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Pay attention to your internal link structure

In this week’s Wednesday Workshop, we’re talking about your internal links – the links from page to page within your own dealership website. Much like inbound links from other sites, internal links pass value from page to page, so it’s important that you structure your links correctly. Watch and learn how most dealers get things wrong, why it’s important to get things right, and how to make sure you’re linking correctly within your site.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. We’ve got a great SEO tip for you today, and it’s something major that most dealers and SEO companies completely ignore… Internal links.

Yep – most of you realize by now that inbound links, or links from other websites to your site, are the most important ranking factor. But for some reason, most people completely ignore their internal links when they’re working on their SEO.

Remember – if we really boil it down to the simplest concept, Google is just pattern detection. The algorithm looks at your digital pattern and assigns values to different pieces of the pattern, so it’s able to determine the best answer for any given query.

External links pass value – if someone links to your site, it’s like a vote that the content on the page they’re linking to is good content. More votes equals more relevancy.

And internal links work exactly the same way – they pass value from page to page within your own site. If you have tons of links on a page, you’re diluting the value of those links – but if you only have one or two, you’re passing that value on to the target pages.

Here’s where most business owners screw up – they link to everything they possibly can from their home page because they think it makes it easy for people to get to what they want.

Oh yeah, it gets ugly quickly. For car dealers, it’s really simple. Let’s think about the things that customers would need to do once they get to your site. They’re going to buy a car, get service, or buy parts. There are 3 distinct buyer intentions, so there should be 3 distinct user paths.

So that means, outside of your main menu and your footer, you really only need 3 or 4 links on your home page. But I’ve seen dealers with over 20 –

Think of your home page (or really, any important page on the site) as a bucket of water. The water represents the relevance and authority of that page. Every time you link to another page on your site, you poke a hole in the bucket.

If you only poke 3 or 4 holes, the authority drains out to those 3 or 4 new pages. If you poke 20 holes, the water drains quickly to all the pages, and there’s much less water in each page’s bucket. There’s less authority transferred to each page.

Think of it this way – if you were to graph out your internal link structure, it should look like a pyramid. Your home page links to your primary category pages, which link to major subcategory pages, which link to detailed pages for each category. If you jump right from the top to the bottom, your authority gets diluted immediately.

So go take a look at your site – especially your home page. Skip your main menu and your footer, and count how many links you have on the page – including all text links, buttons, and clickable images. If you’ve got a banner slideshow, count each image as a link.

You probably have way too many links – so figure out which ones you can get rid of. If you’ve got fewer links, you’ll funnel internal authority more effectively. Plus, the fewer links you have on a page, the more likely it is that people will be able to find what they’re looking for quickly.

That’s all the time we’ve got for today. As always, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

More posts by Greg Gifford

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  •' Frank says:

    Hi Greg,

    Good video. One question poped up to my mind: should child pages linking back to their parents or also to their grand-parent?
    Let’s say we have the following structure:

    Home page: Shoes
    cat1A: men’s shoes
    cat1B: women’s shoes
    Page2A: men’s red shoes
    Page2B: men’s blue shoes

    Should page 2A and 2B just link back to “men’s shoes” or also to “shoes”?

    • Greg Gifford says:

      well, for a shoe site, that would be ecommerce – and that means it’s pretty likely that you have a breadcrumb element, where it’s going to show the hierarchy of pages up at the top, and that will show that you’re on shoes > men’s shoes > men’s red shoes – and those elements of the breadcrumb will be links, so you’ll already have that in place.

      as for adding them into the page content, it’s probably not really necessary, as they can easily use the breadcrumbs (or search filter system) if they want to “back out” to a broader category/page.

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