Backlinks are vital, but columnist Kristopher Jones argues that internal linking is just as important for boosting your site’s SEO and user experience.
We just conducted an internal link audit at my startup, LSEO, to help inform and improve our growth marketing approach. Our site has more than tripled in size in the last two years, thanks to the contributions of many freelancers and professional writers.
Unfortunately, executing a large-scale content marketing campaign without a structured internal linking strategy had hampered the distribution of link authority across our site.
I strongly advise you to examine your internal linking structure to ensure that you aren’t preventing a blog post from being crawled or receiving “link juice.” This is problematic not only from an SEO aspect, but also from a commercial perspective. Content that isn’t properly connected may not achieve its full organic ranking potential — or be easily discovered by people.
Let’s go through some of the best internal linking methods and why interlinking should still be a top priority for your SEO strategy.
The function and benefits of internal links
- Provides access to online pages that were previously inaccessible to search engine spiders.
- Aids in the categorization of web pages based on the keyword used in the link’s URL and anchor text.
- Provides additional options for users to interact with your site, which improves user navigation.
- To enhance user intent, anchor text keywords are used.
- The “link juice” is passed across online pages (a purported ranking factor).
- Site architecture is arranged, and your most significant web pages are communicated to search engines.
- Aids promotional campaigns by highlighting or showing links prominently on a home page or adjacent to content.
Of course, there are some links that search engines are unable to understand. It’s crucial to mention them so you don’t use them incorrectly:
- Links in web pages that your robots.txt file says aren’t allowed.
- In search bars or submission boxes, there are links.
- Embedded plugins, such as Java or Flash, have links.
- There are more than 150 links on a web page.
Experiential learning (UX)
Internal links, unlike backlinks, have no bearing on Google’s algorithm. They do, however, increase the flow of backlink authority from one page to the next.
New blog posts are published with little authority or acknowledgment. You can rapidly transfer previously acquired authority to a web page by using a deep link from the home page or a cornerstone page. As a result, the content will be searched faster and ranked higher.
Best techniques for linking structures
Your internal connection structure should be in the shape of a pyramid. The main page is your home page. Cornerstone pages or category pages are directly beneath them, with deep links to relevant blog or product pages. Search results will consider all pages inside one link of the main page as the most essential.
The idea is to cut down on the amount of links between a web page and the home page. Because it is the page that will receive the most backlinks, your home page is the most authoritative. Use the authority of your home page to distribute link juice throughout your site and position each web page to rank highly.
This brings us to the significance of menus and navigation bars. These advanced navigation tools will ensure that all web sites remain within two to three links of the main page as your improvement processes with blog entries, content, and resource pages.
Let’s look at the different types of link placements and see which ones are best for our UX and SEO campaign
Content is not only a great area to include internal links for indexing, but it also improves the user experience on our site. Including a link in a piece of content acts as a source of information and informs readers that they can stop reading and get more information “here.”
Content links that are bolded stand out from the rest of the content and entice users to click on them. Links to other relevant blog articles should ideally be included in blog postings. Relevancy is crucial since irrelevant links will detract from your user experience and create bounces.
Make sure your website doesn’t have any broken links. If this is the case, redirect the links to the appropriate websites. It’s also critical that your web pages load quickly in order to provide a great user experience and avoid bounces. Ensure that any connected web page is no more than one click away from a conversion page and that a call to action is constantly visible.
Content links, according to some experts, are more useful than other navigational links, which brings up an interesting point about interlinking: What effect does having links on multiple pages have on my SEO, and what are the success factors?
Positions of hyperlink pages
It’s not necessary to link back to your home page or contact page within content on lower authority pages. It doesn’t pass “link juice,” and it doesn’t encourage a good user experience. It’s advisable to just link to other relevant topics in this section.
Links in the footer and sidebar should point to relevant information or product sites. While having a link to a cornerstone page in your footer isn’t always less beneficial than having it in the navigation bar, having a wide footer bar is usually a negative UX strategy.
Users will be more likely to connect with your website if you include links to related web sites at the end of articles or in a sidebar. This sends good user signals to Google, which may influence website and page rank indirectly.
Placing link elements or keyword tags on content that will signal to search results the topic of that homepage is a terrific technique to help index your content.
User and site robot navigation is considerably aided with trace links and an XML sitemap.
Relevance of the link
Relevance is a key element of Link-building 101 and Internal Linking 101. All anchor text should be adjusted to match the title or topic of the landing page being linked to. Your website will be classified as spam if you use irrelevant anchor text on a link.
Make sure your anchor’s text structure includes keyword variations. Using the same anchor text for every link could be considered spam, and if used for multiple landing pages, it could lead to keyword cannibalism.
Make use of your keywords and a link audit to find areas of content where relevant internal links might be added. For a piece of material, you’ll want at least 3 internal links – possibly more, depending on the word count.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to improve your call to action (CTA) in order to increase your conversion rate. A call-to-action button should be large and prominent, and it should be tailored to each device. Make sure your CTA stands out against the background.
The placement of a CTA is critical, and I suggest putting one above the fold. Quick Sprout frequently employs a slide-in CTA that generates a large number of conversions.
Finally, you want your CTA to appear on every page of your website so that users are never more than one or two clicks away from completing a conversion.
No follow links
You can use the rel=”nofollow” property on your link tag if you don’t want a search tool to count the link juice going through a specific web page. To avoid spam charges, these are utilized generally in links found in reviews and user-generated material.
Unfortunately, this tag can have a knock-on effect, limiting the authority that flows via other sites that are directly linked to that page.
When it comes to link building, we frequently overlook the UX and SEO benefits of creating our own internal link structure. While backlinks are still the crown jewels of SEO, their impact can be magnified by a clever internal link structure that distributes the riches throughout your site.