Internal links are the glue that keeps a website together and is essential for SEO success. These links use hyperlinks to connect relevant pages and content within your website’s architecture. This improves the links between page pages and allows route navigation for users and search engine crawlers.
Internal links have developed into an important ranking feature, impacting how search engines assess the value and relevancy of your web pages.
By properly placing internal links on your website, you can ensure that search engine bots can quickly locate and index your material.
While early SEO focused mainly on creating external connections, present best practices recognize the enormous benefit of strong internal link structures. Internal links help search bots browse and index your site’s content, as well as grasp semantic relationships between themes.
This article will cover in detail many SEO benefits of internal linking.
What are Internal Links?
Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one page on a website to another inside the same domain. In simple terms, they are links that connect one page on a website to another on the same website. These links are essential for website navigation, user experience, and search engine optimization.
Some important things to know about internal links:
- They link from one page of a website to another, rather than to other sites.
- They help search bots in crawling your website architecture and understanding the links between pages.
- Internal links transfer authority and equity (ranking power) between pages.
- They improve the user experience by making site navigation easier.
- Links can be placed into text, navigation menus, widgets, buttons, and other objects.
- Internal links are SEO-friendly when they have proper anchor text, title tags, and alt text.
- Too many links on a page might reduce its value, thus editorial care is recommended.
- Links between old and new content keep each page feeling fresh.
Why are Internal Links Important in SEO?
When done properly, internal linking may significantly improve your rankings and organic performance.
It is the process of shaping the experience for both humans and bots with the same end goal in mind: efficiently directing people to the most valuable information relevant to where they are right now.
Here are some of the important benefits of internal linking on SEO:
a. Help Search Engines Crawl and Index your Website
Internal links direct search engine crawlers from one page to another on a website. So, if you want consumers to locate your content, first ensure that search engines can crawl your pages.
According to Google, text-based internal links are the most reliable way to get your site’s content indexed. When search engine crawlers detect internal links on a website, they pursue them to discover new sites to index.
Indexing helps search engines understand the content of a website and offer it to visitors based on relevant search queries.
b. Improve Your Website’s Navigation
A well-designed link architecture will make it easier for both your audience and search engines to traverse your website.
Internal links can assist users find fresh information and resources that are relevant to them. This investigation also increases the time consumers spend on your website.
Exposing customers to more of your offers can increase engagement and conversions. This will also provide consumers with a better page experience. Google also encourages content that delivers a nice page experience.
c. User Experience
Many internal links appear organically in your navigation, footer, and other areas, providing an opportunity to improve the user experience for visitors to your site seeking specific information. Aside from some of the key navigation aspects, there are other ways to improve the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and boost stay time on your website.
d. Pass on Link Authority
Internal linking can improve your search engine results by transferring authority from one page to another on your website. This is referred to as link equity distribution.
It simply means transferring authority or “link juice” from high-authority pages to newer or less prominent ones.
Essentially, if you have a page on your site that is functioning well, i.e. it has a high search engine rating and receives a lot of backlinks, you may add internal links to it from other pages on your website.
The other pages will gain from the link authority. This is one approach to leverage internal links to increase the authority and rating of other pages.
e. Creates a Website Hierarchy
Internal links can also help you create a hierarchy of content on your website.
For example, you may incorporate connections from your homepage to various subcategory pages on your site. Then, those pages can link to sites further inside your site’s design.
This adds structure to your website and establishes an information hierarchy, making it easier for people to browse and get the information they need.
Not only will this enhance the amount of time they spend on your website, but it will also improve the user experience and keep them returning for more.
f. Distribute Page Rank
Internal links also help to spread PageRank throughout our websites.
PageRank is a proprietary Google metric that measures a web page’s popularity based on the number of links referring to it. Every time a page connects to another, it transfers a percentage of its PageRank, also known as link equity.
Google’s ranking algorithm uses PageRank, and the more PageRank a website has, the more likely it is to rank highly in the SERPs.
g. Increase your SERP Ranking
All of the aforementioned will eventually lead to your content ranking higher in search engine results.
SEO manager Nicola Hughes conducted a little experiment to illustrate the effectiveness of building internal connections. By adding many internal connections to an old post, she increased SERP impressions by 53% and the average position by 2.9!
All in only four months.
Types of Internal Links!
Here are the main types of internal links that can be used on a website:
a. Navigation Links
Navigational links are the most significant internal links since they are permanently shown on your main menu. They also comprise your site’s primary navigational structure.
Navigational links are frequently seen on the top menu or sidebar, covering product categories, services, or primary content subjects.
They often appear across the whole website and serve the primary function of helping people in finding what they are looking for.
b. Footer Links
Footer links, like navigation links, stay consistent across your website’s pages.
They should link to other key pages on your website that the user may wish to see. If the visitor hasn’t discovered what they’re searching for by the time they scroll to the bottom of the page, your internal links in the footer should direct them to another area to click.
Website footers commonly include links to contact us, help, frequently asked questions, about pages, and other resource pages.
c. Sidebar Links
Sidebar links are another form of navigational link that some websites use to direct readers to relevant material.
Sidebar links have become common for websites with a lot of content, such as news or recipe sites because the visitor isn’t necessarily seeking something specific, but rather wandering from one page to the next.
d. Contextual Links
Contextual links, also known as in-text links, are typically found in a page’s main body content.
Rather than leading viewers to bigger navigational pages, these links connect them to additional relevant material. Blog posts often include contextual links that direct visitors to related, relevant information and assist Google in understanding how your site’s pages relate to one another.
SEO best practices for Internal Linking!
Now that you’ve learned the importance and benefits of internal linking, let’s look at some SEO best practices to help you make the most of your internal linking strategy.
1. Create Core Pillar Pages for Linking
Creating pillar pages that may act as hubs for your website’s content and internal linking is an important part of the SEO strategy. These are essentially foundational sites that add value through in-depth knowledge on bigger themes.
Typically, these pages are rather thorough in terms of material and length.
To build pillar pages:
- Instead of long-tail keywords, look for those with significant search traffic.
- Create extensive material based on the large theme.
- Make sure to include enough long-tail keywords on the page.
When you first establish pillar pages, there will be a few internal links to add. However, this page acts mainly as a hub from which you may create internal links to other pages, and vice versa.
2. Create Topic Clusters with Internal Links
Now that you’ve identified your pillar pages, create more precise subject clusters for each of them. Consider your pillar to be the primary issue, with clusters serving as supporting, more focused themes.
So, if your pillar page was about “copywriting,” your clusters might be “What Is Copywriting?” and “Copywriting Tools.”
You may also create more clusters for your existing clusters. For example, supplement your “email copywriting” cluster with pages on subject lines and call-to-actions (CTAs).
These sites must internally link back to the pillar page to demonstrate subject relevance and to indicate that the pillar page is the primary page.
3. Use Descriptive Anchor Text
Anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink, as shown here:
You have complete control over the anchor text for your website. Be careful about the words and phrases you use so that they convey the target page subjects.
Quality anchor text assists visitors and search engines in determining the purpose of a website before clicking on it.
Coming up with meaningful anchor text also helps Google understand your site’s structure, giving it more information about how pages link to one another.
Here are some great techniques for generating anchor texts:
- Keep them brief (five words or less).
- Use relevant keywords from the target URL.
- Customize the description rather than using the same text.
4. Link From High-Value Pages
Not all pages are equal. Some are high rollers who can make or ruin a corporation. They drive the majority of your website traffic.
Identify many key pages with high authority and create internal links from them. It will allow you to transfer value from them to other pages and highlight their importance.
Use Google Search Console, Semrush, and Ahrefs to identify high-value internal pages. Look for the pages on your website that get the most traffic. These are the people you should be targeting.
Linking from high-value pages transmits link authority to others, which will improve SERP position.
5. Use Internal Link Building Tools
Internal link-building tools function similarly to a personal assistant for your website.
They crawl your website, identifying possibilities to improve your internal linking strategy. Use SEO audit tools like Google Search Console, SEOPress, and LinkStorm to help you establish internal links by:
- Auditing the present internal linkages
- Prioritizing high-value target pages for linking
- Generate keyword-rich anchor text.
- Fixing discovered broken internal linkages.
- Enforcing internal connecting best practices.
Using these tools makes your life easier and prevents you from encountering broken links or orphan pages.
6. Link Early and Visibly in Content
It is usual practice to set the most important content at the top of your pages. That is because that is where they will be most noticeable.
When visitors arrive on your page, they typically scan the material from top to bottom. Placing the most crucial links at the top allows them to easily identify and access key information or move to essential pages.
Furthermore, search engines examine the hierarchy of links in the content you provide. The hierarchy refers to the arranging of elements according to their importance, with more significant ones taking precedence.
This is one technique to tell Google which of your pages are significant.
7. Implement Nofollow Links Strategically
Nofollow links use a specific tag (rel=”nofollow”) that prevents search engines from sending SEO value or indexing the website.
The nofollow feature is useful for linking low-value pages such as login portals, affiliate links, user-generated content, and sponsored/paid links. They are particularly beneficial if you do not want search engines to index them.
This way, their ranking does not diminish the main site’s strength. However, you must only use no-follow on limited pages. Don’t overuse them, or you’ll dilute your SEO efforts.
Semrush, Ahrefs, and Majestic are useful tools for detecting no-follow internal links on your website. To create no-follow links, use the rel=no-follow element when constructing internal links.
8. Monitor Your Internal Link Counts
How many internal links are too many?
According to Google’s John Mueller, there is no magic number, although indexing the page requires a recognizable structure.
Simply said, you should include an appropriate number of internal links on each page. However, don’t overburden them.
Putting too many of them on a page may cause search engines to flag the page as spam. It may also reduce your crawl budget, which does not bode well for SEO.
Fortunately, internal link counters such as Duplichecker can analyze a web page and count its links.
9. Increase Link Value with Link Juice
Link juice is the SEO power shared by several websites via internal and external links.
The blueprint for internal linking and link juice distribution is as follows:
- Identify important website pages and freely distribute link juice to them.
- Designate the most important pages for higher link equity.
- Channel authority through internal connections to key web pages.
- Earn external links to boost overall link juice.
You can check the page authority of your site’s pages and then plan your internal linking strategy to pass link juice to other sites.
That being said, make sure you only provide important internal links. Do not include irrelevant ones just to pass on link juice.
10. Link to Old Evergreen Content with New Links
One effective internal linking strategy for SEO is to refresh old evergreen content with new contextual links.
It makes this content more useful over time. Evergreen tutorials and guidelines are the most appropriate form of content for this. Over time, search engine crawlers may deprioritize older pages that lack new signals of value.
To counteract this:
- Consider updating older posts with new information.
- Remove or update any stale facts.
- Adding useful internal links that redirect to newer related pages.
This improves the internal connection structure between older and newer information. It also transfers link juice and authority signals from established pages to fresh ones that require credibility increases.
Furthermore, it improves the interconnection of your website’s internal link structure.
Internal linking is essential for improving a website’s search engine ranking and general user experience. Businesses can boost their SEO results, exposure, and organic traffic by carefully connecting important pages. The benefits of internal linking go beyond search engine algorithms, such as improved user navigation, content hierarchy, and a more coherent website layout.
Leveraging internal links as part of a comprehensive SEO plan can dramatically boost a website’s success by improving search engine rankings and creating a more seamless and engaging experience for users.
Follow the guidelines provided in this article and you’ll be on your path to improved rankings, indexation, conversions, user experience, and overall benefits through internal linking.
1. What makes a good internal link structure?
A balanced, relevant, semantic structure that adheres to information architecture, promotes usability and connects themes.
2. How can internal links improve ranking potential?
By distributing equity to deep pages, linking fresh to old material, and improving relevance signals such as click-through rate.
3. What is the significance of anchor text in internal links?
Anchor text is the clickable text within a hyperlink. Using relevant and informative anchor text in internal links helps search engines understand the content of the connected webpage. It also gives context for the link’s destination, which improves the overall user experience.
4. How do internal links affect SEO page authority?
Internal links transfer page authority (link juice) from one page to another. Search engines frequently deem pages with more internal links more essential, which can boost their ranks. This aids in the development of a priority hierarchy among website pages.
5. What are some common types of internal links?
Navigation links, footer links, sidebar links, inline links, deep links, breadcrumb links, shortcut links, contextual links, etc.