While your on-site performance creates a stronger, higher chances for keyword rankings and higher audience relevance through high quality content with strong SEO, many people have a tendency to overlook this and simply focus on building backlinks as it improves your rankings faster through a trust perception. Internal linking is an important factor in any website, but simply linking around all your pages is counter-intuitive because it has the potential to damage the topic silo structure that you created for your website, lowering your chances for higher domain authority on your page.
What Are Internal Links?
The full idea of internal linking is simple: you create hyperlinks that connect your pages between each other by embedding them under what is called an anchor text. They are typically used as internal navigation between pages for the sake of the visitors.
If I, for example, am reading on a story about Elon Musk, what sites will do is try to link in any page that is related to Elon Musk and the current topic of the story. Because I as a reader am currently curious about Elon Musk, I’ll most likely check out any older interviews or related news that has resulted to the current topic.
Why Internal Links Seem Less Valuable
The problem with internal linking is that, while it is a highly beneficial SEO strategy that helps with SERP indexing, does not pass on authority, or what is called link juice. Because you are simply connecting your own pages, this does not improve ranking as much as if you’ve done inbound links.
In addition, carelessly interlinking pages just for the sake of linking them can do more harm than good, since Google and many SERPs run on latent semantic indexing and reward websites that segregate their topics into easily identifiable link structures.
Internal Link Strategy Best Practices
Even though interlinking your pages does not help your site rank as fast as doing backlinking, you can still do something to make sure that you have a proper link strategy, to make sure you get as good a rank as you can from your structure alone. Here’s some ways to do them.
Segregate Categories and Stick to Them
The idea about creating categories and segregating them is an important step into creating an effective internal link strategy. As an example, by adding pages that are in the “digital marketing” category and linking pages only within that category, you keep the integrity of your pages intact, making it easy for search engines to crawl them.
Utilise Keyword-Related Anchor Text
When you are internally linking, the visible string of text called the anchor text in every hyperlink needs to be keywords that describe the page you are linking to. This is done not only to help crawlers identify what’s on the other side of the link, but it also assists visitors in navigating around your site for quicker, easier time reading.
Three Hops and Logical Links
Moz has recommended to keep pages only within 3 “jumps” within each other. This is done to help facilitate logical linking between each other, in and out of each page. The first jump starts on the next page, jumps another on the next page’s internal link to another page. This method helps not only for easier navigation but keeps the structure easy to crawl, creating smart, logical jumps between your content.
Conclusions to Internal Linking as a Legit Strategy
While internal links are among the slower strategies that you can use for your website – relatively less than focusing on backlinks, this method allows for overall SEO structure that works. Good linking methods contribute to an easier time for your audience to move within your website, while it gives you a sound overall strategy. Simply relying on backlinks will not work. Good content, excellent navigation and an easy to crawl website makes for a site that can stand on its own before the link juice from inbound links even come into play.