Almost every business with an online presence does some form of search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO refers to a list of best practices that can help your business website rank higher in search engine results. Good SEO can help you bring in a steady stream of new clients and customers, while bad SEO can leave your website sitting idle as you struggle to make ends meet.
There are many different forms of SEO, such as adding metadata to images or linking to various social media platforms, but one of the easiest and most often overlooked is adding internal links to your website. Internal links are links embedded in pages on your website that lead to other pages on your own site, as opposed to an external link, which links to a different site.
Embedding internal links on your site can give search engines like Google and DuckDuckGo more information about how the pages on your website interrelate and how the content on each page complements the other pages, as well as increase your site’s ranking in search results.
How Do Internal Links Improve Search Engine Rankings?
Internal links help search engine rankings for a few different reasons:
- Relationships between pages: Search engines like Google use “crawlers,” or simple bots that scan any and all text and links on a website. Having multiple links to the other pages on your site shows the crawlers how the pages are related and gives search engines a clearer picture of where to find related information when someone searches for it.
- Page authority: Page authority refers to where a particular webpage will appear in a search engine’s results page (SERP). Linking a page with higher page authority to a page with lower authority creates an association within the web crawlers’ algorithms and may increase the visibility of both pages on a results page.
- Link value: Links pass value from one page to the other. The homepage on your website likely has the most link value due to the number of linkbacks on it, and search engines like Google pass that link value to every link on that page. Adding internal links from your most visited webpage to your least visited will increase its link value and increase SEO relevancy.
Tips for Creating Effective Internal Links
Here are a few tips for using internal links to increase your website’s overall search engine ranking:
- Create more content to link to. A website with more information than a competitor’s site will likely rank higher in SERPs. The more pages you have to link to, the more the crawlers can access and increase relevance for various search queries. Adding a blog page, Contact Us page, About Us page, etc., as well as links to each from your homepage, may help your site rank higher in search engines than a site with just a homepage.
- Use anchor text wisely. Anchor text is the text that contains the actual internal link. Using anchor text that is contextual and gives clues about where the link goes will increase relevance and tell the crawlers more about what to expect. Try to avoid anchor text links using words or phrases that are not relevant to the page you’re linking to.
- Link to pages that need help. You don’t need to focus on linking to your homepage and the Contact Us page, as they’ll either be the first page visitors see, or they’ll already have links from the main menu. If you want to increase visibility for a certain page or certain information, link to it from your most highly rated page, and use that added link value to boost your placement on SERPs.
- Don’t overdo it. Too many internal links can actually lower your SEO value as crawlers interpret multiple links as spammy or trying to increase relevance with trickery. Also, the link value is distributed between all the links on a given page, so the more links you have, the less value each one gets on its own. Stick to internal links that are natural, contextual, and only link to pages that you want indexed by search engines for future queries.
With these guidelines in mind, don’t wait to start enjoying the benefits of internal links. Using internal links along with other SEO best practices will help increase relevant traffic to your website and increase conversions. Used in tandem with a website analysis tool like Google Analytics, internal links are an easy way to make your site more visible to potential clients.
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