I am an SEO marketer, and like most others, I too love practicing advanced SEO techniques. It makes me feel good that I am doing a smart job.
But after talking to a few SEO experts, I found something that is common in them and not in me.
And that is, they neglect an important SEO tactic – Internal Linking!
Sounds boring, right?
It was the same for me until I realized how great internal linking can help in SEO.
One of my friends is a core blogger. He had been blogging for four years. He usually writes articles, post them, and repeats the same process but used to fail in achieving the desired results.
One day, I asked him to link his previous written posts to the new ones. All I told him was that it could be a great source of information to his readers.
So, he wrote a new article and added a link to another article he had written in the past, creating an internal link.
Soon, his site explored and its engagement metrics soar high. Low bounce rate, higher organic search engine ranking, and more views per page was the stuff he was able to see. In short, internal linking did its work!
I, therefore, decided to dig in more and discover how internal linking can help with SEO. Soon, numerous websites of my clients ranked well.
So, this is what that made me write this post as I want to discuss the power of internal linking for SEO and how you can practice it in order to boost the SEO rankings.
What are Internal Links?
Internal links are the links that connect one page to the other on a specific domain. Mainly, internal links are used for smooth navigation and to deliver a hassle-free experience to the users.
With the use of internal links, you can make your website navigation absolutely smooth and easier. These links can help you establish a strong hierarchy of information for every page, and hence, for the entire website. Most importantly, internal links can extend link equity around websites.
How Internal Linking for SEO Works?
As I’ve already told you, internal linking connects one page of a website to another page of the same website.
Every website has multiple pages, which can be connected in this simple way. The work is simpler especially if you have a smooth site architecture and design.
All websites have an architecture and design, which is important to maintain a proper and logical structure. Mostly, websites have one home page, which branches out into numerous sub-pages and menus. While some websites have smooth architecture and navigation, others have quite complex ones.
Earlier, the content on websites was organized into silos in order to boost keyword presence. But soon, the website structuring and architecture got complex. Hence, internal linking came as a way out.
With internal linking, it is easier to maintain a smooth and simple website structure, even when you have uncountable pages. And when performed the right way, it can help you achieve higher rankings in the SEO.
Why Internal Linking for SEO is So Important?
Internal linking is a vital SEO tool. Primarily, because it works!
The other reasons which make internal linking for SEO so important are right below.
1. Internal Linking can Help Your Website Index Well:
Search engine crawlers follow a proper link path to search and index websites. Websites with robust internal linking are much easier to index. Google is always looking out for fresh content and if your new content includes numerous internal links, its crawling will be much easier.
Hence, indexation becomes much faster and all you achieve is enhanced search engine rankings.
2. Internal Linking Boosts the Earning Potential of Backlinks for Pages with Deep Content:
If you have ever noticed, most of the backlinks on your website come from the homepage. But having numerous homepage backlinks is not a good thing from an SEO perspective.
In reality, most of the backlinks must come from deep within, which means from internal pages. Otherwise, what’s the point of having so many pages on your website?
If you define a robust internal linking structure, you can boost the earning potential of internal pages. It is because this will result in clear paths of indexation throughout the entire website.
This way, your entire website has a better distribution of the links.
3. Internal Linking Passes Strength of a Website to Its Internal Pages:
Consider when your website gets a link to homepage, some of its value passes to internal pages. This might seem a simple process, but actually, it is not.
Google’s algorithms follow an intricate system to determine the value of the page. So, if your website has a strong structure for internal links, it will appear better in Google results and can perform better in the SERPs.
4. Internal Linking can Add Value to Your Content:
With internal linking, you can create a strong string of pages, as well as, their content throughout the website. Whenever you define an internal link with the anchor text in comparison to an image or simple text, the value of internal link rises.
It is because anchor text adds keywords and hence boosts overall link value. Though you must not stuff anchor texts with keywords, having a few of them can add value in the anchor text.
5. Internal Linking Give Users a Great Experience:
Most importantly, internal linking is an excellent SEO technique that can add value to the user. For example, when readers go through an interesting topic they want to research more about it. In this situation, internal linking is of great help.
Adding internal links to the website increases the overall value of each content piece. It is because it gives readers easy access to find additional information that you have introduced elsewhere on your website.
Internal linking can bring great results for overall SEO marketing as well as, keep your readers hooked up to your content. It can even help you win their trust. To know how to technically include internal links in your website, here are some of the best practices.
Best Practices to Internal Linking for SEO:
1. Include Keywords in the Anchor Text:
One of the best ways to use internal linking for better SEO results is by including keywords in the anchor text. Using keywords helps Google to navigate your website better when the same keywords appear in search results.
But avoid using excessive keywords or incorporating long anchor text for search engines. Moreover, you must not create unnecessary links, as it will not help with the navigation of the website.
2. Make Sure You Create a Mobile-Friendly Website:
No matter to which business niche you belong to, having a mobile-friendly website is extremely vital. Even, Google has announced this huge change in its algorithm as ‘mobile first indexing.’
So, if your website is not optimized for mobile users, you can suffer hugely in terms of SEO ranking. It is quite simple to create mobile-friendly websites and once you have designed it, you can check it with the mobile-friendly test tool as well.
3. Use Internal Links to Connect Important Pages:
When you are linking to any page of your website, you are sending the link authority to that particular page. This way, the page receiving link authority can rank higher in Google.
This is why I suggest linking to the important pages of your website.
4. Optimize Your Website for RankBrain:
Well, this is another very important thing that you must take into account. Google has recently announced RankBrain as its third most important ranking tool. Moreover, it is gaining huge importance with every passing day.
With the help of RankBrain algorithm, Google takes into consideration the user interaction as an important ranking factor. Also, Google considers the number of Chrome users that have blocked your website.
5. Avoid Using One Anchor Text for Two Distinct Pages:
Consider, you have two equally important pages on your website. You want to link both the pages using the same anchor text. If you do this, then Google will see both the pages as exact same topics, even when both are different.
Hence, use distinct and more descriptive anchor text for each of the pages. This way, you can give equal importance to both the pages and Google too will see them as different pages with distinct content.
6. Use Google Search Console for Auditing the Internal Links:
One great feature available within the Google Search Console is ‘links.’ You can use this feature to see how the structure of internal links is set on your website. It can let you know to which pages your internal links directs to.
It is vital that the internal links direct to important pages on your website’s navigation. If it is not so, you can make changes so that the internal links direct to important pages on your website. I suggest performing an audit for internal links 1-2 times in a year.
7. Place the Links on the Top of Your Page:
In order to get desired results from the internal links, you must place it properly. By placing the internal links on top of the page you can reduce the bounce rate and boost dwell time.
This way, when someone spends more time on your website, Google gets this message. This means people love what you have. Hence, that particular page can get great results for a particular keyword. And when internal links are placed on the top of the page, it gives people a good reason to click.
8. Dofollow Links:
You can use dofollow links for sending PageRank to your website through the way of internal links. Usually, people nofollow their internal links. It is because they use a plugin, which automatically includes a nofollow tag to the external links. Also, a setting or a bug can make nofollow their internal links as well.
9. Use Internal Links for Indexing:
Usually, Google identifies as well as indexes the vital pages of the website. But if there are numerous pages, Google will index only a specific part of the website’s pages. It is when internal links become important.
With internal links, it becomes easier for Google to find relevant pages of your website. This can be of great help when Google particularly finds pages that are buried deep in the website’s architecture. Such pages are also known as orphan pages.
So, if there are certain pages that you wish to index. You can internally link to those pages from the site’s navigation. Moreover, you can link from the sitemap to pages that you want to get indexed.
10. Try to Link from the Homepage:
If your website’s homepage is the most important page of your website, then you must link other pages to the homepage. This will bring in some ‘link juice.’ And when that pages are linked to other pages of your website, so the authority eventually reaches to other posts.
11. Avoid Automation:
Tools and plugins include internal links without having knowledge about which pages require the most juice. On the basis of the website size, a plugin can create an anchor text internal links.
Internal links are not meant only for SEO. You can use also to help users find relevant content on your website.
12. Use Internal Linking for Smooth Site Architecture:
With internal links, you can create flawless website architecture, which is vital for users and Google to search your site. You can create a proper hierarchy of the website’s content by using the internal links.
13. Link Old Pages to the New Ones:
This is something you can do on a quarterly basis. Grab any old article and create new content relevant to it. Then link the old page to the new one.
14. Avoid Going Overboard:
It’s true that internal links are really helpful. However, after a certain point, they may not add much value. It includes both internal and external links. Hence, avoid overdoing it.
15. Check Links Priority:
Might be there are two identical links on the same page. It is not a big deal. Rather, it is common to have lots of links on the website’s navigation. Just keep a check on the anchor text to identify which anchor text is more important or impressive to Google.
On a Concluding Note:
Without internal links, your content can rank. But if solid internal linking is there, the chances of getting higher ranking can increase a lot. Thus, follow the guidelines mentioned in this post to use internal linking for SEO, as that would please Google as well as your users.