Welcome to the third blog in our series about On-page SEO. In the previous two blogs, we discussed keyword research and metadata creation. Let’s now look at the next aspect of what you can do on your website to improve your search rankings: Creating internal links.
What are internal links?
Whenever any page on your website has a link that takes the user to another page on the same website, that is called an internal link. As numerous experts have pointed out before us, internal links are one of the strongest ways to make sure your site ranks better and Google knows all the pages on your site.
Let’s quote directly from Google itself1:
“The first step is finding out what pages exist on the web. There isn’t a central registry of all web pages, so Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already visited them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.” [Emphasis ours]
For example, in this article, the links to our previous blogs on the first paragraph of this article are all internal links – they take you to other pages (in this case, blog articles) on our own website. However, the link to the Google Forum reply from which we quoted, which you can find at the end of this article, is an external link, since it takes you to a page that’s not hosted on versiono.com. (External links are also important, but that forms a part of off-page SEO, so it’s not relevant here.)
Why are internal links important?
There are 3 main reasons.
- Site navigation: More than anything else, from a user’s perspective, internal links make your site easier to navigate. For example, let’s say you landed on our home page, and wanted to check our video production services. If there wasn’t a link that took you to that page, you’d have to go through our entire website to find that page. That is a waste of your time. However, because we have an internal link on the home page that takes you specifically to our audio/video production page, your query is answered almost immediately.
- Site structure: With proper internal links, search engines like Google can easily understand your site’s architecture. The correct use of internal links shows an algorithm that page X has a connection to page Y on the same site, so they are part of the same structure. This is very important when it comes to how Google figures out which page is relevant to which search query.
- Maximise keyword usage: Say you want to rank for a particular keyword (on-page SEO). Let’s also say you already have a piece of content that deals with it (we wrote a blog about it). Then, you can use an internal link via an anchor text (what we did on the first paragraph) to lead the user to that page. That way, Google will clearly know that if someone wants to look for information on On-page SEO, they can go to our blog on that topic. This would not be clear if we didn’t include an internal link leading there.
So, with just these 3 points, you can see how crucial internal links are.
Top tips when creating internal links
After having said all that, there needs to be a method behind the madness. You cannot just randomly keep linking to all the pages on your website from every other page. It won’t work that way. So, here are some tips:
- Make it relevant: Always make sure your internal link adds some value to the reader. For example, linking this blog to articles that don’t deal with SEO is not relevant.
- Create proper anchor text: In this article, all the blue text with underlines are anchor text. Each anchor text clearly tells you what the link attached to it offers you. That’s why you should always create and use the proper anchor text.
- Create links to deep pages: Far too often, people keep linking only to their home page or contact page. But their site has many more pages than just that! So, you need to provide links even to your ‘deep’ pages – those which sit a few clicks away from the home page.
- Keep creating content: This one’s a no-brainer: to have a solid internal linking strategy, you need enough content on enough pages that you can keep giving fresh links to. Otherwise, you’ll run out of content to link to, which means you keep repeating your links. This will only confuse the algorithms more.
And that’s it for this session on how internal links can help you rank better. We’ll be digging deep into this topic in future articles, so make sure you regularly check our blog!
Have further questions? Get in touch with us today and our digital marketing experts will be happy to help!
- Google Support pages, How Google Search Works