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11 Ways to Effectively Interlink Your Site's Content - the Zappos Way
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
So many people have used Zappos as an example of the right way to do things from a digital marketing or SEO perspective that you are probably tired of hearing about Zappos.  Well not me.  Zappos have a great SEO and online marketing team that continue to be ahead of the typical online marketer out there.

In the light of all of the discussions about over-SEO and about Google's recent algorithm changes such as Penguin and Panda, we thought we would revisit a fundamental function of site optimization... interlinking.  Interlinking is simply the process of linking from one page on your site to another.  The purpose is to direct the user to a relevant piece of content.  From a site owner's perspective you will want to interlink your pages to:
  • guide the user to a relevant piece of content - navigation
  • guide the user through to a conversion - conversion optimization
  • help the search engines find your content - crawling and indexation
There are a number of ways that you can interlink your content which is really the purpose of this article.  Let's evaluate the various forms of interlinking that is used by Zappos.

11 Ways to Effectively Interlinking Your Website Content - the Zappos Way

  1. Top Navigation - probably one of the most common ways of interlinking your website content is through your top navigation.  Typically this is via a "navigation bar" that runs across the top of your page under your main banner section of the site.  Zappos leverage their top navigation to communicate their product categories as well as their "Alphabetical Brand Index".  A very smart move to insure that users can drill down to their area of interest by either product type of brand name.



  2. Search By Options - even above their top nav, Zappos provides the user with four key "search by options" that interlink key ways to search their site, either by size, narrow shoes, wide shoes or by popular searches.  Makes sense doesn't it?  Again Zappos is making it relatively easy for their users to drill down and find the product that they are looking for.

  3. Side Navigation / Additional Categories - Zappos flikns to heir main categories and sub-categories from their side navigation that exists on the left side of select pages.  From here users can shop for women's clothing, shoes, swimwear and dresses.  Or you can shop for Specialty items such as new arrivals, couture brands, or gifts.


  4. Suggested Products - while still on the homepage, Zappos link to key products via their "Suggested Products" section in the main portion of the page.  From here they link to a variety of products including shoes, watches, skirts and hats.  This content is updated frequently and entices the user to check out some of their suggested products not to mention communicates the fact that Zappos is more than just shoes.


  5. Testimonials / Ratings - as we scroll down the homepage, Zappos does an amazing job of incorporating testimonials and reviews of products.  Not only does this help build trust with site visitors, but it also presents a keyword rich text link to an associated product page.  What a great way to link to deeper site pages from the homepage.



  6. By Demographic - as part of the side navigation featured on the homepage and other select pages, Zappos does a great job of segmenting their audience so that users can search by demographic (male, female, kids etc).  This allows them to link to demographic related product categories and product pages again helping direct the user to the content that they are most interested in.



  7. Product Criteria - if we examine a product page on Zappos, we see that they interlining their content  via defined product criteria such as size, width, styles, color, brand, material etc.  Users can narrow their search and Zappos can lik to related search results pages specific to the criteria selected by the user.



  8. Product Cross Reference - Zappos have incorporated the old Amazon "..if you liked this, you may also like this" cross merchandising idea with their "Products" in other categories" links.  This is a great way to cross promote additional products and potentially get an upsell by simply linking to a related product.




  9. Alternative Products - similar to the previous form of interlinking, Zappos also link to relevant products via their "Alternative Products For You" from their right side navigation on their product detail pages.  Again another form of cross merchandise promotion and form of deep interlinking from with the product pages themselves.


  10. Product Showdown - Zappos is known for their creativity.  Their product showdown, illustrates this as they again perform some deep interlinking to product pages by doing a product comparison or "showdown" as they call it.  Users can actually vote for their product of choice These pages feature great content and information about the product itself with ratings, reviews and even video descriptions.  From both a content and interlinking perspective, the Zappos team are doing it right.


  11. Themed Footer - Zappos like many site make use of a themed footer that is used to link to important sections of the site including categories, demographics and other criteria such as size.  The Zappos footer is a little over the top containing most likely more than 100 links but in this case it just makes sense.  Why wouldn't you link to the key areas of your site from the footer.  While many people keyword stuff the links in their footer, there is still an opportunity to include relevant keywords in the anchor text and link to your main categories and sub-cats.  Zappos are not excessively linking from their footer to game SEO (well maybe a little) they are linking to key areas of the site that may be of use to the user.  their footer acts like a mini-sitemap if you will and makes it one step away to get to the deeper content and products that a user might be looking for.


Interlinking your site is important for two main reasons:
  1. Navigation / Conversion Direction
  2. SEO - relevancy of links
Be smart when you interlinking your content.  Avoid linking to pages from the same page multiple times so that you do not dilute the page rank that is being passed.  Link for the user, and not for the search engines.  Effective interlinking will help the engines crawl and fin your content, but ideally it is the site visitor that you want to find your content and engage with that content.  Sites like Zappos have got it going on when it comes to interlinking their content.  Check them out and experiment with some of the options that they are using.  

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 09, 2012  
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