The Importance of Internal Links for SEO in 2021

It’s obvious that we live in a world where we are surrounded by technology and the internet. It’s constantly changing and always advancing. If you want to play your cards right, it’s important to take advantage of this. When creating an online presence, there are two things that you can do to better your experience: internal linking and search engine optimization. Whether you know what these two things are or not, chances are you reading this article to better understand the steps you can take to improve your online presence! 

In this article, you will learn what internal linking and search engine optimization are and the importance of link building for search engine optimization in 2021. 

importance of internal linking for SEO in 2021

What are Internal Links? 

Simply put, internal links are hyperlinks attached to a piece of text that will take you to a different page on the same website or domain. These are slightly different from external links, which take you to a different page on a separate website or domain.

Internal links are helpful for a variety of reasons: 

  • Help users navigate a website
  • Establish a hierarchy of the information that can be found on the website 
  • Determine ranking power of the websites that contain that information (search engine optimization) 

For the purpose of this article, we are going to be focusing on internal links and the last bullet point from that list. Incorporating internal links within text can help optimize your page ranking. This is the main goal when looking to grow your online presence. Like any marketing plan, you should start with structure and strategy with internal linking. 

Differentiating the Types of Internal Links

There are two types of internal links: navigational and contextual. While both are beneficial to maximizing a users experience, there are some differences that you should be aware of. 

Navigational links:

These types of internal links are typically found on the homepage- the header, the footer, and the navigation or side bar, the main menu, etc. Navigational links make a user’s experience on the website as simple as possible. 

Contextual links: 

On the other hand, contextual links are included within the content of the text and will give your site or article higher SEO value. For example, within this text there are internal links that will point you to other relevant pages on SEO Design Chicago’s website. This will not only help you better understand the content of this article, but boost SEO value and offer you the chance to explore link building and SEO in more depth!

internal links

Creating an Effective Internal Link Structure

When writing any piece of text, the way that you incorporate internal links may be different depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Although, some elements of your internal link structure should stay the same, and this is explained below: 

Involve as little clicks as possible to get from the home page to the page they are looking to get to (this is what is referred to as “shallow click-depth”). It’s recommended to keep each page within a maximum of three clicks if located on the same website. 

Include internal links within the content you are posting. Every website will usually include navigational and contextual links. Using contextual links will give your content a higher SEO value. 

Anchor text is the word or phrase you choose to attach the hyperlink to. It should be related to what the link you’re attaching is about, and this can be done by choosing keywords. Keywords should be chosen based on the topic not only you are writing about, but what information the reader can find by clicking on the anchor text and going to that source. 

Be careful not to over do it. Have a reasonable number of internal links included in your work. This helps to not overwhelm the reader and keep your article relevant. If too many links are included in your work, it can be marked as spam.

Now that you are aware of the link building process, you might be wondering why it’s necessary to come up with a strategy for including internal links. 

Reasons for Having a Link-Building Strategy

When weighing the benefits of your internal link structure, picture a three-part funnel. These parts are search engine optimization, usability, and conversion optimization. All three of these categories are necessary for the success of growing your online presence. 

At the top part of the funnel we have awareness. Internal links pass authority from one page to the next. In other words, the link that is attached to the text is likely to have significant meaning to what they are reading. This increases awareness if someone were to look up a keyword. Make sure you have a good understanding of search engine optimization basics to increase ranking in order to grow awareness. 

In the middle there’s consideration, also looked at as usability. This part marks the responsibility for the user’s experience. Internal links allow users to view other high-value and relevant content. Considering the user and incorporating internal links that are applicable creates a more usable site. 

On the bottom of the funnel is action, or conversion optimization. Internal links can encourage users to take action. Whether this is taking action and visiting a social media page or going to a contact page, this is beneficial because it prompts users to become invested.  

internal linking SEO

Best Practices for Internal Linking

In content marketing, internal linking is an SEO power move. It’s one of the easiest ways you can increase your website ranking. Here are some of the best practices, or “the seven commandments” for internal linking

  1. Create lots of content. More content on your website creates greater chances for linkable content in the future. 
  2. Use anchor text instead of linked images. 
  3. Link deep. Don’t include links to your homepage or contact page within your content (unless absolutely necessary). 
  4. Use links that are natural and applicable to the reader and the content you are writing about. 
  5. Don’t link something just for the sake of it- use relevant links that are on topic. 
  6. Use follow links that provide users with a seamless transition between internal pages.
  7. Limit your number of internal links; come up with a reasonable amount that’s decided based on content length. 

Use these “seven commandments” when practicing link building and you should see an increase in your search ranking.

internal linking best practices

Best Practices for SEO 

Search engine optimization is a necessary tool to increase your online presence. These are some of the best practices for SEO so you can ensure you are offering users the optimal experience, while maximizing the opportunity to grow online. Some of these are similar, if not the same, as the practices mentioned above, but this only stresses the importance of how internal linking helps search engine optimization! 

  1. Content is key. Don’t have too much duplicate content because this will hurt your website ranking. 
  2. Have a secure website that is safe. These websites are prioritized over ones that are unsafe to browse. 
  3. As digital marketing advances, have a mobile-friendly website. This is appealing to search engines and users. 
  4. Make sure your website has clear architecture. This refers back to usability and the ease at which users can navigate and search for what they are looking for. 
  5. Track keyword data. Keywords are what users look up to search on different search engines, like Google and Bing. Use keywords in your anchor text and throughout your content.
  6. Take the steps to decrease your website’s loading time. Make it quick and easy so users are satisfied and your ranking can increase. 
  7. Use link building! 
  8. Manage your backlinks. Backlinks are those that are on another website and take you to yours. Disown backlinks on websites that can be seen as spam and hurt your SEO. 
  9. Track your SEO results. While there are many resources to analyze SEO, SEO Design Chicago offers website audit services to help you have a better understanding of proper SEO analysis. 

When trying to improve your online presence, SEO is the best step to take. Following these practices listed above will help you see results that were once goals. 

what are internal links

Internal Linking and SEO

Internal linking tells an engine that the link is so important that the user should only be able to get to it with just one click. If it’s that easy, there’s really no better way to start the new year than by improving your online presence with internal linking! 

You now know what it takes to begin incorporating internal links in your content in order to help search engine optimization. Of course, if you still feel weary, there are many professional SEO services that SEO Design Chicago offers:

  • SEO Driven Content
  • Professional Keyword Research
  • Local SEO
  • Organic Search
  • On-Page SEO
  • Link Building 
  • Advanced Reporting

These are just a select few of the areas of expertise that SEO Design Chicago can offer for SEO. If you have further questions, contact us to learn more about internal linking and the services that SEO Design Chicago can offer you for optimizing your website ranking and growing your online presence. 

FAQs about Internal Links:

  • What are internal links?
  • What is anchor text
  • How do I differentiate between the two different types of internal links? 
  • What are the benefits of internal linking structure? 
  • What practices should I follow for internal linking and SEO? 

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