We all know the importance of linkbuilding for more success with SEO.
The more (high quality) links point to a website, the higher this website will rank. It’s that simple. But that is also partially true for internal links: links from one page on a website to another page on that same website.
Internal links are often forgotten. Shame, because an optimal internal linkstructure can litterally boost your website’s rankings.
And the pretty part? You will have total control over these as apposed to regular linkbuilding techniques.
Internal links and SEO
Good internal linkbuilding helps people navigate your website, defines hierarchy and distributes authority within a website. And this last part … is what we are going to talk about today. This is where internal links have an influence on your rankings. Because pages with more authority have a better chance of ranking high.
You can understand this distribution of authority with the link juice or value of internal links. A somewhat dated concept, but no less easy to illustrate how internal links work.
Okay, your homepage probably has the most backlinks and that makes it a powerful, valuable page. One with a lot of authority. That authority then passes on in parts to the pages which the homepage links to.
Those pages thus receive a part of the authority from the homepage, where one link will receive about 100%, two links 50%, three links 33% and four … Well, you get it. In their turn, they also pass on that received authority to the links on those specific pages. And that again on their links. And so on.
You also understand that the deeper you get into your site, the less link value the internal links have with regards to the links on the homepage. That is exactly why you often link from your homepage to your main pages. To give them the most authority. To make them rank best.
A page with little or no internal links does not rank well or less well. Apparently you don’t think it is an important page, so why would Google pay attention to it?
Tips for internal linkbuilding
But how do you now ensure good, internal link building? Where do you place internal links? And what exactly do you have to pay attention to? I give you 3 tips:
1. Anchor text
The anchor text is the clickable text that forms the link. It is obvious to think that you can best link with the keyword you want the relevant page to rank for.
You can best do that once or twice, more will often work against you. That is not natural and Google soon sees that your internal links are over-optimized. That you really want to rank with that page. At the expense of the user experience. And we should not want that.
Therefore, use different types of anchor text for your internal links. Synonyms, for example. Or your keyword in combination with other, relevant words. Keep in mind the text around your anchor text. Google is smart and understands that that text also says something about the context in which the linked page must be understood.
2. No no-follow links
You can give your links a “no-follow” tag, so Google does not follow the link and no link value is wasted on unimportant pages so that the other links get relatively more value. At least, that was possible earlier. But that does not work anymore. In fact, that is counter-productive.
Why would you tell Google that they should not follow a certain link? With doing that you already indicate that the content on that page is plainly bad or, worse, not relevant. Do not use no-follow tags and allow the link juice to flow freely through your website.
3. Place links where they are relevant
This is the most important thing for me. By far. It does not make sense to link a page about, say, business coaches to a page about repairing cars. Besides the fact that I can not think of a situation why you would want it at all (other than giving the latter page more authority in a flashy way), it is not logical and not natural. And so Google will ultimately be able to punish you for that.
Therefore, only link to related topics and show Google that you offer your website visitors the best experience by presenting them with relevant content. They will reward you for that. With higher rankings, that is.
But how do you find the pages where you can place relevant links? One way to discover those opportunities is to google inside your own site. You do this by entering the following search query in Google’s search bar:
site:yourwebsite.com search term
This way Google scans your website for the search term you have entered and you will see all the pages where the search term is spoken. Go to that page and check if that term is an internal link. Usually not and so you have a nice option to add an internal link.
Pay attention, because there is a big chance that these opportunities contain exactly the keyword. And we do not want that, remember? Therefore, see if you can rewrite the found term for something else relevant and then make the link.
This way you can update your old articles with an internal link to new articles. Link back to older articles in new pages. So the circle is round, Google indexes both your old and new pages again and they will probably rise slightly in the search results.
Internal link building is simple. And effective. Provided you do it well. Try to give your internal links an update and see if your position in the search results improves.