After a recent post about the importance of links for small business SEO, I wanted to update some information on the often underlooked tactic of good internal linking. This was a post from the past updated with some extra useful information. Internal linking can be tedious and time-consuming. Especially if you have a site with a lot of content and have to go back and do it as a project. Because of this and the nature of smaller budgets and fewer resources for small businesses, it is often not addressed. Internal linking shouldn’t be ignored anymore, for both the user and your SEO.
What Are Internal Links?
Though we often talk about how important it is to get links to your site from other sites as “endorsements” to boost your ranking strength, links within your site also serve a purpose. Internal linking is simply linking from one page of your site to another. Though they may not be viewed as outside endorsements, they still tell a story. Links between pages of your site show Google which pages have more importance to you, and are referred to regularly within your site.
All sites have normal structural internal links. Your navigation menus and even footers or contact buttons that send users to contact pages are examples. However, we often overlook internal links within our content, which can be the most useful for UX and SEO.
Links Within Content Make It Easy on the User
Linking in your content is simply using text to link from one page of your content to another page when you are mentioning that topic. For example, if I am doing a blog post about SEO tactics, it is a good idea to link to my own SEO service page on the word “SEO” within that content. This allows the user, and Google to go and review this content if they would like as supplemental information. I typically make the link open a new window so the user can come back to the original article easily.
Internal Linking for UX
Why is internal linking better for the user experience? It simply makes it easier for the visitor to move around your site without being aggressive. If you mention a service in your content, it is useful to link to that product or service page to just make it easier for the user to go review it right at the moment it is being discussed. Makes sense. Make it easy. Users have shorter attention spans these days and want to get right to the point.
Can Keep Reading the Details if they Want
At the same time, it is easy for the user to simply keep reading if they aren’t interested in following that link. The link is there for the user if they need it, but not aggressively in their face and forced upon them. Though you don’t want to abuse internal linking, it is a good idea to at least do it for your key product and service area mentions, or even things like condition references on health sites, where there may be a page with more specific detail about that condition. The more we easily link our information together for the user, the more likely they are to stay.
Internal Linking for SEO
Google will tell you the most important ranking factor is UX, and you just read how internal linking helps UX. We already know links from other sites are key for SEO, and link building is a big piece of the SEO puzzle. Internal links also tell Google you value the page that you are linking to. Think about inviting someone to tour your business. Linking to a page is telling that user or Google that you value that page and find it worth showing off. Pages that don’t have internal links pointing to them are viewed as less valuable in Google’s eyes.
Though internal links may not be as valuable as external links, they still have power, and they are something you have much more control over. It can take time and effort, but you don’t need to convince a third party that your content is valuable. You control your internal links. If you are looking to do some work while we are in quarantine to improve your SEO, this is a great project to take on.
SEO Cornerstone Content
I would recommend going back to recent blog posts and finding opportunities to link to other pages of your site. From the SEO example above, your core service pages can act as “cornerstone content” with references in supporting blog posts to the main services linking back to the “cornerstone page”. This tells Google these core pages are important and lets your user refer back easily from the detail if they want.
We have tools that can make internal linking much easier for small businesses. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can help add this as part of your SEO plan.