Google is constantly changing the way that they rank pages in search engines, and there are a lot of things in search engine ranking algorithms that the not-so-technically-savvy people will have a hard time understanding. One thing that just about anyone can understand, though, is linking. The more that your pages link to other reputable pages, the better your rankings will be, but there is actually more to the linking strategy than just getting links to reputable external sites. Internal linking is a simple thing that you can do, and it can help boost your SEO.
What Are Internal Links?
Just like external links, internal links are hyperlinks on your pages and within your content that connect readers and browsers with other pages, but with internal links, those pages are somewhere else on the same domain (that’s just tech-speak for on the same website). They are helpful if they:
Help readers navigate your website (for website users)
Establish an information hierarchy for the site (for search engines)
Allow “spiders” to find and map all the pages on your site (for search engines)
How to Incorporate Links
The best way to incorporate internal links is to create content on your site that easily connects to other content. If you already have your website content, read through it and find areas that reference content on other sites. You create these links the same way that you would to an external site, by logging onto your content management systems (CMS) and creating a hyperlink reference within the text.
If your link navigation is buried someplace that makes it hard for a search engine to find, that hurts your SEO rankings. Unfortunately many sites are built with structures that have pages not directly linked to a landing page where a search engine crawler might land, and the crawler will miss those pages so they can’t help your SEO, no matter how great the content or how many keywords are on those pages.
Best Practices on Internal Linking
While there are no specific “rules” for internal linking, there are a few best practices you can follow when you’re working on creating more internal links.
Have a lot of content – you don’t necessarily need to create millions of pages on your website, but you can create more opportunities for links by posting on your blog and adding pages when it makes sense
Use anchor text – rather than linking images, use anchor text that accurately describes the page or content to which you’re linking
Link to pages besides the homepage – many pages have dozens of links back to the homepage, but a better strategy would be to link to other pages on the site
Don’t link everything to Contact Us page – many companies add a call to action at the end of blog posts, then every link they have points to the Contact Us page, but you should link to other pages whenever possible
Make links natural – links shouldn’t distract the reader from the content on the page, and they should be relevant
Don’t over-link – pages should have a “reasonable” number of links, and while that’s not clearly defined by a number, it’s probably best to keep that to three or four per page, depending on the length of the content
Getting Help With Link Structure
The good news is that even if you’re not a website wizard, you can hire a Utah SEO company to audit your existing site, find internal links and optimize them, or find places to create new internal links.
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