Internal Links as defined by Moz, are hyperlinks that point to the same domain as the domain that the link exists on. Simply put, an internal link points to another page on the same website.
They are useful for your website for three reasons:
- They help users navigate your site
- They help to establish a site hierarchy for the content
- They spread ‘link juice’ around websites
How Google Uses Links
Google uses internal and external links to help rank your content. Google crawls websites by following links using a bot called Google bot. When the bot arrives at the homepage of a website, it starts to render the page and follows the links to work out the relationship between the various pages, posts and other content.
This search engine itself has confirmed this method, saying ‘Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.’ According to Google, the number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.
How to Set Up an Effective Internal Link Strategy
1. Consider the Structure for your site
Your website should be well organised and structured on a number of levels. Think of your site as a pyramid-like structure, with the following levels:
- Categories: Sections that are related to what you sell such as different categories of products or services
- Subcategories: Smaller sections within your broader categories. This will be more relevant for larger sites.
- Individual Pages and Posts: Blogs and other pages that provide additional information.
The homepage is at the top of the pyramid, with sections or category pages beneath it. All of your content should sit under one of these categories unless you have a wide product range, where creating subcategories would be relevant. Individual pages and posts sit beneath your categories and subcategories. Your website’s menu should reflect this structure.
2. Identify the Most Appropriate Anchor Texts
Anchor text is the clickable text in the hyperlink. As best practice for SEO, this anchor text should contain keywords and key phrases that are relevant to the page that you are linking to. The specific keywords that are used in the anchor text are one of the signals that search engines use to determine the topic of a web page.
It’s important to ensure the anchor text is natural in your copy and includes relevant keywords and phrases in an organic way. Be careful not to over-optimise your anchor texts to the point where you are ‘keyword stuffing’ as this can damage your website. While years ago this was an effective technique for SEO, Google is smarter now and looks at the content around the anchor text to identify the relevance of a keyword.
3. Add Links Throughout Your Site
Once you have identified your site structure and anchor texts, the following tips can help you to ensure your internal links are working to their full potential to boost your SEO.
- Add Contextual Links: Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. Blogs are also great for internal linking. When you post articles about your products and services, link them back to the relevant pages on your site, as well as to other blog posts. This indicates to Google that the articles are topically related and send link juice to your main pages. Adding internal links to your posts is really simple. You can link directly from sentences within your content or simply add links to the end of your post.
- Add Navigational Links: In addition to linking from topical posts and pages, you can boost your category pages by ensuring there are links to them from the homepage, top navigation or footer. These links should be added to point to the pages that are most important to your business in order to boost their link value and, as such, their ranking on the SERPs.
- Consider a Related Posts Section: There are many plugins available that can add ‘related posts’ sections to your blog posts. This can be an easy way to link to other relevant blog posts from your articles, however, you should still ensure you are doing this manually with relevant anchor texts, as this is most effective for SEO.
- Add Links to Taxonomies: Taxonomies, like categories and tags, help to organise a website and help users and search engines understand your content. If you have a blog, adding internal links to the taxonomies that the post belongs to can be beneficial as it can help search engines understand the structure of your blog and help visitors to more easily navigate to related posts.
For more help or advice on your business’ SEO, get in touch with the SEO specialist agency Hong Kong, Digital Squad.