Internal Linking & its Impact on SEO
Internal linking is integral to SEO success, yet many articles that discuss SEO techniques and best practices skip over it. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of internal linking and the impact these links have on SEO.
A brief introduction to internal linking
Many people are familiar with articles that contain links. Internal links are links from one page to another on the same domain or website. Every site has internal links, but not all content marketing strategies are taking full advantage of the potential impact of internal links. When used to full effect, internal links can have a dramatic impact on SEO, boosting performance and enhancing search engine ranking significantly.
Why is internal linking important for SEO?
Internal linking is critical for search engine optimisation because search engines like Google use links to discover and identify new content. If you produce an article, and you include links to other pages within your sitemap, Google will be able to locate them using crawler technology. Google is already aware of content that has previously been discovered through crawling, but adding internal links enables it to discover new content on the same site.
Internal links are also beneficial because they improve page ranking and authority and they enable web users to navigate your website, enhancing user experience. User experience plays an increasingly important role in SEO, as search engines are actively looking to promote pages and sites that offer value for their online audience.
How to use internal linking to boost SEO
It is challenging to stand out online, with more and more businesses and organisations looking to turn heads and drive traffic to their websites. This is why it’s crucial to understand how to improve SEO performance and ensure the content you produce and share has the best chance of helping you achieve key business objectives. Success is never guaranteed with SEO and the days of simply producing keyword-rich content and moving up the rankings are long gone.
SEO is complex and there are several steps to take to climb the page and earn respect from search engines. Internal linking is one ploy that can make a positive difference.
There are several best practice guidelines to consider when exploring internal linking and its impact on SEO. These include:
• Determining the structure of your site
The structure of your website is an important consideration for search engines. Think of your site as a pyramid, with the most important pages at the top. In most cases, the homepage will form the tip, followed by category pages and then individual pages, posts and sub-categories. Your most valuable and important content should be the focus of your internal linking strategy. You want your links to divert to cornerstone content and search engine crawlers to recognise that these are your most critical pages. Use links to build and underline your hierarchical structure. You should aim to link ‘parent’ articles with ‘child’ articles, which include features that are related within a sub-category, for example. You can also link to sibling pages, connecting posts that are similar to make it easy for readers to explore different subjects and for search engines to recognise that your content is related.
• Adding context and connecting content
Many sites cover a range of topics or subjects. If you’re producing an article, it’s advisable to add links that are connected. Link to other articles that cover similar or related subjects within the same categories or sub-categories. Choose the articles that you consider most important and the pages you want people to visit. If you have a cornerstone piece, all articles that are connected to this post in terms of theme and category should link back to that feature. You can also link to other articles from your cornerstone piece to encourage readers to view those posts too. Incorporating links within the body of the text is an excellent idea and you can also suggest similar posts and include links in a related post section beneath the article.
• Anchor text
Using anchor texts can be an effective way to improve page ranking, but it’s essential to use them in the right way. Anchors should use keywords, but they should always be natural and relevant to the subject of the article.
• The number of links
When creating content for SEO purposes, it’s vital to understand the rules and regulations to avoid penalties and maximise the chances of getting your posts and links noticed. There are red flags that can arouse suspicion, including content that is stuffed with keywords and endless links. It is often beneficial to add a substantial number of internal links, but it’s important not to go too far. Typically, you would expect to see 10-15 internal links per 1,000 words, but this number is not set in stone and it’s not solely the quantity that matters. Quality is always a factor for search engines. It is better to have a smaller number of high-quality links than a larger number of poor quality links. Using too many links could dilute the impact of the links you want to prioritise.
Relevance is a key factor when choosing internal links. Adding links that are irrelevant will undermine the strategy. Users want to be able to navigate a site with ease and to find content that is of interest to them. If you’re writing about bringing a new puppy into your home and getting the house ready, for example, link to other pages that talk about dog ownership or welcoming a pet into your family. An article like this should not link to a piece about a new winter wardrobe, DIY projects to add value to your home or healthy eating, for example. Every link should serve a purpose.
Internal linking is an integral component of SEO success, but all too often, it is overlooked. If you’re looking to drive traffic, improve your search engine ranking and enhance user experience, it’s beneficial to understand the potential impact of internal linking and add relevant, high-quality internal links to your content. Internal linking can improve user experience, enable search engines to find your content and encourage users to spend more time on your website.