Part of enhancing the website’s appearance on search engines is by having relevant links pointed at your content. These are commonly called “backlinks.” As important of a role as these could play, the content linking within your site can also be a significant factor. Internal linking not only gives visitors a chance to explore other pages on your site, but it can also influence how search engines crawl and categorize your material.
Here are the 10 best kept secrets about how these links work to improve optimization on your website.
1. Lots of Content
One of the most important aspects to creating internal links is having the content to link to in the first place. Many experts hold this aspect in high regard as creating lots of material simply gives your site more for which to create relevant internal links.
The more content you create, the better are the chances for developing quality pieces that stand out. Before you start implementing internal connections, you’ll need to establish a strong content strategy. This can be used to enhance the potential for quality internal linking.
2. Linking to the Most Important Content from the Homepage
Linking to the most important and popular content from the homepage is beneficial for both visitors and SEO. As a large portion of your traffic will be visiting the site by its domain name, having these links in plain sight encourages exploration.
These popular and relevant pages can be found in tools such as Google Analytics. The areas that have the most visits and the longest average duration are good choices for linking in this manner.
3. Contextual Links
In most cases, links that are placed within text perform better than those that stand alone. This is because the links are surrounded by contextual material. It helps gauge the relevance of the anchor as the content before and after the link is crawled by search engines.
Whether it’s keywords or links, relevancy is the most important to keep in mind. Google implemented contextual tracking in order to reduce the amount of spam that is displayed in search results. Because of this, your links need to be relevant to the topic if you want them to score well.
4. Add Links in Moderation
Each time you create a link to other content on your site, you’re lending out that webpage’s authority level. This means that the first page could seem less relevant in terms of search engine optimization. Since each link taps into that authority, you want to keep them to a low level. In this case, too much of a good thing could be bad.
From a visual standpoint, too many links could also distract the visitor. Most people looking for quality content want a clean presence. In a page filled with links, an individual could get confused or otherwise have a hard time reading the content.
5. Authority of One
Some experts use a multitude of lesser pages to send links to the more important piece. This helps enhance that page’s authority when it comes to search relevance. Not only does this create a logical path for visitors, but it also creates something search engines can crawl to.
For example: Perhaps you want to give a single page as much authority in search engines as possible. You would want to start by writing new pieces that are relevant to that single page. Once you link from the new pieces to that single page, the authority of it begins to increase.
6. Sharing the Spotlight
Some experts believe linking from a popular page to one that is performing lower is a great way to share authority and enhance the lesser article. For instance, a link going from a webpage that receives 100 views per day to one that has one or two per month could increase that second page’s exposure. This is for both the human element as well as search engines.
This works exceptionally well if you have content that is buried deep within your site. Search engines will only crawl so far in the hierarchy of webpages. Prompting the bots to crawl those lesser pages from the popular ones may help indexing.
7. Adding Value
The internal links you create should be based in value to the reader. For example, a link pointing to a more detailed explanation of a topic that was only briefly described may be ideal. Essentially, you want to give your readers something to follow that has potential to add value to the content.
Search engines, such as Google, are focused more on quality than quantity. Many of the algorithms they use are reminiscent to how a human visitor explores the website. Instead of focusing on getting the search engine to crawl certain pages, create them as if the bot was a real person. Guide it to the content that is relevant to the topic at hand.
8. The Natural Flow
The links you create need to have a natural flow from one page to another. There needs to be a seamless transition from the first page into the next. It’s much like linking together chapters of a book. If you were to link chapter one to chapter ten, your readers would be missing a large chunk of the plot.
Each consecutive link should lead a visitor from one logical thought to another. Keeping the flow of material going could keep a person engaged while increasing the likelihood of exploring the website further. You don’t want your links to look haphazard or scattered.
9. The Right Anchor Text
The anchor is the actual text that is being used as a link. This can be quite tricky to figure out in whole. There are a variety of methods you could use depending on the development of your site. Many people will rely on generic anchors such as “click here” and “read more.”
One thing you want to be wary of is matching links to keywords. In some instances, Google may penalize the site because of this practice. For example, you wouldn’t want your anchor to be “golfing” if the keyword you’re using is the same.
10. Color Can Matter
Some experts attest how color influences whether or not a visitor clicks an internal link. It needs to be obvious in order to inspire people to use it, and you don’t want it to resemble your regular text too closely. If it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’s a link, people may assume it’s not.
Search engines really don’t care about the color of the link. From a crawling perspective, any color is just as good as another. It’s the actual relevancy that sites like Google and Bing are looking for.
Internal linking is one of the easiest methods to boost SEO. Although it could seem tedious, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. With each new piece of content, try to keep past posts in mind that may be relevant to what you’re currently writing. You could quickly add the link giving both webpages a stronger purpose. Just make sure you don’t over do it. Too many links could have a detrimental effect on SEO.