Internal linking is a key SEO strategy. Even if some publishers may see it as a simple tactic, internal linking has its load of complexities when it comes to its effectiveness. The proper approach should be adopted for its implementation in order to unfold its numerous benefits.
Understanding the purpose of internal linking
As the name implies, internal linking refers to a strategy of embedding internal links connecting one page on a website to another page on the same website. In other words, the source domain, as well as the target domain, is the same.
The main purposes of internal linking may be broken down into three main ones: it helps in website navigation, it defines the architecture as well as the hierarchy of the website, and it distributes page authority and ranking power throughout the website.
Internal linking is crucial for Google and visitors
Internal linking is one of the strategies to indicate to Google as well as visitors that a particular page is important. It allows “site owners to bridge the authority gap between their most link-worthy content and their most profitable content”, as pinpoints Starcom’s Jason McGovern. In other words, a popular post attracting traffic may be used to promote another page.
Internal linking is very helpful in directing Google to crawl the site. They help Google index pages more efficiently. For instance, large websites producing voluminous amounts of content may have subtle differences in landing pages. An example would be “luxury hotels in New York” versus “5-star hotels in NY”. The word ‘luxury’ may be used on both pages. Without proper interlinking and the absence of external linking, Google may be confused and consequently fail to index the pages accurately.
Internal linking furthermore improves ranking for certain keywords. By using the relevant anchor text, visitors may be directed to a page containing keywords they are using in their search. In this manner, a signal is sent to Google that this directed page is relevant to Internet users typing these keywords.
Else, using internal linking is beneficial to guide visitors by providing them with supplementary reading options. In this way, it helps to promote older content as well.
Creating a top-notch SEO with internal linking
There are obviously certain rules to create a successful internal linking strategy.
Produce much content
In order to implement as many internal links as possible, it is undeniable that there should be many internal pages as well. A solid content marketing strategy should, therefore, go in pair with the internal linking strategy.
Using anchor texts
It is recommended to use anchor texts rather than linked images when devising an internal linking plan. There is no magic in optimizing anchors; natural sentence fragments should simply be highlighted and linked for it to work.
The best links are relevant, reader-friendly and found deep
The best internal links are embedded deep within the structure of a site and not top-level pages. Using too many links on the homepage should be avoided and adding internal links on the ‘Contact Us’ section should be completely avoided. Internal linking should also take into consideration the readers’ point of view, providing additional value to the latter. Naturally, internal links should be relevant to the source content, providing mutual enhancement to both pages