What if you were overlooking one of the most important aspects of SEO? Internal Links.
When it comes to optimizing links, most businesses focus on external links. However, internal links are just as important for optimizing SEO and leading new visitors to your site.
Sadly, most companies don’t know how to make the most of their internal links without hiring professional help. But this comprehensive guide will help you learn everything you need to know!
Why Focus On Internal Links?
The rest of our guide is going to focus on how to optimize your internal links. Before we dive further in, though, it’s important to explore why you should focus on internal links in the first place.
The first (and arguably best) reason to focus on these links is that internal linking makes it easier for Google’s Crawlers to discover and map out your website. But without proper internal linking, it may take Google far longer to index your pages.
The second reason is that internal linking makes it easier for you to score backlinks to high-authority websites. The reason is simple: they help point other site owners to very specific sections of your website.
A third reason is that good internal links (along with good anchor texts) help make your content more valuable in the eyes of Google and users alike. And that brings us to the final reason.
Simply put, they make it easier for customers to navigate your website. And now that you know why internal linking is so important, we’re going to look at different ways you can optimize your internal links.
Focus On Content
Once you’re committed to focusing on internal links, the obvious question is what you should link to. And while we have a few general thoughts below, one big bit of advice is to focus your internal links on valuable and relevant content.
To do this, you simply need to approach your website as a customer would. Go back and re-read your content and, with an open mind, consider the things that customers might need help with or more information about.
For example, maybe you run a website that sells furniture and provides blog content that helps customers decorate their homes. If you reference a key concept such as adding a focal point to a room, this would be a logical place to link to another page explaining what focal points are.
And the heavier the content, the more internal links you should use. This is because the more information you layout, the more explanation, and additional information the customers may need.
Internal Link Frequency
How often should you be adding internal links? While there is no magic number to shoot for, it is good to link to a minimum of four older articles with every new page you add.
This is because your newest content will always have more value than your older content. By linking out to older content from newer content, you can make the older content seem fresher and more relevant in terms of SEO.
Speaking of keeping content fresh, here’s a bitter pill to swallow: optimizing your internal links means constantly updating and auditing those links.
The most logical way to approach this process is to go back to your older blogs and change out the internal links to fresh content. For example, changing that 2021 Buying Guide to a 2022 Buying Guide so you are no longer linking to outdated content. This is a “win/win” strategy because customers like newer content, and changing these links invites Google to crawl your site again and potentially give it a new ranking.
As for the old content, some of it may still be relevant. In that case, you can add a note at the top explaining the continued relevance or update some (but not all) of the content as needed.
Descriptive Anchor Text
Here is a simple trick to optimizing your internal links that many businesses overlook: make sure your anchor text is nice and descriptive!
Anchor text should provide very specific info to customers. This includes things like specific brand names, specific site names, and other identifying info.
This is important because customers are hesitant to click on a link they don’t understand. By providing all of this relevant info through descriptive anchor text, you can make sure more customers are clicking away.
Just don’t go overboard with the anchor text. Ideally, this text should be between 3-5 words for maximum impact.
Logical Linking about Internal Links
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth repeating: all of your internal links should be very logical.
It’s true that you may be approaching internal linking from an SEO perspective. But if your actual website isn’t user-friendly, then all of the SEO development in the world is functionally useless.
As long as your internal linking is consistently useful and relevant, you are building trust with users. Simply put, they understand that you don’t plan to waste their time.
Which Sites to Focus On
Obviously, we are focusing on what external linking can do for your SEO. But you may have a difficult time understanding where to start. On which sites, then, should you focus your attention?
The short answer is simple if a bit glib. You need to focus on any websites you are hoping to help rank for certain keywords. If the page is important to you, then optimizing the internal linking on that site is worth your time.
Where to Place Internal Links
Where should you actually place internal links? In addition to focusing on areas where customers will have questions, there are a few easy rules to follow.
Generally speaking, it’s good to include keywords and anchor text in the intro, conclusion, and at least once in the body paragraphs. As we outlined before, make sure the anchor text is descriptive and the actual links are relevant.
Your Next Move
Now you know how and why to improve your internal links. But do you know who can help you improve every aspect of your SEO?
We specialize in digital marketing, site design, SEO, and so much more.