If you want your website to rank high on Google, you need links. Lots of them – strategically connected between the pages. In fact, the SEO internal linking strategy is one of the most relevant factors for Google’s appreciation and evaluation of a website. The links give credibility and reliability that provide your site with the authority it deserves. When you apply the internal linking best practices, you show Google your website’s structure. You show which pages are the most important – the ones with the most links linking to them; and the less valuable ones. The internal linking boosts your SEO to the max, so get ready to implement it the right way.
Table of Contents
- What Is Internal Linking?
- Internal VS External Links
- Valuable VS Poor Quality Links
- Why Google Loves Links?
- Internal Linking Best Practises
- To Sum Up
Internal linking is a process of linking the pages on the website so that your most valuable content gets the most links. Hence, an internal link is any link from one page to another on your website. These links will help the users navigate easily on the website and find related and exciting content to read. In addition, these links will keep the reader’s attention and engage them to spend more time on your website.
There are several types of links. Let’s go over the definitions.
These are links connecting the pages on one website (the same domain). If they are within the page’s content (not in the menu, for example), they are called contextual links.
Also called outbound links, they get you to leave the website you are currently on and get you to another website. Their purpose is to give readers further explanations of the topic, usually an authoritative and trustworthy website. These links are super important because they are considered to be natural.
The backlink is a link that comes from another website to your website. They are also called inbound links. The more backlinks your website receives, the more relevant Google considers it. Backlinks are one of the main factors for a high ranking, so they are one of the best SEO practices when it comes to designing a quality SEO strategy.
Now that you know the difference between the two concepts, you should also know that having both types of links in the content strategy is of vital importance for your online visibility. We can’t say that internal is more important than external because both types matter profoundly – the internal links for the SEO internal linking strategy and the external links for the overall SEO game.
When talking about valuable or poor quality links, the SEO experts refer to the external or outbound links that are part of the off-page SEO strategy. Valuable links are those obtained on an authoritative website with a big Domain Rating. Having a link from such a website to yours immediately improves your reliability and value. On the other hand, if there are links from a poorer domain rating website to your website, it won’t do any good for your positioning on SERP.
Google loves links because they help it understand the content on the websites. By following the links, Google can evaluate the structure and the content of the particular page. For example, if a page has lots of outbound links from quality websites, this will signal to Google that your page contains valuable information.
The site owner entirely controls the internal linking. If you set the right SEO internal linking strategy, the visitors on the page can see your most valuable content related to the topic they are reading. Plus, this will extend their stay on the website, which will help decrease the bounce rate.
As can be concluded from all of the above, it is pretty clear that links matter a great deal. Now, the next step is to set up such a network of internal links that will maximise your chances of getting recognised by Google as a trustworthy site. Here follows what needs to be done in order to achieve this the fastest way.
1. Structure is Everything
First, you must determine which is the ideal structure for your website, which are your most important pages: the service pages, the informational, and so on. In fact, you should start from your homepage -putting it at the top on the scale of importance. Right under it go the pages that convert and help you convert the leads (service pages and blog). Finally, you have the informational pages like About us, Company Values, Terms and Conditions, etc. – pages that must be included on the website but are no immediate help for increasing the organic traffic to your website and, eventually, lead conversion.
2. Choose Your Most Valuable Content
The most valuable content on your website is the best and most complete piece of content that shows your business’s core. Answer these questions to find it:
- Which are the top 5 pages on your website the visitors need to see?
- Which articles in your blog are written based on in-depth analysis and research and contain links to reliable information sources?
- Is the content on the chosen pages enriched with keywords relevant to your business niche?
- Is the structure of the content organised in a smooth and user-friendly flow so that the website visitor is engaged while reading it?
The answers to these questions will give you your most valuable content. In case you don’t have such content, it is time to contact a content strategist to help you out.
The next step is to add contextual links to your content. Connect all the related posts and pages by putting links on the relevant keywords for those pages. You can even use whole sentences or URLs directly to guide the visitor to click on the link and get to the page that you believe will further provide them with relevant info about the topic they are looking for on your website.
Navigational links are those that are featured in the main menu bar on the homepage. When you link your most valuable content on the homepage, you help Google understand which pages you consider the most relevant, so they will be among the first ones to be crawled by the Google bots.
The taxonomies help you organise the website and, once again, help Google understand what your site is about. For that reason, consider adding links in the taxonomies so that both Google and visitors can have a clearer view of your site’s structure and facilitating navigation.
Never forget to go back and open an old post, edit it and add some fresh links from recent posts in it. You need to keep your old content as fresh as possible and connected with everything new that is happening on your website.
To Sum Up
Internal Linking is of huge importance for how Google sees your website and rankings it on SERP. By implementing the internal linking best practices, you are increasing your chances of having a high-ranking website while, at the same time, you will be offering excellent quality to your leads.
Internal linking is a network of internal links that connect different pages on one website. The most obvious example of internal linking is your homepage, where you have links that lead the visitor to the other pages on your website. These are called navigational links. There are also contextual links – links in the content of articles. They lead to other pages on the same website where the visitor should expect to acquire more information about their reading.
To do internal links in the content of the website, follow these steps:
- Write a lot of quality content on different pages
- Use anchor text – a keyword to put the HTML internal links.
- Make sure the links together with the anchor text feel natural to the reader and are not misleading
- Use relevant links
- Don’t overdo it
External linking are links that connect pages on different websites, whereas internal linking are links connecting pages on the same website.
Yes, they do. The more relevant internal links there are on the website, the easier it will be for Google to understand what your site is about.
This is up for a discussion, but taking into consideration research made by Moz, more than 100 internal links on a page is roughly defined as too many.