SEO: Internal Linking Guide
What Are Internal Links?
Internal Links are hyperlinks that can lead you from one page to another within the same domain.
An internal link is great for users to navigate through a website to find the relevant content they want to find.
Internal links are also used by search engines to navigate through your site and index your web pages. If there are no links on a page, a search engine won’t be able to explore other pages within your website.
There are various types of internal links such as links to the homepage, blogs, menu, contact, etc.
When the internal links are within the content of a web page they are mostly referred to as Contextual links. The more the variety of internal links one can gather in a web page, the more legit it will become in the eyes of the search engine.
Strategic placement of internal links can create opportunities to rank the page.
An internal link is different from an external link. An effective SEO strategy makes a website that uses both types of links.
Internal links connect pages and posts within a website while an External link connects your web pages to other websites.
More external links make your web page rank higher and are an important part of the link-building process.
In this article, we will focus on What, Why, and How of internal link building and will suggest some healthy practices that will make your web page more relevant.
Below is the in-depth video of what internal linking is and what are its best practices, by Rand Fishkin.
Why are Internal Links important for Google?
Google’s search engine finds your posts and pages when they are linked from other websites via external links but internal links are also equally important. Internal links connect the pages within your website which creates a sort of hierarchy.
Establishing a relevant hierarchy of web pages gives important pages more link value than less important pages.
Internal links give Google a blueprint of the structure of your website. Moreover building a strong network of internal links makes your content more authentic and search engines can easily recognize them.
Internal linking is significant for letting Google discover brand new pages and indexing the update in its databases.
Most of the time, a new page on your website might not be able to gain link authority immediately after its publication, and discovering it via Google bots is also a slow process. Internal linking makes it immediately a worthy page and can help you raise your SERP rankings.
Content & Internal Linking
Google works by discovering new content, indexing it and when a query is made in regards to it, then it fetches the webpage containing the content.
The entirety of this process depends on the content and at every stage of this process, internal linking plays a crucial role.
Google’s crawler Googlebot starts to index a website starting from its homepage and by following links within it.
These links help Google analyze the relationship between different pages within the website, the content relevance, and other posts. This allows Google to also rank your page and deliver good content to its users.
Why Are Internal Links Important for SEO?
Internal Linking is one of the most underrated SEO techniques which is quite effective in reality.
To improvise a website internal links should be strategically placed in anchor tags, headings, content, etc. but it avoids spamming your page with similar keywords in internal links.
Internal links will highlight important pages for users too and is a rational option for user interaction. When using internal links in the anchor text, you will kill birds with one stone because you get the user’s attention and help Google understand your page authority.
Here are some of the best practices that you can incorporate while doing SEO of our brand new page or even surpass the optimization of older web pages.
Since internal linking is something totally in the hands of the website owner, we advise you to strategize your internal links while you do your SEO.
Internal Linking Strategy for Effective SEO
1. Internal Links are your Site’s Architecture
Learn about the ideal architecture for your site and create that structure with the help of internal links. This website architecture makes it easy for Google and users to find anything on your website.
You can also make Categories of pages to be linked together which many of the eCommerce websites do. This makes the user experience more favorable and convenient.
2. Important Content gets More Links
You have to determine the most important content on your website. It should be something that describes the core of your business and the products or services that you offer to your customers.
If you want to show this content to users, you will have to let Google know that it is an important page by adding many links to it.
Audit Internal Links with the Google Search Console’s “links” feature which lets you see how your internal links are connected.
3. Contextual links
When you write articles on similar topics you should link them with each other. Basically, internal links are known for linking such pages that will help users and Google to identify the relationship of the pages.
To improve the dwell time on your web page try placing Internal Links at the starting of your page, this will also reduce your bounce rate.
It is a good time to engage and delight your visitors. This way they get to explore more pages on your website leading to conversions and more traffic.
Keyword-rich anchor text is another way to gather internal links which make the webpage even more relevant.
Remember do not to use the exact same anchor text for two different web pages as it may confuse the search engine. Google will only see that both pages are on the same topic. Therefore it is recommended to use different anchor text on each page.
4. Link hierarchical pages
In a typical website having hierarchical web pages, parent pages are linked to the child pages and sibling pages are linked to each other.
Link your Homepage very strategically and it must have the most internal links than any other page on your website. Your home page gives link authority to your main products/ blogs page i.e. pages in which you add many backlinks. This automatically gives the home page the highest link authority.
Add Internal Links to old pages which is a healthy step in optimizing your website, with new content and webpages it becomes obvious to update older pages.
Add links to any categories or tags that you might be maintained to help you organize your site. It is very useful and easy for users and Google to know what your content is all about. Internal linking of taxonomies in your blog post will help you gain more traffic to your website.
5. Try adding navigational links
You can use Internal Links to make your regular content like blogs or posts more relevant and authoritative by linking it to the homepage or a page with robust link authority. This small effort will make even your cornerstone content pages rank on Google’s SERP.
The majority of the time when you have a huge crawl budget, Google will index only a fraction of your web pages that are more relevant.
Google’s crawlers may miss the orphan pages that can be easily made visible by internal linking. Internal linking to those pages will index them and give more structure to your website.
6. Avoid Automation
There are many plugins and tools that can create automated internal links on your website. In many instances, these automated plugins don’t understand the relevance of linking different pages. A plugin can spam you by creating lots of exact match anchor text internal links.
Most importantly Internal Links have a basic function which is to help users find related content on your website.
So a plugin may not understand this because they are programmed to ignore users and just add anchor texts, internal links and do fruitless SEO.