Internal links, or creating links between different pages on your website, is a simple tactic that comes with most SEO services. Internal linking strategies are easy to implement and critical to your SEO success.
By adding internal links, you can create a website hierarchy, drive traffic across your entire website, and encourage visitors to spend more time on your website.
Internal links are also an important tool for search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing crawl websites using internal links. By strategically using internal links and anchor texts, search engines can better understand your content.
There are several types of internal links that you can use:
- Navigation links: These links are the most common type of internal links and form a structure for your website. They guide the reader through the content. Navigation links are included on every page of your website.
- Editorial links: Editorial links are the links that appear on the main copy of your website. These links can be organically incorporated into the content of your website and are the most valuable links for your website.
- Taxonomy and categorical links: These links combine general topics such as related posts or blog categories to make it easier for users to find content. You can also link to higher-level service pages.
- Footer or site-wide links: Footer links are used at the bottom of your page to improve the usability of your website. A website footer usually contains contact information, social media widgets, and an internal search tool for your website.
Why is the inside link important?
There are four main advantages to using the internal link:
Building a hierarchy
The internal linking creates relationships and a clear hierarchy between the content pages of your website so you can direct users and search engines to your most important content. The links you select on the homepage are higher up in the hierarchy and are more authoritative.
Develops Link Equity
Internal links can help your pages build link fairness. When you link pages from your most authoritative pages, the linked pages have more value and authority because of their relationship to the more important page. This link fairness allows your high traffic pages to share some of their authority for new pages or pages that you want more users to see.
Internal links help with Google’s crawlability, which ultimately drives traffic to your website. Website crawling is the process by which software automatically “crawls” through your pages to index the content on your website. By adding links, search engines can more easily identify all the pages on your website. This means that your website will show up more frequently in search results.
Improved user experience
By setting up a neat internal linking system, users can navigate your website. Internal links make it easy for users to find the content they are looking for and can help them discover new content that interests them by making it easily accessible and convenient for them while browsing.
Create your best internal link strategy
Internal links are most effective when you develop a well thought out plan before you start adding links. The following tips will help you design a successful strategy for organizing your links.
Create a link tree
Design a link tree to map all the different pages on your website and how they relate to one another. This will ensure that each page will fit into your intended site hierarchy.
Crawl your website
Use a tool like SEO Screaming Frog to crawl your website. This crawl essentially serves as an audit of your website and populates a list of your current pages and the number of internal links each of them already has. This tool gives you an idea of how many links you need to create to make pages “important” and rank higher on search engine crawls.
PRO TYPE: A web crawl audit also shows you how to diagnose crawler errors like 301s and 404s.
Have a clear navigation
Use easy-to-use links that are easy to find and clear to connect your home page to your top pages. Making your navigation clearer will make it easier for users to find the pages they should see.
Linking relative content together
By linking relative content in groups, search engines can contextualize what your page and the content of your website content is. For example, if you have a page on your website that explains air conditioner repair, you might want to create internal links to and from common air conditioner issues to learn when to call your air conditioner repairman and other similar air conditioner related content.
Pass link equity to important or new content
You want to pass link equity from your authoritative pages that get lots of backlinks to pages that need that link equity. Find out which of your pages are the most authoritative by using a tool like ahrefs or majestic to identify your pages that are getting a lot of backlinks. Then create links from those pages to relevant content pages that need more authority or that are your focus pages.
Use appropriate and keyword rich anchor text
Anchor text is the clickable hyperlinked text in your copy, usually blue and underlined, that points to other pages. Anchor text helps both your users and search engines like Google understand what kind of content they can expect when they click the link. Be selective about your anchor text. Choose keywords that briefly describe the linked page. Also, make sure you don’t use the same anchor text for multiple pages. This can confuse crawling bots.
Don’t go overboard
Adding too many internal links can not only make your website look cluttered and unprofessional, it can over-optimize your website. Over-optimization occurs when Google finds an excessive amount of SEO optimization tactics on a single website, believes the website is spam, and pushes the website down in search results. Also note that Google only recognizes the first link and anchor when crawling it on a page.
Internal linking is an ongoing strategy – check the links regularly
Strategically adding internal links to your website is an essential way to improve SEO and user experience with minimal effort.
As you create more content and your website continues to grow, be sure to crawl your website and check your internal links regularly to keep your page updated and to take full advantage of internal links.