Internal links are crucial for running a successful SEO strategy in the long run. However, many online businesses pay little to no attention to internal links.
These links help connect your content together. They also allow search engines like Google to get an idea of how your website is structured. Internal links can be used to establish an interconnected hierarchy for your website.
This allows you to put more emphasis on the more important pages on your website, like the sales or product ordering pages.
In this blog, we look at some of the best SEO practices for internal linking that can be useful for your business.
An Overview of Internal Links
Some entrepreneurs and business managers may find the concept of internal links new, even though they have been using it already. An internal link is placed on one page of your website to link to another page within the same website.
Internal links make navigation easier for visitors and search engines. Your website visitors can click on an internal link to go to another post or page on your website. This can be used to create a customer’s journey and drive them towards making a purchase.
Search engine crawlers also use internal links to navigate your website and find different pages. Pages that are not linked at all either internally or from an external inbound link may not be found by search engines.
Types of Internal Links
You can create various kinds of internal links on your website. The most common practice is to add a navigational menu bar at the top that can be used to go to different pages at any time.
Navigational links can also be added in your header or footer as clickable images and logos of your website. Generally, the company logo home button is visible from every page on your website and allows visitors to jump back to the home page. Not only is this useful for visitors, it also helps raise the ranking of your landing page for search engines.
Contextual links are added within the body of the content on your page. These links allow you to link to different pages dynamically. For example, if you are publishing a blog on your website comparing different products that you sell, you can add a link to each product’s page to make it easier for readers to buy them.
Best Practices for Internal Links
Let’s consider some best practices for building internal links that can help your readers and the search engine.
Plan a Linking Structure for Your Website
Businesses should look at their website structure as a pyramid. On the bottom are individual pages with blogs, articles, product descriptions and more. All of these should link to section summary pages in the middle of the pyramid that divide your website into different categories.
These section summaries or main service pages link back to the home page, landing page and ordering page that lie at the top of the pyramid. In practical terms, all the content on your pages drives visitors towards the end goal of making a purchase.
Some marketers see the process as a reverse pyramid call it a sales funnel. Your web pages consisting of articles, tutorials and announcements etc. are at the top and attract user attention. They link to more in-depth pages in the middle consisting of guides and product comparisons etc.
These pages ultimately drive visitors towards the sales page(s) that lie at the bottom of the funnel.
Be Mindful of User Experience
Some web content writers go overboard with internal links, inserting dozens of them in a single article or web page. This can backfire as many readers will not have the time or interest in clicking on so many links.
If your content has too many disruptive ads, clickbait buttons and links pointing to more pages within the site, the visitor is more likely to bounce back instead of exploring your website.
Ideally, you should include no more than 2 links for every 500 words of content. There are exceptions for different pages, but don’t overdo it.
Search engines also reward websites that provide positive user experience because they care about what their customer, i.e. the browser, sees online. If your website has a high bounce rate, it will drop in ranking with search engines.
Use the Right Anchor Text
The anchor text helps your visitors and search engines understand what the linked page is about. For example, if you are linking to a page on your website that lists different beauty products then use anchor text that says something like ‘hair and skin products’ instead of using a generic term like ‘buy our products.’
Use Contextual Links
If you have produced and published different pages of original content on your website, you should link them together. This will make it easier for visitors to find and read your blogs and articles. This also makes it easier for search engines like Google to identify related content on your website.
The common practice is to link directly from paragraphs within your copy or add links near the end of your post.
Remove Broken Links
Content writing services can be used to update your website, publish new content and edit the existing pages. During this process, you may discover that some of the links on your site no longer work as they point to pages that no longer exist.
This may be easier to fix for website with a dozen or so pages. As your website grows to hundreds of pages, you will need to perform regular content audits to check all the internal links on your pages are working correctly.
There are many tools that can help you find broken links. Replacing and fixing broken links will help raise the ranking of you pages and your visitors’ user experience.
Fix Orphan Pages
Orphan pages are pages on your website that have not been linked to by any other section or page of your website. That means there is no way for your visitors to reach these pages.
Search engine crawlers will also not discover or index these pages.
You can discover orphan pages by getting a list of all the pages on your website and doing a website crawl with an SEO tool. You can then link to the pages through a navigation bar and/or contextual links.
Internal link building and optimization is not rocket science for good content writers. All you need is careful planning with a hierarchical site structure from the get-go, with due consideration to funnel marketing.
The good news is that unlike external inbound links, you have complete control over your website’s internal links. They are much easier to manage and update to help improve your SEO.
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