Internal links are the backbone of any website. They help to drive traffic to the site based on reliable data and endorsement and also guide people to the right areas on the website in order to obtain the valuable information that they’re looking for.
But what are internal links and how do they work?
Internal links are the links on your website which direct visitors to other pages on the same website. This helps with the user journey, as your visitors can easily navigate to find the things that they’re looking for.
The ability to get right to the point will reduce your bounce rate and keep visitors happier, meaning that you’re more likely to be able to achieve your end goal, whether that’s boosting conversion by encouraging people to make a purchase or getting people to sign up to a service.
Internal links can also help you to boost your rankings on search engines, as they help you to cast a wider web across the internet, flagging your pages so that it’s not just your homepage that appears in the search. In general, the more links that you have to other reputable and related pages, the more valuable the search engine will feel that your website is to the audience.
There are a few different types of internal links that you could use on a website.
These appear on most websites and are links on the homepage that direct visitors to your most used pages. This could be a link to an ‘about us’ page or a ‘products’ page.
Most websites also operate using a ‘search’ feature. This allows the visitors to type in key terms that they’re looking for and your website will automatically pull up the most relevant information based on the search.
These search boxes are great to help with site navigation, but it’s important that all the pages available from the search box are also available through other links on your website.
Having a page that’s hidden unless someone searches for it will mean that none of the information on that page is searchable through a search engine, limiting your exposure and will also mean that it gets limited views just because the visitor has to put the right keywords into the search box to find it.
Contextual links are the most common links found on blogging sites. They utilize the copy on the website and highlight keywords which link to other related topics on other posts. This creates a web of interesting reading material for a visitor to keep them on the website longer and is a good marketing tool to offer products along the way.
Footer links often link out to hidden pages on the website to show terms and conditions or policies. These aren’t usually searchable from a search engine perspective but are there just in case a visitor needs to refer back to them.
The more valuable internal links you use on your website, the higher the chance is that you’ll rank on page one of a search engine. If you’re using contextual links, the search engine will rank these keywords that are selected as part of the link as being important on your website, just like they’d consider your headings important.
To a search engine, you’re highlighting that those specific words are something that’s important to your site. This means that if people search for those words, then your page is more likely to rank higher.
Incidentally, we have developed a powerful WordPress plugin that will automate your internal linking across your entire site. The plugin is called: – Internal Link Master.
Click the “Find Out More” button or this Internal Link Master link to find out more about the plugin and how to download it if you are interested in it.
It will enable you to add relevant internal links across the entire site by listing relevant suggestions that you can add at the push of a button.
It will also automatically identify any link errors that may be on some of your pages/posts and will list them all and enable you to quickly fix the errors with the click of a button.
While it’s standard practice to include as many relevant links as possible on your web pages in order to help/increase visitor navigation and to boost your search engine rankings, it is also important to make sure the links are relevant to the topic.
The issue is that search engines have with large numbers of links on them is that they only have a certain crawl capacity. The crawl capacity is the amount of text that the search engine will scroll through to determine if the site is valuable in regard to specific keywords.
A search engine will only usually look into 150 links per page before it stops crawling. If you have more links on a single page, the ones after this 150 will not aid your SEO and will simply remain on the page on the off chance that someone scrolls that far to click.
It’s essential that you keep your links up to date. If your internal links divert people to an error message or a dead or old page that is no longer in use, this can harm your chances of rankings highly on the search engine. This is because your site is not helpful to the user in finding what they’re looking for and therefore, not beneficial for the search engine to display.
When making contextual links within page copy, it’s important that the keywords selected for links are relevant to your message and aren’t overused throughout the copy. Using a keyword or phrase too often may make the search engine feel that you are trying to plug the word to get more views and not offering relevant or valuable content. This is known as keyword cannibalization and is a topic covered in another post. It is something that you should aim to avoid and fix if you have this on your site.
Link equity is the process whereby certain pages pass on their value to other linked pages just because of their association. This can happen through both internal and external links.
In the past, link equity was gained by page value being determined due to the number of keywords on a certain page and the amount of links that link to other pages from there.
This was changed over the last few years as having a keyword 100 times on a single page doesn’t necessarily make that page valuable. The links on that page also don’t determine value, as they may link to pages that aren’t relevant.
These days, the value of a page is determined based on the value of the page to its consumer base. This means naturally dispersed links and keywords to show that the content isn’t just fishing for visitors.
To boost link equity, your site should have links that are related to valuable website or pages that help the consumer to answer their questions. A few well-placed links that go to valuable site content with relevant keywords will serve you much better than a ton of links that go to other content with low equity.
If you use a bot to place in links onto your site to develop connections with other content, then this may harm your equity. Links placed by bots don’t always count as having high value, so having associations can harm your page value too.
When placing links on your site, there may be an option to add a ‘no follow’ tag. This stops the links from being crawlable and therefore doesn’t add any value when considering your SEO ranking.
The no follow tag is often added automatically if you use a bot to place links, meaning these links actually reduce your site’s value rather than boosting it.
There are various services out there which check your webpage equity for you by simply crawling the page for link value, searching the wider internet for external links and valuable connections.
Exploring the possibilities of external and internal linking can really help to boost your SEO capabilities and ensure your website is seen by more people. The more links you have internally, the more chance your potential visitors or customer have of finding your site and eventually, helping you to achieve your end-goal.
This powerful plugin automates your websites internal linking that maximize your rank performance on Google
SEO Has Never Been So Simple!