Internal Linking: What it is & How it Works

What's covered:

Internal linking is a major component of SEO strategy that can significantly enhance site navigation, improve authority, and boost rankings within search engine results. This article explores the basics of internal linking, its importance for SEO, best practices regarding link behavior and attributes, and tips on how to effectively implement internal links.

What is Internal Linking?

Internal linking refers to the process of creating links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain.

These are used primarily for website navigation and to help establish an information hierarchy and spread link equity around websites.

How Do Internal Links Work?

Internal links work by connecting content within the same domain, allowing users to navigate the website and helping search engine bots discover new pages.

For example, linking to a category page from several individual product pages can help the category page rank better for relevant searches.

Each link transfers a portion of its source page’s ranking power to the destination page, thereby boosting its authority.

Depending on your website, internal links can be reasonably placed in blog content, headers, footers, and anywhere else it makes sense.

Are Internal Links Important for SEO?

Yes, internal links are very important for SEO because it provides search engines a better understanding of a website’s authority on a given subject.

Proper use of internal links can significantly improve content visibility and search rankings by spreading link equity across pages, providing important context to each topic, and enhancing user engagement.

Should Internal Links Open in a New Tab?

Generally, internal links should not open in a new tab. This is because it disrupts the browsing experience and risks having the reader disengage.

Internal links should facilitate smooth on-site navigation, and opening a new tab can complicate this process by breaking user flow.

How Many Internal Links Per Page?

A common rule of thumb is to add one internal link per 300 – 500 words on a page, however this can vary based on content length, type, and relevance.

Search engines can crawl hundreds of internal links on a page, but over-linking can dilute internal link equity and confuse both users and search engines.

It’s important to use internal links judiciously—to enrich content and guide users to relevant, beneficial pages.

If the context makes sense and the content isn’t keyword stuffed, then it is usually safe to add an internal link when you see fit.

Should Internal Links Be Nofollow?

Internal links should not use nofollow tags. Internal links should use dofollow tags to allow search engines to crawl the next page and pass link juice.

Nofollow internal links prevent link equity from being passed to the next page and can negatively impact site architecture.

How to Add Internal Links

Here are some important things to keep in mind when creating internal links:

Identify Relevant Content

Link pages that are contextually relevant to enhance both user experience and SEO. Do not force internal links if they do not make sense to the topic.

Use Descriptive Anchor Text

Anchor text should be concise and descriptive to improve SEO and user understanding. Internal links should utilize keyword-descriptive anchor text, but avoid keyword stuffing and generic text like “click here.”

Maintain a Natural Flow

Links should fit naturally within the content. They should add value to the user’s experience and not feel forced or overly promotional.

Check for Broken Internal Links

Periodically review and update internal links to ensure they point to relevant, live pages and reflect site changes and content updates.

Can I Track My Internal Links?

Yes, it is possible to track your internal links and stay on top of broken links and get click metrics.

Some software and plugins offer a way to detect if your website contains internal works that no longer work.

You can also utilize our link management tool to create short links for your internal URLs and implement these as internal links.

This works by utilizing a fallback redirection in the event the destination URL breaks or no longer resolves.

Summary

By effectively implementing internal linking strategies, websites can enhance their SEO, improve usability, and increase overall site performance. Careful planning and execution of these links will ensure they deliver maximum benefit to both users and search engines.

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