Building internal links on your website is an important part of a SEO strategy
What are internal links?
Internal links are hyperlinks that link to other pages on your own site. The idea is to use anchor text that gives your visitors an idea of what the page is about before they click it.
Anchor text is the visible part of the link that users click.
<a href="URL">Anchor Text</a>
The anchor text in this example is "Purple pony for sale":
<a href="/purple-pony">Purple pony for sale</a>
If you are using linked images, the image alt tag will be used for the anchor text by search engines.
“Purple Pony for sale” is the anchor text in this example as well.
<a href="https://abc.com/purple-pony"><img src="/purple-pony.jpg" alt="Purple pony for sale"/> </a>
Link types that are good for SEO
Exact match uses the same keyword phrase the page uses. For example linking the text “business consulting services” to a Business consulting services page
<a href="/business-consulting-services">business consulting services</a>
Partial match uses a variation of the targeted keyword phrase. An example is using the anchor text “business advice” to link to a business consulting services page. It isn’t an exact match but includes some of the keywords or a variation of them.
<a href="/business-consulting-services">business advice</a>
You want to use both when building internal links on your website.
Link types that offer little or no SEO value
These links use the actual URL as the anchor text.
Using text like “Click here” or "Learn More" isn’t really telling Google or the user what they will find when they click the link.
It is good practice to use exact or partial match phrases for your anchor text. This helps search engines as well as website visitors understand what type of content they can expect to find if they click the link.
Why are internal links important?
- Helps visitors navigate your site
- Boosts time on site by leading visitors to other relevant content
- Directs people to your “next step”
- Helps search engines understand your site’s structure and signals which pages are most important (because there are a lot of links pointing to them)
Your navigation bar has internal links, but you also want to use them on your page where it makes sense. You do not want to OVERUSE internal links as that can look spammy. Linking to your main pages from blog posts and other pages can help send the signal these are your key pages.
Locations of links matters.
Links in a footer or sidebar carry less weight than links in the body of the page. Links in the above fold area (the part of the page that is visible without scrolling) can be considered stronger links.
Links should make sense in their placement on a page, and the anchor text should match the page you are linking to in content/topic.
Use a variety of keyword phrases
Using the same exact anchor text over and over for a specific page can hurt you. Use several variations of keywords in your anchor text so it doesn’t look spammy or suspicious to search engines.
Number of links
There is no hard, fast rule about the number of links you should have on a page. I personally wouldn’t fill a page with links. Use them with intention to either give more info on a topic or to lead your visitors to your products/services. You are trying to guide the visitor to an end goal. This could be contacting you, providing more information on a topic, purchasing a product, or hiring you for a service. Offering too many links in my opinion gives visitors too many choices.
Anchor text length
How long should your anchor text be? Try to keep it as brief as possible.
Rich anchor text
Uses keywords you are trying to rank for. This should be natural and not overdone. There is such a thing as over-optimizing a site.
Use the https version
You should be using a SSL certificate on your site and forcing your site to use the https secure version of each page. Your internal links should always use the secure https version of the link. Google considers the http and https versions of your site to be 2 different sites, and you want all the search engine love going to your preferred version of your site.
Finding link opportunities on your website
If you are using WordPress, it can be easy to find link opportunities by searching your pages and posts for some keywords. Go to your WordPress dashboard and select either pages or posts. Use the search feature to enter a keyword phrase and see if you have any results. Check those pages for any opportunities to link to your main content.
Goal: Build some internal links on your website
You will have pages that only have 1 or 2 internal links and some that have 5-6. Use your best judgement and link to other pages on your site when it makes sense. Schedule a block of time each week when you can work on building your internal links. It is time well invested in improving your website.