While many entrepreneurs put enormous effort into building their URL structure and external links, the attention to internal linking is rather scanty in comparison — a big mistake! In this article, we’ll tell you why internal links are a crucial tool for SEO and the success of your website, as well as how to use and build them in a smart, professional way.
The 3 Types of Links:
There are essentially three different types of links on websites:
These link to your website from external websites. For example, a link to a specific article you published on your site.
These are links you include on your own website that lead to an external site, for example, that of a business partner.
With internal links, you direct the reader to other content on your own website. Your website navigation is an example of internal linking.
The Main Function of Internal Links for Visitors
When a potential customer reads one of your blog articles, he or she is often interested in further information on the topic or an available offer. With the help of internal links, you can navigate them to said information or offer with a swift click of the mouse.
If you can link your website content together in a meaningful way, you’ll have created a network of information, which in turn increases the usability of your website. Readers and Google will be equally happy about this!
What Are the Benefits of Internal Links?
Internal links ensure that, on average, a prospective customer stays longer on your website, comes back if necessary, and is ultimately more likely to buy something. This is because they can access relevant information more readily, which results in a better overall user experience. In other words, they simply enjoy using your website.
The second crucial point is that your visitors and search engines like Google find their way around your website better through internal links. They understand that your content belongs together, builds on each other, and thus concludes in a high user relevance. Consequently, internal links are an important SEO tool for you and are crucial for a good search engine ranking.
How Does Internal Linking Affect SEO?
When it comes to search optimization, internal links pass authority from one page to another, creating a flow of authority. When you link one of your web pages to another, it will pass some of its credibility to that page, in turn increasing the probability of the page also ranking.
To put it into context, links from other websites to yours, pass what we call “domain authority”, thus increasing the ranking potential of every page of your website; whereas internal links pass “page authority” from one page to the next.
Internal linking can add the most value in the situation when one of your web pages is ranking but not as high as you’d like. Perhaps it’s at the top of the second page of search results. Here, a little authority could have a significant impact, so you insert internal links from some of your higher ranking pages to this one. Hopefully, directing enough page authority to improve the ranking of the page.
Google’s Criteria for Evaluating Internal Links
While most internet users will only perceive the following aspects indirectly, they represent a conscious evaluation criterion for Google & Co.
Search engines have specific analysis criteria for how they perceive link placements. The term “link juice” is often used in this context. This describes the positive influence your link structure should ideally have: Like juice, your links should spread fluidly and meaningfully across your website, easily guiding readers through your site.
Links that are included into paragraphs have the highest value because they always address the reader in a certain context. Nevertheless, also place links within the header of your website as well as in the sidebar. Likewise, internal links should also be found in the lower part (footer) of your page.
Distribute the internal links as generously as possible in the text core, too many embedded links lead to the fact that the text can no longer be read fluently by your visitors. This defeats the purpose of a positive user experience. Links within lists or bulleted lists are debatable. If you still want to place them, they are best placed within the first bullet points.
Number of Internal Links
We can’t give you an accurate answer on how many internal links are appropriate because it always depends on the overall size of your website. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that each internal link provides added value for the reader.
Relevance and Quality of Internal Links
More than the number of your internal links, what matters is the content behind your links. Do they really offer added value and do they build meaningfully on the given information? Concerning this, Google looks at your anchor texts.
Anchor texts are simply the words or phrases on which you place your links and which are therefore clickable. It should be clear as to what is behind them. Half sentences like “Learn more here” do not provide a clear understanding.
It would be better to use a relevant search term or to mention the name of the text, for example: “We have summarized concrete tips for creating a sitemap with HTML or XML in our guide ‘How to Create a WordPress Sitemap?‘”.
Internal Linking for SEO: 7 Best Practices
Here are our best practices for internal linking. Make sure to implement them into your SEO strategy! If you can follow every principle, not only will you improve the user experience of your website, and also increase the search engine optimization of your content!
1. Think Like a User
Our first tip is the most relevant: always put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. If you heed this advice, it will enable you to identify where internal links are useful or necessary. It will also help you find the perfect balance of internal and external links. After all, the search engines want exactly the same thing.
2. Make Internal Links Visual
Ensure your internal links are clearly visible to your readers. This can be done by highlighting them with a different color, italicizing them, underlining them, or making them stand out with a button.
3. Internal Links in Photos and Videos
Images or photos can also serve as internal links. They are usually rated a little weaker by search engines, but they score points because of their visibility. However, make sure you make them recognizable to your users and Google with an ‘alt tag’ and a short image description.
4. Avoid Tabs
Integrate simple links to avoid the user having to open new tabs at every click. This is not only confusing for the user, but can often look dubious. Old PCs or laptops sometimes have difficulties with multiple tabs too.
5. Focus on Cornerstone Articles
Pick a small selection of your most important pages and make sure the majority of your content links to them. These could be product pages or particularly informative blog articles. This way, you’ll create a funnel that shows users and Google where the core values of your website lie.
6. Don’t Skimp on Profitable Call-to-Actions
Link to your service portfolio in the context of your informative business blog. Since the reader has just learned about the added value of your products, you lead him with the link sovereign on the page where he can purchase them if desired immediately. This can be extremely effective and above all push your sales.
7. Avoid Duplicate Content
If you’re writing articles on related topics, you may (often unconsciously) repeat yourself. By using internal links to group the related articles, you can avoid repeating yourself and simply point the user or Google to the article dealing with that specific topic in further detail.
Optimizing Your SEO Content With BlogTec
Last but not least, we would like to introduce you to our SEO content optimization service. With this service, we’ll optimize your existing content for relevant keywords and set internal links. Even with a small budget and little time, the performance of several pages can be improved at once.
We’ll revise your existing content according to the requirements of Google Search Intent. At the same time, we’ll take care to maintain or even improve the reading experience for the user. Finally, we’ll set up internal links for SEO and make sure that your content as a whole gets the attention it deserves.