The term “internal links” translates to “connections”. What do you think of when you hear these words?
I, for example, am thinking of an important relationship, which can be friendship, family, or business. Usually, these relationships are built naturally and we can never say that we “have a connection” with someone who has nothing in common with us.
Well, if we go back to the links, the same can be said about them. They should be natural, only between pages that have something in common.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to properly build a website’s internal link system.
What is an internal links?
Every website has two types of links: internal and external.
Internal links are links between the pages of the same website, and external links are links to the pages of another website (having a different domain).
Internal links are important because they help:
- improving the user experience on the site (to find the information they are looking for easier);
- facilitating search engine indexing – increase the visibility of pages scanned by search engine algorithms;
- increase authority in the search engines of the pages on which they are placed;
- increasing the time spent on the site by users (implicitly, the relevance of the site, in Google);
guiding users through the sales funnel;
- draw attention to older pages on the site (which would be difficult to find by simply browsing the site).
In short: they increase the visibility of the site in search engines and facilitate the process of obtaining leads.
So far, so good. Since its construction, any site already has a basic system of internal links: the page menu, the categories of blog articles. But is that enough?
The internal link system can be a gold mine for any site administrator. It can be built over time and the methods of doing so require a much smaller budget than link building, for example. So why ignore it?
Creating a system of internal links must be the same as the relationships between people: natural and relevant. So, here are some tips that you can implement immediately, to strengthen this relationship between the pages of your site and increase their power, organically.
How to lay the foundations of a system of internal links?
#1 Creates clear navigation menus
I have often found sites with menus that are either overloaded or unclearly structured. This is confusing for any user, especially if they are on your site for the first time.
Divide your pages into categories and, if necessary, subcategories. Separate your pages into three broad categories:
- For sale: services/products, portfolio, case studies, results obtained, contact.
- Education: blog, resources, courses, e-books, statistics, vlogging, podcast, etc. (as the case).
Usually, sales pages are always in the most visible menu – the main one, in the header, and the information pages are in the secondary menu, in the footer.
Depending on the type of your site, you can also place the education pages in the main menu. However, if you have an online store, the recommendation is to place any education and information page in the footer section, so as not to deviate the path of the potential buyer to your sales pages (products).
#2 Treat your homepage like a “showcase”
The home page is usually the most powerful SEO page on your site. However, it is a transit page – users do not have to spend a lot of time on it, but go directly to the section that interests them.
Therefore, include in the homepage links to the most important sections of your site, the ones you want to highlight. Treat this page as a summary of the site, which has a sales role.
#3 Optimize anchor texts based on the links used
An anchor text is the word structure on which you insert a link.
For example, you have a website and provide web design services for WordPress sites. You insert in different articles links to the web page design on word structures such as:
- web design;
- WordPress web design;
- web design services;
- web design agency;
- WordPress site creation;
- and so on
#4 Create “satellite” items around sales pages
What I have described above can be called the “satellite” method. This means that you have created a page structure that revolves around an important page, such as the sale of your services.
You can do the same – write series of articles on your blog on topics relevant to your services or products and insert links to the same sales page in each article in the series.
#5 Create cornerstone content
Basically, cornerstone content is a parent page that addresses a more general topic, referring to several pages in the site that address, from different perspectives, the same topic.
For example, these articles:
After posting over 80 articles in this blog, we realized that many of them were connected, addressing the same basic topic. For a reader, it is difficult to create a guide from our blog, choosing, in turn, the articles that interest him.
That’s why we made these resource pages, which centralize all our materials that talk about the same broader topic, in chronological order.
The method can be applied regardless of the domain of your blog and strengthens its internal link system.
Unhealthy methods of creating a system of internal links
#1 Tags indexed by Google
As you’ve probably already noticed, tags set to blog posts are pages created on your site that serve to centralize all the articles that use it. E.g:
- online business
- website construction
- web hosting
If you want to build a healthy system of internal links, then these tags should be set in the robots.txt file so that they are not indexed by search engines.
The line of code to be inserted into the robots.txt file is as follows:
The line of code must also be entered in the <head> section of your site:
<meta name = ”robots” content = ”noindex“/>
Of course, if you have WordPress, you can use the AIO SEO plugin to check an option that prevents search engines from indexing tags.
You need to do this for two reasons:
- Keyword tags related to site pages mean creating duplicate content, for example, our tag above, “web hosting”, would compete with our hosting sales page, which would mean a penalty from Google);
- Tags on irrelevant words such as reading, innovation, hosting, online, sales, etc. do not bring any relevance to readers or search engines.
#2 Excess internal do-follow links per page
What do “excess” links mean? Google does not officially present a limit on the number of links a page can have. Speculation was around 100: if you have so many links on one page, then you are definitely spamming.
But if you are writing an article, for example, and you want to enter internal links, it would certainly be completely unnatural to reach such numbers.
To make things simpler, we propose another rule: limit each page to a maximum of 3 internal dofollow links.
What does do follows mean? This is the real = “dofollow” attribute, which any link has by default and does not need to be written, an attribute that gives that link visibility in the “eyes” of search engines.
Its opposite is nofollow. Links are not implicitly unseen by search engines, so if you want a link to be invisible to Google, for example, you need to write this attribute to it manually.
#3 Internal “dead” links (to inactive pages)
Always check that the links you use lead to existing pages
If you are creating temporary pages on your site (for example, landing pages with limited-time offers), then it would not be advisable to include links to them from the site, as they may no longer be valid in the future. there are still those pages.
You can use tools like Google Search Console to detect if there are links to pages with Error 404 (Not Found) or the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress.
#4 Internal links to irrelevant pages
And here we come to the last piece of advice in this article. In a way, I left it behind intentionally, to make the connection with the introduction.
I wrote at the beginning that relationships between people must be natural and relevant. People need to have something in common to create a relationship.
The same is true in the internal links system. Creates links between relevant pages on the same topic. Otherwise, the link seems unnatural and there is a risk of a penalty from Google.
For example, if we write an article about Facebook Ads and refer to the hosting services page, then this will seem unnatural and artificial. Therefore, such a link, if necessary, would be recommended to be set nofollow.
I hope I managed to help you strengthen a system of internal links on your site!