Internal Links in SEO
Let us start with a simple definition. What are internal links? We are familiar with the concept of an external link in search engine optimization (SEO). Well, an internal link is a reference that points to a page. But this page is part of the same website. This is the main difference with an external link.
We know that websites have various pages besides the homepage. Internal links allow accessing and navigating through them. They help visitors to discover more content. In most cases, the homepage provides general information only. But it also provides some internal links for extra information.
What is an internal link for SEO? We know that external links play a vital role in SEO. They are determinant for the website ranking. Internal links play a big role too. These links provide access to more content. Content that would be inaccessible otherwise.
You cannot expect to have an external link directing users to each part of your site, right? Hence, internal links are convenient ways to access those pages. In simple words, external links allow access to the homepage. Then, internal links direct users to the rest. And that is how search engine robots discover all the pages.
Now, you see what internal links in SEO can do for your site. Search engines can access all its content through them. Moreover, these links show the priority and importance of the different pages. The pages that have the most internal links SEO pointing at them are crucial. Hence, your website can meet a good ranking, even if few external links point to its extended content.
Assume that your website achieves a good ranking through external links. This good ranking can reach the entire website. How? Through the links that point to all the pages on the website. Experts refer to this as link equity. External links will do much for your website. No doubt about it! They will earn trust from major search engines like Google. But internal links for SEO will cement this trust.
Internal links have other benefits besides SEO. They make your website more accessible and easy-to-use. Users will navigate without major problems throughout all your content. Moreover, your website will look neat and organized. As you can see, there are good reasons to add internal links. Your website will improve with several internal links.
Include Internal Links, Both for SEO and User Friendliness
Now, you know the importance of internal links. You should add them. They will improve the SEO of your website. Internal link building SEO is not a difficult task. They have many advantages that ease the linkbuilding process. Some of these advantages are:
- Total flexibility about their placement on the website. Moreover, you are free to apply your design ideas;
- Total freedom to use as many internal links as you deem convenient;
- No need to worry about a precise match of anchors;
- Internal links will not disappear as external ones may do;
- They allow a friendly manner to inform users about sources of extra content;
- You can highlight the importance of a page by the number of internal links.
Now, let us discuss how your website can benefit from having more internal links. First of all, your website must be user-friendly. Hence, adding internal links should not affect this characteristic. Internal links should make your website easier-to-use. Do not compromise this characteristic for SEO.
It is good to use internal links in your website. But do not overdo it. Many links on one page are detrimental to SEO. A search engine robot will ignore some of those links. It does not help the user-friendliness either. Users will find your website confusing and disorganized. Remember, less is more. Instead, add internal links when there is a good reason to do it. An internal link must help a visitor to find extra information on your website. Keep that in mind.
You should add only internal links that are relevant to the topic of the page they refer to. Your internal links should keep the same theme or topic. Do not place internal links that will cause your visitors to go off-topic.
You must know that a search engine robot will consider only one internal link to a specific page. Hence, there is no reason for SEO to repeat an internal link to a page. You can optimize the content of your current page instead. Adding the same internal link many times will have no benefit for SEO. It will not make your current page friendlier either.
Hence, let us summarize what your internal links for SEO must look like. You should:
- Place the internal links in a visible area;
- Place the internal links at the beginning of the content;
- Ensure that the visitors to your website see the internal links. So, you can make them more visible by using a contrasting color, bold fonts, underlining, etc.;
- Make sure the internal link is relevant to the content. The link should not change the theme of the page where you place it;
- Avoid crowding a page with internal links.
If you follow these tips, you can be sure to achieve the two goals of internal links. You will improve the ranking of your website. And you will enhance the friendliness of your site.
Anchors Are Critical for the Effectiveness of Your Internal Links
Your goal is to create effective internal links. But this will not happen without good anchor texts. You should pay much attention to the word choice for them. Anchor text should not be too long. But it must provide a good description of its pertinent page.
Tell users what they will find after clicking that link. Analyze the page you will refer to, and get its main keywords. Then, include them in the anchor text. The effectiveness is greater if you use the keywords at the beginning of the text.
Most engine search robots use keywords for the classification of websites. They classify them according to different themes and topics. This is why using keywords in the anchor texts is so important. But do not overdo it. Using many keywords will not bring any more benefit for SEO. Instead, many keywords will damage the friendliness of your website.
Moreover, avoid repeating the same anchor several times throughout the current page. Excessive repetitions of the anchor can lead to penalizations. Each linked page must have a unique anchor. Otherwise, the search engine robot will not index all the pages on specific topics. This results in the thematic overlapping between several pages.
Hence, choose the anchors for each page while you design your website. Use well-thought keywords. Avoid simple phrases and expressions. The search engine robot will ignore such trivial anchors. You can also use images to embed your internal links. But choose a good title for the image.
Invest some of your time to design your internal links. You should always identify the opportunities to add them. Check the online content. If you notice the same thematic with some new content, add an internal link. To verify that you have done a good job, ask a person to help with a test. Look for someone unfamiliar with your website. Ask them to find some specific information on it. The person should inform whether the internal links were useful. This is a simple test.
Audit Your Website to Find Any Problem with Internal Links
Internal links help your website’s SEO. This is clear now, isn’t it? But it is very common to have some problems with these links. It always happens. If you are designing a new website you may apply all the previous concepts without issues. In most cases, you have to audit your current internal links. After finding and correcting all possible problems, you can add more internal links.
Although it may look complicated, auditing your internal links is easy. You can use a crawler on your website. You can use the site Audit tool developed by Ahrefs. This tool performs a «crawl» like search engine robots do. The most common problems you will find are:
- Links directing users to nowhere;
- Links that refer to pages with little to no importance;
- Orphan pages, i.e., pages with no links referencing them at all.
All these problems have a detrimental effect on SEO. They damage user experience too. Hence, you must correct them as soon as possible. Thereafter, you can add more internal links. Do it according to some hierarchy and use the tips given above. Your website will improve for sure.