Internal linking can boost your SEO efforts by showing search engines how your content relates to each other. Here are some tips and best practices.
When you first begin your research into SEO and how to improve your website’s search rankings, you’ll encounter many terms and ideas for improving your SEO. Internal linking is one of those terms that you may have seen or heard about.
But before you can learn how to optimize your content with internal linking, you need to review its benefits and prepare with some best practices.
An internal link is a hyperlink that goes from one page of your website to another. It might connect blog content to a product or service page. Or it could connect one service page to another.
Here’s a look at some examples of ways you might use interlinking.
Why even bother with the time and effort of internal linking when generating new content? Internal links help search engines discover and index your pages throughout your website. Internal links also help Google understand your content and how it relates to one another.
Ultimately, search engines are focused on serving up websites that offer visitors a good user experience. If a user spends more time on your website and clicks around to read more, it tells the search engine that you have informative and valuable content.
Internal linking is like creating a massive shopping complex. The more people move from one store to another – or in the case of a website, one page to another – the more it shows that this is a bustling place to be. And yet, if the user comes, visits one store in the mall and leaves, it probably is a sign that the mall isn’t formatted in such a way to encourage staying and shopping for a while. The same is true of your website if users come, visit one page and then leave.
Search engines know that you’ve provided a good experience when they see organic website visitors staying on your website and visiting multiple pages as they explore your content. And if the user requests more information or completes a purchase, it shows the search engine that your content delivered on its promises and offered meaningful, relevant content based on search engine results.
Once website owners learn the merits of internal linking, they might be quick to start building connections between pages all over their website. But before you embark on this mission, read up on these common mistakes to avoid.
Your mission is to connect pages that are relevant so that people click those internal links and explore your website. But if you force the connection, visitors won’t click or if they do click, they’ll leave quickly realizing that the content isn’t really connected. The goal of interlinking is to build enticing and relatable links that invite your visitors to stay and explore for a while.
When interlinking pages, your goal is to use the destination page’s primary keyword as the anchor text from the originating page. But if the target keyword for the destination page doesn’t fit naturally into the content on the originating page, don’t use the exact keyword and make it sound unnatural. This will be a red flag to Google that you’re just trying to build as many internal links as possible and not focused on quality.
You likely have product and service pages that are your money-makers. Amateur website managers might be tempted to only build interlinks to these money-making webpages. But don’t make that mistake.
Your other content pages, such as blog content, are important too. Linking to other blog content will invite your visitors to stay and continue reading, increasing the time on page and reducing your bounce rate. These are both important metrics in improving and growing your website’s SEO. And ideally, every blog post should be optimized for conversion, so leading website visitors to another piece of content should not be concerning.
The higher up on a page the internal link is, the more likely your website visitors will be to click on it. And the more clicks you get on an internal link, the more weight they’ll carry. Include links in prominent places throughout a page, and don’t forget the top of the page.
Website visitors are likely there to learn or solve a problem. Internal links should be natural and guide users toward additional content that answers their questions or furthers their research on a topic.
You likely don’t want to have an about us page that is a thousand words long that tells your entire story. Instead, this page will be more like a few hundred words and is kept at a high level. But you might write a blog telling the full story, giving context to your name, services and success stories.
Websites that use their blogs to elaborate on a topic and then link to that content from relevant pages serve the needs of their customers well. From your services pages, you might link to a blog post that tells more about your process and what to expect. Blogs offer depth that you might not want on your top-level pages.
Once you begin building internal links, you should start reviewing important website metrics, such as time on page and bounce rate. Look for the pages with the highest bounce rate and lowest time on page. Then look for ways that internal links might help improve these metrics to further your SEO goals.
Internal links are just one aspect of an effective SEO strategy. You’ll also want to use relevant external links, build backlinks, optimize your website for speed and much more. Internal links alone won’t lead to impressive SEO results.
New Light Digital helps build SEO strategies that deliver lasting results for businesses in all types of industries. Schedule a free consultation now to start your journey toward SEO results.
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