There are many components to SEO and there’s no doubt that two of the most important ones are link building and content marketing.
Make sure you earn links to your pages from authoritative websites, and that you put out optimized, relevant content on your website and blog, and your chances of ranking high in the SERPs will definitely go up.
However, there’s more to SEO than just that.
There are certain strategies within SEO that might not be as well-known as the two we previously mentioned and that, consequently, become easy to overlook.
One of these strategies is internal linking.
Whether you’ve heard about it but have never used it to boost your business’s online presence, or you have no idea what we’re talking about, today’s article will teach you all the basics you need to know about the role of internal linking in SEO.
What Is an Internal Link?
Type this question into Google and you’ll most likely find multiple definitions full of technical SEO jargon.
That’s great if you’re familiar with all things SEO but if you’re not, don’t worry, we’re here to keep things simple.
Having said that, an internal link is a hyperlink on a website that points to another page on that same website. To give you an example, if you wrote an article for your blog and finished it with a CTA which linked to your products page, that would be an internal link.
Why is Internal Linking Important?
In order for your website to show up in the SERPs, Google needs to crawl and index it, meaning it needs to analyze the content and code on your website and then add it to Google’s index.
However, as you can imagine, not all websites make the final cut and actually get indexed, which begs the question: how does Google decide which websites to put onto the SERPs?
The short answer is: through its ranking factors.
The long answer is… well, long enough to write a whole entire article about it.
But going back to today’s main topic, one of the ranking factors that Google always has in consideration are the links.
Google’s crawlers actually use links in order to discover new pages and navigate through the website. Knowing this, it becomes easy to understand why internal links are important, right?
The more internal links you have, the better Google’s crawlers are able to move through your website and discover more content to index.
Additionally, internal links help Google understand the structure of each page on your website, as well as the relative importance that different pages have for the website — but we’ll get to that in a bit.
How Can You Use Internal Linking in SEO?
Internal links are fundamental to organize and prioritize your website for SEO purposes and today, we’ll discuss two main ways in which these links can be used:
When Google finds an internal link, it reads the anchor text and then identifies the destination, which means that it can relate the keywords in the anchor text to the general purpose of the page.
In other words, the anchor text helps Google discover new pages, as well as understand and prioritize the page within the website, as we mentioned before.
To give you an example:
Let’s say you have a pizza restaurant and in one of your blog posts, you include an internal link with the anchor text, “pizza crust”, linking to another page on the website that is related to the same topic.
This will give Google more confidence that the destination page is meant to optimize for “pizza crust”.
Additionally, if multiple pages of a website internally link to the destination page about pizza crust, it will definitely drive the point that that is what the page is about.
When you get to the action and start including your internal links, you can go for one of two methods: either planning your linking strategy and keeping things tidy or simply adding the links as you go, without much thought going into it.
My advice? Keep your internal linking strategy organized and you’ll have more control and understanding of the structure of your website.
Passing Link Equity
Internal links also help pass link equity throughout a website, which is particularly relevant if you’ve also been investing in link building.
The truth is that link building can be a difficult strategy to master.
It might even be impossible, if you’re trying to drive links to sales pages (that is, pages with services and products) because many websites have strict rules against linking to this type of page.
For this reason, links you earn through link building often lead to your home page or blog posts, which offer content and information but don’t exactly sell by themselves.
To marry this situation, you can simply drive links to your blog posts, which will acquire link equity over time, and then add internal links from those posts to your sales pages, so that the link equity the posts have amassed can also be shared with the products or services page.
Start Working on Your Internal Links Today!
If you’re one of the many companies that underestimate the power of internal linking, today is the day to change that.
Not only will they make a huge difference in your SEO results, but they couldn’t be easier to implement. After all, adding internal links to your content doesn’t depend on anyone but yourself and your team.
So, if you’ve been looking for ways to boost your SEO efforts, I’d say internal linking is a great place to start. Good luck!