Internal linking is a key to SEO publication tactics. Herenow we will cover why this point is extremely important, and also will give examples of effective tactic relink.
Internal linking - what is it?
Speaking in general terms, the internal links are the links between multiple pages of one domain. Clicking this link on one of the pages leads you immediately to another part of the site and another page.
This can be done in the framework of the key navigation of the site when the administrator wants to make it easier for visitors to move from one subject to another on the same topic. Or it may simply be a reference to the texts of some relevant content that will let you know more about the topic you are interested in.
Of course, it does not diminish the importance of building a proper site architecture . However, this technique is a constant part of daily SEO, control of which is on the shoulders of not the technical team of the web resource, but directly the authors.
Why is it so important?
One of the main reasons, according to Deputy Director of SEO Company «Starcom», Jason McGovern, is the need for site owners to tell Google and the visitors of the site about the importance of some specific pages.
In addition, Jason points out: "In terms of strategic perspectives the internal linking allows site owners to link the most informative and interesting pages with the pages that provide a good opportunity to earn money."
That, for example, can build a bridge between the precious and timeless post that attracts a lot of traffic on a daily basis, and materials published as advertisements and bringing profit to the website.
There are also several other reasons why internal linking is of this importance.
- It gives your audience advice on reading other materials from the site. For example, when placing an article about a new product of Twitter, post a link to the previously published material on Twitter. First, it will allow readers to get more information on this service. Secondly, this way you can raise the rating of an old article which is, nevertheless, still relevant.
- It allows to improve the ranking of specific keywords. For example, if you want a particular page was ranked on "Statistics of search engine marketing" request among other, and you have articles on relevant topics, you can redirect users there by relevant anchor links. As a result, Google will understand that this page of your site will be useful for those looking for information on search marketing.
- It will help you to promote paid services. For example, if you are telling about the construction of the reference, and you have an expert who will shortly hold a webinar on this subject, you can advertise this webinar through the internal linking.
- It helps Google in scanning your website. Internal links in the articles, as well as in categories and tags, will help the search engine to index the pages more efficiently.
SEO-consultant Mags Sikora says, "Large sites (for example, in the travel category) publish a huge amount of content, and the differences between some main pages are often extremely difficult to determine. A striking example: one of the pages is devoted to "luxury hotels in New York," and the second - "5-star hotels of New York." The word "luxury" and other such adjectives are likely to be used on both pages. Of course, all five-star hotels are luxurious, but not all luxury hotels have 5 stars. Without proper internal linking Google would be in a very difficult situation, especially if there will be no external links leading to these pages."
How important is the ranking in the internal linking?
Many experts estimate the construction of the internal reference as a very important instrument for the each publication perspectives. In particular, as indispensable tool for effective methods of increasing the landing page's ranking.
However, in which way does this technique help you to work with Google?
That's what James McGovern says: "internal reference construction is one of the most important and most overlooked factors in achieving the desired rating. Today this lack of demand apparently exists because many sites have a very complicated and detailed navigation menu. Nevertheless, even today, by returning to the internal linking I gain outstanding result in promoting the pages of my customers web resources."
Mags Sikora also is for establishing an internal reference mass: "Based on my experience, I can say with confidence that internal linking is a very significant indicator for the Google algorithms. I work with start-ups, and therefore have the opportunity to carry out all kinds of testing of completely new sites. I've seen sites that have begun to rank for keywords used in the anchor text of internal links, in the absence of any external links leading to these sites. Of course, I'm not talking about some outstanding results, however, it is absolutely clear that this point really important for search engines."
The negative experience of Mail Online
World Football Cup is an important sports event causing a wide resonance. In particular, in the form of increasing of relevant queries in search engines worldwide.
Because of this increased attention to the event, using the term «FIFA World Cup» and everything connected with it becomes extremely important for the owners of Internet resources, since this allows you to attract a significant amount of traffic before and during the games.
Many sites create separate pages for the publication of anything that has to do with this notorious competition.
A couple of years ago there was a following situation. The Guardian has decided to gather all material on the World Cup in one specially designated section. Many other pages have had well-placed internal links, politely but firmly guiding the visitors to this page. The result of these actions was excellent - page ratings were steadily growing. So this section has become one of the top ten most popular resources among Internet users even 4 months before the start of the championship.
On the graph below you can see the pink line which marks the landing page, and the yellow - pages that lead to it.
The Guardian took immediate decision to draw maximum traffic due to the increased demand for FIFA World Cup information. As a tool for the realization of this plan they chose a simple but effective strategy of internal linking with an emphasis on the tournament section.
At the same time, the most popular English-language news site, Mail Online, did not think of making a similar internal linking to the page dedicated to the football match. In fact, the site just didn’t notify Google - and the users - that this page is interesting and important. As a result, all of the articles published in Mail Online on the World Cup topic were competing with their own landing FIFA World Cup page.
The graph below, the pink line also marks the landing page and the yellow - pages that lead to it.
As we can see, the Mail Online landing page on the World Cup was unable to rise above the fourth page in Google results. While some articles of the site on the World Cup topic gave a good result, the landing page rating couldn’t become higher because of materials fragmentation - so the strategy failed.
Of course there were some other factors that played a role in the Mail Online failure. However, the situation in which two identical in credibility Internet resource using different strategies to promote pages and obtaining sharply different results is yet very significant. Internal linking exactly played for The Guardian.
How to achieve internal linking maximum efficiency?
Jason McGovern suggests the following:
- Look at the Moz "Top pages" report, made for your site. And ask yourself, how many of these pages refers to your “SEO-valuable” content.
- If you're using WordPress, then pay attention to plugins that automatically transforms keywords featured in the text, in keywords containing links directing readers to the most important content.
- Using filters and pivot Excel tables for data exported from SEMRush, you can identify the pages of your site with rating from 5 to 15. After that, analyze resource to find 5-15 new links that can be attached between the existing articles and the pages with the specified rating. The problem is not the easiest, but it's worth it.
- When it comes to internal linking and SEO, is simply unforgivable to lose sight of such an assistant as «Screaming Frog». Use the «Inlinks» and «Level» tools. They will identify the pages that need support in the form of relinking, as well as the page to which, by contrast, too much attention is attracted.
Mags Sikora recommends:
- Before you insert a link, you need to ask yourself: "What is the probability that someone will click it?" The higher is the possibility, the higher is the value of this link in terms of SEO objectives.
- The effectiveness of links depends on many conditions. From the location of the link on the page - for example, within the first sentences of the blog / in the header. From its font and color. From anchor text - its length, its keywords. From the context in which it is used. And of course, from the relevance to the content to which it binds. It is important to consider all of these indicators.
- It is better to place links to the most important pages of the site on the main page. These may be pages with the goods, main categories and so on - depending on the SEO strategy of the resource.
- The anchor text by which you refer to a specific page of the site should be changed a little, but still kept closely related to the target page. For large sites HTML cards are an important part of the internal linking strategy. They not only help users to find the right page, but also provide a way to enable efficient allocation of references within a Web-resource.
Jamie White, Head of the Technical SEO in Search Laboratory, draws attention to the following:
- Make sure that every time you publish some content on your site, you are putting into them links to relevant landing pages.
- The links placed within the content tend to have a larger value due to the contextual surroundings, which may give an additional advantage in the framework of data ranking for related phrases.
- Be careful using internal linking - each link will take away a part of the page rank. So the more links you post, the less benefits you will get.
- Keep internal links naturalness. They must naturally be included in the contents of the article and not to seem somehow alien plot content that is placed here for no reason.
- Make sure that the links are useful. While SEO and is an extremely important factor, we should never forget about the users. For example, it is very efficient to refer to the topics that were touched briefly on the page, or to the statistics, allowing more in-depth exploring.
Regardless of what kind of SEO-tactics you choose to promote your site and what aims do you want to achieve, careful application of internal linking technique simplifies solution of any problem and allows to achieve best results. And basing on the experience of the leading companies in search results, you can avoid many mistakes.