Best Practices for Internal Linking
Have you ever come across highlighted text on a website that leads to another page? We refer to this as “internal linking.” These links can be beneficial for bringing traffic to other areas of your site and providing your target audience with further information.
How does one make sure that users notice these links? What are the other advantages of using internal linking and how does it differ from external ones? Find out here.
How Do Links Help My Business?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of internal linking, let’s examine why links, in general, are an essential part of building an established website:
1. Links Help Search Engines Rank Your Website
Google uses links to rank your domain in search results. The number of links you’ve dispersed throughout your website attests to the site’s quality.
Ideally, your client base has sites of their own. If they’re impressed by your link building, there’s a higher chance they’ll backlink to your website. Backlinking refers to other web pages linking to you and is a great way to increase visibility in Google search results.
2. Links Help Foster Business Relationships
If you’re linking to an external site, that business is sure to take notice. In turn, said individuals might reach out to you. A mutually beneficial business relationship could blossom and all because of some links.
With internal linking, these same businesses will find that you have a wide range of solid content available within your site. It speaks to the credibility of your domain.
3. Links Bring Referral Traffic
Say another business’s customers notice your webpage as a result of said business linking you in return. This indicates the potential for an uptick in clientele.
You don’t want to make the mistake of only linking to increase visibility. Instead, be intentional and stick with sites whose services are relevant to your page or products.
4. Links Establish Authority
Chances are that countless times you’ve been to a website before to research an important topic. How do you feel when there’s no information or sources to back up the page’s content? If you say skeptical, suspicious or downright frustrated, yeah, us too.
Links to authority sites in your industry or even within your site (internal links) give readers the chance to learn more. It also verifies the text they’re supposed to trust.
When industry members and leaders visit your site, the quality of your links speaks volumes to your legitimacy. It makes it clear you put hard work into the published content.
Also, links can sway your target audience’s purchase decisions. If you give your leads the impression of authority in your industry, this will inspire them to close a sale.
Differences Between Internal and External Linking
Both types of links have their time and place. The main differences are important to note when you’re deciding how to best go about internal linking:
1. Domain Location
Internal links point to other pages within the same domain.
This directs your target audience to other qualified, relatable content on your site, increasing traffic and clicks all within your territory.
External links, on the other hand, direct your leads to another website or vice versa — another domain is linking externally to yours.
Internal links don’t offer as much visibility as external links. This is because other businesses and their clients aren’t visiting you from the outside.
External links, on the other hand, provide you with free web traffic in addition to boosting your SEO rankings.
3. Who Benefits and How?
External linking benefits both your own company and those you are linking. They provide your target audience with additional information and can entice them to use another company’s services. This company gains exposure accordingly.
Internal links, suffice it to say, benefit your company alone. They up your chances of results on search engines and keep visitors clicking within your site.
Benefits of Internal Linking
Based on the differences listed above, one could get an idea of why internal linking is a good practice for your company to initiate. More details below.
1. Internal Links Make Website Navigation Easier
When your target audience visits your website, internal links allow them to toggle between pages within your domain with ease.
This includes pages that visitors may not have noticed otherwise, whether you’ve listed those pages on your menu selection or not.
No one wants to waste time fumbling around a slow, poorly-organized website! An intuitive, easy-to-use domain ups your chances of these same visitors returning.
2. Internal Links Establish Hierarchy
Not only does a well-organized domain help individuals quickly locate information, but it also ensures visitors see the most essential pages on your site. These valuable pages, when linked correctly, receive more exposure than lower-value pages.
It makes a difference where search engines are concerned as well. Internal links help create a structure, which allows Google to analyze your domain better. This, in turn, can help boost your SEO.
3. Internal Links Confirm Professionalism
We’ve mentioned it already, but we’ll recap, briefly. When your domain is well-organized and thought out strategically, visitors will respect your company!
These carefully-placed links establish authority and give your pages clout among internet users. With the endless treasure trove of pages on the World Wide Web, this is a major bonus and essential to growing your target audience.
Best Practices for Internal Linking
Internal linking is, by no means, complicated or overly demanding. You also don’t want to go about it haphazardly either. The eight best practices for internal linking are here:
1. Churn Out Content Regularly
Without content published regularly, internal linking will be pointless. Do you have just five pages on your website?
There’s no need to link to the same pages over and over again. Not only will this appear redundant, but it also won’t lend itself to credibility or much value in the long run.
Instead, a large amount of high-quality content offers you the endless potential to strategically place links accordingly. The more relevant content you have, the more likely these visitors will be to return in the future and remain loyal to your company.
2. Use Anchor Text
Remember to use anchor text when creating internal links. This is preferable to using images for linking because it offers the reader a chance to dig for more information.
Take advantage of natural wording and stick with sentence fragments. This anchor text needs to be intentional, so the user knows what they’re clicking on, instead of guessing what’s going to load.
Don’t overthink it — the most powerful word choice will usually pop up naturally in the process.
3. Be Natural
Your internal links should be client-centric and add value. They’re not just for Google search results, although that’s also a goal.
Does the language on your website lean towards a warm, relaxed tone? Using anchor text with a more professional stature is going to look odd and read poorly in this scenario.
One of the best practices for internal linking is to embed them as such that they match the context and content of your site. This provides a more immersive, smoother experience for the user.
4. Avoid Linking Top-Level Pages
What do we mean by “top-level”? These pages include the primary ones on your site such as homepages, “about sections” and “contact us” blurbs.
Linking to these pages does little-to-nothing for your SEO rankings. Furthermore, it leaves little space for you to link other, more valuable pages. Those links will start piling up otherwise and there is such a thing as too much linking.
5. Don’t Fall Into a Link-Obsessed Trap
We can’t give you a direct answer as to how many links is, indeed, too much. However, some experts in the industry point to Google’s recommendation of less than 100 or so per page.
Anything above that could overwhelm the reader and if anything is essential here, it’s user experience.
Time and place matter. Be thoughtful with how many links you use and allow a test-run by someone not involved in the creation process. This will give you crucial feedback as to if the links were useful, overwhelming, or neither.
6. Keep On Top of Things
Do you have broken links strewn throughout your content? Make a schedule for checking such hiccups regularly. Not only does it look unprofessional, but it negatively affects your SEO rankings as well.
Are you employing links to outdated pages on your site? Fix those too. There’s no need to send users to pages where they don’t belong or to information that’s no longer valuable.
7. Take Advantage of High-Traffic Pages
Monitor your Google rankings so you can determine which pages are popular and those that aren’t. Those that rank high need to continue doing so and you can encourage this by linking to them regularly.
8. Be Active and Enthusiastic
Avoid passive voice because it tends to squelch authority and can easily leave readers feeling unsure. You want to sound confident, after all.
Maintaining an active, first-person tone will further encourage your readers to take action. Internal linking can be an advantage here when your “call to action” is linked to another page/product you’d like to push.
Time to Practice What We Preach
Are you ready to put these practices into action? We hope you are!
Internal links can help structure your website in an organized way, establishing hierarchy and purpose. They offer your business credibility and authority among the countless other sites the user can choose to follow.
Google rankings and SEO optimization may both benefit here, lending your website a definitive edge among competition.
Remember to use your internal links strategically to make the most of what they can offer. Don’t overlook the importance of original, meaningful content that fits naturally into the context of your domain.
Contact CleverTouch Marketing today, to discuss your business goals and how our content marketing team can help you.