If you are familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then you would be pretty much aware of what importance linking holds for ranking a page. In fact, both internal and external linking are critical and highly significant ranking signals.
Do you think only backlinks matter for Google? No. While we all know that quality backlinks from high authority their-party sites improve domain authority they are not the only linking factor Google wants us to focus on. Internal linking is as critical for a website as external links. These help the web crawlers as well as site visitors to discover new pages, access related and relevant information on the site, whilst having an ease of navigation. All this leads to better user experience, and improvement in ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Perfect Your Internal Linking – Enhance Link Value
Perfecting the internal linking is considerably important and one of the key facets of overall SEO strategy. This is not just a one-time process but an ongoing strategy that you must optimize regularly.
So, here we are, taking through what internal linking is; why it matters, and how you should go about this.
Table of Content
- What is Internal Linking? What are Internal Links?
- Types of Internal Links
- Internal Links vs. External Links
- Why is Internal Linking Done?
- How PageRank is Relevant with Internal Linking?
- Why Internal Linking is Important for a Website’s SEO?
- Internal Link-Building – Successful Internal Link SEO Best Practices
- Mistakes to Avoid When Building Internal Links
What is Internal Linking? What are internal links?
Internal linking refers to the practice of linking one page of a website to another page on the same website. These links are called internal links, and they help users navigate a website and improve its overall structure.
Internal links are different than external links and are used to direct search engine crawlers or users from one page or URL to another (related contextually or structurally), within the same domain.
Types of Internal Links
- Navigation / Structural Links – These are links that are typically found in the header, footer, or sidebar of a website, and are used to help users navigate to different sections or pages within the website. Navigation links are usually organized into categories or sections and are often used to provide users with a quick way to access the most important content on the website, or navigate through subcategories within a certain product or service or page category.
- Contextual Links – These are links embedded within the text of a webpage that point to other pages within the same website. These links are usually embedded within relevant keywords or phrases and are typically used to help users navigate to related information or content within the same website.
Internal Linking vs. External Linking
Internal linking and external linking are both important for SEO, as they both help to improve a website’s visibility and rank on search engines. Internal linking is when a website links to URLs located on the same domain, whereas external linking is when a website links to URLs located on other domains.
- Internal links direct crawlers and users to other pages within the same domain, while external links link from or link out to other websites / domains.
- Building internal links is comparatively much easier than external linking. You only have to follow certain guidelines and proper process to create internal links. While for external linking, you need to outreach site owners or web masters and pitch your linking request.
- Internal linking is more about ensuring users easily navigate through and access information and content within the site. While external linking conveys to Google and other search engines that your content is a credible source.
Overall, both internal and external links are important for SEO, as they both help to improve a website’s visibility and rank on search engines.
Why is Internal Linking done?
Internal link building can be used for a variety of purposes:
- To create new content and pages on your site that are relevant to existing content and pages but aren’t being linked to yet by other sites or social media profiles.
- To improve user experience by helping people navigate through different areas of your site easily without having to search around for things they want or need.
- To increase traffic from search engines by pointing them towards pages with high-quality content.
How PageRank is Relevant with Internal Linking?
PageRank is a Google algorithm used to determine the importance and relevance of a webpage. The algorithm considers the number and quality of external links pointing to a page to determine its PageRank score. However, internal linking also plays a significant role in determining a page’s PageRank score.
- When you link to other pages on your website, you are essentially telling search engines which pages on your website are important and relevant. This helps search engines to understand the structure of your website and which pages are most important and relevant to your users.
- When you link to other pages on your website, you are also passing PageRank from one page to another. The more internal links a page has, the more PageRank it will receive from other pages on the website. This means that internal linking can help to boost the PageRank score of important pages on your website.
One important factor to consider when using internal linking to improve PageRank is the anchor text used in the links. The anchor text should be descriptive and relevant to the page being linked to. This helps search engines to understand the content of the linked page and its relevance to the page being linked from.
Why Internal Linking is Important for a Website’s SEO?
Before knowing that, it’s important to know how internal links are important for Google.
Your webpage can only get ranked on the SERPs when Google is able to crawl, index and understand that page’s content. Google follows a three-step process to find the new content on your site.
- Internal Links
So, know suppose you have created a new page on your site, and have forgotten to get it indexed or haven’t submitted it anywhere. So, how will Google find that page? Such pages, which don’t contain a link, are called orphan pages. The above mentioned three factors are what Google will take into account to crawl and discover a new page. If your new page URL isn’t added to the sitemap, or if that page isn’t linked to any other internal page, it won’t be discovered by Google crawlers.
This is where, internal linking proves to be great significance to help your new content page get crawled, indexed and ranked. The search engines also look at the structure of the website, which they deep important for user experience and content relevancy, and internal linking helps them to understand the website’s structure.
Now, there are many more reasons that make internal linking a must to improve your website’s SEO health:
· Establish Page Hierarchy
Internal links are important because they help establish a hierarchy of pages on a website, with some pages being more important than others. By linking to these pages from other pages on the site, you can help search engines understand which pages are the most important and relevant.
· Distribute Link Equity
Internal links can also help distribute link equity throughout a website, which can help improve the search engine ranking of all pages on the site. By linking to pages that are not as strong in terms of search engine optimization, you can help them rank higher in search results.
· Help Users Navigate and Find Related Information
Internal linking can also improve the user experience by helping visitors find related content on a website. By linking to other pages on the site that are relevant to the content they are currently viewing, you can encourage visitors to explore more of the website and spend more time on it.
· Improve Page Views and Time Spent on The Site
Internal linking allows users to visit pages they find relevant to what they are looking for, navigating within the site. This means some of your pages that usually gest low page views will get more traffic. It also helps visitors to spend more time on the site, enhancing engagement and thus improving the conversion chances.
When done correctly, internal link building provides several benefits:
It helps boost organic traffic by improving user experience and increasing time spent on site (which Google rewards).
It reduces bounce rate by keeping visitors engaged in one area of your site instead of sending them away after clicking one link or reading just one piece of content–and thus increases conversion rates too!
Internal Link-Building – Successful Internal Link SEO Best Practices
Contrary to external link-building, you have a complete control on internal link-building. It’s all just that you should be aware of what to do and how.
The below appended tips will tell you how you should go about your internal link building process:
1. Create Page Hierarchy, Ideal Website Architecture
Page hierarchy is the organization of the various pages of a website. It’s important to have a good page hierarchy because it helps create a better user experience, which in turn improves search engine ranking and conversions. The ideas website structure has the home page on the top, followed by subcategory or section pages, and then individual pages (product or service type). This ensures streamlined navigational link building.
2. Create Keyword-Based Anchor Text
When you create links to other pages on your site, use keyword-based anchor text. This means that the words in your link will match what you want people searching for when they click on it.
You should also make sure that any links pointing back at your own content are relevant and helpful – don’t just throw random keywords into every single one! This is called over optimizing and it won’t help with rankings because Google knows when someone is trying too hard; instead focus on creating high quality content with valuable information that provides real value for readers rather than trying too hard at manipulating search engines through shady tactics such as stuffing keywords into every possible place possible without regard for readability or user experience (UX).
3. Link to Relevant Pages
Link to the most relevant pages. And for this you should focus on linking to the pages that have a lot of inbound links, and a lot of outbound links. The pages that are linked to must be relevant in terms of information and context from the page linked from.
4. Link to the Most Valuable Pages, Strategically
When you link to the most valuable pages on your site, you’re not just helping Google’s algorithms. You’re also helping your readers. There would be core content on your site, and information pages that are highly valuable to your target audience. You want Google to know which the most important content on your site is. And these are pages you want to add links to. Therefore, linking to these pages from maximum other pages will mean more authority and credibility.
5. Create Deep Links Directly into Category, Service & Product Pages
Link directly to a specific product, category or service. Link directly to a blog post (or series of blog posts). Create landing pages that are designed for conversions, and link to these.
6. Add Contextual Links to Content Body
Apart from navigational linking, contextual linking is another important facet of internal linking. It helps users and Google navigate to another related and relevant informational page right from within the content body of a page.
If you have several related pages that could benefit from one another (such as different sections), consider linking them together with contextual text so readers can easily navigate between them without clicking away from your site altogether, and potentially losing interest.
7. Add Links to the Popular and Recent Posts
Add links to the most popular and recent posts on your site, but don’t overdo it. If you add too many links, Google will view this as spammy and penalize your site in its rankings. Also, don’t add links to old content that is no longer relevant or useful to visitors because they will likely bounce right back out when they see how outdated it is (and Google won’t like that either).
8. Fix Broken Links
- Check for broken links.
- Use a tool to find broken links.
- Make sure the links are not just nofollow.
- Check the link is not redirecting to a 404 page, or another site, or an image.
The right strategy for internal link building will lay a strong foundation for your site, content architecture, navigation, user experience, and thus boosting the site’s ranking and online visibility for all the pages and targeted keywords.
Mistakes to Avoid When Building Internal Links
· Not Using Enough Internal Links
More the pages, products and service categories more should be your internal links. Having just about few links that direct to the home page from only a few category pages, won’t suffice. You need to ensure that your navigational links are right on cue, you use contextual links wherever it deems fit. Wherever two or more pages seem related in information, you must create the internal linking architecture between them. However, ensure that there is no overdoing in this. A page with dozens or hundreds of unnecessary link may look as spammy to Google.
· Using Irrelevant Anchor Text
Clicking on a link only to move to a page that is irrelevant or not related to the previous page can drastically hurt the user experience. It also increases the bounce rate and is something that Google takes seriously. So, you should only use relevant keywords and phrases in anchor text, and link to a page that is contextually or otherwise relevant and related.
· Not Linking to Important Pages
As we have mentioned in the above section, your most valuable pages should be the core of information and content which you should want Google and users to navigate to easily and through various sources and links. Not doing this will mean diminishing the potency of internal linking building.
Internal link building is an essential part of SEO. It’s the process of creating and promoting links within your own website, which can help improve search engine rankings for keywords.
The goal of internal linking is to create a network of relevant pages that point back to each other and increase visitor engagement by encouraging them to explore more content on your site. Optimizing your internal link structure is a great way to improve the user experience of your site and make it more search engine friendly. By following these tips, you should be able to create an optimal internal link structure within your website.