It’s impossible to rank your content without links! You can connect related pages on your site, promote your greatest content, and help Google discover your top posts and pages with a solid internal linking strategy.
Internal links are not just a great way to boost SEO and crawlability, but they’re also unsung heroes when it comes to creating better user experiences and conversion funnels. Internal linking, unlike other SEO dynamics and uncontrollable, is something you can completely control.
Internal links also lead to a better user experience, a greater conversion rate, and more efficient website crawling as a side benefit. Internal linking is a valid strategy to increase your rankings and the overall performance of your website when done correctly.
For Google to recognize the value in your pages, it must first locate, categorize, and value them. But, without your support and instruction, how is Google going to do all of this? Internal linking is the answer, and today we’ll learn what internal links are and how important they are in SEO.
Internal Links – A Deeper Dive
In contrast to an external link, which connects to a page on a different website, an internal link leads to a page on the same website. Internal links are most typically used for navigation, but there are a few ways to use them for search engine optimization.
Internal links, like subway lines, are used by search engine bots to browse a website and go from one page to the next, discovering site information. There would be an internal linking path to all pages on the website in the ideal site layout, allowing search engine bots to discover, crawl, and index its content.
You can raise your SEO while also improving the usability of your website with the appropriate internal linking strategy! However, simply placing links into your content will not result in the SEO and usability improvements you seek.
Both Google and your users will perceive your material as scattered if you don’t have a contextual map of your website. This is terrible from the standpoint of user experience because people naturally want to explore more stuff.
Similarly, the relevance of material is an essential ranking element. Google favors websites that are well-organized and cover all of the keywords in their field.
Ways In Which Internal Linking Helps SEO
Internal links are a great way to increase your SEO rankings and they work fast. Not utilizing them can have a detrimental impact on your website’s engagement rates. In the long run, their underutilization may also cause you to fall behind your competition, who are pursuing the top spot in any manner they can.
Here are some of the key advantages of internal linking for your website:
- Context & Keyword Relevance: The “anchor text” of a link gives search engines some context about the link’s destination page, which can assist influence the keyword relevance of that page. Using descriptive anchor text can also assist shape visitors’ expectations and inspire more click-throughs.
- User Engagement: Behavioral ranking elements can help your SEO include keeping users engaged and on your site for extended periods of time. Internal links direct users further within your site to specific information, increasing engagement and improving user experiences.
- Crawlability: To crawl websites, search engines rely on links. Internal links that are used consistently allow crawlers to quickly access deeper pages and material, allowing them to be crawled, indexed, and ranked. Poor internal linking, on the other hand, can lead to higher bounce rates, orphan pages, and dead ends (for both crawlers and users).
- SERP Visibility: Long-form material can benefit from bookmarking and anchor links (also known as “jump links”), which can help promote richer snippets in SERPs. Similarly, linking to/from related pages might promote several listings of the same site to appear on a single search results page (also known as “indented results” or “double stacks”).
- PageRank: PageRank is essentially a technique to “grade” or “assess” a page’s value based on its backlinks (or inbound links from other sites). You can use internal links to strategically distribute earned PageRank (link equity, or link juice) to other important pages by finding a site’s most authoritative pages.
Types of Internal Links
Internal links come in a variety of forms, including navigational, contextual, textual, picture, and more. As search engines crawl your website, navigational links, including links in your header, footer, and navigation bars, help people locate other pages within the same domain. Contextual links exist in the content of your sites and have a higher SEO value.
- Navigation Links: Internal links are the most common, and they help structure your website and direct readers through the material. There are navigation links on every page of your website.
- Contextual Links: Users are directed to appropriate pages via links inside the content of a page.
- Image Links: Images can be used as links as well. This can be seen in button images, charts, and infographics. If there is a page that can help someone who needs more information on that image, this type of link can be valuable to readers.
- Text Links: Text links are words or phrases that are hyperlinked within your content. The text link is often written in blue text and may have an underline.
- Site-Wide Or Footer Links: Footer links, which are located at the bottom of your page, are used to increase the usability of your website. Social media widgets, contact information, and an internal search function for your website are frequently found at the bottom of a website.
- Taxonomy & Categorical Links: To make it easier for visitors to find content, these links connect important material, such as blog categories or similar posts. They can also provide links to the pages of the parent service.
How To Create A Good Internal Link Structure
The importance of a solid backlink profile in directing PageRank to your website cannot be overstated. However, as SEOs, we must not stop there. Internal links have the advantage of allowing you to control the link’s target location.
This allows you to transfer link equity directly from the sites that receive the most links to the pages that receive the least.
Google developed a unique PageRank algorithm to determine how authoritative pages are over two decades ago. Backlinks indicate how useful a page is to Google. The more backlinks a page has, the more useful it appears to Google.
A page’s PageRank is diluted if it has a big number of outbound links, and vice versa. As a result, adding links to a page raises its link equity and thus its ranking potential.
Here are some of the ways you can improve your site’s internal linking structure:
- Use Keywords in Your Internal Link Anchor Texts
The anchor texts give Google extra information about what the linked page’s content is about. It also raises the relevance of the article for the end-user by setting expectations for what to expect once they get on the page.
- Maintain a Shallow Click-Depth
Keep your site structure as shallow as possible—if possible, keep each page within two to three clicks of the home page, or utilize breadcrumbs, tag clouds, and internal search to make more complicated websites easier to navigate.
- Create Lots Of Content
Creating a large amount of content is one internal linking approach. You can’t have many links unless your site has multiple pages to connect to. Creating a blog within your website is one way to do it. For SEO purposes, it is beneficial to post new content related to your business on a daily basis.
- Utilize Breadcrumbs Logically
Adding extensive breadcrumbs, particularly to subcategories and product pages, is an internal linking approach that has helped numerous businesses generate traffic to their sites. They not only make it simple for users to browse the site, but they also have a lot of power when it comes to passing on PageRank.
- Keep the Number of Links Per Page Reasonable
The more links on a website, whether internal or external, the less link juice each link gives to the page it refers to. Furthermore, unless the content is well-structured, your visitors may find scrolling through an unending list of resources to be tedious. Furthermore, an excessive number of links can convey a spam signal to search engines, lowering the authority of your page.
- Only Ever Create Dofollow Internal Links
Remember to avoid utilizing the nofollow property when linking to a page on your own website. Nofollow links inform Google that the link on the page should not be visited since you don’t trust or endorse it. As a result, Google may conclude that it should not send link equity to the linked page. Naturally, you don’t want this to happen to your own pages, therefore all internal links should be dofollow.
- Adopt the ‘People-First’ Approach
Internal linking should be approached with a ‘people-first’ mindset. Create an internal link, for example, using a relevant and appropriate search keyword. That term could be ‘legal representation in Chicago’ if you’re a Chicago law practice. However, don’t push it. It’s spam if a phrase is linked just for SEO purposes. Always put the people first!