For every SEOer, the first thing to do for the website is to optimize Onpage for the website. Going internal links, Internal Links is what we need to care about. So what are internal links? Why should you care when optimizing your website? And how are the implementations of it? All will be in the article below.
An internal link is a link that points from one page to another on the same domain. Having a good structure of internal links on a website is important from both an SEO and UX point of view.
This will help:
- Improve website crawlability
- Improve user experience by making it easier to navigate your site
- Help spread link value on your site
Internal links are something you will find that most SEO experts recommend. By creating an easy-to-follow topology, you will achieve the following:
2.1 – Improve website crawlability
In order for your web pages to rank in search, search engines need to be able to find your pages. Both the number and context of internal links can tell search engines a lot about your site. including which pages are most important for indexing. So your strategy should include how to allocate internal links.
2.2 – Enhancing user experience
Internal linking allows you to be proactive and helpful. It provides information at the right time and location that is most convenient for your visitors. This helps you improve the user experience of your website.
Eg: Things you write on your blog may be related to services advertised elsewhere. So it might be a good idea to link services from the blog. If visitors have a positive experience moving around your site, they will visit more pages.
Internal links pass link equity. This means that by linking to a page in your site, you can improve the page’s ranking and tell search engines other important information, such as:
- How do the different parts of your site connect to this section?
- What types of topics are relevant to the topics covered on this page?
- Which pages are most important based on how often they are linked to?
It also works the other way around. Your highest priority pages (Home, Services or Store) have a lot of value for you and your visitors, which increases authorization of these pages. When you link to other pages from these valuable sites, that authority is transferred to the linked pages.
There is no technical difference between Internal links and External link. The HTML code of a hyperlink looks the same in both:
You can create internal links in many ways. The two most common types of internal linking are:
- Navigation links (e.g. menus, breadcrumbs, category links) – they are part of the site structure and help with site navigation
- Contextual Links (e.g. a post that links to another post with a similar topic) – these are created manually to help users discover new relevant pages on your site
Use these links to assist visitors as they move around the site.
Here is an example of internal links in the main menu on the EQVN homepage
Each link is carefully selected to be suitable for a certain use case that a visitor might have.
Now, the header is not the only place where navigation links are located. On many websites, the footer contains its own set of links. Depending on the size of your site, some of your internal pages may need additional navigational links.
You often see this on e-commerce sites where affiliate links help visitors return to categories. Or in any kind of page that is deeply nested within the site’s structure, such as the very post you’re reading right now on EQVN SEO
3.2 – Contextual location
The purpose of contextual internal links is to provide visitors with additional information as they are reading the content of a page. In some cases, these associations are based on a concept or term. In other cases, they are associated with a product, service, or research being promoted. And sometimes to call visitors to action.
Anchor links (not to be confused with .) anchor text) is a combination of navigational and contextual Internal links. Although they appear within the body of a page, their purpose is to aid navigation.
Eg: EQVN uses these types of Internal links to help people find very specific content in longer posts.
These links do not go to different pages on the website. They go to different sections of the same page. When the visitor clicks on it, they are immediately dropped to the fixed section.
Coding anchor links is similar to coding regular internal links. Here is a sample for an anchor link:
The HTML link character looks like this:
Eg: if it’s the title tag that you want the link to bring visitors to, the link character should look like this:
Now let’s take a look at some tips on how to implement an internal linking strategy for your website.
4.1 – Put any page at most 3 clicks off the homepage
Your website users can find any information with no more than three clicks from the homepage.
Following this helpful rule will help you create structured navigation and a well-connected website.
4.2 – Links to your most important pages
A good way to signal to search engines that the pages are most important to you is to ensure that they have the most internal links directed to them.
4.3 – Links to relevant pages
As we mentioned before, pages transfer rights to other sites by internal linking, but that’s not the only thing that determines where you link to.
You need to make sure that each Internal link:
- In relation to that linked page,
- Be relevant to the content surrounding it,
- Improve the visitor’s experience when they click on it.
When creating link text, you want it to be descriptive. So something like “how to get backlinks” would be much better than “click here”.
The latter tells us nothing about the link or the content on the next page while the descriptive anchor text carries important information about the content of the linked page.
With internal links, you don’t have to worry about exact match anchor text too much.
One of the hangouts for Google Webmasters, someone asked if too many Internal links with the same anchor text may lead to a rating downgrade.
Matt Cutts from Google responded: “Usually, internal sitelinks won’t cause you any kind of trouble.”
While the steps above primarily focus on internal linking within your existing content, this SEO strategy shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Every time you create a new page on your website, add a new product to your store, or write a new blog post, make sure that internal linking is taken into account.
Here are a few things to add to your on-page SEO checklist:
- Include at least two internal links when you create a new page.
- Find older, relevant content and link back to the new page you created.
- This is also a good practice because it will force you to go back to older content and update it (even if just by adding a link).
4.6 – Create a content hub
In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for your site, content hubs can help you link your content by topic.
A content hub is a collection of pages that are well linked together and all relate to a certain topic. There are two types of content:
- Column page: provides a general overview of a broad topic, often targeting broad keywords
- Cluster page: Related posts that detail the subtopics within the topic
Here’s a description of what a site’s structure using the content-centric model might look like:
This not only helps people discover content on the same topic, but also strengthens the thematic authority of the entire center.
Last but not least, schedule time for an annual or quarterly internal link check. The more content you create, the more often you should do this.
Your audit should include the following tasks:
- Fix broken internal links.
- Get the links that point to the redirected URLs and point them to the new source.
- Fix orphan pages so they have at least one link to the site architecture.
- Make sure any page is three clicks or less from the homepage.
- Review older content and see if new internal links can be included.
- Review all anchor text used and update accordingly.
- Structure related content into a content hub for easier navigation.
Going internal links is simple but has a great impact on your SEO results. So take care and pay attention to it a little bit. Hope this article has partly answered your questions related to Internal Links.
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