SEO Basics: The power of Internal Links

06 Jun, 2020

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There are two kinds of links that are crucial for Digital Marketing: backlinks and Internal Links. 

Backlinks, also known as external links, are the most talked-about type of links because they are useful for building up domain authority, which is important for SEO, the strategy of getting this type of link is also frequently discussed, as it often requires making contact with other site owners which can take a little organization and quick thinking, but we have plenty of articles in the Blog about these links, 

so instead today, we want to focus on the other important type of links: internal links, also known as deeplinks. These links play a pivotal role in creating a user-friendly and search engine-friendly site architecture.

What are internal links?

I first talked about backlinks: If you would like to read more about this type of links, read this article from rankingCoach on backlinks ←this hyperlink takes you to another article on the rankingCoach Blog, it is an internal link. It’s possible to create these easily on a Microsoft Word or a Google doc by: 

  • Highlighting the area of text you want to insert the link in (read this article from rankingCoach on backlinks in the example)

  • Right clicking the highlighted area 

  • Clicking: link

  • Pasting the URL of the page you want to link  into the link box

  • Clicking Apply 

If you looked at the HTML version of this website you would see the following code  where internal link is 

<ahref="">read this article from rankingCoach on backlinks</a>

  • Those who generate links using Word or Google Docs may also see the code <span> don’t worry about this unless you have formatting issues with the text.

Avoiding Broken Internal Links 

Inserting internal links with Word or Google Docs is an easy way of creating links with no knowledge of coding in HTML. Those who are more confident with HTML or working with a less user friendly CMs may choose to input internal links with HTML code manually. However, you insert your internal links, make sure you check they work, especially if you are inputting them manually, as doing it this way creates many opportunities for small mistakes in the code that can cause big issues.

Avoiding Broken Internal Links 

If you don’t put in the right HTML code or URL, users who click on the broken link will be taken to an error 404 page. This is obviously not great for the user experience, it's also bad for SEO as broken links cause issues with GoogleBot and are a negative ranking factor. The simplest way to check a link is to click on it when the page has been uploaded and make sure that it leads the user to the right page.

Don’t Overcomplicate Internal Links

Last Month, Pink Haired Google Webmaster Legend Martin Spitt Lead a lightning talk on Links and Javascript. You can view it here. In the talk he strongly advises site owners to keep the code that users use for link building as simple as possible. Advising site owners to always code links with the standard href format (shown in the blog example above) and not recommending using more than a little Java to spice things up. I would go further than this and say unless you really know your stuff and it’s integral to your site, leave Java alone and just stick to HTML for links. 

Internal Links and The User

Internal links can enhance the user experience and increase the time users spend on a website which is good for conversion and bounce rates. We can use internal links to guide users to other interesting content linked to what they are currently viewing. These internal links also assist the user’s navigation of the website by highlighting content that they may not otherwise find. 

Internal Links for Maximising The Appeal of Your Content

Internal links are also an additional way of categorizing and presenting content in a way that matches the users' preferences and the page they are currently looking at. Notice the internal links at the bottom of this article. They refer to Digital Marketing topics that are linked to SEO and links. We can create internal links to product pages that are linked to the topic the customer is interested in. Creating interesting links provides another chance for a user to click on more content and stay on your website, improving your user experience and your conversion rates in the long run. 

Internal Links Help Googlebot

Internal links aren’t just there for human visitors: web crawlers like Googlebot crawl them to find additional pages on your website.They serve an important purpose for bots and search engines, especially if a website hasn’t submitted a sitemap. Crawlers use internal links to find other pages on a website. These links could be the ones on your site menus or hyperlinks within the written text. It is important that they have a categorical logic to them. A visitor should be able to find any other page within your site three clicks of seeing the homepage, and so should Googlebot. Take the time to plan out the structure of your website and if you find pages that are stranded from the rest of the site, consider adding new links on the menus or finding new ways of grouping this content. This will help Googlebot and your users to find these pages.

4 Don'ts of Using Internal Links

  1. Don’t link every single subpage with every other one: internal link building is about creating a logical structure for your site that links all the connected pages together 

  2. Don’t just link to a subpage: find a way to link a subpage back to the rest of the site

  3. Don’t use "nofollow" attribute for internal links, no follow links are telling Googlebot not to follow these links and this means it won’t find those pages

  4. Making internal links on your site that are blocked by your robots.txt: for the same reason as not using nofollow internal links

5 Do’s of using internal links 

Only link things that are relevantfor your visitors

  1. Make your links noticeable and make them visually stick out from the rest of the text (You can sometimes change link appearance, but normally links appear blue and underlined)

  2. Link to your most important subpages in the text and content and not only in the main navigation header/footer

  3. Remove links that lead to pages which don't exist anymore (dead links)

  4. Avoid using the same set of links on a subpage

  5. Formulate all anchor texts so they understandable and make sure that it relates to the page it is leading to

We hope you have enjoyed this article from the Blog by rankingCoach.

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