If you’re reading up on SEO, chances are you’ve come across the term ‘internal link’. An internal link is really just a name for a hyperlink which points to another page on the same website. For example, if we put a link in this article (like this one) to another page on our site, that would be considered an internal link.
Internal Links are most commonly seen in website navigation menus, content in the body section of web pages, in the sidebar of a blog-style website and sometimes in the footer.
The main purpose of internal linking is to help:
Users navigate your website
Build a hierarchy of the website that allows users and search engines to access information easily
Spread the link juice (page ranking power) around your website
The importance of internal links for SEO
It’s no secret that having other sources link to your content or website will boost the SEO of your site. However, internal links are just as important as external links. It helps make sure users 'stick' to your website. If you can show your readers similar content, they will be more inclined to stay on your website rather than search for it elsewhere. This spreads more link juice around your website and increases the page view count, and Google loves both these things.
Another important facet of internal linking is how you decide to connect your content together. It should be structured in a way that allows users to easily access all pages of your website. If you don't structure your links properly you could end up with content that doesn't get any page views because it is hard to get to and forms part of a poorly organised website hierarchy.
A well organised and structured internal linking strategy will allow web crawlers to index and crawl through your content with ease. This means Google will get a greater understanding of your website and content and will rank you according. Google is increasingly focused on user experience and if a website is easy for a web crawler to navigate, then it is also going to be relatively easy for us humans and gorillas to use too. Google will recognise when your website is user friendly and take that into consideration in ranking your pages.
Internal linking best practices
You need to keep the structure of your website in mind when you‘re planning out your internal links. The best strategy is to construct your links in a way that branches out from a central focal point.
Your internal linking structure should resemble a pyramid of sorts, which will allow traffic to seamlessly flow from the top (home page) to the bottom (articles/etc). This can be achieved by using categories and sub-categories (see Amazon.com),that group relevant pieces of information together. You should study your favourite blog or website, and analyse how they have structured their links to make their website easy to navigate.
Try not to include too many links in the footer as Google may think you are abusing links.
Importance of Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text you see in the hyperlink (the text in a link that is most often highlighted in blue). The anchor text holds a lot of importance in internal linking because it helps Google interpret the link. For example if we linked an article from here and labelled it “Top 10 SEO Tips”, Google will immediately recognise that we’re linking another article on the subject of SEO. So next time you create an internal link, rather than giving it an anchor text of “click here”, try to give it a relevant title that reflects the that is linked.
Keep in mind that Google only takes the first link into consideration. If you have two links that point to the same place, Google will only pay attention to the anchor text in the link that occurs first.
We hope you’ve learnt a thing or two during our Simple SEO Tips series. This is the last article in this particular series, but keep an eye out for our next series where we are answering some of the more general online marketing questions we get time and time again… Until then – have fun in the jungle!