Internal Linking: Why is it Valuable and How Do You Do It Right?
Links are necessary for your content to rank.
As a business owner or content marketer, you must have noticed that no matter how well-written an article is, sometimes it fails to rank competitively on search engines. This is because, aside from quality, your content needs links.
Links add weight and authority to an existing page, making it more valuable than other content pieces. Even internal linking or linking pages in your own website can boost your rankings and make it easy for Google to find your content.
What are Internal Links?
Internal linking is the process of linking one page on your website to another page of the same website. It’s an effective backlinking strategy that uses content from your own site to add value to your other site pages.
The right internal linking strategy enables your content to be linked to each other and gives Google an idea of your website structure. This way, you’re giving the most important pages and more link value than other pages that may not be as important.
Why does Google value links?
Links are valuable to Google because it’s one of the main ranking signals it uses to determine the importance and value of an article. If Google sees that a page has lots of links connected to it, then it takes it as a signal that the content is relevant and valuable.
In this case, if Google were to choose between two well-written articles, it will prefer the one that has more trustworthy links connected to it.
What is link equity or value?
Link value or link equity, also referred to as link juice, is a ranking factor that’s based on the concept that links can pass value and authority to another page.
For example, the homepage of a website has the biggest link value because it’s supposed to have the most backlinks. That link equity can influence the value of the pages that it will be connected to.
When it comes to internal links, once Google sees a page with a lot of valuable links, it can increase the chances of that page ranking high on search results.
What’s the difference between internal and external links?
Internal links are meant to connect pages and content inside your website to each other, whereas external links connect other websites to pages on your site.
You have more control over internal links since you’re the site owner. You can plan and strategize which links should be placed on which pages. Internal links can guide users and search engines to your most valued pages.
As effective as internal linking is, it’s also an SEO technique that most site owners tend to overlook.
Internal linking is a tactic that offers a lot of benefits for both users and online marketers.
- It makes it easier for Google to crawl new pages on your site that they discovered through inner links.
- Anchor texts that are keyword-focused can improve SEO performance
- Not only does it benefit traditional SEO, which focuses on a global or national scale, it can also help boost local SEO performance. The more geo-centric keywords are used, the more search engines will show that page when it comes to local searches.
- The links you insert give Google crawlers a better idea of what the page is about.
- The ranking power of a high ranking page can flow through the site and influence newer pages.
With innerlinks, you’re enabling users to easily access more pages aside from the original page they landed on; it may minimize your bounce rate.
However, make sure that you apply only the best practices when it comes to any kind of link building strategy. Professional SEO or local SEO services from a reputable agency can help implement the right strategies and avoid penalties for your site.
How to Do Internal Linking Right?
It’s important to know the right way of doing internal linking to boost your SEO results. The wrong practices may seem like you’ve achieved easy wins, but they will be short-lived and end up costing you more time and resources fixing penalties.
Here are seven tips on how to do internal linking the right way.
#1. Build internal linking hierarchy
Don’t treat all of your pages the same way when it comes to internal linking. Create an internal linking hierarchy and organize it so that everyone in your team can understand.
When you organize your most important links down to the more irrelevant ones you’ll gain a better understanding of what links you need to prioritize and link to often. You can even use high ranking pages or relevant pages to give new and important pages a ranking boost.
#2. Choose a good anchor text
Anchor texts are important because they inform search engines what the link is all about. It would be better for the page if you would use an anchor text that is contextual or refers to the subject matter of the page. It should give your users an idea of what to expect when they click the text.
Here are some examples:
- Some beginner yoga poses are…
- A recent study on diet and exercise suggests that …
Anchor texts should be as natural sounding and descriptive as possible. It looks more credible and professional, and search engines will view the page as relevant and authoritative.
#3. Choose your most important page to link to
Strategize carefully and choose to direct links to pages that will bring more conversion to your website. Linking to high converting pages will help increase their visibility and rankings on search results.
For example, you want a service page to rank higher than a particular blog article. Drop links of that service page or landing page on other pages of your site. This can be a promotional tactic because users who will land on those pages will stumble upon the link and may click on that link that leads them to that service page.
Do not include any random link in a content or page for the sake of adding links; irrelevant links may affect user experience. As long as the pages are related and the linked paged will bring value to the user, it should be OK.
#4. Choose only relevant links
Google has been mum about the number of links a webpage should have; it used to be at 100 per page, but Matt Cutts has said no limit exists now.
Before you stuff your pages with links, though, know that unnatural link building or adding links merely to rank a page isn’t going to cut it. The Penguin algorithm refines Google’s ability to detect spammy links, article directory links, building links in a short time, and more.
Build links sensibly with the purpose of leading users to more informative materials.
#5. Avoid duplicate links
Duplicate links means a page has multiple links connecting to a single page. Not only will this hurt your SEO efforts, but it’s also annoying to readers because it will affect their experience, which can impact other metrics, like bounce rate and time on page.
However, there may be instances when duplicate links are unavoidable.
A page can contain multiple links connecting it to the homepage or about us section since the homepage button will automatically be included in the navigation bar. Instances like these can be exempted from the rule.
#6. Always link to recent posts or new pages
Internal linking is an effective way to promote new pages or recent posts, which also helps update old content. Since link juice passes to recent posts if they’re linked to different pages on your site, Google can easily crawl them and boost their ranking.
If you just published a new blog article, review old posts or pages that are related to that article and drop the new link in it and vice versa.
#7. Set links to “dofollow”
When a link is added to a page, you can decide whether to have it as a “dofollow” or “nofollow” link, depending on whether you want that link to be crawled by Google. Links added will automatically be set to “dofollow,” so you won’t have to alter it.
However, some SEOs use nofollow links. You should only use this when you don’t want a search engine to crawl the web page and leak link juice to that page.
Don’t let your well-written content go to waste. Strengthen your SEO strategy with these internal linking tips. Add more value and weight to your pages by promoting them on your own website. And send the right signals to search engines,“telling” them how rank-worthy a particular page is by linking to other pages in your site.
About the Author!
Itamar Gero is the founder of SEO Reseller, a global digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).