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Part of optimizing for search engines and readers is adding internal links to other areas of your website. This helps spread what’s called, “link juice.” The more juice an article has, the more effective it becomes in search engines. Of course external links are important as well, but you should still be mindful about the content on your site.
Why Internal Links Are Important
Essentially, internal links tell search engines like Google what content is more important to you. The more inbound links an article has, the more value it holds on your site. One of the newest additions to Yoast SEO is displaying these links from your “Posts” screen in WordPress.
Using these types of links within your content also helps create awareness of articles that are performing less than you’d expect. Not only does it give something for a visitor to click or tap, but it also informs search engines of the content. While a single internal link won’t make a profound difference in how it appears during a search, it’s still beneficial.
One of the most obvious reasons to add internal links is to give visitors something else to read. If you use WordPress, you may have a plugin that shows “related” posts. In any case, connecting the current post with something you’ve created in the past is helpful for boosting the site’s awareness during a search.
How Many Internal Links Should You Use?
There really is no limit to how many internal links you can add to a post. While you don’t want to add too many, as it will affect the link juice of every other article, you do want to have connections with relevant content on your website.
The best way to think of it is, “Will this link benefit the article?” If the internal links support your topic, then by all means add it. However, you don’t want to simply add links willy-nilly.
One of the most prolific changes Google has made over the years was that of relevant content. Elements such as backlinks need to be relevant to the topic they are linking to. For example, you wouldn’t want to link to a dog food post if your topic is about baby clothes. Links need to be relevant to what you’re creating, otherwise Google may and will penalize your content in the search results.
Should You “Nofollow” Any Links?
The “nofollow” command tells search engines they shouldn’t follow where the links are going. This prevents those links from gaining any link juice. However, it also prevents engines like Google from classifying your website as authoritative.
At first, you may not want to give someone’s article link juice, especially if it’s from a competing website. However, this process is what makes your site more receptive to being authoritative itself. It’s always best to cite your claims instead of spreading misinformation. It makes you look more professional and boosts the awareness of your site in search engines.
This is something I’ve seen in my current blogs and sites. The more linking I do out to authority websites to support claims and cite information, the better my particular post does in search results. What this means is that it’s very beneficial to include outside sources when creating authority of your content.
The only time I use nofollow links is when the link is aimed at something that is either uncrawlable by search engines or has no real bearing on the content. For example, adding an email subscription or a login screen really doesn’t need a followed link because the search engines can’t go anywhere past the link anyway.
Using Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is perhaps one of my most favorite tools for WordPress. Not only does it help you build optimization for the website, it also helps you create better content. Having access to determine linking of a page is just one more awesome tool the developers placed within an already stellar application.
The Internal links going out to an article will populate in your WordPress “Posts” screen when you update or publish content. However, you’ll need to access the Yoast SEO tool from the sidebar in WordPress to analyze internal links to a post from other articles.
To do this, go to the Yoast SEO tool from the left WordPress panel.
Click on the “General” tab along the top.
Under “Text link counter,” you will see a button. When you click it, Yoast will analyze every post and page in your website. After it’s done, you will see a new column in your posts letting you know what articles have inbound internal links and how many.
Unfortunately, I already clicked the button so I can’t show it in a screen shot without publishing another article. But, you get the gist of where this button will be.
You’ll see a new area above your posts. You’ll have page icons one with an arrow shooting out and one shooting in. This indicates that Yoast has detected that many internal links going in and out of the post or page.
What About Showing Internal Links on Past Posts?
Unfortunately, Yoast will not show internal links on past posts you’ve created automatically. To get these to show up on the “Posts” page in WordPress, you need to go into an article and simply click “Update.” This will cause Yoast to refresh its detection of the internal links.
This doesn’t mean that the links don’t exist. It simply means Yoast hasn’t detected any since it was updated. This gives you a chance to go through your past articles and see if there are any internal connections you can add.
It’s probably a good idea to have at least three internal links on each page or post. It will help the flow for SEO and help visitors find additional and relevant content.
Exploring Your Tools
Yoast SEO is just one of many excellent plugins and additions you can find for WordPress. It’s elements like this that help strengthen your chances for success whether you’re blogging or selling through Woocommerce. Take the time and explore tools, especially when they are updated. You’ll never know what kind of improvements are available unless you look.