As the online world fluctuates and the search landscape changes, the approaches used to manipulate it to reap the benefits and benefits that are just within reach.
The result is a constant cycle of tactics that are tried out and developed to be as flexible as possible, but how do they align with the best practices for internal linking SEO?
The team at TSCA has analysed the best practices for internal linking, covering all bases to keep you updated, including:
- What is internal linking?
- How does internal linking affect SEO?
- Why is internal linking important?
- How to improve internal linking on your website
- 1. Determine your ideal site structure
- 2. Prioritise MVP pages
- 3. Link to MVPs in navigation
- 4. Link from Hierarchal pages
- 5. Add contextual links
- 6. Incorporate internal linking into your content strategy
- Best practices for anchor text in internal linking
- How can I find internal link issues on my site?
What is internal linking?
An internal link is a term used to describe a link that goes from one page to another page on the same website.
These links can be used by users to help them navigate the website and find further information that is related to the anchor text used to link to it. It can be incorporated within the main content or elsewhere on the page and can come in several forms.
How does internal linking affect SEO?
Internal linking directly affects SEO as the number of internal links within a website will impact how a search engine will navigate the site. This navigation is also known as ‘crawling’ and is how the search engine will index the site and decide if it will push it further up the rankings for more users to find it.
The different variety of internal links also has an impact on SEO, as websites can have contextual links embedded within the content outside of the usual navigation links. This engages the search engine’s crawling of the site and allows them to find out, highlighting the importance of the site.
Why is internal linking important?
Internal linking SEO services are especially valuable to companies looking to get the most out of their website due to a number of reasons, including:
- Establishes information hierarchy within the website
- Spreads link equity around the site and boosts the ranking power
- Encourages users to navigate the site and improves the overall experience
How to improve internal linking on your website
Getting the most out of your website’s internal linking requires an expert touch, so TSCA has shared the team’s six top tips on how to improve the internal linking SEO benefits on your website.
1. DETERMINE YOUR IDEAL SITE STRUCTURE
Internal linkings are a fantastic navigation tool for users and are a way for you to clearly demonstrate the structure behind the site. But, the site structure should be decided before the internal linking is incorporated.
We recommend visualising the site structure as a staggered one, led by the homepage, in which all other pages are stationed below in sections, categories and subcategories until you reach individual pages.
2. PRIORITISE MVP PAGES
The most valuable pages will vary depending on your site, the functions behind it and the overall purpose of it. If you’re offering services and using your site as a lead-generating tool, you’ll want your service category pages to be prioritised.
For other types of sites, such as an e-commerce site, the MVP pages will be different. Perhaps they’ll be the sub-categories of products or specific landing pages of high-ticket items or items on sale.
3. LINK TO MVPS IN NAVIGATION
From the prioritisation, you can begin to incorporate the internal links to the MVPs themselves. User navigation and overall experience is a vital part of any website and is also key factor that search engines take into account when deciding to promote the site or not.
Clear navigation and appropriate internal links pointing to the important pages also avoids these pages from going unnoticed – instead directing the relevant and converting traffic to the page.
4. LINK FROM HIERARCHAL PAGES
Including internal linking SEO tactics that are from parent pages to sub-category pages and vice versa is a key part of ensuring you’re getting the most out of your internal links in an SEO regard.
The pages should be clearly related and well-organised across the website, and when done correctly, will make sense to users and search engines alike, boosting performance and overall experiences.
5. ADD CONTEXTUAL LINKS
The main bulk of the content within your website offers a great opportunity to mix up the types of internal linking on your website and create a variety that is appreciated by search engines.
If you have written something that is relevant to other content, link them together to help users learn more and have access to content that they’d be likely to be interested in. Another way to add contextual links is by linking to relevant pages or pieces you have elsewhere on your site.
6. INCORPORATE INTERNAL LINKING INTO YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY
You should always keep internal linking in mind when developing and publishing content, and any strong SEO content strategy will ensure this box is ticked. To get the most out of your internal linking on your site, have the processes in place to foresee internal linking opportunities and consistently review previous content to see if there have been any missed chances to insert internal links.
Best Practices for Anchor Text in Internal linking
One of the practices you should consider when boosting the value your internal links have on your website is considering the anchor text in more detail.
Anchor text is the text that the user will click to get to the next destination and is often highlighted to identify the fact that there is a link behind the text. Google actually recommends using keywords in your anchor text.
However, be careful in regards to the extent you use these keywords. Too many anchor text links using the keywords can lead to ‘keyword stuffing’. This can be detrimental to your site’s overall rankings and SEO health, as search engines will not promote sites that appear to be spammy and overusing keywords.
Instead, keep things natural and easy to read and incorporate some variety in the words you use in your anchor text across your site.
How can I find internal link issues on my site?
As with any element of a website, there is a chance for internal linking to malfunction or to cause issues within the backend of the site. Luckily, there are a variety of SEO tools you can use to identify concerns that may need to be addressed and to find further opportunities for improved internal linking and orphaned pages.
GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE > LINKS > INTERNAL LINKING
Google Search Console is a powerful instrument that should be in any SEO professional’s toolbelt.
It’s also helpful for finding issues with a site’s internal linking, as you can use it to see which pages have the most internal linking within a particular domain. From here, you can then identify how Google is actually seeing the hierarchy of your website.
This information allows you to find the pages you may need to strengthen or deprioritise and to see if your pre-determined hierarchy is being reflected in this analysis, along with potential changes that need to be made if your site isn’t being perceived in the way you’d like it to be by search engines.
Ahrefs is another significant element in any SEO professional’s working day and is key to finding issues with a site’s internal linking.
By heading to the backlink profile function and sorting by internal backlinks, you’ll be able to sort pages by the highest number of internal links or referring domains to see just how many internal links each page has compared to the number of external links.
You’re also able to flag internal linking issues by heading to the site audit function and creating a project. From here, you’ll run crawl and click on ‘all issues’. This will then immediately flag a number of elements that are relevant to internal linking that can then be actioned further into the SEO work being completed for a site, including:
- orphaned pages
- nofollow internal links
- links to HTTP
- internal links to a redirect
- broken internal links
- and more…
There are many other tools, but these are just a few. Using a combination of them will give you the most accurate picture of your current state of internal linking. Using the above tips and tools, you can ensure your internal linking strategy is in tip-top shape.
It’s time to start internal linking
Internal linking should not be overlooked in any website, especially when reviewing the overall SEO health of the site and how internal linking.
Now you have the expert’s advice and top tips on the best practices for 2022 with internal linking. From organising your site’s structure to key ways to improving the internal linking SEO benefits and the tools you need to be able to fully map out the links and spot opportunities for changes and improvements to be made.
It’s time to get to work and get linking across your site! If you’d like to see better results across your website to boost rankings and users’ overall experience, get in touch with TSCA today to find out more about our SEO services. Or, check out our other articles on all things SEO, including nine reasons your Google rankings have dropped and the top ten free SEO tools you can use.