Just as backlinks are essential for improving your website’s SEO standing, internal linking also forms a crucial component of any marketing strategy.
Incorporating internal links into your link building strategy will improve your website’s search engine optimisation and user experience. It is important that organisations perform an internal link audit, that will eventually shape the marketing strategy of the company.
There are cases where organisation with massive content marketing initiatives, have no central internal linking strategy. Because of this reason, the spread of link authority throughout the website remains restricted.
Various SEO professionals recommend auditing your own internal linking structure, as it will ensure whether you are obstructing a blog post from being read or not. If the blog post is being sneaked, it becomes worst from an SEO perspective, and also from an overall business perspective.
All the content that is not appropriately interlinked, will not live up to its full organic ranking potential. In other words, it will be difficult for the users to find the content. Therefore, the following points gives you a brief, about why interlinking is an essential concern in the SEO development.
The Function and Benefits of Internal Links
Having a well-developed internal linking structure, will lead to an increase in SEO and user experience value of any website. Following are some important factors of internal linking functionality:
It provides with ways for web pages that were previously less accessible to search engine spiders.
It will organise web pages for you, categorically. The categorisation is based on the keyword that is being used in the web page’s URL and the anchor text.
Makes use of anchor text keywords to aid user intent.
Provides “link juice” between web pages.
Helps in organising site architecture and communicates to search engines.
Helps in promotional campaigns. This is done by visibly highlighting or featuring links on the homepage or beside the content.
There are various occurrences of links that search engines cannot parse. It is essential to mention these occurrences so that people do not use them:
Links in the web pages that are not allowed in the robots.txt file.
Links that are involved in the search bars or submission fields.
Links involved in the embedded plugins such as Java or Flash.
Links that are on the web pages with more than 150 links.
2. User Experience (UX)
Apart from internal linking being an essential component of SEO, internal linking is equally valuable to the user experience. A well-defined internal linking structure should have features like functional drop-down menu and navigation bar. Also, it should provide the intended users with the links to relevant topical content.
Moreover, when clear labels are provided for each link, it helps to reassure further interaction of the website and has a lot of SEO value. This also increases the amount of time the user stays on your website and their session length. However, the longer the user stays on the website, the more likely they are to complete the anticipated conversion.
Consider that you appeared on a web page through a recommended traffic source, and after few days, try to search it. However, if optimised anchor text is not used in the URL or deep links, to index the page appropriately, it becomes impossible to find that particular web page directly, through direct traffic methods. This eventually becomes frustrating.
3. Link Authority
Internal links do not have any such direct impact on the Goggle’s algorithm, like the backlinks do. They however, tend to increase the flow of the backlink authority that helps in directing from one page to another. People tend to write content that has no link with the previous blog topics or virtually has no recognition. Implementing deep link from the home page, will help you transfer the previously earned authority to the new blog page. Thus, resulting in faster index and higher rank.
Interlinking Structure: Best Practices
1. Site Architecture
It is essential that the internal linking structure should follow a pyramid structure. Having the home page of the website rested at the top of this pyramid, cornerstone pages will be placed directly underneath it. If there are no cornerstone pages, category pages that provide deep link to relevant blog or product pages, will be placed underneath the home page. For the pages that are linked directly with the home page, will be counted as the most essential with respect to the search engines.
The main achievement is to decrease the actual amount of links that happen to appear between the web page and the home page. The home page of the website is the most imposing one, as it is this page that is bound to receive the most number of backlinks. Force the authority of the website’s home page to spread the link juices proportionately throughout the website. Alongside, ensure that each web page is positioned in such a way that it gets highly ranked.
This navigates our attention to the importance of having navigation bars and menu functionality. These features help to ensure that no matter how much your website grows with content, all the web pages are at the most, three links away from the home page.
2. Content links
As a matter of fact, inserting internal links in the content is not a very clever idea, especially for indexing. However, they help in the website’s user experience. When you place a link in the content, it acts as a source of material and helps readers understand that they can stop reading from that point, and gather the further needed information from the provided link.
Moreover, if you make the content links bold, it helps them become more visible, and stand out from the rest of the content. It also urges the users/visitors to click on them. Usually, it is the best practice to add links in the blog posts that are connected to other relevant blog posts. It is important that all the relevant blog posts are well interlinked, since irrelevant links can cause frustration among the users.
It is even important that your website does not have any broken links. If you come across any broken link, ensure that those links are redirected to relevant web pages. For your users to experience a positive result while visiting your website, it is essential that the web pages load faster. Alongside, make sure that the linked web pages are not more than one click away from the conversion page.
There are various SEO professionals that suggest that content links are much more valuable than any other navigational links.
However, for any organisation it is important that they hire a SEO professional to get this sorted. Hiring an amateur can cost you big time in terms of profits and much more. If you cannot afford to hire a full-time professional, there are various SEO companies that help you in effective internal linking and backlinking processes.
Nevertheless, companies tend to forget the value of user experience and SEO when they think of link building. User experience and SEO value are very essential factors while building an internal link structure.
Backlinks continue to remain the utmost factor essential for building a good SEO standing and their effects can be amplified with a well-defined internal link structure.