Having links to your posts makes it easy for Google to find it – this increases your chances of ranking higher on search engines. Having internal links on the pages of your site helps Google understand how your website is structured.
Google is able to know which pages are more important and which posts have more link value. Just as backlinks are important, internal links are important as well. This article looks at why you need internal links and how you should set up internal links.
What Does an Internal Link Do?
An internal link is a link that connects one page on your website to another. Such links help your audience and search engines locate specific content on your site. It becomes very easy to find a page on your site once there is a link to it.
An internal link can be added on your home page, post feed, or menu to take your users directly to specific contents. It can also be added as links within your content to point your users to other related or interesting content.
Through links, search engines can navigate your content to find out the worth or value of your website and its content. The more relevant links you get on your site, the more important search engines will consider your site to be. So, it is important to have good links on your site.
The Difference between an Internal and External Link
Every website should have internal and external links. Internal links connect one page on your site to another based on how a piece of content relates to another. But external links connect one page on your website to another page on a different website. Backlinks are external links.
Why Does Google Care About Links?
Google uses links to find out the relevance of the content on your site. When a post or a page on your site gets many links, it is a sign to Google that the content of that post or page is very important.
Internal and external links on your site are noted whenever Google bot crawls the site. If you place internal links correctly and properly, it will guide Google to locate the most relevant pages on your site.
Google bot crawls websites by following links. When this bot lands on your site, it will follow the links one after the other as it establishes the relationship between one page and another, and understands their content.
Value of a Link
When Google ascribes value to a link, it divides that value among all the links on the webpage. So, the value of every link on a page is shared with all the other links on the page. The Homepage usually has the highest link value because it often has the highest number of links.
So if you place a link to the most recent blog post from your Homepage, it will get more link value than if it is only linked to a category page.
Also, when new posts are linked from the Homepage, it is easier for Google to locate them faster. Because links pass on their value, the more links a page has, the more value it will have, and the more the chances of ranking high in search results.
How Do You Set up Your Internal Links?
You need to strategize on how to have the right internal links on your site. Having the right links helps Google understand the relationship between the pages, the importance of the pages, and their value.
Developing a strategy for having internal links can vary according to your niche and the objectives of your website, but there are general rules that can apply to all. Let us take a look at some of them.
1. Have an Ideal Structure for Your Site
Every website should have a plan of some sort of structural outline. Besides having your Homepage that tells everyone about your niche, you can have different subject areas, sections, or categories.
Beneath each of these, you can have several topics and posts. You can even have sub-categories before the topics. Below each category or section, the topics will have a relationship among each other and even the categories will share some sort of relationship.
For example, in a sports niche, you can have sports categories as follows: football, tennis, badminton, hockey, and handball. Then you can have men and women subcategories under each category of sport.
You can put up different topics or posts for each category or subcategory. If your website is well designed, it will reflect the structure of the site. Each content or post on your site will also reflect the structured nature of your site. This will make it easy to add links at each relevant point.
2. Select the Relevant Content.
There is some content that serves as the basis or foundation for other content. They are the highly relevant and informative content that you will want people to be on the lookout for anytime they seek for knowledge in that subject.
It could be an area where you are well specialized in and you will want Google to deliver it every time someone runs a search. You will need to add many links to such a page, so it can easily be located.
3. Have Contextual Links
Use contextual links when you have written different posts about a certain topic. You need to link each related topic with the other. Having such links help the users and Google see the relationship between the content.
You can include such links within the sentences or include the links at the end of the post. To show the most relevant or cornerstone post, you should add the link of the cornerstone post to all the related posts.
4. Use Plugins and Modules to Add Related Posts
If you do not wish to add the links manually, you can use plugins and modules to add the related post section to your posts. But you will need to confirm that the related posts actually have some relationship.
5. Add Navigational Links
You can also add links from the Homepage or top of the navigation. This is especially good for pages that are very relevant to your business. An example of such is linking your product catalog from the Homepage. This gives such pages much credence and value.
6. Have Links to Your Taxonomies
Taxonomies are like categories or tags that help users navigate your site and understand your content. In your blog, you can add links to the categories and tags to give more understanding about your content. The links will also help visitors to your site navigate your posts easily.
7. Add Links to Your Most recent posts.
Whenever you add a new post, you can add links to them, so they can be seen on all the pages and posts on the site. This new page can benefit from the link value of other links that are linked with it. Apart from that, it will be easier for it to generate traffic and get visitors faster.
There are other internal links that do not add value to your website such as links through which your clients log into your Homepage. In the past, you could use nofollow tags for unimportant links, so you do not want to lose the link value because of them.
But in recent times, Google counts the nofollow link as a link and then its value as a link will be lost. So, instead of having nofollow links, it is better to have fewer links. If you do not want pages with nofollow links to appear in Google search results, then you should also add a no-index tag to them.
An anchor text is a clickable version of a page link. This is a text that visitors are able to see and click on. So, it is important to use the right anchor text, so you can get the right audience to click on your link.
You should not stuff your anchor text by over-optimizing with keywords. Use only what is relevant to your content and use keywords moderately. Also, make sure that you do not use the same keywords for every link’s anchor text.
You can install Yoast SEO and get access to their text link counter tool. This tool can be used to count the internal links within a post and those that point to a post. This will help you decide which posts should receive more links.
You can also use the internal linking suggestion tool to assess related posts that you can link with each other, and using the filter, you can find important posts that need more inbound links. As you write your post, you can use the editor to link the new post to a related post. The Yoast orphaned content filter can also help you view posts and pages that are not linked at all
Links are important to help your content rank high. Having internal links establishes the relationships between posts as well as categories or sections. The links can also be used to emphasize your most important posts.
Even new piece of content can benefit from the value of other links. So you can use the content of this post to strategize on how to get and fix your links appropriately.
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