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How to create a strong internal linking strategy for your website and SEO 

12 MINS Team

When it comes to building a successful website, there’s one fundamental aspect that often gets overlooked by beginners: internal linking.

You might be wondering, “What exactly are internal links, and why do they matter?”

Links help search engines navigate your website. The more well-structured your links, the easier it is for visitors and search engines to find valuable content. This is a key factor in how search engines determine your website’s ranking.

In this beginner-friendly guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of internal linking, explaining why it’s crucial for your website’s ranking, and how you can implement an effective internal linking strategy. So, read on and dip into the world of linking.

What is internal linking?

Internal linking is the practice of creating hyperlinks that connect different pages within the pages on your site. These hyperlinks allow users to navigate from one page to another within the same website. They serve several purposes, including improving website navigation, guiding users to related or relevant content, and establishing a hierarchy and structure for the website.

They are also important for search engine optimization (SEO). These links help search engines, like Google, crawl and index the website’s content, establishing the context and relationships between different pages. They basically act as guides from one part of your site to another to help users easily navigate through your content and find what they’re looking for without getting lost in the vast web of information.

There are different kinds of linking. To optimize your linking strategy, you need to learn about the difference between external links and internal links.

External links, or outbound links, are hyperlinks on a web page that point to other websites. These links direct users to other online resources, websites, or pages outside of the one they are currently visiting.

External links provide additional information, cite sources, and connect your website’s content to valuable external sources on the internet. They help create a web of interconnected information across the digital landscape. Usually, they come in different forms:

  • Citation links
  • Authority links
  • Affiliate links
  • Social media links
  • Partner or sponsor links
  • Resource links
  • Community links
  • Sponsored links
  • ECommerce and product links
  • External blog or guest post links

Internal links, or inbound links, are hyperlinks that connect different pages within your website or domain. These links guide users from one page to another within the same website, enhancing navigation and helping visitors explore related or relevant content.

Internal links establish your site architecture, improving website hierarchy and navigation. They are an essential tool for keeping users engaged and ensuring that they can easily access the information they seek within your website. When a website is user-friendly and navigable, search engines can crawl and index your website content more easily.

There are various types of internal links, each serving a specific purpose in enhancing website navigation and SEO. Some examples include:

  • Navigation links. These are typically found in the website’s navigation menu, header, or footer and provide users with a clear way to access important pages like the homepage, contact page, or product/service categories.
  • Contextual links. These are links embedded within the content of a web page. They are used to reference related articles, products, or information, allowing users to explore further while reading.
  • Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a type of internal link displayed near the top of a page to show the user’s current location within the site’s hierarchy. They offer an easy way to navigate back to higher-level pages.
  • Related posts/product links. Often found at the end of blog posts or product pages, these links suggest other articles or products that are relevant to what the user is currently viewing.
  • CTA (call to action) links. These links encourage users to take a specific action, such as “Learn More,” “Subscribe Now,” or “Get Started.” They are often used in marketing and conversion-focused content.
  • Footer links. Links in the website’s footer can include important pages like the privacy policy, terms of service, or site map. They are usually consistent across the site’s pages.
  • Pagination links. When content is divided into multiple pages, pagination links allow users to navigate through a series of pages, such as for long articles or product listings.
  • Sitemap links. A sitemap page typically lists all the important pages on a website, providing users with an overview of its structure and content.
  • Anchor links. These are links that take users to a specific section within a long web page. They are often used in articles with table of contents or FAQ sections.
  • Image links. Images can also be used as internal links. Clicking on an image can take users to another page or provide more information about the image.

What’s the role of anchor texts?

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It serves as a label to inform users and search engines about the content they can expect when they click. Choosing relevant and descriptive anchor texts guides both users and search engines through the web.

  • Improves user navigation. It provides users with a preview of what they can expect when they click on a link. It should be clear, concise, and relevant to the linked content. Well-chosen anchor text makes navigation intuitive and helps users find the information they seek, ultimately improving their overall experience on your website.
  • Boosts SEO. Search engines like Google use anchor texts as one of the factors to determine the relevance and context of a link. When search engine bots crawl your website and encounter anchor text, they analyze it to understand the content of the linked page. This information is then used to index and rank your pages in search results. Therefore, using descriptive anchor text that accurately represents the linked content can positively impact your SEO efforts.
  • Optimizes keywords. It presents an opportunity to include relevant keywords that reflect the content of the linked page. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Over-optimizing anchor text with keyword stuffing can be seen as spammy by search engines and may result in penalties. Therefore, use keywords naturally and in a way that provides value to users.
  • Adds context to your links. Anchor text helps establish the context of the link within the surrounding content. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about “healthy eating” and you include an internal link with the anchor text “best fruits for a balanced diet,” it immediately tells readers what they’ll find on the linked page. This context enhances the user’s understanding and encourages them to click.
  • Differentiates link types. By using varied anchor text, you can differentiate between different types of links, such as informational links, call-to-action links, or navigation links. This helps users distinguish the purpose of each link and makes navigation more intuitive.

How does a strong internal linking strategy benefit your website?

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s explore why internal linking is so important for your website’s success. This section will explain how your business website can benefit from good internal linking practices.

Improves user experience

When visitors read one of your blog posts and it mentions a related topic, a strategically placed internal link can effortlessly explore that related topic without leaving the current page. This provides your visitors more value and information without the hassle of searching elsewhere.

Enhances SEO performance

Search engines love well-structured websites with clear paths. Internal links help search engine crawlers index your content more efficiently.

This not only accelerates the crawling process but also helps search engines understand the hierarchy and relevance of your pages. When search engines grasp the interconnectedness of your content, they can assign higher search rankings to your website.

Increases website authority

Linking to your own content within your website creates pathways for users while also signaling to search engines the significance and expertise of your web pages.

This act of self-referencing can lead to a cumulative effect over time. Multiple internal links can add more page authority to your site. Your increased perceived authority not only instills trust in users, who see your site as a valuable resource but also catches the attention of search engine algorithms.

Facilitates indexing and crawling

When you strategically interconnect your web pages, you’re guiding search engine bots to your site, ensuring no valuable content remains hidden. As a result, search engines can efficiently discover, index, and understand your web pages. This makes them more likely to surface in search results when users seek relevant information.

How to implement an effective internal linking strategy

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why,’ let’s move on to the ‘how’ of internal linking. Creating internal links is pretty simple when you know how to get started.

Identify your most important pages

Start by identifying the key pages on your website. These are the pages you want to prioritize for traffic and conversions. They could be your product pages, services offered, or high-impact content that showcases your expertise.

By pinpointing these pivotal pages, you can then strategically link to them from other relevant areas of your site. This maximizes their visibility while also guiding users toward your primary goals, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or exploring your core offerings.

Use relevant and descriptive anchor text

Choose anchor text that accurately describes the linked content. This helps both users and search engines understand the context.

Be sure to include an exact match anchor text. Some hyperlinks use the exact keyword or phrase as the link text, without any additional words or variations. They are often used for SEO purposes to signal to search engines that the linked page is highly relevant to the keyword.

Add internal links to pages that are contextually relevant to the content. When you include internal links to contextually related pages or articles, you provide users with a natural path to explore other pages further, keeping them engaged and satisfied.

Additionally, linking to relevant content also helps establish your website’s credibility and expertise in a given subject area. Your viewers immediately know that you’ve written a lot about the subject and other related topics.

Create a silo structure

A silo structure is a web organization method that groups content into themed categories or “silos.” Each silo centers on a specific topic, ensuring closely related content stays together. This organization makes navigation easier for users and helps search engines understand the site’s content hierarchy.

Internal links within a silo reinforce the thematic relevance and guide users through related pages. It makes a solid internal linking structure as websites can improve user experience, create a logical content hierarchy, and enhance their SEO by emphasizing the topical focus of different sections.

Experiment with different types of links, such as text links, image links, and even navigation menus. This enriches the user experience by catering to various preferences and needs. Some visitors may prefer to click on descriptive text links, while others might be drawn to engaging visuals or convenient menu options.

The diversity can also showcase the breadth and depth of your content. From an SEO standpoint, it signals to search engines that your website offers a multifaceted and engaging user experience.

Things to keep in mind: Internal linking best practices

Once you’ve got everything we talked about in the previous sections, you’re pretty good to go. However, as you embark on your internal linking journey, be sure to remember some crucial tips to maintain a successful internal linking strategy.

Whenever you create new content, use internal links to connect it to relevant existing pages. Doing this ensures your latest creation gains immediate visibility, but more than that, it also benefits from the link value of those well-established pages.

Moreover, these internal links can accelerate the indexing process. It makes your new content discoverable by both users and search engines faster.

Prioritize the important pages on your website

Your website likely has pivotal pages, such as product showcases or landing pages, which play a central role in achieving your goals, whether it’s driving sales, gathering leads, or sharing vital information.

You want these internal pages to have plenty of attention, and by strategically interlinking these pages from various parts of your site, you’re essentially signaling their importance to both users and search engines. This emphasis not only guides visitors toward these key destinations but also bolsters their link value.

Avoid linking to pages that are no longer relevant or that no longer exist. Outdated or broken links can confuse users and harm your SEO efforts, and when you include internal links pointing to pages that no longer exist, it can frustrate users as they encounter dead ends or irrelevant content. Moreover, broken internal links can result in a loss of page authority and can confuse search engine crawlers.

Be sure to fix broken internal links. Conduct regular audits to identify and rectify these issues, ensuring that your internal linking structure remains streamlined, informative, and conducive to both user satisfaction and SEO success. Google search console can

Using the same anchor text for multiple links can be confusing. You want your content to be as clear as possible to be effective and user-friendly, both to your visitors and SEO crawlers.

To enhance the user experience and SEO effectiveness, it’s advisable to vary your anchor text, making it more descriptive and informative. By doing so, you provide clearer cues about the content that awaits users when they click a link, enhancing their understanding and engagement.

Diversified anchor text also helps search engines better comprehend the relationships between linked pages and contributes to a more nuanced understanding of your content’s relevance and value. In fact, the variety of anchor texts is more important than the number of internal links on a web page.

Choose words or phrases that are relevant to the linked content, providing a clear and concise description of what the user can expect when they click the link. Avoid generic or vague terms and opt for descriptive language that communicates the topic or purpose of the linked page. It’s essential to strike a balance between using keywords for SEO and ensuring the anchor text naturally fits within the surrounding content for a seamless user experience.

Avoid linking to pages that are too far down in your website hierarchy

Pages buried deep within your site may not get as much attention. When crucial pages are too deeply nested within your site’s structure, they risk receiving far less attention from users and search engines.

To counteract this, it’s essential to ensure that important pages, such as your homepage, product offerings, or core content, are easily accessible from the homepage or primary navigation menu. This smoothens out your navigation while sending a clear signal to search engines about these pages’ importance.

Start your own successful internal linking strategy

Internal linking is a powerful tool that can enhance your website’s user experience, boost its SEO performance, increase authority, and facilitate indexing. By implementing a well-thought-out internal linking strategy, you’re making your site more user-friendly and improving its chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

Put this knowledge into practice. Start by reviewing your website’s current linking structure and make improvements where needed. With professional website design and a strong internal linking strategy, you’ll be on your way to a more successful and user-friendly website in no time!

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