Internal linking is an important aspect for search engines as well as Google. For your content to rank, it needs to be linked from somewhere on the web. Additionally, internal links give your website structure and they can also give your website a hierarchy. A hierarchy shows search engines which webpages are more important. Therefore, having the right internal linking strategy can really give huge benefits to your SEO.
Internal links, what are they?
Any link from one page of your website directing the user to another page on your website is an internal link. Search engines and users use internal links to find content on your website. Users will use the links to find the content they want to find. In addition, internal links are utilised by search engines to navigate your website. Neither will see a page if there are no links to it.
In addition, there are several types of internal links. Contextual links are internal links that sit within your content. These link to related content and allow search engines to determine it’s value. The more links a page receives, search engines will deem that page as more important. It is crucial to have good internal links for SEO.
Search engines crawl websites by following links, both external links and internal links. Using this method, search engines can work out the relationship between the various pages, posts and other content. For instance, Google, will figure out which pages on your website cover similar content.
Google will divide the link value between all links on any given page. The homepage, more often than not, will have the most link value because it will have the most backlinks. That value will be shared between all links found on the homepage. After that, the link value is then passed on the following page which will be divided between the links on that page and so on.
Usually your newest blog posts will get more link value if you link them from your homepage, rather than just from a category page. In addition, search engines will find the recent posts quicker if they are linked from the homepage.
Using this concept, you will understand that more links to a post means more value. Google for example, sees a page that gets lots of valuable links as more important and therefore gets higher chance of that page ranking.
By having the right internal links, you ensure that search engines understand:
- page relevance
- page relationships
- page value.
To get your link strategy starting in the right direction, the following steps are a good rule of thumb to help you.
Consider the ideal structure of your website. View the structure of your website as a pyramid with the homepage at the top. Below that, are some sections or categories and then further down posts and pages. We touched upon this in our quick wins for higher rankings article recently.
Decide what your most important content is. This is your best and most complete content. This is the content you want people to find.
Add contextual links. Internally link articles with about a certain topic together, this will show users and search engines that these articles are topically related.
Link hierarchical pages. Link parent pages to their children and vice-versa. Alongside that, link the sibling pages to each other too.
Consider adding a related post section. Having a section which shows search engines and users more posts with topically similar content. This helps keep users and search engines on your website and read more of your content.
Add navigational links. You can attempt to make some content more authoritative by adding links to that content from the homepage or within your top navigation.
Add links to your taxonomies. If you have a blog, it could be helpful to add internal links to each taxonomy your posts belong to. This further helps search engines understand the structure of your website and helps users navigate to related posts more easily.
Consider adding links to your most popular or recent posts. The link value to these posts from many different pages will give those posts a boost. Moreover, these posts will be easier for users to access and results in more traffic.