Internal links can be highly valuable for SEO. The bad news is that not everyone knows how to correctly link to benefit their website. Whether it is poor anchor text or linking to the same page multiple times in one blog post. There is an art to internal linking and this post is here to help you learn how to do it effectively.
Why are Internal Links Important?
Internal links emphasize which pages are relevant for which keywords to Google. Each page has a finite value to search engines, and each link you add either internally or externally passes some of that value with a link. They can help provide Google with a structure of your website that outlines the most important pages to least valuable pages. When links are done correctly, they can help improve keyword rankings and traffic.
How to Determine Anchor Text
First, let’s establish what anchor text is. In most cases, anchor text is the blue underlined text on a page that is clickable. Anchor text should always be related to the page you are linking to. A great way to determine your anchor text is to look at the keywords you are targeting on each webpage. Keywords are the best way to internal link, as this will help tell Google what a particular page focuses on.
For example, if you have a page on a website that is targeting the keyword “things to do in Timbuktu” and you’re writing a blog about hiking in Timbuktu, this is an opportunity to pass some value through internal linking by linking to that page. So, if the URL of the things to do page is http://mysite.com/things-to-do-in-timbuktu, that URL should be added as a link to the target keywords, so the sentence would read, “Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Timbuktu.” Slight variations of keywords also work such as “Timbuktu things to do” or “things to do in downtown Timbuktu.” If two keywords are being targeted on one page, that is also okay, and you can use the other keyword as well for anchor text, for example: “Timbuktu attractions.”
One URL Gets One Link
Only link to a page one time from a blog post or page’s body copy. Google and the other search engines will ignore multiple links to the same page and may view it as a spam signal if it’s overdone. If a second link to the same page is used with one blog post or page, Google doesn’t register the link as providing value and it will dilute the value of your other link.
Don’t overdo it
Unless there is a specific reason that adds significant value to your reader, adding more than 3-4 internal links to a blog post is likely overkill. If you are just adding keyword rich internal links for SEO purposes that most readers won’t click on, don’t overdo it because it can look like spam to search engines. This does not include external links.
If you want to help build links to your “Things to Do” page or any other valuable SEO page, make sure to keep the anchor text consistent. As mentioned earlier, this means that you need to consistently use that keyword and its close variations as an internal link. Do not link to the Things to Do page using “browse our list of favorite area attractions in Timbuktu” or “experience the area’s best attractions and activities during your visit.” This anchor text is too long and will confuse search engines. It is also okay to have some natural looking links with simple anchor text such as “things to do.” Nowadays, search engines are getting better at understanding content around the anchor text, so adding some variations like this can be helpful to provide a little bit of diversity to a site’s internal link profile. Overall, just make sure your anchor text looks natural in your body copy and focuses on the specific page.
Linking to the Home Page
When linking to the home page it is okay to use both the company name and home page keywords as anchor text. However, make sure to use the company name more prominently. The home page usually has too many links already, so it isn’t always necessary to link to it. Internal links are used to go deeper into your website and tell Google which pages are also important, such as blog posts and subpages.
Now that you know a little more about internal linking, it might be time to run through your site and see if your links are up to par. You might even notice a lack of internal links. Hopefully, once you follow the guidelines in this post and update your linking strategy, you’ll notice an improvement in your SEO and rankings.
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