Internal link building is an imperative part of a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Your content almost assuredly needs links if you want Google and other search engines to rank your pages. These links help them better understand what you’re talking about. Links — internal and external — tell the search engines more about the value of the content you’re providing to your audience. The more links you have, the more valuable your content is.
Internal links establish a hierarchy on your site, helping people navigate your pages as they find the most helpful information while scanning your content. But if you’re still not sure of their actual value, don’t worry. Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including what they are and how to set them up strategically.
With this in mind, let’s dive deeper into the world of internal linking.
What is Internal Linking?
In the world of SEO, people usually think of external links when they hear the term “link building.” Sure, that’s an essential piece of the puzzle, but internal link-building is just as crucial.
Internal links direct visitors to other relevant pages within your website. They help both users and search engines find information on your pages. People can navigate internal links to find the content most relevant to their needs. Similarly, search engines use links to navigate your website; they likely won’t see a page if you don’t have links to it.
Sure, they’re not necessarily the first thing you might think of when you think of link building, but internal links play an important role in driving ROI for your marketing efforts. Internal links come in a few different formats. Often, internal links are found on the homepage menu, but you can also add links within your content to add context to the information you’re talking about at the time. Contextual links allow search engines to discover what your content is about so they can determine the value of each page and rank it accordingly. The more links that point to a particular page, the more likely it is that search engines will understand the importance of that page and rank it higher.
Internal vs. External Linking
Nearly every website out there contains a combination of internal and external links. Internal links guide users to other pages within your own website, while external links connect your website’s pages to other websites (and vice versa). In this post, we’ll focus on internal links — the links you can build directly into your content to showcase other pages and posts your brand has created.
SEO Benefits of Internal Linking
Website interlinking helps Google understand what your content is telling visitors so it knows how to rank you when people search for specific keywords. When you link to other pages using descriptive anchor text, you’re telling the search engines which pages of your site are essential and what they’re all about.
The following are a few of our favorite SEO benefits when it comes to internal linking:
1. Enhanced User Experience
Internal links help create something called link juice — a term that describes and measures how much power a link passes onto a site, thereby strengthening it. The link juice you earn when you link internally helps also boost your users’ experiences because each internal link offers your audience the ability to dive deeper into your content and inform themselves about the topics you’re talking about.
The connections within your internal links help your audience build their knowledge on the topics they find most interesting.
2. Improved Engagement Metrics
When it comes to SEO ranking tips, you want to pay attention to your metrics. When you lay out a clear journey for your visitors, you’re enticing them to explore your website more deeply and view more pages.
This, in turn, helps reduce your bounce rate and increases the time on the page — both metrics the search engines pay attention to when deciding where to rank your content.
3. Drives Users Toward Conversion
If you’re an eCommerce brand, an internal link structure will help improve user navigation on your site, which should ultimately assist in boosting sales. Relevant connections, particularly from your early-funnel content, help to bring your visitors further into the funnel and drive conversions.
Why Are Links Important to Google?
Internal links are essential because they help search engines understand what your content is about and inform them how to rank you better. When you give Google links to follow, along with descriptive anchor text, you’re communicating to the search giant which pages are important and what’s contained in each of them.
How to Set Up an Internal Linking Strategy
Whether you’re wondering how to link to a specific part of a page or you’re just looking for overall internal linking for SEO strategies, this guide should help get you there.
- Use keyword-rich anchor text. Great anchor text tells readers and the search engines what they will learn about when they click on the link.
- Link to important pages. Give your most important pages a lot of credit when it comes to internal links. The more traffic you drive to those pages, the more value Google will see when it evaluates your ranking.
- Avoid using the same anchor text for two different pages. This needs to be clarified for readers and search engines. Instead, look for unique phrases that are topical to the individual points you want people to learn about.
- Put links high up on your page. Disperse your links evenly throughout your content, or keep most of them at the top. People have little patience these days and may only read through some of your content, so direct them where they need to be as soon as possible.
Let ZGM Help Create a Link Strategy
Internal and external linking are both very important for the success of your website’s optimization efforts. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck, reach out to our team at Zero Gravity Marketing for help today!