What Is Internal Linking and How Does it Affect SEO?
Mon Mar 16 2020
Building an accessible website involves planning and consideration. You want visitors to quickly and easily find what they are looking for, whether it be products, services, or information.
You also want your site to rank well, so potential customers will know you exist. These two principal tasks are helped with a sometimes overlooked but critical element—internal links.
What are Internal Links in SEO?
Internal links are hyperlinks on a website that point to another page on the same site. They are common in the main menu or navigation section, and they are valuable.
- They help visitors find their way around your website.
- They organize the information found on your website.
- They balance links throughout your website, which is essential for ranking purposes.
Quality links are relevant to Google. When you use internal links well, you are defining the architecture of your site.
This makes it easy for Google’s sophisticated search mechanisms to find and crawl, or explore, your website, judge its structure, and determine its value.
Just as valuable backlinking from related and legitimate exterior websites help your site’s rankings, links within your own site to relevant pages improves your search engine optimization (SEO).
How to Create an Internal Link
The nature of the web revolves around connections, such as one piece of content that links to another. Organized link building strategies have significant SEO value for your website.
You want Google’s spider bots to find all your pages. Internal links help them. No matter how good the page’s content is, if the spider cannot find it, Google will not know it is there, and that page will not figure into your rankings.
The ideal internal link structure of your website pages is a pyramid. The top is your home page. All other pages are attached to or linking to, other pages on your website.
This way, Google’s spider can find all your pages. You do not need many links to create this structure—just a minimum number of relevant, well-placed links. You can get an idea of how your site’s link structure looks by using Link Explorer.
To use a simple example, if you sell animal supplies on your website, from the home page, you would include separate pages for cats, horses, dogs, rabbits, fish, and so on.
Each of these pages would have links to food, supplies, and toys, where relevant. From those pages, you would link to various types of each category and possibly include multiple brands.
This would give you the desirable pyramidal format that is easily searchable by Google’s bots.
Creating links involves using specific HTML formatting. Here is an example:
- Begin the link tag with the “a” tag—“<a href=”
- Add the location to which the link is pointing, such as the name of the webpage—“http://www.animalsRus.com”>”
- Include the text of the link, which is visible—“Blue Buffalo Dry Cat Food”
- Close the link—“<a>”
- The entire link would look like this—“<a href=”http:www.animalsRus.com”>Blue Buffalo Dry Cat Food<a>”
Effective SEO link building makes sense and is intuitive so that visitors to your website are guided easily from the main page to other specific pages.
Easy website navigation produces good customer experiences. Statistics show 60% of American adults shopping online will visit and spend more with eCommerce merchants who consistently deliver excellent customer experiences.
Tips for Internal Link Building
Using internal linking strategies makes your site easy to navigate and can lead to better rankings. Here are some link building tips.
- Only place links on pages that have related, or connected, content.
- Link from popular pages within your website, those said to have high authority, with lesser-viewed pages on your site, said to have lower authority.
- Link to relevant blog posts on your site.
- Place links within the body of your page’s content.
- Use links such as “related story” to fit more links into your copy and keep visitors on your website.
Building internal links takes thought and planning. But if your website is organized, to begin with, boosting your SEO with excellent links should feel like a natural outflowing of the copy already present.
You are simply connecting all the pages logically. The bottom line is when customers find what they are looking for easily, the chances are good, they will be back for more.