Internal links lead users through your website’s content. But they can also give you a plus in search engine positioning! We are talking about Internal Linking.
By “internal links” we mean links that point to pages, categories, posts, generic information or sections of your own website (self-links). And if you’re wondering if they can be optimized, the answer is, yes! But in the SEO world, the obsession with getting external links is such that Internal Linking is often forgotten.
This technique is, for many, the ugly girl that no one wants to ask to dance. But as it happens in the movies, often you just have to look at her with different eyes, to see her potential, to discover that without the glasses and backcombed bangs, she is a real beauty! Metaphors aside, if we build well the links that lead to the different pages of our domain, we will gain points in the eyes of Google.
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I’m going to explain how you can work the links inside your website to turn Internal Linking into a fundamental pillar of your on-page optimization strategy. You may know about this as much as I do, but I like to write for dummies, and also for those who are not so dummies. I’ll try not to bore you if you are an advanced user, and I’ll try not to make you get bored if you are still an amateur in this. What I will expose below is suitable for all audiences ;-).
A proper structuring of internal links on a website has undoubted advantages:
- Facilitates page indexing.
- Improve the structure and hierarchy of site information.
- Provide a friendly navigation for visitors.
- It helps to increase the time of visit of the users.
- Enriches and shares content.
For all these reasons, Google favors proper internal link building. Don’t forget that their goal is to ensure that organic search results allow users to access quality sites, with valuable, clean, well-structured, usable content! And if it also helps your engine to crawl and index the information, so much the better!
Different types of Internal Linking strategies can be implemented, with the objective of structuring the website in the most rational way possible. The most common schemes are:
- Tree. There is a trunk(index) from which pages derive, which in turn can link to other pages, organized in three or more levels of depth. Imagine a very basic SME website, with its pages (Home, About, Contact…). One of them is “Services”. There you find a link to another page in each service offered for the user to expand the information, and when visiting each of them, another link takes you to a “Case Study”. This is a good example of a tree structure.
- Ring. It consists of developing a topic through several posts or articles. Each one of these contains links to the next one, to complete the information provided. In this way, the reader is forced to move from one entry to another, if he/she wishes to obtain a global view of the subject. This is the typical structure of a blog with no additional individual pages, and where the entries simply appear on the home page. Bloggers, even those who don’t know much about search engine optimization, tend to put in a lot of these links.
- Mixed. It combines elements of the two previous ones. With this criterion, Internet users who access one of the topics through Google are made aware of the existence of the rest without having to go to the page menu. The website that includes several pages and a blog section where the posts are introduced is the clearest example.
This last modality is the best! From an SEO point of view, of course. With this way of structuring the information you can focus each page on a specific keyword, while the blog becomes a sort of “workhorse”. With the blog, you can add keywords related to your activity in each post, and these keywords can attract interested users to your site.
“Juice what…!”, you may be asking yourself if you’re not introduced to the subject. Link Juice, something like “link juice”. If you have a background in SEO, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Links transmit strength. It is a kind of authority that Google assigns, which is transferred through links. Let’s take it one step at a time.
When someone links to you, they are telling Google that your content is relevant. He transfers part of his authority to you. That’s Link Juice! But it also works for internal links, even if there is no one besides us telling Google that the content is relevant. But it works, because it helps the search engine decide which contents within your domain are semantically related to others, and which of them are the most important. According to this logic, a link in one of your posts, pointing to a page of the pages you want to position, transmits strength. But if that post has, in turn, a link from another post, the page receives even more relevance. The power flows through your website, and if you know how to connect everything through links, you can get a lot out of it.
To build that kind of “road network” through which the Link Juice must flow in your website, the Anchor Text is of vital importance.
The Anchor Text is the visible part of the links. It is composed of words that link to a page or resource.
One or two keywords that are directly related to the linked content should be used in the anchor text. Not surprisingly, it is a useful resource for organic positioning. Google and the other search engines consider the Anchor Text as one of the most important factors in identifying the theme of the website in question.
It is recommended that the anchor texts contain the keywords with which we want to position ourselves, in addition to ensuring that the terms that are part of them are different.
Important! You should not always enter the same keyword in the link. Google pursues such practices. The smartest thing to do is to use related keywords, synonyms, and in some cases, unrelated text. Example. Imagine you want to position a page where you offer web design services. The anchor text of the links should vary: web design, web page design, web development… Even silly expressions such as “click here” or “follow this link” can avoid a penalty.
I hope no one has been confused… I have not said at any time that a page can be positioned only with internal links. Getting external links is the fastest and strongest way to climb positions in search results (if done right). In fact, it is one of the specialties of rodanet.com ;-).
I’m just saying that if you’re going to carry out a linking strategy, start by getting your house in order! Spreading the Link Juice well with internal links will help you to extract the maximum performance from external links.
I hope you found this information useful. If you have your own SEO tips for Internal Linking, or want to share something related to this post, feel free to leave a comment 🙂