The Importance of Internal Links for SEO

What considerations do you give to links in your content?

Building a website that functions properly and provides value for its visitors is an essential part of running a business, whether it’s online of offline. It is a form of architecture – albeit with far less physical manpower required – that can ultimately make or break your online presence, and internal linking plays a huge part in this.

Internal linking is used to link one page of your website to another. For example, if www.yoursite.com is your Home Page, and you want to link visitors to your products or services page from that, you would use an internal link to point to it. Something like this:

“Hello and welcome to YourSite.com. We have a wide range of products and services available to solve your problems, and we are all trained experts. To find out more about our XYZ training, read our Q&A page.”

Easy navigation is important, not just for you as the website’s creator, but importantly for the user and the search engines. In terms of the user, they don’t want to visit your website and leave with a headache because they can’t work out how to get from A to B. They want a website where they can start on the Home Page and navigate to products, services, testimonials and blog posts via internal links in your content as well as the standard nav bar and footer.

In terms of the search engines, internal links are a clear signal that you are delivering accurate information to your visitors, and directing them to relevant and useful pages bodes well for your search visibility, as Google will see that you are legitimately trying to provide your visitors with additional valuable and related pages from within your site structure.

Internal vs External Linking

The more integrated your internal linking system is, the more these will support high-authority backlinks and citations from external websites.

One of the great advantages of internal linking for SEO purposes is that you have 100% control over it. Third-party sites can link to any page of your site, using any form of keywords or images to link to your site. With internal linking, you can use a variety of terms to link to any page with a mix of keywords and generic words, which drastically reduces your chances of being penalised by Google for over-optimisation.

You can use tools such as Ahrefs, Google Analytics or Open Site Explorer to keep tabs on who is linking to your site externally, and which keywords they are using to send people there. If you’re not liking what you’re seeing, contact the webmasters and ask them to edit or delete the link (or change it to rel=”nofollow“).

Where Should You Place Internal Links?

Your internal links should be placed within the top navigation bar, or the main content of your page. This will pass more authority to that linked-to page than an internal link from the sidebar or footer of your page. You should aim to link from your homepage to other pages of your site, as this is likely the page with the most authority on your site, and is more likely to be the first page that a visitors land on.

Below is a checklist for internal linking. Follow this, and you should start to see your SEO improve as a result of improved navigation for your users:

  • Don’t be generic – Use descriptive link text, not just ‘click here’ or ‘find it here’. If you’re linking to specific products or services, name them in the internal links.
  • Link to every page on your site – What’s the point of having a page all on its lonesome? Link to it from either your Home Page, blog posts or product pages and give it some love.
  • Be varied – Variation is important, because over-optimisation can be penalised by the search engines. Use different internal linking text to keep things fresh and safe from being overused.
  • Use your high authority pages – Check Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to see which of your pages have the most authority, and use them to link to your other internal pages, which in turn could help improve indexing and ranking of a page.

 

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