A Quick Guide To Internal Links For SEO
- 2 Comments
Internal linking should be an important consideration for all website owners. Not only can readers and visitors click such links to discover further content on your website, Google sees them too. In short: internal linking between posts and pages will improve both your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts and, at the same time, the overall user experience of your website.
So how exactly should you deal with internal links on your site? Are there any key special considerations to keep in mind? What are the overall best practices for internal linking between posts and pages?
Let’s take a look…
Internal Links For SEO
What Are Internal Links?
Let us first start with the obvious: simply put, internal links are links that point to content on your own website, rather than elsewhere. Examples include not only simple in-content links between pages, but also such things as links in the navigation menus on your site and any related content suggestions at the end of your articles, as well as links within popular post widgets in the sidebar, etc, etc — essentially all the links within your site that point to other web pages that are also on your site.
However, while links in such things as widgets and sidebars are perhaps the easiest to create, it’s the internal linking within the content that you need to focus the most on, since these are the links that are generally the most noticed: by both Google AND your site’s visitors.
An important point to note here is that although there might be a tendency to think simply adding as many internal links as possible is a good thing, doing so will likely defeat the main purpose of internal linking altogether. At any given point of time, a user wishes to find only that content which is the most relevant for him or her. Therefore, the internal links in your posts and content should be relevant to what the current post talks about — think quality and relevance of quantity! For instance, if your current article is about PlayStation III, you might wish to add internal links to further articles about best games for PS III. Similarly, offering links to articles that compare PS III with Microsoft XBOX would also be good; whereas adding links about PlayStation I and II and/or top games for PC users isn’t likely to be of much interest to the reader at all.
Now, the big question is, how should you treat your internal links?
Make Internal Links Visible
It goes without saying that your links should be visible, whether they are internal or external. The standard practice of using a different color for your links, and underlining them, works well in most cases — and should therefore generally be adhered to.
This is more of a stylistic and design consideration of course, but if your links are not clearly visible and differentiated from standard text, you’re setting yourself up for an internal-linking failure!
Focus on the Anchor Text
The general convention is that the anchor text of your links should describe the content of the target page in the best possible manner.
There are different types of anchor texts, and you can pick the ones that best serve your purpose for internal links.
- You can consider going with Money Keywords, that describe the actual content of your target page. For example, “PlayStation III” can be termed as a money keyword. Using such keywords for external links is generally considered to be a shady SEO practice (thanks to the blurred lines between legitimate external links and paid or affiliate links). But for internal links, money keywords are good enough.
- Brand Keywords can also be used, such as “Sony” or “sony.com” — these are mostly employed by news websites, or ones with smaller pieces of content (such as 300-400 words news posts).
- Compound Keywords, on the other hand, can be used as well, albeit these are less common owing to their slightly less straightforward nature. For instance, “introducing the best games for PlayStation III” would be a compound keyword.
- And if all else fails, there is also an option of using simplistic text: “read about video games on this page”, with “on this page” or “here” being used as the anchor text. This, clearly, does not highlight the content of the target page. However, if the text is read in continuity, it can prove to be good for user experience, as the reader knows what to expect from the given link.
In SEO circles and groups, link juice is an oft-spoken concept. Basically, the “boost” that a page receives by a link directed to it is known as Link Juice. This is more of an abstract entity, as not all links are created equal: a link from a reputed and well-known site will have more boost as compared to one coming from a lesser known or relatively newer website.
In terms of internal links too, the link juice is of significance. Your focus should be to try to transfer as much of a boost to your major pages as possible, and lesser link juice to secondary or sub pages.
In practical terms, referring to SEO concepts is of lesser value here, and even Google and Bing prefer that you focus more on usability. Your internal links should go to the pages that deserve it the most. If you are talking about places where you can find free WordPress themes, your internal link should first go to something like a “top free WordPress themes” post on your site, rather than “best premium WordPress themes”. Link juice and link value depend on its relevance to the user.
Don’t Overdo It
As mentioned above, including too many internal links will likely only confuse folk. Ideally, relatively short articles, such as this one you’re reading now, should — generally speaking — only include about two or three internal links within the text (although longer articles could potentially include a few more).
It’s worth remembering too, that there may already be a fair amount of internal links on your page already — any “next” or “previous” links below posts are internal links as well. As such, be selective in terms of manually adding any further internal links.
Likewise, any content suggestion services and related posts widgets you use on your site to showcase other posts on your site will automatically include their own internal links. It’s worth bearing in mind though, how such services and widgets actually insert these links: remember to ensure that such links are not ‘nofollow‘ links, for example, or else your link juice will not be transferred. Similarly, avoid too many internal redirects (if your website uses HTTPS, add internal links with HTTPS and not HTTP), and be sure to fix those 404 errors!
Many WordPress SEO plugins will help you with these steps, and may even go a step further by advising you about the overall health of internal links within your site.
Internal linking is a fairly direct and comparatively easier to implement SEO practice that can enhance the performance of your website. A good internal linking structure will both help visitors find what they’re looking for and stay longer on your site — something that may, in turn, even help convert them into loyal followers. But most importantly, since internal links will also greatly assist search engines in understanding and indexing your site, using internal links within your content will help your website get the visibility it deserves!
Thoughts on internal links on SEO? Any other tips or tricks?