Internal linking is a fundamental component of technical SEO, but it is often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves. In this article, we will discuss the importance of internal linking in technical SEO and how it can improve a website’s search engine rankings.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal linking is the practice of linking one page of a website to another page on the same website. Internal links are different from external links, which link to pages on other websites. Internal links help users navigate a website and improve the overall user experience. They also help search engine crawlers discover and index pages on a website.
Link building is especially important for larger websites with multiple URLs and a plethora of content.
Why is Internal Linking Important for Technical SEO?
- It makes the website more accessible by easing the work crawlers have to do. Ideally, a crawler should not have to go beyond 3-4 clicks after landing on your home page to find any content.
- One of the goals of internal linking is to create a hierarchy that reflects the importance of each page while assisting Google in discovering content. The closer to the home page the URL is in the internal hierarchy, the more important it will be considered by the search engines & more link juice it will get.
- Internal linking also helps in clustering content. Keyword clusters allow you to touch on different aspects related to a keyword. Proper internal linking within those articles can help in clustering content for search engines and users alike.
- Correct usage of anchor text can also give more context to search engines on what keyword a page is supposed to rank for (in addition to the keyword optimization on the page)
- Internal links help users navigate a website and find relevant content. By providing internal links to related content, you can keep users on your website longer and increase engagement.
What comprises an internal link?
- Destination → where is the link taking you, this is usually in <a href> attribute
- Anchor text → signals the content of the destination page
Example: <a href=”www.example.com“>descriptive anchor text</span></a>.
Note: you should not add NoFollow attributes to your internal links as that might signal a lack of trust in your own content to search engines.
Placement of links:
The placement of an internal link on a website can have a significant impact on its importance in SEO. Internal links placed in prominent locations, such as the main body content or navigation menu, are generally considered more important than those placed in less prominent locations, such as the footer or sidebar.
The location of internal links can also influence how search engine crawlers and users perceive the website’s content hierarchy. Links placed in the main body content are typically seen as more important and relevant to the topic of the page than links placed in the footer or sidebar.
Additionally, internal links placed closer to the top of the page are usually given more weight than links placed at the bottom of the page. This is because users tend to focus more on content located toward the top of a page and are more likely to click on links that are within their immediate view:
Internal linking best practices
- Keep internal link-building intuitive for your users. Think about what information users might be interested in finding and add links accordingly. For example, if the user land on a blog or landing page, can they find your home page easily similarly if they land on your home page – can they find other content like detailed information about your services easily?
- Use descriptive anchor text: Anchor text is the text used to create a hyperlink. Descriptive anchor text helps users and search engines understand what the linked page is about. Avoid using generic anchor text such as “click here” or “read more.”
- Design your website hierarchy carefully: For example, If you are running an e-commerce website, the category pages should be the closest to the homepage followed by subcategories and product pages.
- In addition to the hierarchy, the number of links also signals the importance of a page to search engines.
- If on a page you are linking to a URL more than once but with different anchor text, Google will only take into consideration the first anchor text, the second one will be redundant.
- Link to relevant pages: Internal links should be relevant to the content of the linked page. Linking to unrelated pages can confuse users and negatively impact search engine rankings.
- Link to high-authority pages: Linking to pages with high page authority can help distribute authority across your website. E.g. if a particular piece of content has received a lot of good quality external links, then adding related internal links from that page can add to the authority of the destination pages. Be sure to link to pages that are relevant to the content of the linked page.
- Don’t overdo it: Too many internal links can be overwhelming for users and may be viewed as spammy by search engines. Use internal links sparingly and only when they are relevant to the content of the linked page.
Internal linking is a crucial aspect of technical SEO. By using internal links to distribute page authority, help search engines discover pages, establish website hierarchy, and improve user experience, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings. Following best practices for internal linking, such as using descriptive anchor text and linking to relevant pages, can help you make the most of internal linking in technical SEO.