Why You Need to Care About Your Internal Links
We’ve said that your website is the central hub of all your marketing many times. As such, it needs to meet a few criteria, especially as far as its internal links are concerned. Internal links are what make the website usable, after all, and in order to make impressions, a site has to be used. Today, we’ll go over why else internal links are so critical to your website, and how to best put them to use.
Understanding Internal Links
Before we go into the why, it helps to have established the what, as in what internal links are. Simply put, an internal link is any link on a website that points to another page on that same website.
As an example, since this blog will discuss search engine optimization, I might want to link it to the Search Engine Optimization page on this site. That would be an internal link. Internal links are great for your marketing efforts because they allow you to direct a reader to more content that they will likely be interested in, thereby creating more impressions with more weight.
As far as search engines are concerned, they rely on internal links to help them as they index these sites and identify site keywords.
It works like this: in order to accurately rank you in search results, the search engines have to be able to see the content that you have on your website. In order to do that, they have to be able to find all of your pages, which means that they will need your website to be built with a link structure that leads them to these pages--which is where your internal links come in.
Utilizing Internal Links
Of course, as with anything related to SEO, there is a right way to handle it.
- Content Creation: Besidethe fact that maintaining a stream of up-to-date, valuable content will benefit your SEO anyway, linking it to related pages on your website will only assist you in building up your relevance with the search engines. In order to make this goal your reality, it helps to have plenty of quality content to link. Regularly adding new, fresh content will allow you to add to your internal links, and resultantly, your influence. As you link your content together, try to ask yourself what the next steps would be in your audience member’s mind, and direct them to content that is applicable.
- Linking to Deeper Content: When your website is completed, it will most likely have a broadly targeted homepage, with each menu item and article narrowing down the subject of the presented content until the visitor reaches a page pertaining to a much more specific topic. This endpoint is the ideal place to link internally, as they will have much fewer links as a rule, and will therefore benefit much more from said links. Following this logic, it makes sense that one page your contact shouldn’t link to is your homepage. After all, the homepage already has plenty of links, and the search engines usually stop looking once they hit 150 or so per page. However, pointing links to this deeper content will help boost your SEO ranking by making your internal pages and content more accessible. The other page that you shouldn’t link to internally might come as a surprise: your ‘contact us’ page. Again, this is simply because your ‘contact us’ page likely has plenty of links to it already, as it should be one of the top-level pages on your site. However, you still want to leave your audience with a linked call-to-action to contact you, but if you shouldn’t link to your ‘contact us’ page, where do you send them? The answer: a landing page. A landing page will allow you to collect the same data from your visitors that your ‘contact us’ page would, and by tracking the visitor’s behavior, also collect valuable insights into their buyer’s journey.
- Linking Naturally: This is a very important aspect of link building, as it is one of the easiest to mess up. Consider who your website is built for--your prospect, right? Of course, so you need to make sure that you are providing them with the value that matters to them. This includes how you strategize your internal links. When linking your content, you are signalling to your reader that, while they’re reading one piece of content, another piece of content may grab their attention even more. This encourages to navigate away from that page to the other. If the links were not misleading and provide your reader with more value than the first page did, that’s great. What makes this even better is that it simultaneously benefits your SEO as it helps the reader find what they are looking for.
Of course, this has just been a very brief review of one small element of SEO. For more help with optimizing your website for search engines, or other marketing matters, reach out to us and start a conversation!