I have received tons of questions about on-page SEO from my pre-publish blog post checklist, so I thought it might be helpful to cover this topic in detail. When it comes to on-page SEO, one of the most important, yet often misunderstood concept is internal linking. In this ultimate guide, I will explain the importance of internal linking as well as share 6 best practices and tips to help you get started.
Why You Need an Internal Linking Strategy
In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), the majority of the focus is on backlinks and building relationships with high authority websites to boost your site rankings. However, most people totally forget about the power you have within your own website. Yes, I’m talking about internal links.
If you don’t have an internal linking strategy, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to boost your SEO efforts and simultaneously create a more user-friendly website experience for your website visitors.
In the most basic sense, an internal link connects one of your website pages to another. Generally speaking, internal linking has three primary purposes:
- Helps facilitate smooth website navigation.
- Clearly define the structure and hierarchy of the website.
- Evenly distributes page authority and ranking power across multiple site pages.
The first two purposes are related to user experience, while the third point has to do with SEO. However when you focus on internal linking, you get to enjoy the benefits of all three.
What are those benefits, you may ask?
Ultimately, using internal links creates very clear paths for search bots to crawl through. Think of it like an interconnected web of URLs and pages that provides convenient roadmap for Google, Bing, and other search engines. Furthermore, by encouraging users to move from one page to another, you can enjoy higher pageviews and lower bounce rate (which enhances your search rankings even more).
Users who move from one page to another increase the average time they spend on the site, reduce your overall bounce rate, become exposed to more content and call-to-actions (CTAs), and are more likely to visit less visible pages that search engines don’t pick up.
Now that you know the importance of internal linking, let’s take a look at some best practices and tips on how to do it right.
6 Internal Linking Best Practices
The basic concept of internal linking is that it strengthens the overall SEO of your website by providing clear paths for search spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a well-connected network of posts and pages.
So, how can you make it happen? How can you use internal linking to enhance the quality, visibility, and appeal of your website?
Check out these helpful tips and best practices to get started.
1. Create Quality Content
You can’t create a strong internal linking structure without content and pages to link to. This is why it’s so important that you regularly create fresh, relevant content on your website.
While guest blogging is fine, you need to spend the same amount of time blogging on your own site.
Once you have decided what you’re going to write about, read these 7 tips to write a blog post that converts.
2. Be Generous with Internal Links
I often get asked about how many internal links should I have in my blog post? At minimum, it should be between 2 – 3.
You don’t want to force the internal links in your articles, but really there is no limit to how many internal links you can have.
If you have a lot of content on your site, then go for 10 – 15 internal links. As long as it’s helpful for users, you’ll find it beneficial for SEO.
3. Use Appropriate Anchor Text
Anchor text isn’t something that you should randomly choose on the fly.
The anchor text you select not only tells the reader what they’ll see when they click the link, but it also sends some cues to the search bots.
As you can imagine, one anchor text above is better than the other.
With that being said, spammy anchor text and overly optimized search terms won’t do you any good either. Make it natural, yet relevant.
4. Three Click Rule
In the SEO world, there’s an unofficial rule that says no page on your site should be more than three clicks away from the home page. This isn’t a requirement, but it’s a good practice to follow. In doing so, you’ll develop a strong SEO structure that’s tightly connected and organized.
5. Link Deep and Always Follow
Often people end up linking to their homepage or their contact page which may not get you the best results.
When it comes to internal linking, the deeper the link, the better it is.
Instead of linking to pages that are available in your site’s menu, try to link to posts and pages that are 3 levels deep.
Also you also want to make sure that your internal links are always dofollow.
6. Link Product to Product
When it comes to eCommerce sites, internal linking not only impacts SEO and user experience, but it can also lead to a direct increase in sales.
If your product is sold in a different style, model, brands, or even colors then make sure those pages are referencing each other. You want to make sure that undecided shoppers have the ability to shop around and not struggle to find what they need.
You can add breadcrumb navigation links to eCommerce sites is a great way to accomplish that.
Follow these internal linking tips, and you will surely start seeing improvements in your site’s ranking.
If you liked this article, then please consider sharing it with your friends and leaving a comment below. You may also want to check out 16 things I wish I knew before I started my first blog.