In today’s podcast episode, Rebecca talks about the importance of internal linking. She explores what it is, how it influences search engines, and what you can do to create a solid internal linking strategy for your website or blog.
Let’s Go Back to Middle School
Links are as important as the signs and placards within a school. Consider the first day of middle school and you need to go to the library. Without friendly humans near to assist you, you would end up relying on directional clues (aka signs and placards) to help you find your way. Your website is the exact same, however, internal links serve as those signs and placards.
What if you entered the school and you looked for the library sign, only to find hundreds of signs all saying library and pointing in different directions? Would you know where to go? Would you leave in frustration? This is how your website visitors and search engines feels as they browse through a website with poor internal linking. It produces a mass of confusion and it’s damaging to SEO and the usability for human visitors.
Why Links Matter
The basic elements of the web are content and links. Links connect content and control movement and influence.
- Links are a core component of the internet
- Links are a major ranking factor to search engines
- Links help humans find great content
- Links help search engines find great content
- Links provide valuable data points to search engines and help search engines understand you and your content
- Links transfer SEO power
- Links transfer trust
The Power of Internal Links
An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website. Internal links provide value to the human reader as well as help search engines locate content and know what content is of most value.
Here is Google’s verbiage on this report within their help section of Google Search Console:
The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a relatively large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure.
Anchor text is also a valuable data point:
- Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link.
- This text is placed within the anchor tag.
- You set this in WordPress when you define the link.
- Anchor text helps users with disabilities and search engines better understand the link and the destination content it links to.
The number of links you have on a given piece of content influences the power of the links. The more links coming out of one piece of content, the less power each link has within it. It’s a basic math equation where link power is divided by the number of links. Some people refer to this as “link juice.”
Side Note: Link juice is used here with humor. The term is an old fashion way of viewing links. Instead of focusing on “juice”, go back to the library example and keep the purpose of links in mind.
Where Internal Links Live
- Navigation Menus
- Footer Links
- Call to Actions
- Inside Content – Pages, Posts, Products
- Inside Blog Post Assignment – Categories and Tags
Maximize Your Links
- Have a strategy for internal linking and don’t let just anyone use it.
- Map focused keywords to specific URLs so you know when and where to link.
- Match link anchor text to the focused keywords of the destination URLs.
- Don’t overuse links and dilute the power each link possesses.
- Audit your links and fix your past mistakes.
- Keep a careful watch on keyword cannibalization, because it can totally derail your efforts.
Today’s Episode Sponsor
A big thank you to Scripted.com for sponsoring season three of the SEObits podcast!
I’m very particular about who can sponsor our show and who I’ll put my name behind, however, today’s podcast sponsor won me over when I did a walk-through of their Cruise Control content offering. They had all the core ingredients for attracting search engines and appealing to the real humans we all want to convert.
Effective content marketing takes hard work, time, and expertise. The Cruise Control package offers all three. Don’t let content get in the way of achieving your SEO goals. Get help from the talented team at Scripted.com.
If you’re interested in the Scripted.com offering, just head on over to scripted.com/seobits so you can review the special offer for listeners.
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