Common Internal Site Structure Issues

I recently spoke to a friend about some of his internal site structure errors and figured it would be worth it to share some of the better tips I gave him with readers here.

Canonical URL Issues:

Make sure search engines are seeing and as the same site. If they are not 301 redirect the less popular version to the more popular version.

Flat Site Structure:

In an ideal case your internal site structure would not be the same for every page on your site, especially if you have different sections to your site.

  • Create section related navigation that promotes other offers inside that section of your site, without heavily crossing over to other sections.

  • Actively guide users from within the content area of your site. These links will drive conversions and help funnel PageRank through your site.
  • Highlight featured content.

Many content management systems highlight recent content without placing much emphasis on your featured content. If you have important content make sure it is easy to access. Also use your site statistics to place more link weight on your most popular or most profitable content.

Content Duplication / Limited PageRank / Google's Supplemental Results

Not too long ago I wrote a post about how to check your number of supplemental pages and another about getting a site out of the supplemental index.

There are a near endless number of ways a site can waste link authority:

  • printer friendly pages

  • individual post pages in forums
  • archive vs active content forum threads
  • endless cross referencing heavy internal tagging and user generated tags
  • other cross referencing content sections that create thousands of thin content pages

If you have thin content portions of a site or duplicate pages get rid of them or use robots.txt to prevent them from getting indexed.

If you have more pages than link equity you need to build links, but another thing you can do short term is publish more content per page and structure your internal links to place more link weight on your most important pages.

Two more things worth considering here are to limit template related duplication, and temporarily publish fewer pages until you build your link authority and clean up the supplemental index issues.

Sitewide Outbound Links:

If you minimize your number of sitewide outbound links that will keep more of your link equity flowing internally. For many sites it does make sense to link out to resources sitewide or sell links. If you are selling links try to price at a higher price point and sell fewer links. That will improve your internal to external link ratio, hold your PageRank up higher, and allow you to continue to charge higher rates.

Internal to External Link Ratio:

Make sure you have many internal links on each page. If you do not have many perhaps you can duplicate your header navigation in your site footer.

Isolate Noisy Pieces of Your Site:

One last consideration is to isolate the noisy pieces of your site. Use subdomains to divide your content by content types. For example, if you have a great blog and add a forum to it you are probably best off placing the forum on a subdomain.

Published: March 12, 2007 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


Dexter Zaf
June 4, 2007 - 9:40pm

Interesting post. Let see I have a Web template section and on the side panel I place ten web design article that point to the article sub-category on my site. I know visitors who come to my template section are interested in web design/development related topic. I want also want them to not missed the article part.

March 20, 2007 - 7:52am

Google currently indexes over 10,000 pages on my site because of my dynamic database. I sell 1000 songs, but those pages get indexed in various ways. 80% of the incoming traffic through those links don't yield significant results. Should I program my site to block robots from indexing more of my pages, so that I have better strength on the pages that yield results?

March 12, 2007 - 10:13pm

Hey Aaron... great post! One question that came to my mind as I was reading the last sentence was...

How do you know when to put content on a subdomain? I have never used a subdomain before because I thought I should put all my content on the main www. domain. Is there any tips you could provide regarding knowing when to put content on a subdomain? Thanks!

May 19, 2007 - 10:22am

Hi Aaron,
My current site shows on i would like that that the homepage will apear in without hurting site structure , the idea is to have the main kw appear on google to help me achiev better ranking for that kw. is it possible?

March 12, 2007 - 10:17pm

If something is really noisy and different than the core site that is a good time to use subdomains.

Also if there is a core function that feels different, like my SEO tools, for example.

March 12, 2007 - 11:04pm

There are times when you can't 301 non www pages to the www version. One such case is when using the Yahoo store system for ecommerce. In these cases, do the next best thing and make all of your internal links comain the full domain instead of just the file/folder name.

i.e. in stead of /file.html

May 19, 2007 - 9:23pm

Is there anything linkworthy at the URL you want to promote? Do you focus your link equity on that page?

March 13, 2007 - 10:58am

Thanx Aaron for the post. Could you please explain widely the sentence "Make sure search engines are seeing and as the same site. If they are not 301 redirect the less popular version to the more popular version.". I don't understand how you can achieve that the search engine sees and as the same site without using the redirect (when links to my site from other sites are not under my control)? Thank you in advance for the answer.

March 14, 2007 - 6:20am

Hi...i handle an e-commerce website and we have tons of articles on our websites which is also related to our websites you think it would be wise to separate the articles in a different sub domain?

Ken Savage
March 14, 2007 - 3:54pm

How can you 301 on a microsoft IIS server?

I'm sure there's a way but it doesn't seem easy.

damn .htaccess files were so much easier.

March 14, 2007 - 5:07pm

Ken Savage,
To do an IIS Redirect either:
- Go into internet services manager, right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect
- Select the radio titled "a redirection to a URL"
- Paste in the redirection page
- Make sure you check "The exact url entered above" and the "A permanent redirection for this resource"
- Click on "Apply"

Alternatively you can do it with asp by putting the following code on the "bad" page:

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently" Response.AddHeader "Location", ""

March 14, 2007 - 8:03pm

Thanks a bunch Greg :)

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