Step 3.2: The Flow of Authority
Intermediate SEO Concepts
Once authority enters your site it passes through your site primarily through its internal linking structure. Something we covered already, but what this alludes to is the concept of ‘authority distribution’.
The authority entering your site via backlinks will be distributed throughout your site. We need to understand this distribution, to determine whether it maps with our business goals.
Do the most valuable pages have the most authority? The main components directly impacting authority distribution are:
These provide the amount of authority and the entry point/s for it on your site.
If a page is inaccessible it doesn’t require authority, it also won’t pass it on (unless it’s a redirect). The following things are bad for authority distribution:
- Redirect chains (more than one redirection in a sequence)
- Broken links
Pages that cannot be indexed for any reason are a dead end for authority.
Internal linking resolves a lot of authority distribution problems and can be used to optimise the flow of authority. The following things can negatively affect authority distribution and should be avoided:
- Follow links to non-indexable pages
- Follow links to non-crawlable pages
- Follow links to non-canonical pages
- Linking to inaccessible pages
- Nofollow attributes on links to valuable pages
- A page having less than 3 internal links
Canonical tags contain a link and as this passes on a lot more authority than a standard text link. As such, using non-canonical URLs, even if you have redirects setup properly can lead to wasted or lost authority.