Internal linking is one of the key strategies to improve the SEO of a website. The purpose of such a method is to create internal links within your website. This will promote the navigation of Internet users on your site and allow search engines to better understand the structure of your site.
Internal linking is not so complicated to carry out but it must be done in such a way so that the natural referencing of the site can be improved. This is why it is important to understand the concept and advantages in order to optimize your linking.
Understanding internal linking
Internal linking corresponds to all the links made between the pages of the same website. For example, while you are currently reading an article on the mylittlebigweb.com site, links have been inserted in this article to provide you with more information on SEO strategies (and here is an internal link!). Internal links make it possible to help the navigation of users and search engines from one page to another on the same website.
Creating internal links may seem trivial as well-designed websites usually have a menu and submenus leading to different pages of the site. The links of these menus are internal links as well. However, it is possible that new page (or articles) created will not be automatically attached to a particular menu. This means that even if the web page is uploaded, it is important to make it available (unless you consider it as something that does not add value to your website).
For example, a website such as Amazon cannot afford to lose its pages, which is why so many categories and subcategories have been created. Finally, as Moz’s illustration indicates below, internal linking will favour and facilitate the work of the search engines on your site. If the search engine does not find your page, it will not even know that your page exists:
Source : Moz
The advantages of internal linking
Internal links are a way to encourage users to stay longer on a website because their navigation is facilitated by the different links placed on the same page.
But these links will also promote your SEO because they will allow you to increase the authority of your pages by transmitting “link juice” from one page to another. If a page has an important authority rating (page rank), the internal links contained in this same page can benefit from its authority also in order to have a better positioning on the search engines.
In other words, internal linking can help improve the referencing of each page of a website. However, don’t make too many links on the same page because link juice is divided by the number of outbound links.
Optimizing the internal linking of your website is not just about including multiple links on a page. Moreover, we do not advise you to include too many links on the same webpage because in any case, the search engine robots generally cannot analyze more than 250 links per page. In general, you need no more than 4 to 5 links per page.
That is why we must choose our links carefully with our 5 following tips.
Insert links naturally
Any link inserted on a website must be added in a natural way. An internal or outbound link must add value to your article and must allow users to get more information on a particular topic. While this current article deals with internal linking, we will not insert a link to a page dealing with weather trends or real estate for example.
To be more precise, here is a link that would be unnaturally integrated on “real estate purchases”:
“My Little Big Web is a web agency in Montreal that offers services in web design, online advertising, real estate purchases…”
As you can imagine, My Little Big Web obviously offers no service for real estate purchase. This is therefore an unnatural link because it does not deal with any real service offered by our agency.
If we want to insert a link naturally, here’s how the link should be added:
“My Little Big Web is a web agency in Montreal that offers services in web design, online advertising, and SEO.”
This may sound funny, but know that people are willing to do anything to insert links to their websites, even if the content makes no sense. We do not advise you to include unnatural links as your website may be penalized by Google.
Choose relevant links
The links must therefore be natural but also relevant to your content. Let’s say your website has separate web pages devoted to ballet and cars. It is not necessary to link these two pages together because they will not bring additional information to the user about ballet or cars respectively.
Nevertheless, if you have another webpage devoted to motorcycles, this may be relevant to the page devoted to cars. An internal link can thus be created between these two pages.
Utilise all the content on your website
The aim of an internal linking is therefore to link as many pages of the same website as possible. For this, it is necessary to use the content of the whole website; however, in order to continue to create internal links, it is thus important to create/update a blog. Keeping a blog and updating it regularly is essential for SEO because Google loves websites that are continually updated.
Blog posts will not only be linked together, but they can also be linked to service pages for example. Thus, having a blog is an opportunity for internal links to be created on an ongoing basis.
Choose the right anchor text
When inserting a link on a web page, it is essential to pay attention to the choice of anchor text. Choosing a specific anchor text is important for the user to easily understand the subject of the link on which they can click. The text anchor is also what the search engines will spot in order to understand the subject of the link.
Search engines understand more and more every day the semantics of content even if the anchor text is not going to be on the term “SEO” on an article on SEO for example. However, it is still recommended to be precise and to vary the anchor texts to the same page. Indeed, if several internal links are created to the same page and the anchor texts are different, the page in question has a good chance of being well positioned on search engines.
Thus, a service page devoted to SEO can have anchor texts such as “organic SEO”, “SEO”, or even “web referencing”.
As explained at the beginning of the article, one of the main advantages of internal linking is that the juice of each link helps increase the authority of a page. So that the juice of the link can be transmitted, it is important to use “follow” links. This technique helps search engines understand that you want this link to be followed and that the juice can be used in this way.
On the contrary, putting in a “nofollow” link tells the search engines that you do not want the link to have any influence. This can be interesting when an external link is added in order to prevent search engines from thinking that you are selling links on your website. But in order to optimize your own internal linking, it is essential that each link is a “dofollow” link.
Internal linking is an important practice in natural referencing. Nevertheless, it is important to do so with tact and moderation to avoid including more than 200 links on the same web page. So add a reasonable number of links and choose them carefully.
Finally, internal linking is not enough in SEO because inbound links are also very important. In order to get inbound links, it is strongly recommended to also have a good link building strategy.