Links are essential for your content to rank and the overall SEO strategy to improve. Google will find your pages and posts more easily if they are linked from elsewhere on the internet. Your content can also be connected via internal links, which give Google a better idea of how your website is structured. You can create a hierarchy of pages on your website, giving you the ability to give higher value pages and posts more links than pages that are less important. Using the right internal linking strategy can help boost your SEO.
What are internal links?
An internal link is a link that links from one page of your website to another. Search engines and users both use links to locate content on your site. Links are used by your users to navigate to your site and find the content they desire. Links are also used by search engines to navigate your website. Search engines won’t find a page if it doesn’t have links.
There are many types of internal linking. You can add links to your content, including links on your homepage, navigation, and post feed. These contextual hyperlinks are what we call it. Contextual links direct your users to relevant and interesting content. They also allow search engines to determine the value of your content and identify related pages. Search engines will consider a page’s importance more important if it has more links. Good internal links are essential to your SEO.
External links vs. internal links
Every website, even online shops, has both internal and external links. External links link your pages to other websites. Internal links connect posts and pages on your website. This post will focus on the importance of internal links for SEO. If you are looking for more links to your website, check out our link building posts.
Google links: Why is this important?
Google and other search engines rely on internal linking. But how do you know? But why?
Marieke explains that Google uses links to find content on websites and rank it in search results. Google will recognize a page or post that has a lot of hyperlinks as a sign it is an important or valuable article. This applies to both internal and external links.
As a site owner, you have full control over internal linking. You can guide Google and your visitors to the most important pages by using the right internal links. You can use our internal linking tool to suggest similar posts to link to.
Relationships between content
Google uses a bot called Googlebot to crawl websites using links from both internal and external. The bot arrives at the website’s homepage and renders the page. It then follows the first link. Google can determine the relationships between pages, posts, or other content by following links. Google can then determine which pages of your site are related to the subject matter.
You’ll find links to the Content SEO’ and Internal linking’ tags at the top of this article. These links are added to ensure Google understands the relevance of the pages to this post.
Google also uses link value to determine the relationship between content and pages. The homepage of a website often has the highest link value due to its many backlinks. This link value will be divided between all links on the homepage. The link value that was passed to the next page will be split between all the links on that page and so forth.
Your most recent blog posts will have more link value when you link to them from your homepage, rather than only the category page. Google will also find your recent posts faster if you link to them from the homepage.
Once you understand the concept of links passing their link value on, it will become clear that more links to a blog post means more value. Google considers pages with lots of valuable links more important than those that don’t have many. This will increase your chances of getting that page ranked.
Establishing an internal linking strategy
Your site’s SEO should regularly evaluate and improve its internal linking strategy. This is one way to increase the fitness of your website. Google will understand if you add the correct internal links:
- The relevance of pages
- The relationship between pages
- The value of pages.
There are many things you need to consider when setting up an internal linking strategy. The exact steps you take will depend on your site and your goals. However, the following guidelines can be used as a guide.
1. Find the right structure for you site
Website owners should always imagine their website as a pyramid. It is the top with your homepage. Below that are sections or categories. Further down are individual posts or pages (possibly even subcategories).
Your website’s menu should reflect the structure if you do it right. You can find out how to make your website the best possible structure in our Ultimate guide.
2. Decide on your most important content
Next, determine your most important content. You can find out more about cornerstone content. It’s your most valuable and complete content. It’s the heart of your business. It is the content that you want people to find when they search for products or topics you are interested in.
You should add many links to this content to Google to let them know it is your most important content. You have many places where you can link directly to your cornerstone content. We’ll show you the most popular options starting with your post’s content and ending with your navigation.
(Psst! Need help setting up links for your cornerstone content strategy’s cornerstone? Use our Internal linking SEO Workout feature in Yoast Search Premium!
3. Add contextual links
Link articles that you have written about the same topic. This will make Google and other users aware of the relationship. These articles will be deemed topically related. Link directly from your copy, or add links at end of your post.
You also want to tell Google which articles are your cornerstones: the most comprehensive article on the topic. To do this, you must add a link back to the cornerstone to all articles. Don’t forget linking back to the cornerstone from individual posts.
An example of contextual linking
Our blog has a cornerstone article called “Why is keyword research important for SEO“. This post will rank in Google search results for related searches to.
We have added links to other articles that are relevant to this article, such as Keyword research mistakes, What is keyword search, and Focusing on long tail keywords to the main page. These posts are linked back to the main article. Google will then understand that the ultimate guide has the most information on keyword research. Google will then rank the ultimate guide higher than the shorter posts on keyword research.
4. Hierarchical pages linked
Link parent pages to child pages if you have hierarchical sections on your website. Don’t forget sibling pages. These pages should be linked on a well-organized website. It will make sense to connect them this way.
5. You might consider adding a section to your related post.
Many plugins and modules allow you to add related posts sections directly to your posts. We recommend that you test whether related posts are related posts before using one. It is best to manually link to posts if you aren’t sure. Yoast.com does the same thing. We manually select a post related to our article (or with a little help , our internal linking tool – more later). Then we place a link at the bottom of that article.
6. Add navigational links
You can link to your cornerstone content from other topically related pages and posts. This will make it more authoritative. This should be done with the most important pages and posts for your business. This will give these pages and posts a lot more link value, which makes them more powerful in Google’s eyes.
7. Add links to taxonomies
Taxonomies like tags and categories help you organize your website and allow users and Google to better understand your content. It can be beneficial to include internal links to taxonomies that a post is part of if you have a blog. Google can help you understand the structure of your blog by adding tags and category links. This will allow visitors to find similar posts easier.
8. You might consider adding links to recent or popular posts
Last but not least, you can create internal links to your site’s most popular and newest posts. These sections should be placed in the footer or sidebar of your website so that they appear on all pages.
These most popular/recent pages get a boost as link value is passed to them. Visitors will find the posts easier to access, which is a good sign for Google.
Learn more about internal links
Your website may also have links that are not important for SEO. For example, if you have a login link to clients on your homepage, don’t leak link value to that page. That page doesn’t have to rank high in search results.
A nofollow tag can be used to protect unimportant links from losing their link value. Nofollow tags ask Google to not follow the link, so that no link value is lost. You might now think, “I’m going nofollow less important link to give the most valuable links more value.” This worked in the past but Google is more capable. It seems that nofollow links don’t have the same link value as other links on the page. Nofollow links will be considered links and their link value will be lost. It is better to have fewer links than some of them.
It is important to note that a nofollow tag does not mean that the target pages cannot be found in Google’s search result results. You can also give the pages or posts a noindex tag if you don’t wish them to appear in search results. Google should not render the page, and the noindex tag will ensure that the content is not included in the Google index.
After you’ve decided what links should appear on a page, and which pages should receive link value, it is important to use the correct anchor text. The link text that visitors click on is the anchor text . The anchor text for the two internal links shown in the following example is ‘link schemes’ or ‘paid links’.
Your website could be damaged if you optimize anchor text too much. By keyword stuffing , we refer to over-optimizing . You could use the same keyword in all your anchor text and Google would rank your website higher for that keyword. Google has become smart enough to recognize that anchor texts are more important than the keyword itself. Make sure your anchor text looks natural. Keywords are fine, but you shouldn’t use the same keywords for every link.