An internal link is a link that is created from an individual page on your site to another web page on your website. External links, however, are hyperlinks from a website to your website. There are two kinds of links that you can use internally: maritime and contextual ones.
Navigational Internal Links
Navigational internal links comprise those on the navigation menu on your site or in the footer. They play three main functions. They assist crawlers in comprehending your website’s hierarchy or how the pages on your website connect. They also help SEO professionals (crawlers)find pages that they can explore on your site. Thirdly internal navigational links can help visitors move quickly between different pages on your site.
Contextual Internal Links
Similar to navigational hyperlinks, contextual links can also assist visitors and search engine robots navigate to other websites on your website. Instead of being within the navigation menu, they are located within a page’s content. Contextual internal hyperlinks allow users to link from one page to other pages on your site by using anchor text relevant to your location. Anchor text is its placeholder content that provides the search engine robots and users an understanding of the Page you’re linking from the current Page.
What is the importance of internal links to SEO?
Internal links aid in establishing the design of your site. If your website does not have internal linking, search engines and site visitors will be unable to comprehend how the pages on your website connect and how they can navigate the various pages. The internal linking structure of your website gives visitors and search engine robots an idea of how your pages are secure. For instance, how the homepage is linked to your service pages or how pages within the blog series are related.
For search engine robots, search and crawl your site’s contents in search engine result pages (SERPs) and index your website’s content; you have to provide them with a method to do that and make it as simple for them to get access to any most critical pages on your website. The most straightforward ways to let search engine crawlers explore your site include:
List the contents of your XML Sitemap inside the robots.txt file.
We are establishing a solid linkage structure within the internal.
It is important to note that your robots.txt file is often the first site that robots from search engines visit whenever they visit your website. Your XML sitemap is the list of the essential URLs you wish crawlers to locate and index in the results of searches. By adding your XML sitemap inside the robots.txt files, you’re signaling to search engine robots that they must be able to crawl for and then index those URLs within the SERPs.
Note: Search engine crawlers may also be able to crawl the pages of your site that are not listed on the XML sitemap. For instance, if a different website hyperlinks to a page not part of your XML sitemap, Google’s search engines can use that link to visit your site.
Suppose a robot from a search engine accesses your website via any page within, or not on or not included in your XML website map. In that case, you have to make sure that each website is linked in a certain way and that there aren’t any orphaned pages and those with no hyperlinks. Invalid pages can cause problems for both search engines and users.
Search engines cannot evaluate the relevance of these pages through internal links, which makes it harder for them to figure out what relevant queries these pages may appear in the SERPs. Users cannot access the pages via your site’s standard link structure, leading to an unsatisfactory user experience. Furthermore, if these pages contain crucial information, the visitors will likely not see it.
As well as establishing your site’s design, internal links assist by transferring equity among the pages of your site. In particular, you can employ specific strategies to shift link equity high-authority pages to lower-authority pages. This strategy can improve the rankings of individual pages in search results.
Read on to learn seven of the best practices you can incorporate into your inner linking strategies!
Internal Linking Best Practices
1. Use Relevant Anchor Text
As we’ve mentioned earlier in this blog post, anchor text refers to the text used as a placeholder that provides both robots that search for information and visitors a context for that Page you’ve linked about their previous Page. If you’re using anchor text, ensure that it’s relevant as well as accurately describing the Page. For instance, if you’re at a website for retail and click the link for sweaters, you should visit a page. Specifically, that sells sweaters, not t-shirts.
You may also include your desired keyword in the anchor text to clarify what Page’s content is for search engine robots and people who visit your site. For instance, on the pillar page of Our Local SEO Series, we provide hyperlinks to each article in the series that use appropriate anchor text that includes the targeted keyword. Notice how we don’t use keyword stuff, though? When you create hyperlinks that are contextual internal to the site, please stay clear of keyword stuffing as much as you can as it may look unnatural and ineffective to the user.
2. Beware of Link Too Deep
As per Google’s John Mueller, click depth or page depth is only a small factor in a page’s weight on the Google Search results. Google will give more weightage to pages that don’t require as many clicks to reach from their homepage instead of pages that need more clicks to access the home page. Page depth is also a factor in helping Google and other engines determine the importance of a website by analyzing all the depths of a website’s pages. For instance, if the Page’s homepage links to every individual Page on its website and every Page have a depth of 1. This affects the pages’ importance overall because search engines will consider these pages equally essential but not so important. Another way of looking at this is as if you were to award each team an award for participation instead of giving 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
Maintaining your internal link structure helps visitors and search engine robots navigate your site! More complex websites with websites that take more than three clicks to access from the home page could utilize features like serving as an in-built search bar and breadcrumbs.
3. Link to important Pages
Using internal hyperlinks, you could aid in the transfer of link equity from your authoritative pages to low-authority ones. If, for instance, you’ve got a blog article that receives a large amount of traffic from organic searches, it is possible to include links to other relevant blog posts that do not receive lots of organic traffic to bring some authority and traffic to the posts. In time, this could help these posts get a rise in rankings!
4. Do not use too many links
As well as linking from pages with high authority to pages that are not as popular, you’ll need to choose to have the smallest number of links on a page instead of using a large number of hyperlinks. Why is that? Link equity. If you have several links on a single page, you’re effectively dispersing the link equity between every linked Page.
If you have fewer and the most relevant hyperlinks on a page, you may boost the value of your link equity split between the linked pages.
5. Use Relevant Links
Each internal link you make is supposed to serve a specific purpose. Is it worth the cost to use it if it’s not doing any purpose? For any content on your site, make sure you only use internal links that enhance the user experience. It’s that simple!
6. Dofollow Links
Dofollow links have an attribute for do-follow links that can be described as an HTML attribute that informs search engines that they can browse these links. Dofollow links can also help distribute link equity among your pages on your site. It’s improbable that you will need to apply a no-follow attribute for the internal links.
7. Link to the top of the Page
The last best practice is to place critical internal links on the front of your website. While it’s not necessary in all cases, it can encourage users to visit additional pages on your site. This could help lower bounce rates on your site and increase the number of time users spend on your website, which provides a positive user experience signal towards Google or other major search engines. For instance, we put links to our list of all of the posts in our Local SEO Series posts at the top of each Local SEO Series blog post and on the pillar page to encourage readers to read all or a portion of the articles in the series. This way, it is possible to include pertinent internal links in the body of your site as well.
Internal Linking Tips To Avoid
When you use internal linking, it’s simple to connect to everything and anything to spread the link’s equity across your site pages. However, there are a few things to be aware of when creating internal links. This includes linking your blog’s content to your homepage or your Contact Us page. This is because you likely already have a link to your homepage via the navigation menu (e.g., logo link), and visitors can get to it from any webpage of your site. However, it is recommended to concentrate on linking your visitors to other pages on your site to increase their authority, which can increase the power of your website over time.
When you’re reviewing your current internal linking plan or starting with a new strategy, make sure to make sure you’re building internal links that benefit search engine bots and your site’s visitors. These links must help clearly define your website’s link structure, help transfer link equity, and assist search engine robots and visitors in navigating your website!
We’re close to the conclusion of the blog series (sad the day). Be sure to check back for the next installment within the series. Local SEO Series: Optimising Your Google My Business Listing: The Ultimate Guide.