An internal link is any link that lives on one page and points to another page of the same website. For example, in the image below, you can see that the page containing the link, a.k.a. the source, shares the domain of the destination page.
This internal linking process is an often overlooked yet essential part of search engine optimization (SEO). First of all, it helps with page discoverability. Internal links tell Google which pages exist on your website so that they can be crawled and ranked in search results. Second, internal link building gives Google an idea of your site structure – how each website page relates to one another – and accumulates a higher value for pages with more internal links pointing to them.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal links are hyperlinks that point from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. In other words, internal links connect pages on the same website, meaning that the source and target domain are the same.
Here are the common factors you should consider to improve your SEO via internal linking.
1. Your Site Structure
Ideally, you’ll want the structure of your site pages to look like a pyramid. At the top is your homepage, followed by categories, subcategories (for larger websites), and individual pages.
Your internal link structure reinforces the hierarchy of your pages, so it goes that a lot of internal links point back to your homepage. At the same time, your homepage should link to your high-level/category pages. This flow assists users in navigating your site even as it provides a logical path for search engine crawlers to follow.
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2. Leverage Navigational Links
As we said, users and search engines should find links to all important sections and pages from your homepage. These internal links can be placed in the header, footer, and other prominent areas, such as the banner area
3. Boost Contextual Links
Internal links in the page content, such as this article, are called contextual links. They point users to related or similar content on the same website. When appropriately implemented, contextual link building makes it easier for your most valuable pages to rank on the SERPs.In addition, it impacts other SEO factors like page views, time on page, and bounce rate.
4. Anchor Text Optimization
The visible, clickable part of the link is called the anchor text. Its main purpose is to describe to users what the destination page is about, helping them decide whether to click or not.
(Do’s) Internal Linking Strategy
1. Use Descriptive Anchor Text
First of all, it’s important to use descriptive keywords or phrases in the anchor text of your internal links.
Anchor text is the portion of the link that’s visible to site visitors. In other words, it’s the highlighted text that people click to visit other pages.
To give website visitors and search engines a clear idea of what to expect when they click the link, you need to use descriptive anchor text.
2. Use Follow Links
Both the meta robots tag and the robots.txt file allow website owners to restrict search spider access to website pages.
So if you want search engines to find pages on your website, you need to ensure that you use follow links that allow them to follow links to discover new pages.
3. Use Natural Links
Make sure internal links are natural for readers. When readers see informative links that match the context of the content, they will be more likely to click the link and explore other content on your website.
Including links in your website copy is like saying “Hey! This is important. Stop what you’re reading, and click the link!”
4. Link Deep
Instead of linking to pages that are already included in your site’s main navigation, we recommend looking for link opportunities deep within the structure of your site. Sometimes, pages can get buried in your site’s architecture, so it’s an important link to them from other top-level pages.
Learn how to map out your internal linking strategy with our help. Then, ask one of our marketing consultants about your next step today, and start making your internal links work hard for your business.