight. After your internal links are SEO friendly, it’s time to shift the focus to the quality and quantity of deep links / link per page.
Why is it that the home page is typically the strongest page in a website, but also the page with the highest bounce or exit rates? Here are a few reasons for consideration:
(1) Because the home page has the highest concentration of internal and external links (which signifies it as the dominant page) as viewed by search engines.
(2) Because the sheer link weight of the page allows it to rank for ambient keywords from supporting pages (which may or may not be properly optimized) to capture the ranking on its own merit. We dub this in-house as “the ghost ranking” (which is known to appear and disappear frequently).
(3) Because as a default, the domain root level is always presented prior to referencing any other page in the site.
Regardless of why or how the homepage ends up with the crux of link flow, in most instances it does, which can leave a site unbalanced if left on its own uncorrected.
In some industries and circumstances having a high concentration of links to the homepage is acceptable (typically with older sites as this is considered normal). However, for more competitive rankings, the real value of SEO is to develop continuity between pages and sculpt the way that each page bestows its gift of buoyancy on to other pages in need.
Capturing a competitive term can boil down to (1) a page with a prominent amount of internal links (2) multiple pages in a theme shifting their ranking factor to a preferred page (3) a high concentration of external links or (4) any combination of the above.
If you can’t get your hands on premium SEO tools to map internal or external link ratios, Google Webmaster Tools link / tab can quickly provide you with a bird’s eye view of your sites internal or external links which you can download into an excel CSV file.
From there, the exercise is, to see if you can push each page across a threshold and get it off the bench and in the ranking game on your behalf. SEO is about adaptation as each keyword has a different tipping point (i.e. 5 internal links from prominent pages and 20 external links with the ideal keyword in the anchor text, etc.).
We know the value of internal linking, but how much is enough for a pages deep link ratio. I personally prefer 30-35% of the links to flow to the homepage and the remaining balance of links in a website to be distributed in order of importance to your subsequent landing and supporting pages.
Within this framework, ensuring that the top landing page or sub folder is not deeper than 4 folders away from the root (or sufficiently linked through sitemaps or similar link schematics). You should then find the proper array of seasoned links (pages that are relevant to the ideal keywords) via fresh links, internal links as well as any link that passes value to sculpt and groom your new secondary landing pages (for specific keywords).
Trust and age also have a distinct place in this formula, so don’t even consider building links like the Wild West and inundating your site with deep links (just because you think that’s all there is to it).
Achieving a natural link velocity without tripping a filter is important. Also, keep in mind that each keyword has a distinct tipping point where it springs into action and starts to appear for various shingles from the page.
So, say the highest co-occurrence on a pages content is for SEO Services or SEO company for example, you need to ensure that you have enough on page link weight supporting keyword modifiers related to those shingles as well as external links with those keywords in the incoming anchor text to elevate them over your competitors.
If that page is still lacking the needed on page and off page continuity to punch a hole in the barrier to entry, it can still pass on the ranking factor back to the homepage as Page Rank flows upward in a site.
Traffic for traffics sake is not always the solution, you want specific pages to appear to gain the benefit of their value proposition and tailored call to action. So, in essence you must link out from the homepage (as the ideal backlink) to the new landing page and then continue to develop its link per page /deep link ratio.
For competitive phrases, this can require dozens or hundreds or links to a page via deep links from other sites or even thousands depending on the other sites in the top 10. The grandfather effect of (page or domain authority) occurs for aged domains who have earned their right to be there. However, this does not mean that a virtual newcomer cannot balance the on page, internal link and external link ratio to take the crown for a specific competitive keyword.
As a benchmark, consider the following criteria.
The homepage or website is 60% relevant for the keyword/term then on the most suitable page in the site, a suitable page infers that:
(a) The keyword is in the URL structure such as www.domain.com/keyword-name.html
(b) keyword is present in as the most relevant title [ keyword, modifier, brand statement or website name ].
(b) h1 tag emphasizing [keyword].
(c) Keyword appears with enough co-occurrence on the page (surrounded by modifiers in the context of the document in the beginning, middle and end of document).
(d) The keyword is present in a link, bold or bullet list.
(e) and if keyword is present in the meta description all contribute weight to the ranking.
Once all of those criteria are in place:
(1) Try building links from relevant pages internally as well as getting at least 5-10 links to that internal page from other sites to capture a local search ranking.
(2) Use 20-50 links for a moderately competitive keyword or phrase (10-70,000 competing pages) as defined by Google “in quotes” from a Google search or
(3) If the keyword is very competitive you may have to dig in over the course of months and keep reinforcing it with internal links at every opportunity and develop or build 1000 or more links to the page to give it the needed on page and off page link quantity / synergy.