Internal links are links that go from one page on your domain to another page on the same domain. There are two primary considerations you need to make when thinking about your website’s internal link structure:
Users. You should first consider when thinking about where to place links on a page and where they should lead. You want to get users from where they are to where they want to go (or where we want them to go) as quickly and easily as possible.
Search Engines. Another critical consideration is how a search engine will view the internal links on your site and how they will pass their weight.
Best Practices for Creating Internal Links
1 Create a ton of content!
Obviously you need kick ass content and lots of it in order to create lots of internal links. You also need to have awesome content marketing strategy if you want to have great internal linking. One goes with the other.
Think about it, when you have a lot of content you will have lots of linkable content, right? With more places to link to and from your internal linking strategy will be great.
I have read some strategies behind websites and their internal links and they are insane. Seriously you do not need complex layers of pages, silos of content or some mathematical formula for your structure. You really just need links going to places that people will be interested in on your website. Helpful links.
2 Website Structure
I found it best to keep a shallow website structure. By that I mean each page should be reached within 2-3 clicks from the home page, or less. Think about when you navigate a website, you want to find what you are looking for as fast as possible, right? If a site visitor has to click on a ton of links and still not find what they are looking for, there are thousands of other websites that might meet their needs and faster.
Now if you have a more complicated website you can achieve this by using breadcrumbs, tag clouds and internal search.
So if you are curious about your pages’ click depth, head over to WebSite Auditor. Using this tool will show you how many link clicks it takes to reach any given URL. It’s pretty simple, just create a project for your site and jump to Site Structure > pages. Then sort the URLs by Click Depth by clicking on the header of the column.
3 Reasonable Number of Links
If you have a shit ton of links, internal or external found on a page, the less link juice each link sends to the page it points to. You need to make sure you have the content well structured or it might be boring for your visitors to scroll down an endless list of resources. So, an excessive number of links can send a spam signal for search engines… be careful.
Remember when using your links, make it a descriptive link and not a command such as, “click here”. A command link is really meaningless and if you have a more descriptive one it will help you rank better in search engines.
Just do not over optimize anchor text or you might hurt your website. This means, no keyword stuffing. A couple years ago you could give all anchor texts the same keyword and Google made your website rank higher for that keyword. No, Google is smart enough to understand that the content around the anchor text says more about the relevancy of a keyword than the anchor text itself. So just make sure your anchor texts look natural, it is fine to use keywords but don’t add the exact same keywords to each one of your anchor texts.
5 Linking to Related & New Posts
When you link to related posts this helps Google to understand your website structure and also helps to link to one or more related posts at the end of the article. There are a ton of WordPress plugins for related posts. Just make sure you test whichever one you choose and make sure the related posts are actually related.
You should also link relevant text in a new post to something in an older post if it relates. You should also have a new posts link in your sidebar so that way visitors can check out your newest content.
Now Go Link Some Content
You cannot rank your content without links. As long as you have a solid internal linking strategy, you can show which content is related and with of your posts are most informative and valuable – you should be good to go.
Internal linking shouldn’t be overwhelming, complicated or even difficult. If you do this, you will experience a stronger link profile and better SEO by consistent internal linking. Pay careful attention to how your links relate your pages to one another, and try to keep your navigation as intuitive and convenient as possible.
While there are plenty of other tricks and strategies out there for Internal Link building this post should get your mind rolling. Start thinking about how to link to related posts. Create a list of 10 things related to your niche, then do individual posts about each one of those 10 things. That is literally what I am doing right now with this post. I touched base on Internal Link building in the 7 Essential Elements of Ranking post. See what I did there! Bam! Internal link with some Anchor text and how easy was that seriously.
Even if you already have 50-60 or even more blog posts, you should still go back through them and start linking! It might take some time but in the long run, you will be so happy you did.
So do you have an Internal Linking strategy? Let me know what works for you in the comments!