10 Ways To Be An Internal Linking Champion
Whenever you come to an article on internal linking, most start explaining how internal linking is so complicated but at the same time how important it is. On one side, internal linking seems like such as simple concept, and it is mandatory for SEO, the other side shows that best practices and theories become over the top and complicated. But one thing is true: it is important. Heres 10 must do’s for internal linking.
What is internal linking
The Definition of Internal Linking
An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same root domain.
The Purpose of Internal Linking
Internal linking has four primary objectives:
- Helps the user navigate the site
- Defines Hierarchy of the site
- Helps distribute page authority
- Assists crawlers index sites faster
So How Complicated Is Internal Linking.
It’s not that complicated, as long you have user first approach, and know how to leverage page authority, conversion champion pages, and traffic champion pages, you should be okay. Don’t worry we’ll go through all this next.
10 ways to be an internal linking champion
1. Content is king
One of the main ingredients of internal linking is pages, and to create these page, you must create content. So if you think about it, having a fantastic content strategy is the base of internal linking. It’s like Ying and Yang you need one with the other. If you need internal linking you need content.
One of the primary byproducts of content marketing is the abundance of pages that you can link. The more pages you have, the more healthy your linking strategy is.
If you take a quick look online, you will see an abundance of linking strategies that require a significant amount of incredibly complex layer of pages, silos, and suggest mathematical formulas for a number of links depending on the depth of the page.
An internal linking strategy built around content marketing is much simpler, and best of all it doesn’t involve math. There is no plan at all. It’s pretty simple, all you have to do place links where it would be helpful to visitors.
2. Use the correct type of link
While focusing on content marketing, internal links should be anchor text or images. Provided that those images are alt-tagged and that they are not the primary source of links. Do not use links in flash, java, or plugins as search engines will not see them.
When using anchor text make sure they are optimized to describe the page you are linking to but do not force it. Focus on the reader and making the anchor text seem natural and organic. Don’t overthink it, just highlight, link it, and be done.
3. Link deep
When it comes to internal linking the deeper you link, the better it is.
What is a deep link
In the simplest terms, deep linking is any link that takes you beyond a landing page, entry pages, or business pages. This practice is vital if you want to push customers past your landing pages.
Three Types of links to avoid.
- Homepage. The majority of pages always have easy access to the home page through the navigation bar. Instead of doing this use that potential internal link, to point at a deep page so you can strengthen its PA (Page Authority).
- Contact us. If you look at new content creators that are new to content marketing, you can see them adding an unnecessary call to action at the end of their content. One of the beautiful things about content marketing is that customers will not need a call to action after reading your article.
- About Page: This one is very similar to your home page. The majority of navigation bars are located on all pages and have a link to the about page. Instead of linking to the about page link to a piece of useful content.
4. Reader first anchor text
Internal linking is a skill that requires practice, just like everything else. One of the fundamentals is a user-focused approach that adds to the value of the content. The SEO optimization of internal linking should be second though but still prevalent.
When a user sees a link that has the potential to elaborate on content they have a high chance of clicking on that link. This can also happen to external links, as long as the user thinks the link can be useful. If it is an internal link, then the user will spend more time on your site.
But how does this affect SEO? Well, let’s look at this through the search engine’s eyes. Putting a link inside of your content shows that this link is so relevant and important that you want the user to go directly there.
Internal links are very beneficial to the search engines and the user, but the focus should be on giving the user relevant content. So both the search engine and user are winning when you do correct internal linking.
5. Link to relevant pages
As I have said before building internal links is pretty simple, but one thing is for sure, you must link to related pages.
Let’s take an example. I have a page all about conditioning for ice hockey; I also have a page about making orange juice.
Would I ever link these?
If you want the golden ticket to internal linking, make sure you link to relevant content.
6. Use follow links
This is low hanging fruit, but it is important for the noobies. By default, all link has a “do follow” rel tag (relationships tag) attached to them. The “do follow” tag tells search engines to follow the link, but if there is ying, there must be a yang. The opposite of the do follow tag is the “no follow” tag. Here are examples of how to use each.
- <a href=”http://www.bauenseo.ca” Rel=”do follow”><Bauen SEO</a>
- <a href=”http://www.bauenseo.ca” Rel=”no follow”><Bauen SEO</a>
The no follows tag tells search engines not to follow the link and instead to ignore it.
But why would you use it?
Well that pretty simple, you don’t want to get flagged. When search engine optimization was still young, it was all about the quantity of backlinks. SEO spammers would use this to their advantage and spam links into comment sections and forum post. When a no follow tag was automatically applied to all of these links, they became useless.
Here are a couple of examples when you want to use it.
- Paid links
- Linking to anything going against google rules.
7. Use a reasonable number of internal links
Okay, so you made your blog post, and now you’re going back to fill it with internal links, but how many are allowed?
Google used to only allow 100 links to per page. You’re probably thinking “that’s way too many, who needs that many links?” We’ll make sure you take into consideration of footers, navigation bars, social media buttons, and other links that might be outside of the content. If you look at any Wikipedia, some of their articles have 300-400 URLs on one page, so 100 doesn’t seem out of this world.
Well nobody knows, but I will tell you this. There is no correct amount limit but don’t over stuff it and make it seem un-organic. I know it’s very repetitive but put the user is always first, and if the link fits, add it to the page. I cannot stress it enough, do not force it!
One thing I have to warn you about is including a lot of links in your header and footer. Now imagine that your footers and headers have a total amount of 30 links, and you have a total number of 100 pages (this amount of pages is not uncommon for website producing content). This multiplies into 3000 links! With that large amount of links, you are for sure going to hit with a penalty.
8. Use internal links to increase conversion
You will need to set up google analytics and conversion.
Okay so we looked at the rules of internal linking, now we’ll look at how to use it. Usually, some pages have an unproportionate amount of traffic coming to it, and these are known as traffic champions.
On the other hand, some pages have a unproportionate percentage of visitors taking action. This is what’s called your conversion champions.
I think you know where I’m going with this. In layman’s terms what you want to do is have your traffic champion page link to your conversion champion page. This will cause more traffic to go to the conversion champion and have a massive impact on your conversions.
If you find that one page on your site is making all of your conversion, I would recommend duplicating or doing A-B testing, of your process on different pages. You don’t want to be relying on one page for all of your conversion and putting it up to chance that users click on that link. The more pages you have converting, the better.
The math is pretty simple: Page conversion divided by Page Views equal conversion percentage.
- Page conversions/Page views = Conversion Percentage.
- 20 conversion/ 500 page views = .04X100= 4% Conversion Percentage.
Here’s a great resource that shows you how to find your traffic champions and conversion champions.
9.Use internal links to increase page authority
First things first: link juice or authority flows through links
When a page links to another page on the same domain it is passing some of its credibility, increasing the authority of the linked page and making it rank higher.
This is commonly confused with a backlink which passes additional authority to the linked page and the domain, resulting in higher ranking and more authority. Backlinks add authority, Internal links don’t do that.
Internal Links Vs External Links
|Internal links||External Links|
|Internal Links pass page Authority
Easy and Free
|Can be time consuming and unpredictable
Add domain authority
|Located in navigation bar and content||Located in content|
Now we know the difference between the two, how do we take advantage of it. We have to take a look at two things.
Where are some of your pages ranking
If a page is very close to ranking on the first page, take note of it. You can find this on google analytics or googles search console.
Take note of the pages with the highest page authority. You can find your highest authority pages on Moz’s open site explorer and use the “top pages” tab.
Link the page with the high authority to the page that is close to ranking on the first page. Just like before make sure not to force the link and make it seem as natural as possible.
This link will pass page authority and cause it to potentially rank higher.
10. Create links that promote action
Our job as digital marketers is to generate traffic, create claims for a product, support these claims, and make the customer take action. Internal links are a very useful tool to accomplish these task.
If you look at the bottom of pieces of content, it may include something bellow
- An additional resource on the same root domain.
- Does it offer help?
- Does it start a conversation?
- Or does the page just end?
- Email Submission
These are very easily done with internal links. Here are a few great examples.
- An additional resource on the same root site.
- Here are related articles
- Does it offer help?
- Does it start a conversation
- What’s your opinion, let us know in the comments
- Add an anchor to the link that drags the page down to the comment section.
- Email submission
- You can add an email submission pop-up connected to a link
As you have read internal linking is not a science and is fairly straight forwards. As long as you push an audience-first approach you should just be just fine. The best part of internal linking is that you will be able to have a stronger linking profile, higher, conversions, lower bounce rate, and more engagement.
If you have any questions comment or contact me directly