SEO experts keep claiming that internal links work for helping you improve your traffic and today we're gonna dive into a little bit "why?".
An internal link is a link from your site to your site it links your pages together as opposed to linking to external (someone else's) sites or external sites linking to yours. Internal Linking is a part of on-page SEO for better ranking on Google as well as beneficial for users to navigate.
There are few types of internal links:
Navigation links (menu that navigates users to find what they’re looking for)
Contextual links (links to additional resources within your website - case studies, articles etc.)
Text links or anchor texts (clickable parts of the texts that link to another page with more information in relation to the text link)
mage links (buttons /charts / pictures)
Footer links at the bottom of a webpage (contacts, social media buttons, other important pages)
Internal Links are Official Google Ranking Factor
Statements by Google officials since the early 2000's and many experiments continue to prove the value of internal linking as a strongest SEO success factor despite popular opinion that it may not be as powerful as links from trusted external sites.
Google uses links in two different ways: popularity and relevance. When Google sees a lot of links coming to your website or particular page of your website, that indicates a signal of popularity. Google says: "Wow there are a lot of links coming in, it must be a popular, trusted and reliable source - we are going to rank this page!" :) The other signal that Google looks at with internal links is relevance and that's where the anchor texts come in - the clickable part of link. Google will look at those words and see what the link is about and that's a hint to what your whole page is about.
Internal links also help Google crawl and index your site. The Google Bots that are sent out to fetch new information on your site will have a better idea of how useful and trustworthy your content is, the more they crawl your internal links. Search engines will see that some of your web pages have more internal links pointing towards them than others, and will therefore consider them as more important.The higher the authority of a page on your website, the more valuable its internal link becomes.
Internal linking also Improves engagement signals: there should be something to click on on the page always, something to engage with! If you have a bunch of links on your page you've given your users an option to explore the other pages of the website and engage further. And this is what's going to increase the amount of time that users spend on your site, the amount of pages that they visit and lower your bounce rate (not a Google ranking signal but an important signal nonetheless) . And the more users engaged with the site (you'll see over time and there are studies on this) is usually correlated with higher Google rankings and more traffic. And even if it is not, you are still giving your users more satisfaction because they are viewing more pages, they are reading your top content and you are giving them things to do and engage in. People love clicking on links!
Tips on internal linking
1. Audit your anchor text
Adding Meaningful Anchors (using keywords) important Both SEO- and user experience-wise.
2. Don’t Miss Alt Text Anchors
When looking at linked images, the alt text is considered equivalent to anchor text, and represents an opportunity to communicate meaning and context to search engines.
3. Link For the Source Page
We often think, when we link to the target page, that it helps the target page rank, but weirdly (and validated by a lot of SEO studies) linking helps both source and target pages to rank! And the reason for this is those engagement signals we've talked about earlier and the relevance signals.
4. Link High & Tight
When you add internal links you want to link high and tight you don't want to bury those links in your footer or at the bottom of the page. You want to make them prominent. Put most important links front and center!
5. Avoid First Link Priority
If a page links to the same url more than once the first link has priority. For example if you have links both in your navigation and the page body and you want both anchor text to count from Google, you might want to use hashlags (screen) or other clever ways to bypass the First Link Priority (Google it).
6. Leverage Automation
Internal linking is one of those rare things in SEO field where experts actually do encourage automations. Because automations can help you find relevant pages to link from at scale that are really hard to find using traditional methods."InLinks", "Twuly" and "Siteseer" are few of the most convenient tools.
7. Do not overlink!
Keep it at a reasonable number and make sure that user knows why it is important, why the link you add - related to the target page. Always keep user in mind.
Remember - balance is the key!