Internal linking is one of the most effective SEO tactic for ranking yet can be easily overlooked. Improving internal links supports SEO and drives more traffic as content alone won't make the cut.
The improvement and continuous growth of internal linking are essential to any website. Its benefits include but not limited to enhancing user experience, building page and website authority, higher ranking and most importantly Search Engine Optimization. This article aims to provide you with some of the best SEO tactics that can improve and boost your website's internal linking.
How To Improve And Boost Your Internal Linking: 13 SEO Tactics
1. Promote and Practice link equity
Link equity also known as, link value, or link juice simply refers to the state in which value, equity or authority is passed from one page to another via the medium of a link [internal/external]. This mostly occurs from pages having a higher value in comparison to others, which can be due to their high-quality backlinks/internal links/external links availability or keywords involved. Still and all, this gives way to the equity of all pages and allows for their success and that of the website as a whole.
Making use of link equity is quite simple to some extent; most times what need to be done is discovering page[s] that will be in need of this effective assistance and linking them from related pages with high-value and not unassociated pages.
To discover pages with high-value, you need to access your website's analytics and find those pages driving the most traffic to your site, or even still uncover the pages with the highest number of quality backlinks pointing to them.
This increases the visibility of crucial pages as search engines see these links as an assert from your website or other websites that such pages provide valuable information and are worth ranking. The reason been that search engines use these links as one of the elements for ranking, and analyze it to determine a page's ranking in their search results.
P.S. Link equity can be transferred via both internal links [links from the same website] and external links [ links from another website].
2. Lots of High-quality Contents
There are numerous factors that must be considered when seeking to improve internal linking strategy and increase the number of internal links. The first on the list is with no doubt improving the quality of the contents on your sites, which in turn attracts more readers and boosts your pages and domain authority.
Your website is a means that can be used to provide great, relevant and high-quality contents which will increase productivity, improve and build your online presence, and give you the equal opportunity of getting easily found by search engines.
The creation of lots of relevant and high-quality content, leads to the corresponding creation of lots of high-quality internal links. What this implies is that an internal linking strategy needs a content marketing strategy, because they both go hand in hand [work together].
Your main aim in this particular step is to make sure most, and if achievable all contents created are corner-store, i.e., they are the core of your website as they hold the most value and importance, and it's your desire to make each one rank the highest in SERPs [Search Engine Results Pages].
Ranking such corner-store pages or content for high volume keywords is essentially important, because even search engines are aware of the fact that cornerstone content contain the most information about a particular keyword, ultimately allowing it to rank above others. Other pages are still important as they serve an auxiliary purpose of providing useful information to users, but aren't necessarily ranking high for keywords.
3. Display relevance through your links
Linking to other pages from your content shows that you’ve got more to offer than just the page your readers landed on. It gives them the opportunity to explore concepts more deeply and get more elaborately explained answers to questions regarding the topic they gained access to.
Let's say you have a page on your site on the topic “email marketing tools”, and another on “content marketing tools.” It won't be so wise of a decision linking both pages together, since they have no collective connection or benefits to pass across to each other.
But a page on “how to effectively make use of email marketing tools” can serve as a relevant source of internal linking for that on “email marketing tools”, since they contain a similar context which makes both links associated relevant.
Linking shouldn't be carried out just for the sake of it, but for the purpose of promoting relevance through contents linked. It's preferable not linking at all than doing so from irrelevant pages with the sole intent of boosting website's authority, which at the end won't be effectively achieved.
4. Each page should be reachable with in three clicks.
According to Wikipedia, the three click rule is an unofficial web design rule concerning the design of website navigation. It suggests that the user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. It is based on the belief that users of a site will become frustrated and often leave if they cannot find the information within the three clicks.
It's taken into view that each page should be reachable within three clicks of the homepage from a user’s entry point; however, what is really important is to keep key informations easily accessible. The 3-click rule is just an arbitrary rule of thumb that isn't backed by official data or solid analytical evidence.
Important pages that convert well, and generate a large percent of revenue, traffic and leads for a site should be no more than three link clicks from the homepage, since the homepage is the most authoritative page, the closer a page is to the homepage the higher the chances of ranking higher.
In this current era, it's really important to limit the number of clicks it takes to get to important pages, especially increasing the speed and reducing the load time of these pages. Users or visitors get frustrated trying to understand how your site works or how to perform certain actions, they are bond to leave and go to another; since there are literally thousands of other similar sites to yours that have there content well-planned and organized.
The click depth of any internal page can be found out via a Website Auditor [analytics tool]. It shows the number of clicks it takes to reach the given URL.
5. Linking Up To Common Categories [RELATED CONTENT]
When relevant content or pages are been linked to set up a rank of categories [from top pages to lower pages] it assists visitors to without difficulty navigate to related posts on a specific content, and helps search engines or site crawlers better understand the website structure and what pages possess information about similar topics.
A group of several discrete blog posts pertaining to the same context can be added to the exact category—creating a central page for each topic which can be added to various blog posts to navigate to the same category the post belongs to. This can prove to be an effective technique in an internal linking strategy.
If this seems like too much of a trouble, then it might interest you to know that there are plug-ins and modules that simplify this process by adding completely related post sections to your posts or site. It's however recommended you test such out before fully relying on them to know whether related posts are truly related. If you aren't able to find a good fit for your site [which I doubt], then maybe going manual will be the best option.
6. Internal links on unimportant pages should be edited/removed
Carryout an analytic research on your website to see the number of internal links on each page, after which you can start looking out for unimportant or non-indexable pages with lots of internal links attached to them, then remove them; if necessary delete those pages that don't seem to bring forth any notable value.
An instance this strategy could prove useful is where a particular page[s] is assigned to a particular season, when that period is over and you realize such page is no longer generating noteworthy traffic and it's still in possession of quite a number of internal links, it might be a good idea to make away with those links.
7. Moderation Is Key
The number of internal links embodied in a content or website should be done with moderacy in mind. There's a relationship between this tactic, and abstaining from the congestion of footer with links [read on to find out more about this].
No appropriate or exact number of internal links has been revealed to be the reasonable number that can be integrated on an entire page. However according to research carried out, it's recommended to keep it between 100 links, but do note that some cases may be applicable where more than 100 links won't be considered as a bad decision especially when a long-form article is involved. Headers, Footers, Navigation bars, Ads,... all contribute to the number of links on a particular page [now a hundred internal links doesn't sound like much of a biggie].
I think what's most important is providing links that will be of great use to readers. Yeah! Even if it requires adding tons of them, but make sure not to overdo it; everything ends up in providing good user experience which is obviously what search engines are after. Keeping the links on a given page to a reasonable number is also dependent on the post length.
P.S. You won't always need hundreds of internal links for your linking strategy to be effective—sometimes, one or two well-placed links can make more of a statement than hundreds of links combined. This is because, the lesser the links on a page, either internal or external, the more link juice each link sends to the page it points to or the more effective link equity is. Restrict the quantity of links on pages to at most 150, in order to avoid losing the capacity to have extra pages been crawled by search engines bots. Be modest as an extreme number of links can come off as a spam signal to search engines.
8. Make use of no follow links only when necessary
Nofollow links come in handy when you are in possession of links that aren't important for your site's SEO, or you just don't want such showing up in the SERPs. This increases the chances of site crawlers locating and indexing important SEO optimized pages.
Pages such as contact page will need a no follow link since it's often linked from every page, and a login link will need one as well; these pages/links don't need to rank high in the search results, so preventing search engine bots from following them will preserve link equity or value for more important pages and links.
P.S. A no follow attribution to less important internal links doesn't automatically give more important links higher-value. The nofollow link is still been referred as a link, and the value will be lost instead of been transferred so it's recommendable to include fewer links on a page instead of adding a nofollow attribution to some links to increase the link value of others.
If the primary purpose of making use of a no follow tag is to prevent such page or link from appearing in search results, then you might as well want to include a no index tag because this makes it fully known to search engines that you don't want such pages/links indexed or showing up in search results.
Be sure to make use of no follow links only when fully needed as it isn't a procedure that should be included in an internal linking strategy in light of the fact that link equity needs to flow without stoppage coming from a nofollow tag.
9. Regularly audit your internal links to avoid unforeseen issues
Auditing internal links isn't so tough when you have everything organized and in place, but in a situation where this is the opposite or you're just starting a website; more work needs to be done. Make it a habit to audit all existing internal links before adding new ones. One effective way to do this is via a crawler [site audit tool], do note that there are other ways to achieve the above without crawling your site but making use of a site audit tool makes each step more effective.
Once your crawl is complete, you will need to watch out for the following issues: Broken internal links, Orphan pages, Removing internal links to unimportant pages, Internal links redirects, Deep-linked important pages. All of these issues will be fully addressed during the course of this article, so do make sure you stick along attentively.
10. Don't overcrowd the site with footer links
Footer links are blocks of links found on the bottom of most web pages for the intended purpose of SEO or to help end-users navigate the site easily and quickly. Search engines are committed to improving their user's experience, and when a site is found to include lots of these types of links than necessary near the footer, it is seen as spam especially with thousands of web pages involved, resulting to such sites been penalized.
Footer links can be good or bad for your website, depending on how you choose to utilize them and your intentions. If the purpose of placing footer links in the first place is to assist users know their way around your site, then it will be good for your site as site crawlers will be able to efficiently crawl over those links leading to an effective SEO. If your intention is otherwise, as the placement of those links is merely for keyword optimization you might want to rethink still having such links up on your site, since they have no other explicit reason for been there, to avoid a situation where your site is penalized.
11. Image links should possess alt attributes
As ANCHOR TEXT is to TEXT LINKS, so is ALT ATTRIBUTE to IMAGE LINKS. When image links are properly alt-tagged, it serves as another favorable occasion to increase website authority by sending ranking signal to search engines. However, they shouldn't be used as the main source of your site linking, as agreed with SearchEngineJournal [SEJ], Most SEO programs don't register image links as internal links since they're generally seen to have less value than text links which isn't exactly true. However, Google puts forth a valiant effort to comprehend the substance and content of an image—a stock photograph won't convey a lot of weight, but a unique infographic may.
Locating image links that lack alt tag requires accessing the Site Audit dashboard in Website Auditor for the list of images lacking alt text.
P.S. Alt attribute, also known as alt tag is specified as an image tag which provides a text alternate for search engines or for users if the image can't be displayed or viewed. This tag can have positive impact on search engine rankings.
12. Non-navigational links opened in a new tab
During the process where additional posts are included in a page through anchor text, those links leading to additional information should be made to open in a new tab, making it easier for users to return back to the original content. The inclusion of this makes the entire process a successfully completed operation.
You for sure would want to avoid a situation where instead of your visitor viewing initial content, he/she ends up at an un-corresponding side of the web and has no idea of how to go back to previous web history that were made on your site.
This process can be done by adding a target attribute to the link in HTML
<a href="http://targeturl.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Link Opens in New Tab</a>; the “rel” attribute is for security, as you need not only the target attribute for functionality. Another way could be by including the option “open in a new tab” while composing content, which depends on whether your website builder platform offers such as some give the option of links been opened in a new tab when these links are added directly to the content.
13. Utilization of user-focused and links
As forementioned earlier in this article, every link kept in place on a site should be with the sole purpose of improving user engagement, i.e., links that are natural for the reader. All internal links need to be user focused to aim at providing value throughout the site.
When webmasters abide to this, users are bound to stay on websites longer, as they are more likely to click on links that appear to be in the same context with content currently viewed—be it an internal or external link, but internal linking is more advisable as all actions are still carried out within your website leading to an improved website experience.
These links embedded in contents pass across a great signal to both search engines and visitors when used appropriately. It shows the targeted link is so relevant that you want your visitor or reader to stop whatever they're doing and view that also.
It isn't really just about linking, but linking consistently. During this journey there are going to be links that won't bring in lots of traffic or perform well as expected, and that's okay. Simply stick with these tactics, and any other you might have learnt along the way and your linking game is sure to be flawless.
Remember to keep your visitors in mind when creating links, even though you're doing it all for the SEO gains, it shouldn't be a problem making both your priority. By helping users with appropriate internal links, you're helping your SEO in the same way.