Links to, from and within your website are essential for a number of reasons. Of course, the Internet is one enormous amalgamation of information sites connected by links. Those links allow users and potential clients to locate and navigate through the various pages of your website. Those links are also critically important for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Using internal links to boost SEO is imperative – and a good marketing firm can help you get it right.
Internal linking for SEO is often overlooked in importance – and this is a mistake. Think of this perceptive analogy to help you understand external and internal links:
“Backlinks (external links) are like the wires from a power plant to your house, and internal links like the wires from your circuit breaker to your outlets.”
Power running to your home is not enough; there must be internal wiring to carry the current to where your family can plug into it. Internal links connect two pages on the same website. They make it possible to navigate from one page to another related or different page.
Internal Links and Website Ranking
Internal links are incredibly important when building your website’s ranking potential. Most of the pages on the Internet can only be accessed by internal links. Think about it – how many pages in a large company website contain external links through which they can be directly located? This is why search engines like Google use internal links to rank pages according to relevance. Using internal links to boost SEO can even transfer some of the rank equity acquired by external links throughout your site, thereby raising your overall website ranking.
Of course, internal linking is essential for making your website user-friendly. Well-planned site navigation and related internal linking makes it simpler and faster for users to find relevant information on your website – and follow designed paths down your sales funnel.
In short, while some internal links may have more value than others, they all form a cohesive path that builds site authority, offers a structured hierarchy and conveys meaning to your company website.
Using Internal Links to Boost SEO
Effective SEO hinges on impressing two audiences: Google and web users. Simple in concept, but it is a tall order – especially when the rules keep changing! Google is constantly changing algorithms and web users are always seeking a new and better experience. Using internal links to boost SEO takes an up-to-date knowledge of the latest ranking factors and user trends and a high level of organization. But the rewards are more traffic, clicks and sales from your website.
Improve User Experience and Boost Conversions
One of the best ways to enhance the user’s experience on your website is by creating a simple and effective site navigation with internal links. Users are systematically directed to the information they seek, as well as on a planned journey down your sales funnel. Think of it like this:
- Users find your content through a search
- Consuming this content generates questions
- Internal links from your content directs them to more content with deeper answers and solutions
- More internal links provide opportunities to take action with your products or services
With strategic planning, a good website designer can anticipate user questions and build your site linking in such a way as to guide the user’s thought process to make the desired action. Plus, by delivering more of what users want, you encourage them to stay on your website longer instead of going back to Google to begin another search – and time-on-site is an important ranking factor that shows trust, authority and brand loyalty.
Guide Search Engines to Your Content
When Google sends a bot to crawl your site, how does that work? The Googlebot simply crawls along your hyperlinks from one page to another. Strategically linked site pages are more easily found, indexed and ranked, making them found by users quicker and easier. A well-thought-out linking plan provides the right number of links to specific content pages to Google is more likely to encounter it.
Orphaned pages are those without an internal link that connects them to the whole site or an external site. They will never be found or indexed because the bot has no pathway to reach them. It’s always a good practice to regularly search your sitemap for orphaned pages that have no links. Adding at least one link to a relevant part of the site adds them to the internet of information.
Internal Links Provide Different Levels of Value
The different types of internal links vary in importance. Entire volumes exist on how and why each type of internal link contributes to ranking, but using internal links to boost SEO will include most of the main types. They include:
- Body content links – these are links directly in the content text that lead to other pages or external sources.
- Breadcrumbs – these are navigational features on large sites that help guide users backward to earlier, relevant sections of the website. They also serve to show where you are in the larger site hierarchy.
- Primary navigation links – these are the main links to the primary areas of your website.
- Call to action links – these links deliver users to action steps, such as purchasing, registering, calling or contacting the company.
- Sidebar links – these are usually links to other relevant pages, making it easier to users to get more information. These are often blog posts within your site on a related topic.
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