Links are an essential part of ensuring that search engines can easily find your content and index your pages sufficiently so that the pages can rank for the keywords that you’ve targeted. However, that isn’t the only reason why they’re an important and integral part on an on-page SEO strategy.
In this article you’ll get a better understanding of what an internal link is and how they could give your website a well needed boost at your business’s benefit. Carry on reading to find out all you need to know about what internal links are, how to use them efficiently in your content and why they’re important for the best practices of SEO.
What are Internal Links?
Internal links is a term used to refer to hyperlinks on your website that take users from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. Internal links differ from external links which are hyperlinks that take users visiting a website from a page on your domain to another page on a different domain.
Examples of Internal and External Links
It sometimes helps to visualise what the difference between what an internal and external link, so we’ve included an example in order for you to get a better understanding of what they are and what the difference is.
- Links to a page on the same domain
- For best practice ensure that it opens in the same browser tab
- Links to a page on a different domain
- For best practice ensure that it opens in a new window
Why are Internal Links Important for SEO?
The main use of internal links is for navigation on your site, which is one important factor for SEO, however that’s not the only SEO benefit that internal links have. In fact, internal links are important on a website for a number of different reasons, so in order for you to get a better understanding of the ways they can influence search engine optimisation, we’ve comprised them all in the following sections.
Determines Site Structure
Every example of a good website online will have a site structure, whether it’s carefully and meticulously planned out or whether it’s a mass of jumbled up pages, there will be some form of structure on a site. Internal links on your site help to determine the site structure or ‘site hierarchy’ on your website, and the better your site structure is, the better your SEO performance will be.
Site structure helps your website by:
- Allowing search engines to crawl your website easily and more efficiently.
- Allows users visiting your site to have a better user experience (UX) of your website.
- Produces a better result in the SERP by including sitelinks.
- Establishes a hierarchy of pages which you wish to rank.
Shows Relationships Between the Content
Search engines such as Google, crawl your website and use both your internal as well as your external links to determine the relationships between the content on your website and the pages that you link to. Internal links help search engines to understand the relationships between your content and what pages are covering a similar subject matter and the relevancy to the content.
Adds Link Value
You may or may not be familiar with the term ‘link value’, but what this means is that every webpage provides a certain amount of link value which is determined by factors such as how much authority the page has, the relevance of the link and where the link is, etc. And this link value is divided between all the different links on the page. Therefore, internal links can help provide your other pages with more link value from other pages on your website that are more successful and authoritative than other pages.
Allows Users to Navigate the Website Easily
It doesn’t matter what a great website and resource you create for users if they can’t navigate it quickly, easily and efficiently. Internal links will help the users on your website to navigate freely and easily find all the relevant information that they require from your website.
How to Use Internal Links
Now that you understand the importance of internal linking and the impact internal links can have on your website when used correctly, your next step is learning how to employ an internal linking strategy for the best SEO practices.
Decide Your Website Structure
There’s not a lot of benefit to be had from just adding links to your content without any thought or plan behind it, so it’s best to sit down and plan out your website structure. You’ll need to think about what pages of your site are the most important. The pages that you determine to be of high importance will need to be at the top of the hierarchy of pages and will need to have the most internal links.
Create a lot of Content
When creating a website structure or trying to implement a good internal linking structure with your website, it’s important that you have a lot of content on your website that you’ll be able to link internally with. If there’s only six pages on your website you may want to consider creating more content and pages to link with.
Start Adding Internal Links
Once you’ve decided on the structure of your website and created the content for your pages, your next step is to start implementing internal links into your content and there’s a number of different ways in which you can link internally in your content, for instance:
- Refer to previous articles that are related to the content on the page
- Refer to popular or your most recent articles and link to them on your page
- Add a related or recommended blog page at the end of your articles
- Think about navigation on your website
- Add categories and tags to blog posts