in Search Engine Optimization by Jeffrey_Smith

Search Engine Optimization is about creating optimal on page structure.  In order to create an effective site architecture , there is a tiered methodology that allows you to designate specific pages and imbue them with all of the appropriate credentials to excel in the SERPs (search engine result pages)  while serving a secondary function (to rank other pages).

Internal Link Mapping

Mapping Internal Links for Maximum Link Equity

This layering or tiers of optimization are accomplished through optimizing the Link equity percentages for inbound links to pages represents an immediate opportunity to leverage dormant on page SEO potential.

The percentage of orphaned pages or ineffectual anchor text within a website can leave pages purposeless or fending for their right to exist within a website’s robust site architecture. Link flow and PageRank are not static attributes, but rather represent a rolling average of connectivity and expression.

Off page ranking factor is responsible for brute force rankings and supplementing relevance and positioning, however, all it takes are a few well placed, well structured, trusted links from the right pages to tip relevance and rankings in your favor.

Understanding the vast correlations between which type of inertia is impeding your pages is imperative, after a proper diagnosis, you can then resuscitate languishing pages suffering from link attrition or decay with relevant, vital internal link flow from pages which (a) have a more authoritative position in the algorithm and (b) enjoy preferential treatment from search engine spiders. The combination means that (1) changes are acknowledged quickly (on the next crawl) and (2) you don’t have to look to outside sources or websites to infuse ranking factor.

Which Pages are Ideal?

  • Pages already ranking in the top 20 results for some stemmed keyword variation of the target / root phrase.
  • Pages that are the apex of a subfolder (the default index / beacon).
  • Pages with minimal outbound links (50 max but 10-20 is perfect).
  • Old pages in the site that can be re-purposed.

The SEO Tactic

You need to identify topical nodes of relevance and send that discovered link equity where it is needed most. To find a semantic trail, you can either use the keyword tactic or use a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth to crawl and assess site metrics.

The concept is to identify pages that lack rankings, deep links and internal links then integrate them into a systemic structure capable of providing link flow to other vital pages within the site architecture.

For the sake of continuity we will call them tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 pages (ranked in order of importance). The tier 1 pages should have the most prominence within a website, the most “deep links” (links to pages other than the home page) and the most internal links. These are your uber competitive keywords and they are best served within the site architecture in the root folder.

By positioning them there those pages (1) gain page rank and serve as a catch-all for excess link flow as it bubbles up from other pages. PageRank tends to move upward in the hierarchy (which is good if you can harness this algorithmic persona for your own benefit.

This is where using tier 2 and tier 3 ranking strategies comes into play. For a tier 2 keyword, you can have those nested behind one themed subfolder. In other words a keyword rich folder two off the root folder works well i.e.

Pooling Link Equity

Then the subject of the topic serves as the preferred landing page for the keyword variation. The index page of the tier 2 subfolder is the catch all. On that page you will want to have all of the keywords you intend to rank for (for that keyword cluster) either pointing to corresponding pages in the root folder, or pointing to deeper pages (to harvest the link flow later).

These tier 2 pages are pivotal components in your search engine optimization strategy, they represent the ability to feed the silos (the deeper pages nested in the folder) or pass vital ranking factor to other portions of the site (through lateral linking) like an apex or internal link broadcast beacon.

What is important is (a) the inbound links feeding the tier 2 page (such as primary navigation, contextual links from the homepage or other strong pages, footer links from sitewide tier 3 or broad pages or deep links).

Based on which types of links are propping them up determine what extent of authority they themselves develop and whether or not they are pages deemed for structural rankings (to contribute behind the scenes) or serve as landing pages earmarked for visibility in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

The Internal Link / Cascade Effect

Using a streamlined approach for managing link equity (link type, anchor text and volume) you can feed as many pages as you have strong links and the interesting thing is, the more pages you have, the more opportunities to create strong pages and links exist. This is why Google favors sites replete with pages that reinforce topicality of a subject through quality editorial or educational content or continuity (think Wikipedia).

The third tier pages represent the opportunity to create a higher threshold of content (such as using a  blog or subdomain) and then funnel that link equity to other tier one pages or stand alone beacons for competitive two word or three word keyword variations.

Without giving away too much on the technique, let’s just say that Xenu is more than adequate for identifying, sorting and sifting through your existing pages to determine which pages or site segments need internal link mapping to gain buoyancy through increasing link volume, fidelity and prominence.

In our next post we will provide examples of link mapping and how to structure a tiered cascading effect of link equity in a website to aid search engine result page positioning. Stay tuned for the follow up post later this week. 

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About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

17 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimization: Creating Tiered Structures
  1. SEOTiger says:

    When you do a follow-up on this topic, It would be nice to know the URL structure involved in site architecture, Specifically, when to promote and demote URLs.

  2. Sure:

    I will be sure and cover this in greater detail on the follow-up.

    Thanks for visiting

  3. SEOTiger:

    Prior to the new post being released, have you read this yet? It may contain more of what you are looking for…

  4. Darius says:

    Great article as always but I am finding some of the recent articles very jargonistic, which leads to difficulty in following the trail.
    I feel a version for dummies would improve your return on these great posts because I feel that more people would be able to engage, hence understand what you do and ultimately give you more business.
    How about a jargon buster for us newbies?
    We’d like to use some of your posts but don’t think many of our readers would find it very easy going….

  5. @Darius:

    Understood, our audience is more of the do it yourself types working on multiple sites vs. the newbie just getting started, but I understand and appreciate your feedback.

    We do have an SEO Basics Category for people looking for general info.

    I will make concessions in the future and keep all readers in mind for future posts (use more analogies) or try to integrate more visual aids to convey concepts.

    Thanks for commenting, appreciate it…

  6. Jacob Stoops says:

    I really like this idea, especially when you have a large site with a nice diversity of internal links. I see it a lot in real estate and shopping websites to help people get deeper into a site without having to click through so many links – gets them straight to the source. Definitely good for users and for SEO.

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