How To Develop An Effective Internal Link Building Strategy
Internal linking is often overshadowed by backlinks, however it’s a pivotal part of on-page and can really help a site rank and increase it’s traffic. Here are some tips to develop it and improve your website.
Internal Link Building Strategy
1. Leverage the most powerful pages on your site.
Chances are, some pages on your site have far more external links pointing at them than others. You can leverage these popular pages to boost some of your less well-known content. The first step in the process is to identify which pages of your site are linked to the most often. You can use tools such as Open Site Explorer, Majestic or Ahrefs to identify and evaluate incoming links.
After identifying the pages that have the most links, you can then use them to give some of your less popular pages a boost. Linking to your less well-known content from your popular pages is an easy way to help them out from an SEO standpoint.
Whether you include a link directly in the content or add a banner showcasing another post that your readers might be interested in, you may as well take advantage of your top-performing pages to help the rest of your site.
2. The number of internal pages on your site is important.
Internal linking only works well if you have a decent number of pages to work with. If your site only has 20 or so pages, it will be extremely difficult to come up with an internal linking structure that doesn't raise a red flag with the search engines or with your readers. When you work with so little content, it is hard to avoid promoting the same articles again and again, which can make for a bad experience for your readers.
The best way to overcome this problem is by expanding your content marketing efforts suggests Matt Woodward. That means creating a lot of high-quality content for your site and organizing that content in a way that makes sense. Building a robust category tree that is filled with well-written, interesting content makes the process of coming up with an internal linking strategy much easier and much more natural.
3. Make relevancy a priority.
Avoid linking to content that is not relevant. All of your internal links should be related to one another in some way. Linking to un-related posts not only will frustrate your readers but will also make the search engines second-guess your motives, possibly resulting in a penalty.
Relevancy is one of the key factors that search engines focus on when determining the quality of a website or of an individual page. Make sure that any internal links are extremely relevant. Ultimately, your goal should be to guide your readers to additional content that they may find interesting, based on the articles that they were reading.
Of course, there are some links that will appear on every page, simply because of your site's navigation. However, you should try to include relevant links to other pages within your content, as well.
4. Breadcrumbs make internal linking easy.
Breadcrumbs which are the navigational links that usually appear right over or under the title of the page, are not only beneficial for your readers - they can also give you a boost in the search engines. They help the search engines better understand the structure of your site and how each piece of content relates to the site as a whole. They also make it easier for your visitors to navigate your site, helping them find relevant content quickly and easily. There are plenty of plug-ins out there that you can use to not only generate breadcrumb links but also to add anchor text to them, giving them a little bit of extra power.
5. Don't forget about the pages of your site as well as your posts.
When most people think about website content, they think about the articles and posts that make up the bulk of the site. These types of content usually get the most engagement from outside visitors, making them the top priority when it comes to internal linking.
That doesn't mean, however, that you should ignore the informational pages of your site. Pages like your About page or your Terms of Service should also include links to other pages on your site. These pages should already have incoming links from nearly every page of your site. You may as well use them to link out to other content, as well.
So, how do you practically manage and implement internal links - here are some practical ways to do so.
5 Tips To Manage Internal Links
1. Set Up A Reasonable Navigation
The way you choose to interlink you web pages should be governed by the size and type of your website.
If, for example, you run a small online store with five pages describing your products, then it is worthwhile placing links to the pages on each product page by using the footer or side-bar navigation. By doing so, the visitor can read about one product and then hop over to other products easily.
The anchors on a web page will most likely include the keywords, which is a good contribution to the overall search engine optimization (SEO) effect. For smaller websites, linking all the pages will be advantageous for SEO and the users; plus, it won't result in poor user experience or poor indexing.
For larger sites, the general rule-of-thumb would be to avoid making linking structures too deep as navigation of web pages on the third and lower levels can be problematic. When linking all pages together, it can become confusing; therefore, it is best to stick to flat linking structures and maintain a minimal number of link levels.
2. Including Title Tags To The Internal Links
When setting up an internal link, it is recommended that you add a title tag. An example is:
<a href="http://www.mysite.com" title="learn more about my keyword">my keyword</a>
If you choose to set up the title attribute, users will receive an 'info tip' when their mouse pointer passes over the link and they can decide if the link is worth following.
Regarding the SEO effect, some webmasters feel that adding a title attribute to internal links can be beneficial; however, others believe that it will not help the web page acquire any more relevancy as the anchor text exclusively will be enough. Still, it is worth a try for the sake of website users.
3. Linking Within The Content
According to Scott, webmasters should consider their website's content and work out where the link to other pages would be most suitable as pertains to higher page ranking. Ensure that the anchor text matches the keywords and phrases for which you want the page to rank. Scott also advises that the target keywords should appear on the destination page because this will make the linking more successful.
4. Linking From Stronger Web Pages
Certain web pages may be more popular in search engine rankings and this will lead to them receiving more links than the rest of the website. It is possible to strengthen the weaker pages by including contextual links to the stronger pages.
5. Links From Footers
Linking from footers is an approach that can help with usability because it is effectively a mini site map on each page. This also allows inclusion of something lengthy in a small phrase or term.