Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving; more information about how to rank on search engines, ranking factors, and more SEO experts are available, but despite this, one strategy that is often overlooked is internal linking.
While much attention is given to external links, internal linking is vital in enhancing your website’s visibility and user experience.
This blog post will explain the world of internal linking and show you some of the best practices and tips to effectively utilize internal linking for SEO.
What Is Internal Linking?
Internal linking for SEO is the practice of linking to other pages on your website. It assists users in navigating your website and locating the information they seek.
This practice also helps search engines understand your website’s navigational structure and the relationships between different pages.
Benefits of Internal Linking for SEO
a. Improved SEO Rankings
When you link to important pages on your website from other pages, you tell search engines these pages are important, which can help to improve the rankings of these pages in SERPs.
b. Enhanced User Experience
Internal linking also contributes to a better user experience on your website.
Imagine being able to read related posts or be guided to a similar post with a single click.
With this, the dwell time for users will likely increase because they will spend more time engaging with your content if they can easily navigate to the pages they want.
c. Decreased Bounce Rate
The bounce rate for a website is the number of users who leave the site immediately after loading or viewing a single page.
If your bounce rate is high, it can mean that users are not finding what they are looking for on your website.
Internal linking can decrease the bounce rate by making it easier for users to find the additional information they seek and navigate to other pages on your website.
d. Better Indexing of Content
Bots, or web crawlers, are automated robotic systems search engines use to crawl and index web pages.
These bots follow links registered on your sitemap to find new pages.
Well-structured internal linking makes it easier for search engine bots to discover and index your website’s pages, increasing your website’s visibility in search results.
Best Practices for Internal Linking for SEO
Here are some practices I utilize when doing internal linking for SEO:
1. Choosing the Right Anchor Text
Anchor text is the visible text or word to which a link is attached.
Your choice of anchor text is important because it helps search engines understand the context of the linked page and the relationship between the referring and linked pages.
- Use relevant and descriptive anchor text. Your anchor text should be relevant to the link page.
- Avoid generic anchor texts like “click here” or “learn more.”
- Use a variety of anchor texts. Avoid using the exact anchor text for multiple links.
- Use long-tail anchor text.
Long-tail anchor text is more specific and descriptive than short-tail anchor text. For example, instead of linking to a page with the anchor text “click here,” you could use the anchor text “best practices for internal linking.”
2. Correct Placement of Internal Links
You can place internal links anywhere on a page, but they are most effective when placed in the body of the text because search engines give more weight to links placed in the body than links placed in the header, footer, or sidebar.
Here are some excellent places to place internal links:
- In the body of the text, where they are relevant and contextual.
- In the introduction and conclusion of a post or article.
- In the image’s alt text.
- In the captions of images and videos.
- In the related posts section.
- In the author’s bio.
Placing your internal links in the body of your texts indicates they are contextually relevant to your content and not just a random link.
3. Link to important pages
You should link to the relevant pages on your website. Linking to irrelevant pages can confuse search engines and users.
When linking to internal pages, consider the following:
- Link to pages that are relevant to the current page.
- Link to pages that are important to your website.
- Link to pages you want users to visit.
For example, if you are writing a blog post about “best practices for internal linking,” you could link to other blog posts on your website about topics related to linking, SEO best practices, and other points mentioned in your content (if you have a blog post relevant to them).
You could also link to your homepage and your contact page.
4. Linking from High-Traffic Pages
Linking from high-traffic pages can pass SEO authority to other pages on your website. This practice can improve the rankings of these pages in search results.
To identify your high-traffic pages, you can use Google Analytics. Once you have identified them, you can start linking from them to other pages on your website and even create sections in your high-traffic posts that deliberately link to other posts you want.
Here are some tips for linking from high-traffic pages:
- Link to relevant pages.
- Link to pages you want to promote.
- Use a variety of anchor texts.
- Avoid overlinking.
Avoid overlinking so Google and other search engines do not flag your content.
Remember to maintain a balance between internal and external links in each of your posts.
5. Avoiding Overuse
Avoid overuse of internal links, as search engines see this as spammy.
A good rule of thumb is to link to a page only if it is relevant to the page you are on.
6. Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links
There are two types of internal links: nofollow and dofollow.
Nofollow links tell the search engines not to follow or pass SEO authority to the linked page, while dofollow links tell search engines which linked page they should pass SEO authority to.
Use nofollow links for links you do not want search engines to follow, such as paid advertising or social media pages. Use dofollow links to direct visitors to important pages you want to index and rank.
7. Being Mobile-Friendly
When creating internal links, you should ensure the links are mobile-friendly.
The links should be easy to click on and navigate on mobile devices. You should also avoid using pop-ups or overlays for internal links, as these can be disruptive to users.
8. Using XML Sitemaps
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all of your website’s pages. XML sitemaps can assist search engines in discovering and indexing the pages on your website.
You can use a plugin or an online tool to create an XML sitemap for the pages on your site. Once you have created your XML sitemap, submit it to Google Search Console.
The sitemaps help in validating your internal links.
9. Regular Auditing and Maintenance
It is important to regularly audit your internal linking structure to ensure it is still effective. This includes checking for broken links, orphan pages, and duplicate content.
Several link checker tools can help you audit your internal linking structure. Link checker tools can identify broken links, orphan pages, and duplicate content.
Internal linking for SEO is a powerful yet often underestimated strategy that can give your website the competitive edge it needs. When you link your pages, you optimize your website for search engines and enhance the overall user experience.
Regularly audit and update your internal linking strategy to adapt to new SEO updates and user preferences.
With the right approach to internal linking, you’ll see improvements in your website’s rankings and provide valuable, engaging content to your audience.