When you’re taking steps to improve your SEO efforts and make sure that your website brings in more traffic, backlinking is considered by many SEO experts to be among the most important things you can d1o to bring qualified leads to your website. While backlinks are essential for any SEO strategy, it’s also important that you spend time creating and implementing an internal linking strategy. An internal link is a hyperlink that’s placed on one page of your website and leads to another page of your website.

Let’s say that you run a furniture company and are creating a blog post that will provide site visitors with relevant content that they can read. You can create an internal link by placing a hyperlink into the blog post that redirects customers to a product page on your website. If a visitor clicks on the hyperlink, they will immediately be one step closer to making a purchase and providing you with a sale.

Along with helping you improve sales and page views, internal linking can strengthen your SEO efforts and increase traffic. The Google search algorithm uses internal links to improve its understanding of what a specific page is about, what relationship a page has to other pages on your website, and the importance of the page. If a large number of internal links are leading to a certain page on your website, the Google algorithm will determine that it’s a high-value page. Google can gain more knowledge about how your website is structured when you place ample amounts of internal links on your website.

Even though internal links are highly important to the SEO strategy of any business or website, many SEO managers make the mistake of focusing too much on backlinking while overlooking internal linking. If you want your SEO strategy to be robust, it’s important that you invest time and money into both strategies. Keep in mind that there are two types of internal linking that you can use throughout your website, which includes contextual links and navigational links.

Contextual links are placed within your content and are designed to point users to relevant content. These links have somewhat higher SEO value when compared to navigational links. As for navigational links, these links can be placed in your navigation bar, header, and footer. When you incorporate a navigational link into the design of your website, this link should lead users to the areas of the website that they are interested in. Before you start creating an internal linking strategy, you should know more about what it takes to create this strategy and how it can benefit your website, which is detailed in the following.

Internal Linking Strategy

strategy for internal linking

If you want your website’s SEO to deliver consistent results, it’s essential that you build an internal linking strategy that can be evaluated and enhanced on a regular basis. These efforts can help you keep your site and the content up-to-date. Implementing the correct internal links will help Google understand:

  • The relationship between each site page
  • The overall value of your pages
  • The relevance of site pages

Decipher Between Your Important Content

The first thing you should focus on is to decipher between your important content. If you’re unsure about what the most important content on your website is, it’s likely the most complete content that involves the core aspects of your business. Your most important content is the content that you want users to locate when they’re looking for products or topics that are available on your website.

Once you identify what your most important content is, you can notify Google of the content’s importance by integrating numerous internal links into the content in question. While you can place these links in your website’s navigation areas, the most effective use of internal links is in the written content on an important site page.

Attach Links to Popular or Recent Posts

The next thing you should do is attach links to your most popular or recent posts, which will allow Google to view this content as more important than the other content on your website. While these internal links can be added to any page or area of your website, likely the most effective areas to attach these links to are the footer and sidebar areas of your website.

Since the sidebar and footer can be accessed by users on any website page, any user who enters your website could click on the internal link no matter the page they’re currently visiting. Every website wants its most recent content to get a higher number of views. By making your most recent content easier for users to access, traffic to these pages should increase, which Google views as a positive sign.

Include Hierarchical Pages

hierarchical pages

In the event that you have hierarchical pages on your website, these pages should be linked together with internal links. It’s important to understand that pages can have child, parent, or sibling pages. Let’s say that you have an “About Us” page on your website. Any additional pages that relate to the “About Us” page should be linked together with internal links.

For instance, if you have a separate “Mission” page that displays your mission statement, this page would be considered a child of the “About Us” page. It’s also possible for sibling pages to be linked to one another. If you have a “Values” page, this would be the child of the “About Us” page and the sibling of the “Mission” page. Linking these pages together makes it easier for Google to understand how your website is structured.

Add Contextual Links

A contextual link is an internal link that goes from one page to a similar page. If the topic of your most recent blog post is something that you’ve written about before, you should link these articles together with internal links. Adding contextual links allows you to show users and Google that the linked articles are related to their topic. Internal links can be placed at the end of your blog post or as hyperlinks in some of the sentences in your article.

Keep in mind that Google values links that are posted near the top of a page more than they value links that are crammed towards the end of the content. If you only place links in the conclusion of a blog post, Google will view this as low-effort SEO, which could hurt your ranking. Once you’ve implemented contextual links, it’s also recommended that you link your most important page in all of the articles that have similar topics.

Let’s say that you’ve written an article about the “Ultimate Guide to Buying Furniture”. If this is the most important article on the subject of buying furniture, you should place the link to this article in every relevant article on the same topic. Google will then rank the main article first.

Look Into Adding a Related Post Section

As mentioned previously, it’s important that related articles and posts are linked to one another. You can simplify this process by adding a related post section to your latest articles. There are numerous modules and plugins that will provide you with this functionality once they are installed.

However, some of these plugins will list posts that aren’t actually related to the main content, which makes them useless. As such, it’s recommended that you test the plugin immediately after it’s been installed. If you’re having difficulties, you could instead link to related posts manually, which doesn’t take much time. If you have a WordPress website, the top related posts plugins that you can download and install include:

Add Links to Your Taxonomies

When you’re looking to add internal links to your website, it’s important that you understand what a taxonomy is. A website taxonomy refers to how website content is organized and structured. If a website taxonomy is implemented correctly, users will be able to navigate your website without issue.

Website taxonomy can also be related to how a page URL is structured. When you properly organize your website with taxonomies, Google can better understand what your site content is about. In the event that your website is outfitted with a blog, consider adding internal links to any taxonomy that the blog content belongs to.

Internal Links vs. External Links vs. Backlinks

internal links vs external links vs backlinks

The three types of links that can be added to a website are internal links, external links, and backlinks. Internal links are unable to increase a website’s authority with search engines like Google and Bing because the site owner can add these links on their own. If internal links were able to add authority, the website with the most internal links would have the highest ranking on Google.

Instead, internal links are beneficial because they are able to funnel the authority you receive from backlinks to other areas of your website. As mentioned previously, an example of an internal link is a hyperlink that you place on one page of your website that leads to another site page.

As for external links, these are hyperlinks on your website that lead to another domain. If you use the information on another website to help you write a blog post, you can place an external link in your content to connect users to the site where the information came from. Make sure that you always link to high-authority websites.

Backlinks are hyperlinks on another website that link to a page on your website. If you can get other websites to link to pages on your website, you can build authority. Backlinks can also help you improve your Google SERP rankings. To understand how important backlinks are, they’re considered to be a top-three ranking factor on Google. Using all three of these link types is essential for your SEO efforts.

The best practices mentioned in this article should help you create a strong internal linking strategy that allows you to improve your SEO, bring in higher amounts of site traffic, and increase your conversion rates.

Bryan Miller of Bryt Designs Long Beach Web Design, Development, & SEO
Author
Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. He is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine. Feel free to send Bryan a message here.

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