The experience potential customers have on their buying journey will determine who they’ll buy from. Your website will be a deciding factor whether or not they will buy from you—specifically, the quality of experience your website provides.
If, for instance, your web visitors can’t find the call to action button or the link to a checkout page is broken, they’re less likely to trust you. As a result, they’re less likely to sign up or pay for your products and services.
Website navigation is one of the biggest challenges founders and agency owners continue to grapple with in an effort to increase the number of leads they generate and improve conversions.
Wanting to have a website with a smooth navigation experience is one thing. But how do you do it?
The answer, in many cases, can be found in creating quick links.
This article will explore what quick links are and show you several examples. We’ll also talk about the impact of quick links on user experience and SEO, then discuss some of the best practices you need to follow to make sure your quick links help improve website navigation and user experience of your website visitors.
What Are Quick Links?
A quick link is a word or button on your website that takes your web visitors from one part of the website to another.
Quick links are a critical element in website navigation because they act like guides. They show your website visitors around and point them to what they’re looking for.
For example, when a visitor lands on your homepage, they can access other parts of your website like your blog, sign up page, and resource page by clicking on the word or button on your homepage.
Take a look at the quick links on this homepage from Agility CMS:
The Resources quick link comes with a drop down of different resources that will take web visitors to different types of resources, based on what they’re looking for such as blog content, case studies, webinars, guides, and documentation.
There are also quick links presented as buttons Request a Demo and Try for Free which lead visitors to different landing pages, where they will sign up depending on their preferences.
Most websites with quick links at the top and at the bottom of the home page. This makes it easier for visitors who, once they read content on your homepage, can quickly visit other parts of your website without having to scroll back up the page to find what they need.
Quick links are not limited to your homepage. They are an effective way to connect your web visitors with the most searched or visited pages on your website.
While quick links are classified as internal links, they’re not to be confused with the internal links that appear inside your content.
A quick link helps in navigation by taking web visitors from one part of the website to another, such as from the homepage to the sign up page.
Internal links appear inside your content, moving your visitors from the content they’re reading to another related piece of content within your website. Both types of links are important because they contribute to the user’s experience.
How do quick links affect user experience and SEO?
Your quick links influence the usability and accessibility of your website. These factors determine the amount of time web visitors spend on your website.
The Digital Experience Benchmark report by Contentsquare reveals that users in all industries spend an average of 55 seconds on a webpage with web visitors spending more time on Media and B2B web pages.
These findings signal two things:
- Their expectations are higher and they expect to find what they need when they land on your website.
- The less time a web visitor spends on your website is an indication of poor usability and accessibility, meaning that they can’t find what they need once they land on a webpage.
You may not always have poor usability or accessibility issues with your website, but if your web visitors spend less time on your site as compared to the industry average, then navigation issues are a good place to start.
If you’re in B2B for example, you’re aware that B2B buying cycles are long and involve several stakeholders. You’re not the only one on the evaluation list by your potential buyers.
Similarly, if you’re an e-commerce website selling consumer electronics, customers are comparing various products’ feature sets and dimensions. Because of the relatively high ticket items, this can take a while.
So, to provide a better buying experience, you’ll need to improve your website and its accessibility and usability and have a shot at standing out from your competition.
Besides, 88% of customers believe that the buying experience is as good as the product they’re buying. So you’re better off being intentional about your quick links and thinking about where you place them to deliver a smooth browsing experience.
In addition to improving site navigation, quick links also have an impact on SEO. They allow you to create a good site architecture, meaning page rankings flow from your best performing pages directly to relevant content that your web visitors need to find.
This way, multiple types of content show up in search results and, as a result, you get more traffic. To illustrate this, take a look at this blog post about creating an SEO strategy for a SaaS company and pay attention to the quick link on the right side bar:
At the time of this writing, the post ranks position #10 for the keyword SaaS SEO Strategy on page one of Google.
Over time, and assuming that the post will continue ranking higher for that keyword, two scenarios are likely to play out.
The first scenario is that some of the page rank the web page acquires over time will pass on to other links on the page, including the quick link on the side bar.
That way, if a potential customer with a transactional intent searches for the company (Outreach Monks), the phrase “get a free quote” is likely to appear in their search results, as we showed earlier with Linkody.
The second scenario is that searchers with informational intent will want to learn about how to create an SEO strategy for their SaaS company.
If the content is so good that it moves readers from wanting to learn about SEO strategies to taking action, then they’ll pick one item to act on.
For example, link building. They might learn that link building is part of a solid SEO strategy and decide to try it themselves. Then all they’ll need to do is click on the quick link to get a free quote on how much they will spend on link building when working with the company.
In both scenarios, searchers won’t need to visit the homepage to find a quick link that leads them to a page where they can get a free quote.
If they want a free quote, they’ll get it on demand, which means an increase in the number of leads the company generates and a significant boost in conversation rates.
Quick Links Best Practices
You’ll want to be intentional about the quick links you create.
Each quick link you create contributes to the objectives you’ve laid out in your content strategy. Here are the best practices you need to keep in mind when creating quick links for your website:
Use descriptive labels
The link behind the text is just as important as the label. Most quick links on the homepage will have labels like products, services, or solutions, which don’t provide adequate context about what’s in it for the web visitor.
Normally, it works well to provide different services or sell multiple products, then a drop-down with the labels above each show a quick link to each product or service landing page.
However, not all your services or products are popular with your target audience. So instead of listing all your products or services in a drop-down list, provide two to three quick links to your most important or most popular products and services.
Doing this will help you make sure that your label answers the question, “what’s in it for me?” as soon as possible to help the visitor decide whether to click the link or bounce off and visit another website.
For example, if you scroll down to the bottom of Linkody’s homepage, you’ll find different things you can do with the tool:
Linkody has an option of using a drop-down with the label SEO Tools at the tip of their homepage, but instead, they quick links point to the pricing, sign in and try it free pages.
These labels are simple and clear, and they tell the visitor what’s in it for them the moment they want to move to a different part of the website.
Besides, when search engines index your site, the labels you use will show up in search results, increasing your click through rate as long as the labels that show up in the search results align with what your searchers are looking for.
Use topics, not content formats
When creating quick links for your content, product, or service categories, you want to avoid using content formats as your label.
For example, using Infographics, Videos, and Ebooks as categories doesn’t do much to help the reader know whether the content is what they need.
Instead of this, group different content formats by topic to help your visitor interact with content. If the topic is something they’re interested in learning more about, then they will likely watch your webinars, read your blog, and even interact with your infographics.
Besides, content formats change and visitors may not be interested in consuming content in a specific format. However, if your topics are a constant feature on your website, then they will still interact with your content (so long as it’s delivered in a useful format).
The same applies to your product or service categories. Add quick links to topics to help your web visitors find what they need.
For example, Piktochart helps its customers create infographics and it provides them with templates to make their work easier.
Instead of grouping all the infographic templates together, they have divided them into three topics: Popular, Use Case, and All Templates:
This helps their users save time when looking for the templates they need and use the tool to create their infographics.
Optimize your quick links
In addition to providing reports on your new and returning visitors and different traffic sources, Google Analytics provides you with a user flow report showing you how your web visitors move around your website.
With a user flow report, you will see pages which have a high drop off rate, a high conversion rate, and some of the most visited pages on your website.
So, when creating quick links for your website, you want to make sure that you’re taking your user flow reports into account to remove hurdles that visitors have to jump over as they head to your most profitable pages.
For example, a web visitor who comes from an external link pointing to your website may visit your homepage, check out your service page, and then leave.
If your user flow report shows that your service page has a high drop off rate, that may mean that your service page isn’t optimized for your web visitors. The copy and call to action aren’t compelling enough for them to take action.
To reduce the drop off rate, you’ll need to create separate service or product pages for each customer segment to reduce the drop off rate. For each of your service page quick links, optimize them to make sure the service page a visitor lands on aligns with what was in the description.
Ensure that your quick links are useful
Your quick link should lead to the exact page that the label describes without requiring your web visitor to make any new clicks. And when your quick link doesn’t deliver the promise in the description label, website visitors get frustrated and leave your site.
Help the visitor know what to expect once they click on the quick link by running checks on your site to find broken links and fix them, organizing the most important links based on heat map results, and using action verbs.
Heat map tools track how your web visitors interact with different elements on your web pages, what they pay attention to and what they ignore. Here’s an example of a heatmap result:
This is an example of a click map, showing sections of Hotjar’s homepage that receive the most clicks.
With a click map of your website, you can know where to place the most important quick links to help your visitors complete different conversion goals once they visit your website.
It’s no longer enough to have basic quick links on your website. They need to be strategic enough that they contribute to the overall objectives of your content and SEO strategy, which includes generating more leads and increasing your conversion rates.
Looking at the bigger picture, quick links are the nuts and bolts that shape your website’s navigation. They determine the quality of a web visitor’s browsing experience. You’ll need to be intentional when thinking about your quick links and viewing your website navigation from the perspective of your web visitors.
If you’re building your website, think about the labels you’ll use, and make sure that your descriptions are clear and deliver on the promise.
If you’ve already launched your website, a good place to start would be looking through your user flow report inside Google Analytics to see how your web visitors move around your website.
Where do they drop off? Which pages account for 80% of your conversions?
Consider using heat map tools to gain more insights on how your web visitors behave once they land on your site. Use this information to optimize their experience by adding quick links where necessary and getting rid of unnecessary quick links.
And once you’ve set up your quick links correctly, use Linkody’s free backlink checker to analyze your backlink profile and create a link building strategy to help you acquire more links to relevant web pages.