SEO Tactics – The Basics of Internal Linking
We’ve previously discussed the importance of content for any SEO strategy. Whether through your landing pages, your blog, or your social media for SEO, an intrinsic part of ensuring your content delivers for you is implementing the right approach to internal linking.
What are Internal Links?
Internet users and search engines both use links to find content on a website. These may be external or internal (we will discuss external links, which connect your pages to other websites, in another post).
Internal links are links from one page of your website to another page on your site. They connect pages and posts within your site. They are used by human users to navigate your site and access the specific, relevant content they seek. Search engines also use your internal links to navigate your site; without relevant, high-quality internal links, your website will be invisible to search engines and it will not rank.
Internal links on your website include:
- Your site menu
- Your sitemap
- Your post feed
- Home page links
- Contextual links embedded within your content, including your blog
Contextual links take your users to related content – for example, you may have a blog article with a reference to a service or product you offer, and you can (and should) embed a direct link to this landing page on your website.
Why are Internal Links Important for SEO?
As well as enhancing the user experience of your website and providing convenience and encouragement for your visitors to keep browsing your site, internal links are crucial for success when it comes to search engine optimisation.
Google ranks websites by discovering content by identifying and following links. Googlebot is a bot Google uses to crawl websites, render homepages, and follow links. Google thereby works to understand relationships between landing pages, blog posts, and other content on and off the website (e.g., on social media platforms).
Google also considers and delineates link value; links from a home page will be valued more highly than from inner landing pages. The more high-quality, relevant links a post has, the more chance it has of ranking highly in search engine results.
The more relevant and higher quality a link, the better it will be viewed by Google bots and contribute to higher ranking results. The more relevant links a landing page or post receives, the higher value Google and other search engines will place on it. Internal linking is an important piece of this puzzle, and it is one aspect of SEO that you as the website owner can control. It’s also a valuable, effective way to guide and encourage your website visitors to the most important content you can offer them.
Tips for Internal Linking
- Consider and decide upon your website’s structure. The Home Page is always the most important page. Other pages should be created in a hierarchy of descending order, with drop-down menus from each to relevant and logical content.
- Create unique, written foundational content for your home page and landing pages. This must be keyword-focused (but not at more than 2-3% volume of the entire word count) and it must be relevant and of high quality. You need to inform and captivate your audience. You also need to have enough textual content for Google to be able to rank it – home pages require at least 350 words, as do your core landing pages (which reflect your focus keywords and products/services). Secondary landing pages (e.g., individual product categories or collective listings) require around 150 words at a minimum.
- Add contextual and hierarchical links. These should be via your focus keywords and link to relevant landing pages, articles, and posts. Also, your landing pages to your home page, and connect between landing pages where relevant.
- Link to related posts. For example, reference your landing pages in your blog posts; link to associated existing blog articles from newer posts.
- When linking extrenally, ensure that all links open to a new tab. This way, visitors remain on your original page and it is easier for them to refer back to it.
- Add Nofollow tags to non-relevant (for SEO) links – e.g. if you have a link for customers to log in. This type of link is irrelevant to Google and can diminish your website’s overall link value; a Nofollow tag mitigates this risk.
These are simply the basics – there is much more to internal linking and getting it right for the most effective SEO outcomes. Work with an expert SEO provider to maximise the effectiveness of your internal links and operate a comprehensive SEO strategy for utmost success.
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