How to Structure Websites for Success & Scalability

Website structure is essential for short-term and long-term success.

After reading this guide, you'll know the following:

  • How to target SEO keywords effectively
  • How to create a powerful internal linking system
  • The difference between primary articles and supporting articles
  • The types of backlinks to use for different types of articles
  • The benefit of separating monetized content from informational content

There are many different types of website structures that have proven to be successful in as many different niches. There are no limits to the types of underlying architecture one can use when building a website, but there are some basic models that have stood the test of time. At the core, almost every successful website provides some type of value readers in balance with also providing itself enough value to continue operating.

NOTE: Before reading this guide we recommend reading our article Link building 101: Different Types of Backlinks. This guide assumes readers are already familiar with many different types of backlinks and their SEO benefits.

Initial Considerations

Never believe anyone that says they’ve got the secret to anything—especially when money is concerned. Websites are no different; no single structure of website organization will be ideal for every circumstance or niche. Many different styles of website marketing, supported by many different styles of websites, are able to provide powerful results. The ideas shared in this article are meant to support the most basic types of website marketing though very powerful underlying search engine optimization (SEO) architecture.

We’ll focus on a single underlying structure of website organization and describe some of the components which make it powerful. For reference, we call this type of organization Node-Based strategy. You will likely hear this approach referred to as a “silo structure” by digital marketers or “tree” by computer scientists. It’s the same thing, more or less, but tree structures are more common among conversations regarding the types of technology search engines such as Google use so that’s how we’re looking at it as well!

Website Node Diagram

Node-Based Approach

In many systems of organization, a ‘node’ is a single unit of reference relative to its surrounding environment. Within a forest a tree would be a single node; within a tree, a branch would be a single node; within a branch, a limb would be a single node; within a limb, a leaf would be a single node. More leaves can be added to single limbs; more limbs can grow from branches; more branches can grow from trees; more trees can grow from a forest. Nodes are units of structure that can be added or removed based on necessity.

The node-based approach is a popular concept of organization among computer programmers, where underlying structure is essential for overall performance and efficiency. For websites, such organization has an arguably lesser impact on performance but can help better leverage overall SEO. For any website, the first Node that needs to be created is the root node (just like a tree!) which can then be built upon as your goals and strategies evolve. For the remainder of this article, we’ll be comparing affiliate website structure to that of trees for (hopefully) easier conceptualization.

Affiliate Website Root Level Backlinks

Node Level 1: The Root Node (Root & Trunk)

The first steps of creating a website should be putting down roots, so-to-speak. This involves getting your domain name and deploying an initial branding campaign. Regardless of what content you post in the future, it will all be authored by your website. This means that having backlinks to your homepage using the raw URL (https://www.moneymound.com), the domain name/brand name (MoneyMound), and generic terms to describe your brand (Marketing Articles, SEO Guides, or Digital Marketing) will serve to establish your website in the eyes of search engines. Just like all leaves on an oak tree will be oak leaves; all content on your website will likely be your website’s content!

Types of Backlinks

For the initial backlinks here, you want quantity over quality in most cases. Profile links from quality websites, Web 2.0 links from sites like Blogger and WordPress, and nofollow Press Release links are excellent sources for these. Any content you write for these types of sites should be fairly generic but also related to your niche. For example; if your first keyword group is related to best climbing shoes, you might write content about outdoor sports. This is the content that is pointed to your domain as a whole and will allow for future expansion into other keywords that could be conceivably related. Using generic anchor text, raw URL text, and the brand name of your domain is what you’re after here. You’re looking for quantity over quality, but everything should be qualified above a minimum quality check. You do not want to use thousands of automated links from software such as GSA or RankerX here!

AFFILIATE-WEBSITE-MAIN-CONTENT-MONEYMOUND

Node Level 2: Your Main Article (Branch)

With the basic branding and domain creation under your belt, you’ll be able to effectively start to produce your primary body of content. For our discussion here, let’s pretend we’re creating a mock product review for an affiliate website.

Money Article Organization

An example main article would be an overview of a product type with a section discussing several individual products. This article should be structured in three parts; an easy-access CTA towards the top, and strong informational body in the middle, and product reviews and affiliate links towards the bottom. This gives Google the relevancy and content length they love to rank high in the SERP, gives those looking for a quick recommendation something to click, and also provides those looking for a wider range of recommendation something to sink their teeth into.

Maximize Distribution

In essence, this structure attempts to meet the needs of as many audiences as possible, including search engines. One extra bit of structure can be found in the section where individual products are discussed. You want only a brief overview of each product which will include an affiliate link to purchase that product and a link to read a full review elsewhere on your website. For every product overview you include here, you’ll want to include a separate supporting article devoted entirely to that product.

Types of Backlinks

This article is going to be the bread-winner of any affiliate website. If you have access to a PBN, access to quality websites, or relationships with authors and contributors you can leverage; save the majority of those links for this article. This article is going to be the hardest to negotiate guest posts for since it’s so blatantly commercial. You’ll certainly be able to negotiate posting opportunities where you can reference this content but it’s going to be much harder. You’ll want to make use of tiered link structuring here as well such as Web 2.0 mini sites supported by tiers of GSA links. These types of links can help broaden the context of your backlink profile, diversify your anchor texts, and help solidify your rankings. The majority of your SEO efforts should be focused, either directly or indirectly, on this piece of content. These articles should be the recipient of as much of your manual outreach efforts as possible as well as any editorial links you can influence the control of.

Affiliate Website Structure Support Node

Node Level 3: Supporting Articles (Branches)

After your main piece of content is written you’ll want to help support that content through related articles and internal linking. As a guiding rule of thumb; all supporting articles should link to your main article and your main article should link to all supporting articles. For the product review model, these supporting articles would take the form of individual product reviews. While the overviews in your main article might be ~200-300 words in length, you’ll want to devote 600-800+ words to each of these reviews. These articles are going to help search engines understand that your site is about these types of products and also provide value to readers looking for a deeper dive into your niche.

Types of Backlinks

As a general rule of thumb, you want to devote much offsite backlink focus to these articles. Their primary purpose is to help provide context to your main article and offer value to readers. If you’ve got the resources, sprinkling a few Web 2.0 links on these are always a good idea. One very effective SEO strategy for these articles is reaching out to the manufacturers of the products you’ve reviewed. If your article is positive, there’s a strong likelihood they’ll link to it, share it with their social media channels, and sometimes even purchase paid advertising to promote it! Ultimately, the more links you can build to these supporting bodies of content the better but the initial goal is for them to serve as internal support.

Affiliate Website Structure Diagram Related Content

Node Level 4: Related Content (Leaves)

This level of content is completely optional when first establishing your affiliate website. These articles should be related to your target keywords but can stray from the path a little bit. For example, if your main article is about “best climbing shoes” one of these articles might be titled The History of Competitive Rock Climbing. You want each of these articles to link to your main article in some relevant way, but your main article doesn’t necessarily need to link to them.

These articles and pieces of content are meant to be more conversational and work well if you’re trying to cultivate a social media channel as well. These articles are also great pieces of content to negotiate guest posting opportunities and resource links for. You’ll find many more sites are likely to link to an engaging article on an informational topic than the amount that will get excited to link to an affiliate product roundup. By linking to your main article from these articles you can help pass along some of the Page Rank earned for these articles. Adding articles such as these are a good way to let Google and other search engines know that your website is active, which tends to help promote higher SERP rankings.

Types of Links

These articles are meant to be almost exclusively informational in nature. These are the articles that you might actually see some natural backlinks pop up, depending on how much effort you devote. News sites, personal blogs, and many social media channels are always on the prowl for conversational pieces they can share with their audiences. It’s recommended to avoid devoting any of your backlinking efforts to these articles until your main article is ranking well.

After all, these are very peripheral and aren’t going to carry a lot of SEO power in most cases. Dropping these links in natural conversation within niche-relevant forums or other discussion groups can help attract new interest to your site as well.  Links to these articles will build your overall domain authority as well as pass along Page Rank to your main article, assuming you link to your main content or Node 3 level supporting content (which links to your main content).

Affiliate Website Structure Diagram Moneymound

Node N: Expanding Your SEO Campaigns (New Branches)

Using the Node-Based Affiliate Website approach allows for the easy expansion into other related keyword categories. You’ve got your main body of branding done, so now you can move right to creating another main article (branch) supported by several other related articles (limbs) which could then be supported even further by some conversational pieces (leaves) if you feel it is appropriate. Put a link to to the new main article (branch) on your website’s homepage (root) and you’re good to go! All that existing SEO power will start flowing into the new campaign!

All the links to your homepage will help your new articles rank and you can even add new links to your existing content to help siphon off some Page Rank if your new keywords are relevant. By keeping things tightly organized like this a website is able to maintain a powerful system of organization as it evolves. It’s arguably a bit overkill for a site with only a single primary article and handful of contributory articles, though it won’t hurt anything. One other huge advantage to this is in the eyes of potential buyers should you ever choose to put your affiliate site on the market. Demonstrating an easily-adaptable website will attract many more potential buyers.

Types of Links

You’ll find a strong desire to repeat the same backlinking process for any additional keyword campaigns. This can work well for the first couple of new campaigns but will eventually run into issues of scalability. For example, you won’t be able to rank 10 different pages on the same website by using Blogger mini-sites in most cases. Having a lot of duplicate backlink sources start providing a diminished return once things start to get big. The good news is that all your backlinking efforts have a cumulative effect on your website as a whole, contributing to your overall Domain Authority (DA). This means that new articles are going to rank faster and require fewer links to rank well. The dynamic of this will be largely dependent on niche competition but, generally speaking, you’ll find that ranking future pages is much easier than ranking initial ones. Once you have a stream of revenue from your first content to play around with you’ll find that outsourcing outreach campaigns become a more feasible option.

EXPANSION DIAGRAM MONEYMOUND

Considerations for Scale

The Node-Based Affiliate Website model is easily compared to the natural structure of trees. Like trees, for the addition of many new branches, you must first have a root system and trunk that can support their weight. This translates into ensuring a steady stream of new links to your homepage as you create new content nodes. Websites that have tons of links to individual articles and very few to their homepages send up red flags to search engines.  As you create new content, you’ll find that by ensuring a natural system of internal linking you’ll naturally build the strength of your domain as a whole. Any random backlinks that might pop up will likely include domain-level links to your site which will also help reinforce this strength. Many guest-posting opportunities allow for the inclusion of an author bio section as well, which can include a link to your homepage. More times than not, scaling your website’s content will naturally increase the strength of the domain holistically. If you’re focused entirely on Web 2.0 links and PBN links, however, you might often forget to include links to your homepage periodically.

Learn More: How to Start a Blog: Simple Strategies for Building Successful Websites

Final Thoughts

Node-Based Affiliate Websites are a great way to establish a footprint in the SERP while allowing for easy future expansion. The first body of content you rank will likely be the hardest but having a strong structure of organization will help ensure future content ranks much more easily. SEO can be confusing at times and having a real-world system of conceptualization can help keep end goals in mind. This article has used a metaphor of a tree to help describe things, but any metaphor can be limiting. In general, this type of organization is referred to as nested structuring and is popular in many different industries such as computer science. Whatever your niche and whatever your market; having a well-organized platform to promote your message will have a positive effect on your overall effectiveness.