Just about every person in the digital marketing industry understands the importance of back linking. Votes pointing to your site helps increase rankings. However, many sites overlook the value of internal linking. Internal linking is a simple concept, but implementing it properly can be difficult for many. Not to mention many people completely pass it by, thinking it doesn’t add any SEO value.
Why is internal linking important?
Internal linking is defined as a link that links to another page on the domain. Pretty straightforward, right? The user stays on the site and navigates to a page that is related in one way or another. Adding links internally does more than just allows for users to navigate to other pages on the site. It also provides ranking power throughout the website by sending ‘juice’ to particular or important pages. Similarly internal linking also provides a hierarchy to how the site is laid out. Meaning, it helps search engines determine which pages are most relevant to users. As spiders crawl the site internal links will show how to visit the site through the hierarchy of the internal links, connecting pages based on specific keywords.
How to utilize internal linking for SEO
- Be creating new pages – As always you should be creating new pages to the website. This can include product or service pages or blog related articles that are informative on your relevant keywords. You won’t be able to create new internal links if you do not have any new pages to link from.
- Organically link your text – When adding internal links it’s important that the links fit naturally within the text. The linking pages should be related, the anchor text within the first linked page should be relevant to the content. For instance, if you have an article related to proper diet for house cats and mention organic cat food, a link to the organic cat food page would fit. However, a link to fish tanks would not be relevant.
- Use anchor text – When adding an internal link the best practice is to add it as text. Images are ok for internal links, but anchor text allows for the keyword to be related directly to the other page. The proper way to internally link your anchor text is to select a part of a sentence or phrase that relates to the page where the link is going. For instance, the image below shows an internal link on the Adficient blog where we reference a blog post talking about compelling content. It’s relevant to the paragraph in the article, linked organically, and utilizes anchor text.
- Don’t over do it – Typically, the rule of thumb is one link per 100 words. Of course there are circumstances where you may have more or less links on a page. This comes back to linking organically and not forcing links. If you notice you’re linking in every sentence you will want to scale it back. Remember to be linking to the pages that you want to move higher in the hierarchy and move users to.
The overlying theme of this article is to always be relevant and organic. Don’t place internal links where they don’t fit. Ask yourself, “does it make sense to have a link here?”, if you answer no, remove it and find something that fits. Be consistent with your linking, start by revisiting old content and optimizing these pages, next make sure any new pages that are being created have some type of internal link.