Why Interlinking Your Pages is Important and How to Implement It on Your Website
Links play an important role in the SEO of your page. Unfortunately, most people and probably you too, focus on the more prominent linking strategy; backlinking, to the point you forget about interlinking. You should know that it’s equally important to pay attention to internal SEO.
Sure, backlinking has a larger overall impact on SEO but comparing these two as if they are alternates to one another is to miss the role interlinking plays and its importance to the optimization of your site. I will highlight just a couple of things you are missing out if you have not done sufficient interlinking and also give you a number of tips on how to implement it on your website.
Importance of interlinking
Internal linking when done properly defines the arrangement of your site. This means the most important content and pages get more prominence and are easy to get to them and the pages below them in a couple of clicks.
For the user, internal linking allows for easy navigation on the site not just on the short time taken to access the pages but also knowing which pages are relevant. Instead of a user scouring the whole site looking for particular content, they can easily follow links from the homepage to content covering specific topics or tailored to solve particular needs.
These could be links to purchase pages, service and product descriptions or content meant to inform your site users on different aspects of your industry and related pages.
Prolong site sessions
The impact of easy navigation is prolonged sessions by visitors to the site. Relevant information can be easily found and next to it are links to related content on other pages. If you are providing great content, the visitor is led through subsequent pages and they follow through prolonging their stay on the site and reducing bounce rates.
Share link authority
Aside from providing direction, the other major role of getting links is to pass on value from one page to another which in turn boosts the back linked page SEO value. This is actually the main focus of backlinking.
Internal linking works in a similar manner only that this time the link value also referred as ‘link juice’, is passed from the top pages of a site like a homepage to internal pages.
This gives credibility and exposure to the internal pages as it alerts the search engines about the authority of the pages interlinked. Sharing link value across several pages increases the number of your site pages that are ranked highly for different keywords.
Help search engines bots crawl your site and rank pages
Interlinking helps search engines identify related pages, pages that are not regularly visited and this boosts your other pages and your overall ranking.
The whole idea behind interlinking is to create a well-structured path both for the user and search engine crawls. This, in turn, brings the other advantages as shown above. Like every other aspect of SEO, the impact of interlinking is reliant on proper execution.
Tips for internal linking
The first step is to have lots of quality content. You can only have sufficient content and pages to link to with enough content. More content provides your more sources of links which improves your overall link structure which in turn boosts your sites SEO.
Once you have the content you have to decide which words will carry the link. These are referred to as anchor text. The previous practice was overly optimizing the anchor text by stuffing keywords. This is now an action that can get you penalized.
Further, there is no need to try and force a keyword into an anchor text because the advanced AI of search engines allows the crawlers to use the text closer to the anchor text to determine the topic and relevancy to certain keywords.
You are better served by using natural anchor texts which help the visitors to your site to know where the link is taking them. You should also avoid using the same keyword for anchor texts to reduce competition between pages.
The next step is setting up a link structure. This largely revolves identifying the pages you will get links from, and how you will distribute them through the other pages, a number of links per page among other issues.
The common advice when setting up a link structure is to create a hierarchy or structure from the pages with most link value down to the deeper pages. This can work especially where most of your website content can be easily categorized. You should however not feel tied down to such a complex action and use the following as a guide;
- Link relevant content. Linking basically signals to the reader and the search engines that the pages linked have equally important information that either is related to the material or provides extra information. Where this is not the case you risk incurring bounce rates as well as diluting your link value by sharing it equally with not so important pages likes contact pages and thank you pages.
Links that are hardly clicked on are not effective either in their use of an anchor text, or visitors judge them irrelevant. Whatever the reason, such links can be noted by search engines leading to a negative impact on the page’s ranking.
- Pages should not be several clicks away from each other. The usually recommended number is at most three clicks apart from each other. This prevents losing the interest of your reader along the way and also allowing search engine crawlers to easily access the deeper pages on your site. Categories and subcategories are important in achieving this.
- Limit your use of no-follow links when you are doing internal links because it does not beat the whole purpose of why you are interlinking pages in the first place. It can seem an easy way to ensure low traffic pages do not get to divide the link value but even then it has the effect of restricting a page’s authority resulting in fewer visitors to pages that have been linked straight to the page with a no-follow link.
- Another important issue is the number of links per page. You have to factor in the aspect of link juice dilution and the usefulness to the user. Google recommends a reasonable number citing the use of a few thousand at most.
This generally describes the whole links on a page including the ones on the navigation bar, footers, and headers among other things. When it comes to links in your content the best guide will be the length of the content and the usefulness of the link to the user.
Internal linking does not have to be too complicated a process. You only need to focus on a couple of areas and seek to meet the user’s needs. Ensure all the deeper pages with relevant content are not left while at the same time eliminate low-value content.
Internal linking falls under the finer elements of SEO and its role in providing paths for crawlers and creating a tight-knit network of pages cannot be ignored. The above tips will help you avoid bad interlinking practices that hurt your SEO more and you may not be aware of it.