Internal links, or a link pointing to another page within your site are a great way to help pass PageRank throughout your website. Internal links helps create a stronger SEO presence of your website. Creating internal links also helps provide a path for Googlebot (or Bingbot etc) when it crawls your website.
Always be sure to use a natural strategy when linking within your website. Always try to link to the most important pages of your website i.e. the ones you want to rank for. For instance on our website our SEO services page is one of our most important pages, so we want to be sure to have a lot of internal links on as many pages as possible pointing to that.
Google also makes a very interesting point in their webmaster guidelines. When in doubt we like to use this point as our internal linking mantra: “Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.”
Website frameworks such as WordPress do an awesome job of this by creating categories, tags, and other elements that create a hierarchy of internal links by default.
Try to avoid linking just to link. Make sure all of your internal links are actually helpful to your users and will actually assist them in navigating through your website. As with any linking strategy always be sure to consider anchor text when creating a link.
Website navigation, sometimes also referred to as “the menu” is a huge part of a websites internal linking strategy and SEO in general. The main navigation area of the site is meant to highlight the most popular areas of the website. By developing a well organized navigation area that includes drop-down links you can really increase the overall internal linking strategy of a website. Try to develop a universal navigation system that is easy to remember. Don’t get fancy with naming your navigation links. For instance don’t name your “about us” page ” something like “who we are.” Yes, it sounds clever but a lot of less savvy users might not get it.
If you play your cards right your navigation / menu will give Google some hints and they’ll give you some site links in the search results. While you can’t exactly control these links, you can definitely help Google along by providing a standardized navigation menu that doesn’t change around a lot and makes sense.
Always be sure to plan out your main navigation before you structure your website. When we send our clients an initial website design questionnaire, that is one of the first questions we ask them: what at the primary navigation links you want on your website. Based on this, we either go with that and expand from it or make some recommended changes.
A secondary navigation is meant to showcase links to areas of the site that aren’t a normal part of the main sections but could be useful to all visitors. This might be a “discounts page” or a page for various brands. This type of navigation may even change depending on the page the user is on. For example if a user is looking at the “bathing suit” category, the secondary navigation may list popular bathing suit brands or styles. These menus can also be dynamic menus. For instance the menu might change to “blog links” if you are on the blog page and then back to “sale links” if you are on the main shopping area of an ecommerce website.
One nifty trick a lot of webmasters and SEO’s implement is adding a related posts section to the bottom of each page or post.In this example you can see how the New York Times adds a “more in X category” widget to the bottom of each post. This is a great way to not only beef up your internal linking but engage users when they are finished with your post. Websites like Upworthy make millions from this by keeping visitors on their website for hours at a time.
These widgets are actually algorithmic filters that will display related posts based on the keywords within the post itself. The great thing about most related posts widgets (such as our favorite one for WordPress) is it will actually show you if you are on the right track as far as keyword targeting. You can also play with the filtering on these widgets, block specific posts or only show a selected bunch of posts such as only posts from 2013, 2014 etc. You can see how on our related posts widget (for Elite Strategies) it actually shows a relevancy score next to each post if you are logged in as the admin.
A lot of websites put this in the footer, but you can also put it in the sidebar or even header.
Another strategy people use in addition to the main navigation is creating a secondary navigation. A secondary navigation bar will highlight links to pages on your website that aren’t part of the main focus but could still be useful to some customers. Some examples of this would be some of the lesser known pages such as “privacy, copyright, mission statement, and refund policy.” Another example is creating a special “sale” navigation for promo codes, sales and discounts.
Linking from pages within your site is a great idea and everything, but there is a method to all this madness. Yes, it is generally a good idea to interlink any indexed pages from within your website. But how do you tell which pages have the most juice? One way is to pop open Google Search Console and see which pages have the most external links pointing to your website.
From here, you can really start to see which pages have the most power. For instance our blog has the 2nd most amount of links, so if we are looking to build a page internally it would behoove us to link to that page from our blog.
On the flip side of the equation, if you want to do an internal link audit you can also use Google Search Console for this. In this module, we can see which pages have the most internal links pointing from within our website. This is very useful for locating problem areas of the website. For instance our “services” page is one of the top pages on our website, if it had only 6-10 internal links pointing to it, that would be an issue.
In short, your most important pages or the pages you want to rank the most for should have the most internal links pointing to it.
A lot of people underestimate the power of internal linking, but it is a very important part of on-page SEO and definitely something that shouldn’t be ignored.