A business website has one primary purpose, to promote the business and to increase sales of products or services. The reason for content, whether text, images, video, or other features, is to further the purpose of the site. Some websites can profit from a single visit if it’s an online store and the visitor makes a purchase, but if they never return, you lost some business.
You’re not getting all of your traffic from one source, as the referral sources are divided between search visits and direct visits brought about by other marketing. Unless you’re a superstar at SEO, you’re getting most of your visits as direct referrals when they type in your domain name from one of your business cards, a direct mail piece, or some other marketing media or print piece.
Unlike a searcher who may reach the specific content they needed to answer their questions or meet their needs, that direct referral is normally going to have to look around the site for what they want. If you want them to stay around long enough to find what they want and maybe respond to one of your calls-to-action, you need a good navigation structure and comprehensive internal linking.
Top or Side Navigation Tips
You likely have main navigation buttons, tabs, or text. If you don’t have sub-tabs or buttons, you’re putting roadblocks between your visitor and the information they seek. That top-of-page navigation needs to have the drop-down capability, with sub-pages under the main that preferably drop down when the mouse passes over them, rather than requiring a click to see them. It may surprise you how many people wouldn’t think to click to see options. If you have side navigation, the same thing applies, but the sub-pages will pop out to the side.
Are your main navigation tab/button titles accurately describing the content at the link? Do the sub-page drop-downs do the same? If you have a “Widgets” top-level navigation button, are the dropdowns going to get them to their destination with a single click? If the widgets are grouped and purchased by color, then the drop-downs may read like Blue, Red, Green, etc. If they’re grouped by Widget type, then you’d want the main type groups as the drop-down titles.
Internal linking is perhaps the most overlooked feature on a website, both for visitor friendliness and for SEO, Search Engine Optimization. They should almost always be text links, with the text highly relevant to the content of the page where the link takes the visitor.
What you want to do is to read through all of your site content watching for phrases that relate to other content on your site. An example would be on your main Widgets page where you describe your process, quality, etc., you’ll be mentioning those Blue or Type Widgets, and when you do, you want that text to link to a page just for that color or type with detailed information.
As you read through your text, watch for key phrase references that could suggest new content, with a page/post just for it so you can create an internal text link to the new information. What you don’t want to do is to upset Google with random or pattern internal linking. In other words, don’t put a link to a certain page all over your site, maybe even in footers. It’s a little like spamming and can hurt your SEO.
You want to use internal linking in the normal text of the site when it can add value by suggesting a destination to the visitor where they may find valuable, relevant information. Don’t forget to help them return or go from a sub-page to the main page with internal linking back to the source.
Follow these simple rules, make these improvements to your site, and you’ll see more page views and you’ll have happier visitors who are more likely to respond to a call-to-action.