Internal linking is an important aspect of creating any piece of blog content. Unfortunately, it’s not always done with the best of practices…or intentions. Today, I’ll go over why internal links are important and how you can improve your strategies.
There is more involved than just adding a link to a post and hoping for the best.
What is Internal Linking and Why is it Important?
Essentially, “Internal linking” is a process of connecting one of your blog posts with another. This is all done on the same domain, hence why it’s called “internal.” A quick example of internal linking is how your navigation menu works on the website.
In most cases, these are links that send visitors to other pages on your blog. For instance, an “About Us” or a “Contact” page is a form of internal linking.
These connections help visitors find relevant content that expands on your topic or otherwise helps them find additional information. It improves retention by keeping visitors on your site for as long as possible.
But it’s not just human visitors that benefit from these links.
Search engines that crawl your site will come across the links to find additional posts to add to search results. Kind of like a sitemap, but on a much smaller scale.
These links also tell the search engine what the most important content is on your site. So, if you have a high-converting page, you’d want several internal links connected to that piece of content.
8 Tips for Handling Internal Linking
There is a bit more involved than simply adding a link from one blog post to another. In fact, many experts have created entire strategies to maximize how linking works.
That’s how important these connections are for a website to succeed.
Here are some of the best tips to follow when adding internal links.
1. Link to Older Posts
Obviously, when you’re creating new pieces of content, make sure you keep older posts in mind. If you have something that adds value to the article, add the link.
One method I like to use when looking for relevant older posts is by doing a Google search on my own domain. This way, I can see what indexed materials are available and add the most relevant to the topic.
This is when you’d use the “site” function in Google.
2. Add Links After Revamping Older Posts
Revamping older posts is great for keeping the content current and in the spotlight for search results. In fact, I’ve seen traffic improvements in the range of thousands-of-percent increases from a simple revamp.
But when you’re rewriting and sprucing up those older pieces, make sure you link to newer articles. It gives the new piece a bit of added weight for search and improves the engagement of the older article.
3. Only Use Relevant Connections
When adding your links, make sure they are relevant to the topic of which you’re writing. If you’re creating a blog post about WordPress, then linking to something about Christmas trees wouldn’t make much sense.
You want to use internal links to accentuate the blog post you’re writing. Think of it as a way of supporting the article with additional information a reader might need for greater understanding.
4. Only Use One Source Per Post
When linking out to another article, only do it once per URL. Too many links on the same page heading to the exact same article does nothing for you in terms of SEO nor engagement.
Not to mention how it may lead the article to look a bit haphazard and unprofessional.
And don’t link to your homepage within the body of your blog post. You already have that in the navigation menu of your website. At least, you should, anyway.
5. Use Descriptive Anchor Texts
The anchor text is the piece of content you use to create the link. You want to use something that makes sense in the article while letting search engines know the relevance of the connection.
You want to avoid using an entire sentence as the link, though. Usually, I’ll use a 3 to 5-word anchor depending on the topic and context of the article.
6. Don’t Oversaturate the Internal Links
There is a limit to how many links you should have on any given webpage. Of course, this also depends on the article you’re writing. But the last thing anyone wants to read is a body of text that is all one giant link.
As a rule of thumb, I try to keep the internal linking within the body of an article under 10 total. However, like I said, it depends on the content itself and whether I have anything that is relevant to the blog post itself.
For instance, this article doesn’t have a lot of supporting links simply because it’s a subject I haven’t covered much in the past. So, I really don’t have a lot of ways to improve upon the piece and add greater value.
7. Don’t Force the Link
If you don’t have internal links that support your current topic, don’t try to force it. This is when you add an anchor text just for the sake of making a link, even though it may not make sense within the article.
It’s better to let the article stand on its own merits rather than to create a disconnect of the text for your reader.
And keep in mind that Google hates irrelevant linking.
8. Monitor Broken Links
And lastly, keep an eye on any broken links you might have on your website. Not only does it look bad for a visitor to hit a 404 error, but the post can be penalized by search engines for not having a relevant link.
A broken link could signify there is something wrong with your site, such as a page that was deleted or an incorrect URL used in the link itself.
Create an Easy to Follow Web
Internal linking will help you create a web of information beneficial to your human and search engine visitors. It’s a way to make sure certain content is indexed while supporting the topic.
Spend a bit of time making sure your connections are valid. It could improve bounce rates and search result positioning.
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