In SEO tactics, we involve various techniques to optimize our site to put it in front of users and rank it higher in search results. We generally ignore or give less importance to internal links in these tactics, which is a big mistake. Internal links are great for linking your different content to each other to make Google understand the importance of your page.
In this piece, we’ll clarify what Internal linking is, its importance in SEO, and the way you can build a robust internal linking. Go through this written piece to get a complete idea of Internal linking.
The structure of your website needs to be understood by Google so that it can rank your content on search results.
The content without links is considered orphaned content, and Google and users find it difficult to reach it. To make your content available and findable to Google and users, you need to link it to your other pages.
Linking content makes crawling easier, and Google can index it faster. Therefore you need to involve internal linking tactics in your SEO strategy to perform well in search results. Let us move on to what is Internal linking?
What Is Internal Linking?
Internal links or inbound links are the links within a website that link different pages to each other on the same website.
For example- there is an important page on your website, say home page, to tell its importance to search engines, you must link it from the A, B, and C pages of your website.
These help search engines and users navigate your site. Search engines determine which content on your site is related to each other and help them to assess the significance of content or page.
The more the links are directed to a particular page, the more search engines consider it important. Therefore, you must include inbound links in your SEO strategy to acquire a higher position.
Types of links In SEO
The importance of links in search engine optimization cannot be overstated. Link building practices are really helpful in gaining Authority, trust and prioritizing your content.
You may get confused between internal links, external links and backlinks—all three help fulfil different purposes.
Let us brief you to clarify the difference between them.
As we talked about above, the inbound links are the links from your website to your same site. These do not help boost your Authority; instead, they connect the relevant pages on your site to each other, suggest the coverage of your topics, and help users and Google navigate your website easily.
On the contrary, external or outbound links are the links from your site that direct you to another website. These links are created to mention your source or any other source to help users, which they can use to get detailed knowledge of the content you discussed.
Although they do not contribute to your SEO ranking, they can help you to create reliability on your site that you link to an authorized source. You can utilize outbound links when you mention any data or stats in your content to link the source of it.
Lastly, The links your site receives from the authority site add Authority to your website and suggest that you are trusted. They can help you get an increased ranking in SERPs. Backlinks act like votes of support and trust on your site.
Google may consider you reliable if your site is receiving links from other trusted websites. Your site can gain backlinks naturally without doing anything, or you may require to put some effort.
Now, we hope you are clear about the different link building practices in SEO. Moving on, lets us find out the importance of internal linking.
The Importance of Internal Linking
With time Google has much more evolved than earlier. To rank a particular content, it analyzes different aspects of it. It determines what your page is about, how your page is related to other pages on your site and is the page important to your website.
Internal linking helps the bots to crawl and index your new pages and indicates to Google that the content is valuable if it gets links from other pages of your site. By linking content, you can guide users and Google to visit other significant pages on your website. Let us explain its importance briefly.
Internal linking structure the content on your website:
Interlinking is a great way to indicate to Google that the pages are related to each other. It helps Google crawl and index the latest posts and pages on your site easily.
This is because Google finds it difficult to find and index the orphaned content (the content without links ), and it is more convenient for it to find out and index the content with inbound links.
Google regularly crawls the index pages to find out if there are any further updates on your site or updates on the previous one. It navigates using links on your site to crawl different pages and index their changes.
Therefore, You can use internal links to signal Google about the new addition to your site. Google can easily understand and structure your content using links and ranks it accordingly.
Internal Links Help navigation between related pages.
Google, as well as search engines, uses Internal links to navigate to your site. Google crawls different pages on your site using internal linking. On the other hand, internal linking is great for improving your website’s users’ experience. Including internal links in your content will help your users get deeper into your content. They can easily visit the other important pages on your site and grab more information related to their query.
This ensures that they remain on your website longer and engage more with it. Therefore, this will improve the reader’s experience on your website.
The division of Link value
The page’s link value is divided across all the links present on a particular page. Typically, most backlinks direct to the home page of a website; therefore, it contains important link values. Google splits the link value of the Homepage among all the internal links present on it.
Further, these link values are divided among the inbound links present on that particular page and on and on.
Therefore, you can link your latest page to your Homepage to get more link values than the link values from others. This way, Google can index your latest page faster.
After understanding the division of link value, you may easily understand that the more interlinks a webpage holds, the more link value the page gets.
Google will consider your page valuable if it holds more internal links. Thus, internal linking is a way to improve the chances of getting ranked.
Internal linking and site optimization
Overall internal linking is great for optimizing your website. Google better understand your website by navigating through your internal links, and users will engage more within your site, clarifying the user’s query at a deeper level.
This will lower your bounce rate and improve your site’s dwell time.
Internal linking also suggests that the linked pages are contextually related to each other. This implies your command over the content.
All these will help you build trust in your site, improve your site search ranking, attract more users, and eventually help you generate conversions.
Types of Internal Links
On the basis of where the internal links direct you within the website, internal links are of two types:
- Navigational Links
- Contextual Links
Navigational Internal Links
As the name suggests, to direct somewhere. Navigational links are the links that navigate to the website’s various sections. These are meant to help visitors to look for what they actually want. They are generally present on the home page or main menu, footer or sidebar of a website.
They help the visitors to visit the section they are interested in directly.
For example, Different tabs on our site’s main page are navigational such as the home, hosting, domains, support, about us and more.
Similarly, Amazon navigational links are places in its sidebar.
Contextual Internal Links
The other type of internal link is the Contextual link.
These are meant to direct you to the other related page on the website and are generally present within the body of the text.
For example, if any website is directing you from its what is SEO page to its types of SEO page, or an eCommerce website is directing you from its product page to other similar product pages, these are termed contextual internal links.
The Internal Linking Strategy- You Must Focus On
As we have discussed what internal linking is and its importance, you must take some time to work on your website and improve your site’s SEO by focusing on the internal links on your web pages.
Internal linking can affect your SEO greatly. It can help you to elevate or lower your position in search results.
Proper internal linking can improve your site’s presence and make Google understand the relevance of your web pages, the relationship between them, and the value of the pages on your site.
You can include the following tips in your internal linking strategy to improvise your site’s presence.
1.Structure your website properly.
The structure of a website is vital to manage your site in order. Your site structure is important for search engines as well as users to navigate to your website. Otherwise, it will be only a cluster of pages and posts.
Users will stick to your site only if it is easily navigatable and user-friendly, and Google will determine the importance and relevancy of pages to rank it. Unless your site isn’t in the proper structure, it is just a waste of time.
A proper site structure can help you optimize your site and prevent self-competition.
Your website should have a proper home page, different sections and categories, subcategories, and pages and posts.
You can think of it this way, a homepage on the top, below it some navigation sections or categories and then posts and pages next to it.
You can see how easy it will be for users and search engines to navigate from your home page to other different sections of it. Site structure is helpful to group or link similar content to each other. You can easily navigate to the related pages of your site without encountering unrelated pages.
2.Determine your main objective with the site
After putting your site in a perfect structure, You must focus on your purpose. You should not create posts and pages irrelevantly. You need to find out your main intent and the most valuable content of your site. It is the cornerstone article of your site. It’s what you want people to discover when they search for your product or topic. This is important because you need to direct internal linking to it so that Google finds it out to be the most important page of your site.
3.Include contextual links in your content
Whenever you write different articles related to a particular matter, you need to provide internal linking within them to connect the content to each other. This will help Google and users to understand that the content is related to each other.
Moreover, this will prevent self-competition. For interlinking the posts or pages, you can provide the links within the word or sentence. You can also separately specify by providing the link that other content on your site is related to it.
Further, You need to determine the cornerstone article within them. You need to provide the internal links from all the related pages to that cornerstone article to show it to Google as the most important piece within them. Also, link back all the pages from the cornerstone content.
4.Interlink your hierarchical pages
Interlinking is a significant way to connect related pages. Hierarchical pages are the step-wise, strategical arrangement of information—one after the other. Linking those pages makes sense and helps users navigate the associated pages easily.
You should provide internal linking within the pages if you have created hierarchical content for your website. You need to link your parent pages to its child page and child page to its parent pages. There may be cases when more than one child page is present, but always a single parent page. You also need to link those child pages to each other.
For example, A company’s website has its about page, and it is further divided into two other pages, namely its mission and team. So the about page is their parent page, and the mission and team page are their child pages. Therefore, the company should link the website’s about pages with the two other mission and team pages and vice versa. And the two-child pages should also be linked to each other.
5.Try adding related posts to your content
Related posts are great for engaging users to your site. You can link related posts within or at the bottom of your post so that they will want to read more on your site and that is relates to their query as well. This
way, their dwell time on your site increases and users may be able to trust you more. It will let them know your brand better. Along with users, search engines will also crawl the internal links within your post, and it will help them understand your brand. While following the related posts links, they will know about the site even more.
You can determine the related posts on your site in different ways. You can find them manually or take the help of a plugin or tool.
If you use WordPress, Yoast also provides a Yoast SEO Premium tool to find and suggest the related content on the right of your editorial screen.
6.Add links for your cornerstone articles.
In addition to linking your related posts and pages, you should also focus on your cornerstone articles. You can add links from your Homepage or navigation directly to your cornerstone articles to provide more link values and make them more authoritative. We have discussed Link values above in regards to the importance of links. It can increase the authority of cornerstone articles in Google’s eyes.
7.Add links to your categories and tags.
Categories and tags are the taxonomies elements that can help you structure and organize your content. Categories are the broader grouping of content, and tags are for defining a particular content in a more detailed way.
By maintaining your website using categories and tags, search engines and users will be able to access your content more easily.
When you create a blog, it is good to insert internal links to the post’s taxonomies, whether categories or tags.
It will help you understand your site structure and allow easy navigation to related posts.
8.Try to add internal links to your recent posts.
After getting the importance of internal linking, you have probably understood to interlink your all and recent posts.
You should not create content without providing any links to it. It will be orphaned, and Google will take much time to reach it.
Internal linking is a way to grab Google’s attention to your newer post to get them indexed. Therefore, don’t forget to link your most recent and popular posts.
You can also create a section in your website’s sidebar or footer so that your recent posts and pages can appear on your all posts and pages.
When different pages mention your latest posts, they will gain link value and get noticed by Google.
Apart from this, your recent post will be in front of your users and easily accessible. They may click it to read, and this may bring traffic to your post.
What’s more on internal links
1. Nofollow and Noindex links
There are two additional types of links, namely Nofollow links and Noindex links. Basically, the Nofollow link tells search engines not to follow the link and the Noindex link suggests search engines not index the linked pages.
- Nofollow links
Whenever we create a website, it contains some of the most essential pages, and some are less important or are not meant to appear on search results.
As explained above, links on a page share the link value, and nobody will want to share the link value with less important pages.
You too may have links on your site that are not important from an SEO point of view.
Your site’s home page contains a login page link for your users. You probably don’t want to share the link value to your login page link as your login page does not require ranking on search results.
Therefore, you can use Nofollow links for that login page to prevent sharing the link value with it. Seeing the Nofollow tag on less important pages, Google won’t follow it, and it will not share your link value.
Now you may have started thinking of using Nofollow tags for less important pages of your site to provide more link value to your most important pages. But, you can’t do so. Earlier, people used these Nofollow tags to focus the link value on their valuable page, and they worked well too. But now, Google has evolved much more than earlier. Now, The link value for the Nofollow links does not move to other links on the pages. Google considers the Nofollow link a link, and its link value gets lost.
Therefore, you must focus on inserting fewer internal links on a particular page rather than using the Nofollow links.
- Noindex link
As you know, both Nofollow links and Noindex links are different. It’s noteworthy that using Nofollow links doesn’t suggest that those linked pages can not be seen in search results. Google will just not follow it, and it will lose its link value. However, they may appear in search engine results when they get indexed.
Search engines do not index links marked with a no-index attribute. You can use the Noindex link to stop your page from showing on SERP. Google will see the Noindex tag on the link and won’t index it.
2. The Anchor texts
The anchor text is the text in your content that is clickable. It is linked with another page of your site that you and your users can click to read further.
After selecting the links to include in a particular post and deciding which web pages on your site should receive more link value, you need to focus on the anchor text.
In the example below, ‘link schemes’ and ‘paid links’ are the two anchor texts that contain internal linking.
You need to use the anchor text carefully. Do not stuff the anchor text with your targeted keyword. It will seem over-optimized and may negatively impact your site.
Earlier, people used the same keyword for their anchor text to rank higher in search results. However, Google is smarter than ever. Google now understands your content. It can analyze whether your content is relevant to your keywords or not, or only the anchor text talks about the keyword. It’s obvious to Google that the content surrounding the anchor text is a better indicator of the keyword’s relevance than the anchor text itself.
Therefore, you need to put your anchor carefully. It should not appear like keyword stuffing and provide a natural touch to the content.
You can use keywords but avoid using the exact keyword and same anchor text again and again. You can use internal linking within the words related to your provided links.
In addition to this, the links you provide with the anchor text should be relevant to the previous content. It will only be helpful for the users if related information is linked with it; otherwise, it can affect your ranking.
Analyze the existing Internal links on your site
Before making a new linking strategy for your website, it is good to know the current position of your website. You can examine your website’s internal linking structure using the Semrush Site Audit tool.
You need to enter your domain into it, and it will provide you with the Internal Linking report of your website.
The report is divided into different sections. Each section gives you insight into your site—lets us see what each section depicts.
- Pages Crawl Depth: Using this, you can determine your website’s crawl depth. It is necessary that from your Homepage, you should be able to reach the most valuable pages of your website in three clicks.
- Internal Links: In this section, you will find out the number of pages receiving internal linking and the number of pages linking to others. You can also determine the orphaned content on your site.
- Internal Link Distribution: This report’s section suggests the pages with a weak Internal LinkRank (ILR).
- Internal Link Issues: This helps you determine the issue with your internal linking, such as the broken links, warnings, errors and notices.
- Pages passing most Internal LinkRank: This section displays a list of pages influencing other pages or their Internal LinkRank. This will help you find out your website’s most authoritative pages.
Using this report, you can determine your current internal linking status so that you can make up a new strategy accordingly.
The Yoast SEO Plugin And Internal Linking
To improvise your website’s internal linking, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin. It offers different features and checks for enhancing Internal linking on a post level.
In the sidebar or below the editor, it suggests whether or not you have created internal linking in your post.
- Text link counter
The Yoast SEO Plugin’s text link counter is a great tool to get an overview of your post. This shows the total number of internal links in a post and the total internal links pointing towards a post.
This can help you to find out the post that requires your attention.
The Yoast SEO Premium
Yoast also offers an SEO premium plugin further to enhance your internal linking to the next level.
- It can help you select the cornerstone article on your site and improve your internal linking based on it. We have discussed earlier how you can go with this cornerstone content approach.
- Secondly, it can help you find out the orphaned content on your site that lacks internal linking. For this, it includes an orphaned content filter tool. It provides you with the options to improve, delete the post, or you can hide it from Google.
- Another premium feature of Yoast SEO is the internal linking suggestion tool. This tool can help you determine the related posts that you can link to your posts.
A link directing to another page on the same website is an inbound or internal link. These are essential from the SEO as well as navigational point of view.
It can help Google and users navigate to related posts on your site easily and enhance your search ranking. Also, it can suggest to users and Google about your related pages to understand your site structure and help build trust in your site.
It is an essential part of on-page SEO and cannot be neglected. In fact, you cannot glorify it in the search results without involving a solid linking strategy.
You need a robust Internal linking strategy to improve your site’s presence in search results. You can use the above-suggested tactics to improve your site’s internal ranking.
We hope this has helped you!