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What is Internal Linking and How to Excel at It

You might have heard of internal links being crucial to your SEO strategy. But what exactly is an internal link? How can you use internal linking to give your SEO (Search Engine Optimized) articles the boost they need?

If you want to optimize your content for SEO, it is essential to understand how internal links work, where to place them, and why they matter. These are exactly the questions this article will answer, so let’s get started!

What is Internal Linking?

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to pages on the same domain. They pass PageRank (or SEO value) and the context through anchor text and surrounding content.

Simply put, an internal link is a hyperlink between two pages on the same website.

Although mostly used for navigational purposes on a website, internal links help the readers in accessing more information via related articles or pages. Internal links not only play an important part in navigation inside the website but also help in increasing page views and internal page rank.

Internal vs External Links

How are internal links different from external links?

As the names might suggest, an external link is a hyperlink on a Web page that points to a page on a different website; in contrast, an internal link is a hyperlink on a Web page that points to a page on the same website. Links to your site from other sites are important for referral traffic and SEO, but they’re on other sites.

The main difference between internal links vs external links is that internal links keep visitors on your site longer while external links improve the credibility of your site.

Why is Internal Linking important?

So, why should you use internal links in your content writing? Why are they so important? To answer these questions, here is a list of ways in which internal linking will benefit your website:

1. Good for user experience: Internal links are also good for user experience and may improve engagement on your content. They allow users to navigate a website and guide visitors to high-value, relevant content. They also prompt visitors to act, as calls-to-action (conversion optimization).

2. Helps Google rank your site better: By giving Google links to follow along with descriptive anchor text, you can indicate to Google which pages of your site are important, as well as what they are about. When used correctly, internal links provide paths for search spiders to discover new content, increase visitors’ time on your website, and create a powerful network of related pages.

3. Helps Google index your site: Google’s crawler follows link paths throughout the internet to find and index websites. If your website has strong internal linking, the Google crawler has an easier time finding new content you publish. Google’s bots regularly crawl the web for fresh content. If your content is woven together with multiple internal links, crawling happens a lot faster. As a result, your content will get indexed faster, too. Improved crawling and indexing can boost your SEO. In Google’s own words: “Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.”

4. Spread link equity (ranking power) around websites: Link equity, once colloquially referred to as “link juice”, is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another. When one page links to another, it passes some of its credibility (link juice) to that page, increasing the likelihood that the second page will rank.

5. Helps establish the information hierarchy of your site: In a traditional website, the site structure resembles a pyramid. The top of the pyramid is a small point that usually has general information about what the site is about and what it offers. As you click through the layers of categories and subcategories via the site navigation, the topics go from very general (at the top) to increasingly very specific, way at the bottom of that pyramidal site structure. The bigger the site the more pages there are and the likelier that an important page can get buried and remain forgotten in the avalanche of content.

What Google’s John Mueller suggested is that strategic internal linking is a way to point Google and site visitors to the most popular or important topics.

How to Excel at Internal Linking

An “orphan page” is a page that is not linked to at all from any other page on your site, which means it can’t be accessed in a crawl and can’t be indexed. To make sure that this fate doesn’t befall your website’s pages, you need to make sure that each page has multiple internal links. Here are five ways you can excel at internal linking:

1. Contextual links with keyword-focused anchor text: One of the best ways to find internal linking opportunities is to find pages on your site that rank for related topics and make sure they link with descriptive anchor text.

2. Link from pages with high traffic to pages that have high conversion rates: You can ensure more and more conversions this way!

3. Avoid writing generic anchor text: Do not use phrases like “click here.” These add no value. Anchor text needs to be related to the linked page in some way.

4. Link to pages you want to rank higher in Google: The more internal links a page has, the more important it looks to Google. More internal links can also increase the keyword rankings for a page.

5. Don’t overdo it: Using too many internal links on the same page can dilute their value. Google engineer Matt Cutts said, “It seemed about right to recommend about 100 links or so,” and “in some cases, it might make sense to have more than a hundred.” This includes all the links on a page— header, footer, navigation bars, and ads.

The bottom line?

Internal linking is just a way to point to your important content and make sure that search engines can find and rank it. Thus, to make your article writing and services more visible, you need to start including internal links on your website!

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