When we help clients revamp and optimize their websites for SEO, we often suggest they use textual hyperlinks to connect their internal pages. This type of internal link optimization offers tremendous SEO benefits by helping search engines better understand page content and focus.
Internal links connect one page on your website to another relevant page on the same domain. As opposed to an external link, which connects your page to another website altogether.
When a search engine spider crawls the web, it travels from link to link categorizing the information on each page it encounters. This is how search engines discover new pages. They rely heavily on internal link structures to connect and understand digital content. On the other hand, pages that aren’t linked to from other pages on your website are called orphan pages. Best practice is to avoid having orphan pages by implementing an internal linking strategy. Internal linking is crucial for crawlability and making sure your pages are being indexed on Google.
By providing keyword-rich links to internal pages within your own site, you suggest to site crawlers the relevancy of keywords of those linked pages.
Your site may have a navigational menu bar to help users navigate from page to page, but this isn’t enough to offer SEO benefits. Links from a menu bar are less powerful than hyperlinked text found within the body of the page. Wikipedia is the best example of an internally linked page with targeted anchor text.
Each link on the page uses anchor text that describes the page that is being linked to. For example, the word “Hunting” links to the Hunting Dog Wikipedia entry. The word “Herding” links to the Herding Dog entry, and the phrase “pulling loads” links to the Sled Dog entry.
When we mention Pay Per Click Advertising, Content Marketing or Search Engine Optimization on our own website, we link to our designated service pages. By creating targeted internal hyperlinks signal the keywords that should be used to describe the page’s content.
This use of anchor text informs search engines about the content of your individual pages, and benefits SEO. This is the opposite of using hyperlinks with words like “click here.” Those types of phrases are more of a call-to-action for users which offer no SEO benefits.
There’s many reasons why you should incorporate internal linking to your site. Aside from improving SEO, internal linking also enhances user experience as it allows users to navigate a website. Additionally, it also helps confirm your website architecture. For example, you should interlink parent pages with their respective child pages and interlink sibling pages.
Every page on your website should have text content that can be used to link to other pages. When your text mentions another portion of your website – that is the perfect opportunity for a keyword rich internal link.
As stated before, internal linking enhances user experience and improves SEO. This is all a part of the purpose of having an internal linking strategy. Although you can find countless articles that claim to have the “best internal linking strategy,” you should always choose whichever strategy works best for your site. For example, if your site specializes in content about a specific topic, we recommend that you add internal links to pages that cover that topic. This indicates to search engines that your site is relevant for that specific topic. Additionally, if you’re trying to get more traffic to your blog pages, you can add a section to all blog pages with links to related blog pages.
However, there is one caveat. While it can be valuable to provide keyword rich internal links, too many can be a bad thing. Loading your page with too many links looks spammy. It’s important to make sure that you’re linking to relevant pages. You should always create internal links whenever it makes sense. Keep it feeling natural and organic and you will be just fine.
The best way to approach anchor text is to use keywords that accurately describe the page you’re linking to. However, it’s important that you don’t keyword stuff your anchor text because it may actually do more harm than good.
While adding relevant internal links on your page is a good thing, stuffing your anchor text with exact match target keywords is not a great practice. Since the Google Penguin algorithm update, Google has flagged keyword stuffing as a sign of manipulating search engines. Therefore, it is best practice to keep your anchor text relevant yet concise.
Learn more about anchor text best practices here.