Internal links plays a vital role in Search Engine Optimization. It does not just enhance the user experience, it also points to other existing pages on your site that your visitors will find valuable. How you link to other pages within your site also helps Google locate the rest of your pages, index and rank them for specific keywords.
Sometimes, some of the strongest backlinks a website has will come from an internal link. Wikipedia is perhaps the best example to mention here. For every page you access, you will notice that every single one of them contains a plethora of internal links to other Wikipedia pages. This technique actually helps them dominate the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
So why does internal linking matter to your blog or website?
Every webmaster’s goal is to have every page on his blog crawled and indexed by Google. The way this process works is that they observe a single page, and follow any link present in it. This helps the Google bots uncover more unknown posts and index more webpages from a particular site.
If you are going to check where your backlinks are coming from, you will most likely see that most of them are directed to your homepage and less of them to other pages. Sadly, too many backlinks on your homepage are not good for SEO. Your deep pages should gather links as well. This is where internal linking becomes handy.
What internal linking does is it leads Google to other pages by pinpointing the direction where the bots should crawl. These links serve as a guide to both search engines and visitors towards other valuable posts at your website and create a clear path for indexation.
It is also vital to note that when you create an internal link, it should also contain an anchor text instead of a navigational text or an image. Doing so improves the value of the internal link and the content itself. The Google bots do not just crawl for links. They are also considering the anchor text that was attached to the link.
Furthermore, you can also pass some of the link juice of your strong posts to other pages on your site. Link juice is just the SEO jargon meaning roughly the trust google gives to a page; the more links leading to a page the more trust it gets, and this includes internal links.
If you have a page that received a lot of backlinks, you can edit that post and start adding internal links to your least performing pages. Just remember not to add them for the sake of having internal links. Create them with common sense and logic in mind.
As for the number of internal links to add in a page, there is no specific magic number for it. According to Matt Cutts, a former head of the Google Quality team, as long as you do not exaggerate your internal links, you do not have to worry about violating the Webmaster Guidelines by Google.
Perhaps the most critical use of internal linking is to provide valuable content to your visitors.
Your visitors are bound to explore other interesting articles that reinforce the topic they are currently reading. Ultimately, they are likely to click the links you have provided to them. An added bonus is that it also helps your visitors stay engaged longer, thereby increasing the trustworthiness of your site.
Taking the time to add internal links boosts the value of each article or post you publish because they can easily find related resources that you have published elsewhere on your site. While it does not drive direct conversion, it carries users to a specific destination where they might ultimately become paying customers or clients.
Here are the essential details to remember when incorporating internal links into your site:
- They should be embedded within your blog content.
- Always remember to use a relevant keyword or key phrase as an anchor text.
- Keep in mind that the topics you are linking should be related to one another.
- Use a “dofollow” attribute in your links.
- When clicking the link, be sure that the user stays on the same browser tab. Do not use target=”_blank” in the URL code.
- Connect one article to another and avoid linking internally to your site’s Contact or About Me page.
- For every published article, link to at least four or more older content. But remember not to over saturate your post with internal links.
- Link to high converting pages when the opportunity presents itself, especially when you know you have written a compelling content.
By adding internal links with related anchors, you improve your search engine rankings. At times, SEO can be complicated, but using internal links is one of the simpler, easier and most effective techniques that do not require an insane amount of research, work and effort to pull off.
Follow the tips above and create a strong internal link portfolio, and you will rapidly notice an improvement in your rankings.