What Are Internal Links?
Internal links are hyperlinks that will point to other pages within your website. For example, the webpage “dog.com/leashes” can have a hyperlink that points to “dog.com/collars”.
Why Are Internal Links Important To Your Website?
Having a website with internal links helps Google better understand the webpages on your website thus giving authority or “Page rank” to the important web pages on your website.
What Are The Best Practices For Internal Linking?
1. Content Development
In order for internal linking to work well, you need to have enough content within your website for it to be successful. So when thinking about the architecture and growth of your website, it’s important to categorize the areas that make the most sense and build information around that.
If your website is focused on dog products, you will want to create content that is categorized by the areas that you focus on (e.g. food, toys, clothes, etc). The more content you have, the better you are able to give more page authority to important webpages.
2. Usability Is Key
You have your structure and you have a content development plan, now what? Usability is probably the next most important piece of the internal linking puzzle. Although we want to ensure that we’re ranking high for certain keywords, we also want to ensure that the strategy makes sense and its fluid from a user’s perspective. You want to put yourself in the shoes of the potential customer, and place links within your site that make sense as it relates to a natural progression. You want to look at each web page as its own independent landing page, and you would never want someone to just get “stuck” on your site without knowing where to go next.
3. Focus on Anchor Text
Anchor Text is the visible text in a hyperlink. For example, this is anchor text. Google encourages users to use keywords within your anchor text, and you should try your best not to duplicate the anchor text across multiple links. The anchor text helps Google understand what the webpages are about, so you want to ensure that you’re using rich keywords that are relevant to the linked page.
4. Don’t Link To Every Page, Focus On Authority
When creating an internal linking strategy, it’s important to note that you don’t have to link to every single page on your website. Focus on your webpages with the most authority and then figure out what pages you want to pass “link juice” onto from said pages.
Audit Your Links with Google Search Console
5. Linking Structure
Think about what needs to be placed within the top-level and side level navigation of your website. Think about their needs first as that’s most important. How can you make their navigation process smooth and seamless?
The footer is almost always left out when discussing a linking strategy, but it is a great piece of real estate to take advantage of as it also plays a role in the search engine rankings. You don’t have to copy all of the links within the main navigation, but you do want to place the most important links within this area as well.
–Placement is Key
Try to place your internal links more towards the top of the pages as it helps with the overall click-through rate. This is important because links buried at the bottom tend to get less love and that hurts your opportunity to keep people on your site!
6. Always Keep It “100”
You should never put more than 100 links within a page. This will hurt your SEO rankings. Although it may seem like it is impossible to bake in more than 100 hyperlinks on a page, please be reminded that Google also counts the links within your navigation and footers. So be careful to not make this mistake.
7. Always Analyze
After you officially launch your internal linking strategy, it’s time to ensure that the plan put in place is working well. You can analyze this by checking Google Search Console and reviewing their “Links” feature. This feature will show you how your internal links are set up and how they’re performing. You should audit this at least once or twice per year, and make any necessary changes (such as low priority pages getting a lot of internal linking love).