You may have heard that links can be an important ranking factor. Usually, when you hear this you think of links to your website from other websites, commonly known as backlinks. However, internal links can help with SEO too!
When it comes to blogging or building a website, content is king. The goal of this content is to attract visitors who will often find your website via the search engines. This means your content needs to please both the search engines and your visitors.
Internal linking will help your SEO by driving traffic to other posts or pages of your website. This article will provide some useful tips on why you should not overlook internal linking.
What is an Internal Link?
There are two types of links you can have on your website – internal and external.
An internal link will take you to another page on the same domain. For example, a link on mywebsite.com/my-post points to mywebsite.com/my-other-post.
An external link will take you to a different domain.
To demonstrate here are two links:
- SEO – How to optimize a post This is an internal link that takes you to another post on this website
- Internal link This is an external link that takes you to Wikipedia
Both types of links are important but in this post, we will just consider internal links.
Menus and other navigational items in the footer, header, sidebar or breadcrumbs are also internal links that help to form the structure of your site. In this post, we will be looking at non-navigational links, links that appear in the main text of your posts.
Now that’s clear let’s consider why internal linking is important.
Why Use Internal Linking
Internal linking has many advantages.
1. It helps the search engines discover your content.
The search engines index your latest posts after they are crawled by their spiders or bots. These bots follow the links in your posts and discover other pages which can then be indexed. Hence, if you use solid internal linking Google will have an easier time finding new content.
2. The number of internal links may improve your Google ranking.
The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.
There have also been some case studies where internal linking has dramatically improved search engine rankings.
NinjaOutreach increased organic traffic by almost 50% by using an internal linking strategy! Websitetips4u improved their ranking for a keyword from position 29 to 4!
Internal linking is probably one of the more than 200 Google ranking factors and it can improve your rankings. Google apparently uses the number of internal links towards a page to figure out how important a page is and then rank it accordingly.
3. Internal links pass link juice
When one page of your website links to another page it passes some of its authority or link juice.
If you have links from other sites to your domain, these sites pass some of their authority to your whole site which will probably increase your search engine rankings. Internal links pass authority between pages of your website.
4. Internal links are user-friendly.
By using internal links in your articles with anchor text (the clickable text in a link) you can send your visitors to other pages of your website.
Your anchor text should be relevant to the article you’re linking to and should let your visitors know that the linked article has been selected to let them find out more. The anchor text can also inform the search engines about the subject of a page.
SEO is becoming more and more about user experience, anything that improves UX is worth doing.
5. Internal links can reduce bounce rate.
Visitors who look at more than one page on your website will reduce your bounce rate. Linking to related posts from your articles will keep people on your site for longer and encourage them to read other content.
This will also help you to build trust and be considered an authority on the subject of your website.
Time spent on your site and bounce rate may be ranking signals, although there is a lot of debate about this.
6. Internal linking provides value to your visitors.
Although internal linking may be good for SEO the main reason for using internal links is to provide value for your visitors. By adding a relevant internal link or two you will provide additional resources to your readers.
7. Internal links can help you to make more money.
Although internal links may not directly improve conversions or sales, you can funnel visitors to pages with affiliate links or products you promote.
8. It’s Completely Controlled By You
Unlike backlinks to your site, internal links are controlled by you, easily and quickly. The anchor texts, where you place the links and the pages or posts you link to are all under your control.
Your internal links can be changed, deleted, added or modified at your discretion. This can be useful if you stop promoting a product or service or to provide a new internal link to a post you have just published.
You may also like: Meta tags for SEO
Tips for Internal Linking for Best SEO
1. For internal linking, you will need content. Produce lots of high-quality content to be able to link to different articles.
Some people have complicated strategies. I like to keep it simple and link to articles where it makes sense and will be useful to my readers. This way it’s quick and easy!
2. If you have content that has attracted a lot of backlinks you can use these pages to boost other pages you want to rank on the first page of Google.
This may work if you are on page 2 of Google however, you will need to find the pages of your website with a lot of backlinks
3. If you use several links to the same article in a post, the search engines will prioritize the first anchor text.
You want to use any keywords in the first link to the post, the subsequent anchor texts won’t be so important.
4. Keep your internal links to a reasonable number. The question is what’s a reasonable number? There is no set rule.
Google used to recommend no more than 100 links on a page. 100 seems like a lot but that includes all the various navigational links in the header, footer, and sidebar. Then it depends on the length of your post, the longer your post the more internal links you can add.
As you can see there is no rule. Add links where they will be useful to the user.
5. Don’t use no-follow links. The rel=nofollow attribute was introduced is 2005 and it used to be an internal linking strategy to no-follow the majority of links on a page. The idea was to increase the link juice to one or two pages and was known as page-sculpting.
It’s now recommended to let the link juice flow freely between your pages.
6. Only link to pages that are relevant to your content. There is no value for your readers in linking to something completely out of context.
For example, this post links to articles about on-page SEO and user experience metrics for SEO. These articles could be of interest to someone who is trying to improve search engine rankings with internal linking.
Internal links are only a small part of your search engine optimization but even so they should not be neglected.
If you follow the recommendations above, internal links will improve your SEO and also give your visitors a better experience.
As you can see adding internal links is not difficult. I hope this post has given all the information you need to start building internal links on your website.
If you haven’t been including internal links in your content you can go over your old posts and start adding internal links now. You have full control of everything – where you place links, anchor text and the posts you link to.
Try it and let us know how you get on or if you have any questions let us know in the comments section below.
Hi Peter, thanks for referencing that case study by Ninja Outreach. I never even considered tiered internal link building and it sparked a few ideas, thank.
Also, I really like your article.
Most of the that try to explain the concept of internal links fall flat. It’s because they get technical and boring really quickly.
But your blog post manages to keep the balance of telling everything one needs to know while doing so in light and newbie-friendly tone.
I’d also like to add one tip to your list of advice at the end.
When changing the internal link anchor text in your blog post, make sure to change the words around it too.
It’s because Google doesn’t like changes done purely for SEO and changing a paragraph where your link is hosted shows them your thinking about the user first.
Also, the link will be stronger stronger because that page is fresh now and Google’s freshness algorithm rewards new content.
Thanks for reading
Yes, the Ninja Outreach case study is interesting and the results they achieved are very impressive. Glad it has given you some ideas!
Thanks for adding your tip, you make a very good point, although if you change the anchor text to help users understand them better then I think that would be fine.
Many thanks for your comment,