Internal Linking For SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

November 1, 2021 | technical SEO

Are you building out an internal linking strategy for SEO purposes or looking to improve your existing one? You need links. When executed correctly, internal links improve page rank, time on site, page views, and more – all while creating a more user-friendly experience. This guide will show you how creating high-quality content and internal linking can draw in Web crawlers and visitors. Though sometimes overlooked, internal linking is a significant factor in ranking on Google and other search engines. 

What Are Internal Links?

Internal links are hyperlinks that bring the user from one page on your website to a different page on your website. Sites use deliberate internal links to help users explore relevant information by way of links that weave the content of your site together.  

Moreover, internal links help search engines like Google navigate through your site to spread ranking power. Internal links help establish a hierarchy of information for your site. In addition, internal links help Google crawlers find, index and understand all of the pages on your site- Ultimately, helping your site rank better. 

Internal Links vs External Links

Both internal and external links are critical when building out an SEO strategy. Internal links connect web pages, articles, or blog posts on your own website, while external links connect your pages to external websites. SEO is an ever-evolving concept, but the importance of linking continues to remain a best practice.  

Why Is Internal Linking For SEO Important?

Often referred to as “link juice,” link equity helps pass authority and value from one page to another. In terms of advantages of internal links, you will find that well-executed internal links:

  • Help the user experience by offering helpful pages through anchor text
  • Improve organic traffic
  • Help spread “link juice”
  • Help boost page views and rank
  • Help Web crawlers recognize your site’s content

Best Practices

SEO best practices help you rank on the first page of Google. According to HubSpot’s research platform, only 25% of users scroll past the first page of Google search results. For SEO, it is now more important than ever to use best practices within your compelling content.

SEO best practices refer to several concepts. For now, let’s focus on internal links, as they can significantly boost ranking when appropriately used.     

Keyword-Rich Anchor Text

Google Search Central, formerly known as Google Webmasters, recommends that you make it as easy as possible for users to navigate from general content to more specific content on your site. All of the pages on your site should be reachable through links. In most cases, creating the best experience for the user will, in turn, align with internal linking best practices. 

When adding internal links to your page, consider which content could use further explanation. Quality internal links link pages with related topics through descriptive anchor text. Using short and descriptive anchor text helps users and Google understand your page’s intention.  

Link To Important Pages

Keep in mind that when you are interlinking pages, you send link equity from page to page. This practice can help you rank better in Google, which is why it is vital to strategically link important pages. You can use software like Ahrefs or SEMrush to get a better understanding of which pages on your site have the most authority.

At this point, you can link from your high-authority page to the pages you want to rank most. So if you can find a clever way to link from a pillar page with high authority to your new page, it could potentially benefit both pages.  

Help Google Index Your Site

According to Google, controlling much of the navigation from page to page through text links on your site makes it easier for Web crawlers to understand your site. By design, Web crawlers recreate the thinking process of a user. The bots visit your site and follow the links and pages that are easily indexed. Thus, setting up a strong internal hierarchy between links can help the bots reach pages that are not always visited. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Internal Links Are Too Many?

There is no definitive answer as to how many internal links are too many. Google claims its bots can crawl hundreds of links per page. However, it is best practice to consider the user experience. Links should add to the content and context of the page. They should not be unreasonably distracting. 

It is worth mentioning that using the same anchor text on multiple pages may confuse Google crawlers. For example, suppose you have two pages on your site. The first page is about high-heel shoes and the second is about basketball shoes. If you were to use “shoes” as anchor text on both pages, it would tell Google that both pages are on the same specific topic. 

You want to avoid linking both pages with the same anchor text. Instead, use more descriptive or specific anchor text for each page. 

What Is “Orphaned Content?”

Orphaned content refers to pages or posts that do not have any links from other pages on the same domain. Orphaned content is virtually unfindable and undeniably hinders SEO strategies. If Google crawls a page and does not find any internal links, it will consider the content less important than other pages.   

Can You Add New Internal Links To Old Pages?

Simply put, yes. It is best practice to add new internal links to old pages. Following up on the last question, be sure to link to new content from other related high authority pages to show Google that the page is important. 

Internal Linking In Your Content Is Crucial 

A well-thought-out internal linking strategy for SEO may be the difference between your content ranking or not ranking. It is always a good idea to use available software for auditing your website.

You’ll find that minor corrections can correlate to a spike in Google ranking. Use these tips to improve your user’s experience while building authority on Google. If you have any questions about your internal linking strategy for SEO, and what we can do for you, give us a call today. 

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