What Are Internal Links? And Why You Should Use Them
This is the way to start a Monday, I get the day off. My friend Yunier Gonzalez from Learn How To Make Extra Money Online has written a great article answering the question What Are Internal Links?
So take it away Yunier...
It’s been highly documented that content is king in regards to Search Engine Optimization. This is even more true in 2017, but content isn't enough which is where internal linking comes into play. Internal linking adds support to your articles by passing link juice to these supporting articles that you've linked to.
Learning the ins and out of ranking can be a complicated process since the search engine algorithms tend to be changing constantly. Internal linking helps you establish a solid site structure which gives Google a better understanding of what your website is about.
What Is Internal Linking?
In laymen terms, internal linking is a link from a page on a domain to another page on the same domain. It can link to anything (categories , pages , post, etc ) but in this post I will be focusing on contextual links. In internal linking the source domain and the target domain are the same.
Internal linking is a highly debated topic and for good reason! The strategy of inter linking your articles is very effective when trying to rank your content. It can be overly complicated or simple, we as marketers are in control of how we choose to apply it.
This is one of the easiest ways to improve your SEO efforts by helping you rank multiple pages and it’s an ongoing strategy that you could practice right away.
The reasoning behind this strategy is rather simple, internal linking is there to increase the optimized value of a website by giving the spiders a clearer path to crawl your website.
Safe Interlinking Practice - The More Content The Better
The more content you have the more linking you can accomplish in general. I typically try to write content with the thought of what other pages I can link this topic to I’m writing about.
Some marketers preach about having an absolute mathematically balance of internal links per pages but I believe they are complicating things. We don’t really need to do this.
I say, link to your pages when it seems “natural” and you’ll be fine. We are humans not some mathematician that has their internal linking done in tiers or silos. Google’s ranking algorithm might have many different ranking factors but they have to be aware that we are humans and shouldn't be realistic to have some systematic balance.
Natural Anchor Texts
Your anchor text should be as related to the page you’re linking to as possible. Don’t use the anchor text “best bikes” when you are linking them to “how to fix a bike” page.
You should not over optimize your anchor texts though. Avoid being too keyword heavy on your anchor texts. It’s okay once or twice, mix it up to see the best results.
I will focus on conversational anchor texts like “discussions on internal linking” as these will keep you in safe zone with Google.
Link To The Oceans Depth
You should focus on linking to your inner pages instead of your home page or even your contact page in general. The deeper you link your pages the better results you will achieve. I will even avoid linking to your menu as these already have links going to them.
I'd go back to your first 20 or 50 pieces of content and check if you find anything that is related to your content manually. Believe me the effort is well worth it as you will be updating these pages and giving them authority in the process.
Relevancy And Natural Links Are Essential
An effective interlinking strategy has two purposes in my eyes; The value your pages gain and the value you provide your readers with supporting pages.
One of the clear benefits of interlinking is better engagement which helps on how long users are staying in your site. It's a not a huge factor but it is one of the many factors that the Google algorithm consist of.
If a link is related to what the user is reading then they are that much more likely to click on it whether it's internal or an external link. They don't really know what type of link it will be but if they are taking action of these links then your content is doing it's purpose.
Internal linking helps your readers because you are essentially telling them that "I have an article on this subject that you would enjoy". We are basically hitting two birds with one stone ; help your readers and your SEO at the same time.
As I've mentioned earlier, naturally linking needs to occur to really reap the benefits. Only inner linking your pages if they are related, don't link just to link.
For example, if I was writing a page about kid toys I wouldn't link to a page about dog food. It just doesn't make sense and throws off the reader from your content.
While internal linking is good to have don't go crazy on it. Just link where it seems natural ! Don't go out and link 15 times in each article now. This might hurt your SEO efforts instead of doing it any good, try sticking to a limit of 5. The longer your content the more links are naturally accepted.
To be fair, there isn't a set number of links allowed but try being realistic. An over linked article might make Google suspicious so just try to avoid it. It's really up to you but I'd rather play it safe, remember we write content for our readers not the search engines.
Make Your Internal Links Do-Follow
Do-Follow links is the way to go in 2017 without a doubt. An internal linking architecture will be much more effective if these links are Follow because the link juice is being spread from page to page in a freely matter.
Putting your links as No-Follow is almost setting a restriction on the value that they can offer. In the past things were completely opposite with this being a negative factor but with the reason Google updates; Do-Follow internal links are the way to go.
Internal linking could be accomplished by following the tips I've laid out above. This is not something that's sophisticated by any means, you can start practice better internal linking as early as your next piece of content.
I would even advice you to go back to your older content and see if there are any related pages that you can link. If you take action with this strategy you should see some positive rankings as a result.
Thanks Yunier - great article.
And as always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.
I believe you!