The importance of internal links

Internal links for your visitors and for SEO

What are internal links?

signs on the trail - internal linking concept Internal links are links within your website from one piece of content to another. In other words,  a link from a product to an article, a page to a portfolio item, etc. External links are links to other websites. I like to think of them as being like signposts. Your visitors will use your links to find your way through your web and the content they want to find. Therefore it is important to consider how you are using links within your website.

There are different types of internal links: in the menu, links within your content, a list of links in a footer. Search engines use the position of links on the page and the number of links to it to decide what content is more important on your website. Therefore you can see that links are important for SEO.

What is orphaned content?

Orphaned content is content on your website with no contextual links to it, i.e. a link from another piece of content within your website. Contextual links help people find additional content on related subjects. Like signs on a trail: do you want to take the 20mins walk or the 3-hour loop? Google follows the links on your website and saves each post or page it finds in the index through links. So, you can see that adding contextual links to your content is important and provides clues to Google about your site structure. Read more about  Site Structure for SEO here.  (This link is an example of a contextual link to the Site Structure for an SEO post). If you publish much content, concentrate on giving your most important links. Google notes how many links each post gets, so it is a little like you are giving a piece of content a vote and should help that important content rank better. Internal linking is not just for search engines, though.

Internal links with your visitors in mind

The best approach to internal linking is a user-focused approach, which adds value and provides useful information for the visitor. For example, if you have provided an article to explain a topic, you may provide a link to another article that provides further useful content for the reader. Just like signs on a trail that offer additional options if you want to explore further.  A link to a form or product may also be appropriate and important. If you are mindful of what your visitors want rather than what a Googlebot may want, you will avoid common SEO pitfalls and increase user engagement.

Consider what anchor text you are using. The anchor text is the text that is linked. In our example above, the anchor text was "Site Structure for SEO". The phrase tells the reader what they can expect and is preferable to an anchor text with is "click here for more".

" Content links are a strong signal to both the search engine and the user that the content you’re linking to is really good. Readers want that. Thus, internal linking is helping the reader. But you’re also helping your SEO. Win. Win. " from The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking that Will Improve Content Marketing SEO by Neil Patel



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