The reality for most businesses is that good SEO is not hard to achieve.  The two most important broad strategic areas of focus are, arguably, fresh content and link building. Good content allows you to optimise the pages of your site with specific keywords, and boost your relevance during searches. Internal Link Building shares authority within your site so you’re perceived to be more trustworthy, ultimately resulting in higher rankings.

We also recommend you read up on External Link Building, here.

How Internal Link building works.

The concept of internal linking is relatively simple. Pages within your site should contain links to other pages of your site.  The goal of optimising the internal links is to include the right number of links on each page.  By pointing at the right destinations, using the right keywords you can help improve your Search Ranking.

  • Anchor text and context. Your internal links’ anchor text can play a role in how your pages are categorised. Consistency is key, so linking to a specific internal page of your site with a specific phrase, like “custom built superyacht,” can help Google understand the relevance of this page.  Relevant pages are thus presented for appropriate keyword searches.  But be aware that using such keyword-rich anchor text can be a spam trigger for Google when used in external links. In contrast, it’s generally acceptable to use keyword-rich anchor text in your internal links.
  • Page relationships. Internal linking will help Google understand the layout of your site, and the page relationships within it. You can, for example, use your internal linking strategy to establish a set hierarchy of category pages, main pages, and subpages.
  • Strategic authority re-distribution. Internal links won’t increase the overall authority of your site.  But they do share some authority with a new page. For example, a blog post with high authority can internally link to another post on your site and ‘share’ some of the authority.

Additional Benefits

You’ll also gain from these non-SEO benefits:

  • Visitor retention. Everyone likes a good read.  If your content is good then they will read more, which means more brand exposure and opportunities to convert a visitor to a customer.
  • Site navigability. Internal links also help your customers navigate your site easier. If used thoughtfully, you can use internal links as a guide to let your users know what other content they may be interested in, giving them shortcuts to use immediately.
  • Visitor direction and conversion. Remember those stepping stones we discussed when planning your website?  Internal links give you the chance to direct your users in a specific direction.  For example, pointing visitors to content that increasingly moves forward in the buying cycle.  You might often point users to a final call to action to secure more conversions.

Earning valuable external links one of the most challenging facets of SEO. Luckily, external links aren’t the only links that can have an impact. Internal links are a very important, yet often overlooked, part of search engine optimisation.

Best Practices

Here’s how to make the most of internal linking.  Master this routine to get the most out of this strategy.

  • Build internal links to pages that generate revenue.  First, spend time identifying which pages you want to rank highly in Google search results. Then, place internal links on the highest-authority pages of your site leading to those pages.  This will vary by site.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Links with keyword-laden anchor text may be able to help you establish relevance for certain search queries, but you still need to take caution to avoid keyword stuffing. If you use the exact same phrasing every time you link to a specific page, it may raise some red flags and lower your ranking.
  • Consider your placement. Links in the beginning of a page tend to count more than links at the end of a page.  Links in the body of an article are more valuable than links in the footer. Consider where you are linking to when you write your website content.

So that’s it.

Internal linking is an incredibly valuable strategy, both for SEO and for your site’s ROI.  Spend some time mapping out your site and identify what pages you want to ultimately drive traffic to.  Pay careful attention to how your links relate your pages to one another, whilst of course trying to keep your navigation as intuitive and convenient as possible.

Internal linking is not as important or as powerful as external link building, but it’s well worth your investment of time and effort.