Internal Linking

If you have a website so that prospective customers can easily find your business or company on popular search engines like Google, you need to know all the ways in which those search engines can find your website on the World Wide Web and rank it as high as possible in search engine result pages (SERPs). 

Internal linking is one of the many strategies you can use to get Google’s search engine crawlers or algorithms to notice your website. 

Google crawls or checks out websites in detail by following links—both internal and external. It does this to assess the relationship between the various pages, posts, and content on your website and if there is any connection between them. Not just search engines, but users, too, use internal links to explore your Web page and try to gauge whether they find the product, service, or content offered valuable. Read on to know more about internal linking and how you can implement an internal linking strategy to rank higher on SERPs.

What is Internal Linking?

Internal linking is the process of adding hyperlinks on various subpages or pages on the same domain or website. Internal links or hyperlinks point to different pages of the same website and help search engines and users understand how information is organised on your website and the connection between the information hierarchy and the content itself. 

Most-used search engines like Google use internal links to analyze the content on your website and examine whether it provides value to users. It also checks how easily users can find your website. Ultimately, internal linking helps increase the relevance and visibility of your Web page.

Internal Linking

Below is the syntax of the code used for internal linking

<a href=”https://www.abcschool.com”>Visit ABC School</a>

Internal links vs external links 

Internal linking is different from external linking. While internal links point a user to another page, subpage, or content on your website, external links point to a page on another website or domain. So, if another website links to yours or vice versa, it is external linking.

Types of Internal Linking

Internal linking is of two types:

1. Contextual Link 

A contextual link is a link placed within the main body, content, or copy of a Web page. Contextual links point or guide the user to other relevant pages or subpages of a website. For instance, if you run an e-commerce website selling a particular product, you can place a link to another, related product in the product description.

2. Navigational Link 

A navigational (or navigation) link is a cluster of sitewide links that make up a website’s navigation menu. They are usually placed on the main menu or footer of a Web page. Some websites even place navigation links in a sidebar format. Navigation links help users understand what your business has to offer and which link can guide them directly to what they want. 

For instance, a clothing website will have navigation links to different categories like women’s clothing, men’s clothing, and kids’ clothing. The core page categories can then have sub-categories like dresses, tops, bottom wear, and more.

Why is Internal Linking Important?

Primarily, internal linking helps Google discover, index and understand the pages on your website, thereby defining your website architecture to the search engine. When done strategically, it can help you pass link juice from the higher authority page to lower ones that can contribute to better ranking.

Here is what Google says

“Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.”

Internal linking also enhances the user experience by helping them navigate through similar topics through the content. This helps the user to explore your website, which increases the number of page views and reduces the bounce rate, helping you bump up your SEO ranking.

Pages with no internal links pointing to them are known as orphan pages. And if these pages are multiple clicks away from your home page, there is a chance that the crawler may not crawl and index these pages. This is done to optimize your crawl budget. Also, the users may miss out on these pages, which is certainly not good for your search rankings.

The following statement by Google puts it simply

“The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.”

Now that we know about the importance of internal linking, let’s see how do we go about doing this. To begin with, you need to have a content piece that can be published on your website. Also, you need to get into a habit of coming up with some fresh content or updating the content regularly.

What are the best practices for Internal Linking?

  • Use keywords in your anchor text and be descriptive

The anchor text helps Google and its users understand what the page you’re linking to is about what. However, if all your anchor text is the same, it can look spammy to search engines. A good practice here is to include keywords descriptively in the form of a phrase to help Google understand the relevance of the page. 

Example: “How important is it to learn technical SEO” or “Implementing technical SEO can help you rank better on SERPs”. This will help you avoid the ‘exact match anchor text’ technique, which has resulted in SEO penalties due to the Penguin update.

  • Link from a high page-authority page

Linking your page from one of the top page-authority pages can pass some link juice or link equity, and this can sometimes help you boost the ranking of the linked pages. Your homepage is an example of a high page-authority page.

  • Add links wherever relevant in the content

Always add a link where it would add value to the users in terms of information. The linked page should relate to the content that the user is reading. Linking to a page that is non-contextual will cause the user to leave.

  • Keep an optimum number of links per page

There is no definite guide that states the number of links to be placed per page. This count can vary from domain to domain. Each page can pass only a limited amount of authority, and this gets distributed among the links on the page. However, we suggest using 75-100 internal links for an enterprise website and about 200 links per page for an e-commerce website.  

  • Placement of the links

Try to add the internal links at the start of the content or towards the top of the page, giving an opportunity to the user to click right away and in turn, increase the dwell-time on your website. This indicates to Google that the users love the results, and this can be an excellent outcome for that keyword, which can ultimately boost your ranking.

  • Link your high-traffic page to top conversion pages

If you have strong and compelling content on your page with high traffic volume, always try to link them with your conversion page with a powerful call to action. This is how you can leverage SEO to have revenue value too.  

  • Identify and fix broken links

Check frequently for any broken links on your website and get them fixed ASAP. This can happen when the URL of a page is changed, so be careful when you do so. Remember, broken internal links are bad for SEO.

  • Interlink between your new and old article

Internal linking is not only about linking from your new content to the old one. You should also link to your new content from the old one. The reason being, your old content is already indexed and is ranking; this will pass some link equity to the new and not-ranking content. Also, this will revive the old content, and the crawlers will try to re-index it.

You can also watch the below video to improve your internal linking strategy

Internal linking strategy

To ensure that your internal links are optimized to their maximum potential, you must have an internal linking strategy. An actionable internal linking strategy would entail assessing the internal linking with regard to the following aspects: 

 1) Site structure 

The site structure, as the name suggests, refers to how you plan to structure your website and the various pages, subpages, and content within the website. An ideal site structure always starts with a larger category, which then is divided into smaller and smaller sub-categories. Here is what a standard site structure looks like:

  • Homepage
  • Categories or sections
  • Sub-categories or sub-sections

2) Content 

After the site structure, search engines and users will focus on the content. However, successful internal linking is not simply about adding an internal link in random or unconnected content pieces. You have to determine what part of the content is most relevant to your business and what you want search engines and users to engage most with.

 3) Contextual Links 

A contextual link is a link placed within the main body, content, or copy of a Web page. Contextual links point or guide the user to other relevant pages or sub-pages of a website. For instance, if you are a make-up brand selling a hair care product and have a separate article or content piece that helps your target audience decide which hair care product suits them best, you can link your product at the end of the article as it will fit within the context of the article. Or, if you have a product description for the hair care item, you can place a link to a related article on how to find the right hair care for your hair type inside the body copy of the product description.

 4) Hierarchy 

A hierarchy is the arrangement of pages on a website. Web pages follow a standard pyramid hierarchy format. For instance, a website will always begin with a homepage and then break into various pages and sub-pages. So, you can go about the internal linking by linking parent pages to their child pages and vice versa, or linking sibling pages to each other. The more organization and inter-connection the content has, the better your internal linking strategy.

 5) Navigational Links 

A navigational link or navigation link is where you can do the maximum internal linking. The navigation menu of a domain is a cluster of links that works as a site map for users and search engines. It is thus a great opportunity to optimize internal linking in SEO.

 6) Add internal links to taxonomies 

A website taxonomy is like the structure of a website. It is how your content is organized and connected. Taxonomies also help search engines and users understand what your content and business are about. Adding internal links to your taxonomies can help Google understand your website structure and help visitors navigate your Web pages and content with ease.

Benefits of Internal Links

 1) It helps with crawling 

The foremost benefit of internal linking is that it helps search engines like Google crawl your website effortlessly. Crawling is the process of visiting and analyzing millions of websites on the Google search engine and filtering the ones worthy of being ranked and added to the Google index. Google will first arrive at a website’s homepage and follow the links available to understand the connection between the various pages, posts, and other content of a website. If found relevant and well interconnected, Google pushes a Web domain up in ranking. 

 2) Pass Page Authority 

Internal linking can help you pass authority to important, relevant pages on your website. Page authority is the relevance of a website in the context of a specific subject area or industry. It is assessed by a page or domain authority score that predicts how well a website will rank on the search engine. Page or domain authority score was developed by the search engine Moz.

 3) Help Users to Navigate Between Pages 

Ultimately, internal linking helps users find your business or website easily, thereby enhancing user experience. By guiding users towards content that resonates with them and is relevant to them, internal linking increases average time on site and gently nudges users to interact with your Web page. It can also lead them to make a purchase.

What should you avoid while internal linking?

  • Use of same anchor text for linking different pages

Avoid using the same anchor text to link two different pages in terms of content. This will confuse the crawler about what the page is actually about and can affect your ranking.

  • Do not squeeze in keywords if it doesn’t sound right

If adding the keyword in the anchor text doesn’t sound right, avoid stuffing it in. You can add them to the bottom of the page in the ‘Footer Links’ or ‘Related links’ section, which is also a way of internal linking.

  • Avoid automation

Using a plugin or a tool will not help you to do good internal linking. You need to do it manually to strategize the process properly. Also, using automation can generate a lot of exact-match anchor text for internal links which can hamper your internal linking process.

Conclusion

Internal Linking can help you boost your SEO performance. You do not want to miss the benefits of this technique. Always use internal linking considering your user’s experience. This will also help you build a robust internal architecture, and you will see growth in SEO rankings.

Follow the above guidelines and let us know how they worked for your website in the comments section below. 

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