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Boosting The SEO Of Your Website With Internal Linking: The How-To How internal linking can give your website's search engine optimization (SEO) a boost, helping search engines find and understand your content more effectively.

By James Reynolds

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As a go-getter running your own online business, you know that getting traffic to your website is super important. One of the key ways to do this is through something called internal linking, which is just a fancy way of saying, linking one page of your website to another.

When you do this in a smart way, it can really help boost your website's visibility, and get people more engaged with your content. In this guide, we'll go over all the basics of internal linking. We'll also look at how it can give your website's search engine optimization (SEO) a boost, helping search engines find and understand your content more effectively.

Understanding the power of internal links

So, what exactly are internal links? Think of them as virtual bridges that seamlessly transport users from one page to another within your website. These links are the secret sauce that ties your content together, allowing visitors to effortlessly navigate through your site's pages, and discover more of what you have to offer.

But it doesn't stop there- internal links have a dual role. They not only enhance user experience, but also communicate valuable information to search engines. When search engine crawlers encounter internal links, they follow them to explore and understand the structure of your website. By analyzing the anchor text -the clickable text within the link- they gain insights into the context and relevance of the linked page.

By carefully choosing descriptive and keyword-rich anchor texts, you not only enhance the user experience, but also signal to search engines the topic and relevance of the linked page.

Types of internal links

Let's now explore the various types of internal links that can enhance your website's structure and improve its SEO performance. Each type offers unique benefits, which can contribute to boosting your website's visibility and user experience.

BODY CONTENT LINKS These are the links you find within the body of an article or webpage. They give Google more context about the topics you're discussing, and they are usually manually placed to provide additional information or cite sources.

BREADCRUMB LINKS Ever seen those handy little trails of links at the top of a website that show you where you are? Those are breadcrumb links. They not only help users navigate your site easily, but also give search engines a clear picture of how your content is organized.

MAIN NAVIGATION LINKS These are the links you see in the primary menu of a website. They help users find important sections like products, services, or "about" pages. While they don't provide as much context as body content links, they play a vital role in showing your website's hierarchy and structure.

SIDEBAR LINKS You'll often find these links on blog websites, neatly tucked away in the sidebar. When used strategically, they can enhance the user experience by providing easy access to related articles or important pages. It's like creating a curated list of must-reads for your visitors.

FOOTER LINKS Take a look at the bottom of any webpage, and you'll likely find footer links. They serve as a navigation aid, allowing users to discover important pages like contact information, privacy policy, disclaimers, and the ever-popular "about us" page.

BOOKMARK LINKS These nifty links, also known as anchor links, help users jump to specific sections within the same webpage. They're commonly used in long-form blog posts to make navigation easier, and improve the overall reading experience. Plus, they can even influence search engines to display site links in search results.

NEXT/PREV LINKS If you've ever come across a series of blog posts or pages with a "Next" or "Prev" button at the end, those are next/prev links. They guide readers through the series, and help search engines discover the content in a structured manner. It's a great way to make sure your deeper content gets the attention it deserves.

Now that we've defined these terms, let's explore why internal links hold such incredible power for your website.

Related: Rev Up Your Business: 10 High-Octane Tips To Turbocharge Your Website Speed

Why are internal links important for SEO?

Internal links are pretty important for your website's SEO, and here's why:

MAKING NAVIGATION EASY Internal links are like breadcrumbs that lead your visitors from one page to another on your site. This makes it easier for them to find their way around, and encourages them to stay longer and explore more of your content.

ENHANCING USER EXPERIENCE If your visitors can effortlessly move around your site, and find what they're looking for, they're more likely to enjoy their visit. Internal links help guide visitors to relevant information and topics they might be interested in, making their experience better and boosting their engagement with your site.

CLIMBING UP SEARCH RANKINGS Search engines really appreciate websites that are well organized and easy to navigate. By smartly using internal links, you're telling search engines that your website is a reliable, comprehensive resource. This can help you score higher in search engine results and make your site more visible to potential visitors.

CREATING A CONTENT HIERARCHY Internal links help you show which pages on your website are the most important. By linking to key pages from various parts of your site, you're signaling their importance to both your visitors and search engines. This helps search engines figure out which pages on your site should get more attention and higher rankings.

HELPING SEARCH ENGINES FIND YOUR CONTENT Search engines use internal links like a map to find and index new pages on your website. By linking to a page, you're inviting search engines to come check it out. Without these links, some pages might not be found by search engines if they aren't directly accessible from your homepage or sitemap.

Effective internal linking strategies and best practices

Now, let's dive into some powerful strategies and best practices for implementing internal links that will take your website to new heights. These approaches will help you maximize the benefits of internal linking and achieve remarkable results for your entrepreneurial endeavors.

LINK WITH PURPOSE First off, think of your website visitors. Whenever you're adding links within your site, make sure they lead to something that adds value to your visitor's experience. This could be related products, a deeper dive into a topic on your blog, or more information on what you've just mentioned. It's all about making their journey through your site as enriching as possible.

USE KEYWORD-RICH ANCHOR TEXT Your links also need to tell a story. Use words that give a clear idea of what the linked page is about. This helps both your visitors and search engines understand the content. And it's even better if those words, or "anchor text" as we call them, are rich in keywords relevant to the linked page.

PLACE LINKS STRATEGICALLY Where you put your links matters. People and search engines pay more attention to links higher up on the page, so try to include them in the most prominent sections.

USE DO-FOLLOW LINKS Now, let's talk about the type of links to use. You want to stick with "do-follow" links. These are the ones that share SEO value from one page to another. They're like votes of confidence, giving your linked pages a better chance of ranking well in search results.

LINK FROM YOUR HOMEPAGE Your homepage usually gets lots of attention and backlinks. Why not use this to your advantage? Share some of that popularity by linking from your homepage to other important pages on your site.

FIND LINK OPPORTUNITIES You don't always have to create new content for linking. Take a look at what you've already got and see where you can add internal links. There's a nifty trick for this- type "site:yourdomain.com" in search engines, and you'll find all your pages. Go through them to find suitable places for adding links.

CREATE A WELL-ORGANIZED SITE A neatly arranged site helps visitors and search engines understand your content better. Make sure to categorize your pages well.

LINK FROM HIGH TRAFFIC PAGES You've got some pages that attract a lot of visitors, and others that make the sale or get the sign-up. Linking from your high-traffic pages to your conversion pages can help turn those visits into actions.

AVOID OVERLOADING WITH LINKS Don't go overboard with links. Too many can be overwhelming, and that could dilute their impact. Aim for a balanced approach.

USE TOPIC CLUSTERS AND PILLAR PAGES Have you heard about topic clusters and pillar pages? It's a great way to group related content and interlink them. This forms a hub of relevant info which is easier for search engines to understand, boosting visibility and ranking.

PRIORITIZE YOUR FIRST LINK Pay attention to the first link you have on a page, especially when you have several links going to the same page. Search engines place more importance on the first link, so make sure it's optimized with relevant keywords.

DON'T AUTOMATE INTERNAL LINKING Automating your internal linking might sound convenient, but it's better to take the time to manually place your links. This way, you can make sure they're relevant and strategically placed. Automated tools might get a bit spammy and harm your rankings.

MAKE USE OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT Don't forget about user-generated content. Comments, reviews, testimonials- they can all serve as platforms for internal linking. Find those that mention other pages or products on your site, and add links there.

USE A SILO STRUCTURE A "silo structure" can also be a powerful SEO tool. It's about grouping your content into specific categories, or silos, and interlinking pages within each silo. This makes it easier for search engines to understand how your pages relate to each other.

KEEP CHECKING AND UPDATING YOUR LINKS Keep your links up-to-date. Audit your internal links regularly and remove or update any broken or outdated ones.

TRACK AND ADAPT Lastly, keep track of how your internal links are performing. Use analytics tools to check click-through.

Empower your website with internal links

To wrap things up, internal links can make a world of difference if you're trying to get more people to visit your website. By being smart about how you use internal links and following the above strategies, you can really make your website shine and help your online business grow.

Don't forget that it's important to keep an eye on how well your internal links are doing. This lets you tweak things as needed and get the best results. So, if you're running a business, don't miss out on the opportunity to use internal links to get more traffic, make your website more visible, and boost your success. Jump into the amazing world of internal linking, and see where it takes your entrepreneurial journey!

Related: Search In The Age Of Distraction: Six Secrets To Standout Local SEO

James Reynolds

Founder, SEO Sherpa

James Reynolds is fanatical about all things search, social, and content on the web. James is the founder of SEO Sherpa, an organic search engine marketing agency servicing enterprise clients like Pretty Little Thing, Farfetch, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Nissan, Guinness World Records, and Bulletproof.

SEO Sherpa is the 2023 Global Search Awards Best Large SEO agency, and a three-time winner of the Best Large SEO Agency winner at the MENA Search Awards. In 2019, James was awarded the title of MENA Search Personality of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the search engine marketing industry.

James regularly shares content via his SEO blog, Twitter (@FollowJames), and LinkedIn and is a contributor to several leading publications, including Entrepreneur. James hosts the Click Jam inbound marketing event and mentors startup companies in his free time.

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