What Are Internal Links & How Can They Improve SEO?

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Internal links are links from one page on a domain to another on the same domain. In the past, webmasters spent a large amount of time gaining backlinks to their website in the hope of increasing their rankings purely by gaining somewhat low quality links as ‘votes’ for their site. However, it is often overlooked that having a good amount of internal links can not only help categorise your pages but it can also help your ranking effects spread throughout your entire site.

Think of it like a pyramid: at the top of the pyramid you have your homepage, the main root domain i.e www.domain.co.uk/

 

Then you have the main category pages linking directly from the homepage i.e www.domain.co.uk/category, which could contain a general overview of your main services/products however your categories don’t have to be actual pages they can just be a URL structure.

Your sub-category pages will continue the navigational structure by categorising themselves underneath the most relevant category i.e www.domain.co.uk/category/relevant-subcategory

An additional step which is not always used by webmasters but is common amongst ecommerce and content heavy websites is to categorise a product under a subcategory rather than a blog. However best practice dictates that a product URL should reside from the root of the domain otherwise duplicate content issues could arise from a product that maybe listed in multiple categories, i.e.www.domain.co.uk/product/

However, your blog would be categorised: www.domain.co.uk/blog/content-anchor-text/

Internal links are essential to ensuring that there is a natural pathway between relevant information on a site by linking them all together under one relevant category. If a subcategory does not follow the correct navigational structure then spiders may not be able to find them and deem them relevant to the overall topic. i.e www.example.com/seo/how-to-guides/ this tells spiders that the subcategory will contain guides on seo best practise guides whereas if it was categorised www.example.com/how-to-guides/ it would take the spiders more time to decide what the page is about.

Pages and clusters of pages that’s are related should be interlinked, i.e. a product page on blue widgets should have links to content articles on blue widgets, faqs on blue widgets, case studies, videos etc. I.e. this section should be interlinked to show relevance and supporting content.

Anchor Text

Anchor text in URL’s help search engine bots and users distinguish what a specific page is about before they click on it, having absurd URLs that contain a variety of different numbers and letters with no hierarchy in place is bad practice and can in term prevent your pages getting the ranking power they deserve.

If your pages are categorised incorrectly or not categorised at all this may mean that only your homepage will rank; your homepage appearing in the SERPs is usually a good thing but if a user searches for one of your products and your homepage is returned in the search engine results then this means it will take them more time and clicks to find the information they were searching for. The aim is to get the user to their desired information in the least number of clicks as possible.

Internal links can be used between categories and content pages for example, if your service page mentions PPC management and you have written an article on your blog about the benefits of using Google Adwords as an advertising technique you can add a hyperlink to ‘PPC management’ that the user can click to view this related information.

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