“Link" is one of the most important terms used to refer to a relationship. A link simply means "something that connects"; a connection between two things or events, especially one that influences the other. The meaning itself makes links an integral part of anything that needs to be connected.
When it comes to SEO, there is a lot to think about: content, keywords, rankings, analytics, links and much more. In this article, we will focus on the importance of links, and we’ll look at both internal links and external links.
A website is a collection of web pages that are connected. An internal link is a link on a web page to another page or resource on that same website or domain. The connection of two pages via an internal link provides search engines with details about the structure and hierarchy of a website.
Internal links help search engines with the context to understand what the page is all about, how it is related to other pages and it's prominence on the website. Hence, internal linking is an essential element to keep in mind when creating your SEO strategy.
Google (and users) will not find pages on the website unless they are linked or connected. Google uses internal links to find new content on the website. The main motive of an internal link is to aid navigation.
Passing Link Authority
Apart from being a connector, internal links help in passing link authority between pages and improve rankings. When one page links to another, it passes a bit of its credibility to that page, increasing the possibility of the second page to rank. This credibility is frequently referred to as "link equity" or "link juice".
Page authority is significant since it relates to the success of the individual page. The home page will often have the most authority in comparison to other web pages. So it is critical to link strategically from the home page to important pages that need some link juice to improve their authority. Add internal links wherever they will benefit your readers. Internal linking requires a user-centric approach to add value and information.
Google considers internal links as an integral part of a webpage. According to John Mueller, Google checks the click-depth of pages to find the most important pages on a website. Pages that are closer to the home page are more important than other web pages. A good internal linking strategy makes sure that the important pages are closer to the home page. At the same time, Google claims that using too many internal links on the same page can dilute their value. Hence, web pages must be linked strategically and resemble the website structure.
Internal linking strategy is one of the most underrated SEO strategies that work wonders when planned and executed well. Maximize the power of your internal links to improve user experience and expedite crawling process.
Effective Internal Linking Strategies
We recommend three internal linking strategies:
- Create a lot of content - Internal linking is a powerful SEO strategy that is much easier to do if you have a lot of content. So, get busy creating a full content calendar, starting with blog articles.
- Create content clusters - Content clusters are when you “cluster” related content around a central pillar page and internally link your cluster pages back to the pillar page. Content clusters are great for increasing search visibility and building authority and influence for your business in the eyes of search engines and visitors. They use a topic cluster model that focuses on topics rather than keywords which is considerably more valuable in the long run.
- Use relevant anchor text - The term "anchor text" refers to the clickable text that is used to link web pages. Anchor text are words/text that you click to navigate from one web page to another. They are the hyperlinks that are usually blue in colour. Google uses anchor text to determine the context of a link. Anchor text should be relevant to the web page it is linked to.
There are various types of anchor texts that you can use. The most popular ones are:
- 1. Branded - Branded anchor text is a straightforward use of the brand name. They can be a combination of the brand name and relevant keywords.
- 2. Generic - Generic anchor texts are irrelevant terms that are generic in nature. Example - Click here, Know More, Read More etc,
- 3. Exact Match - The anchor text is considered "exact match" if it contains a keyword that corresponds to the page to which it is linked.
- 4. Related - Related anchor text is a variation of the primary keyword. They are similar to partial match anchor texts. They are a mix of relevant keywords and generic terms. For example, Enhance your SEO strategy
- 5. URL or Naked - A website URL in the form of an anchor text is known as a naked anchor text.
- 6. Article or blog post name - Hyperlinks that are the same as the article or blog post it links to.
- 7. Image - Clickable images are known as image anchor texts and are not recommended.
External Links - External links are links that direct to a page on another domain. External links are an important ranking factor because they are considered as third-party votes. External links are a source of additional information that navigates the user to another domain. External links are more powerful than internal links as they pass the link equity from other websites and help in improving domain authority. Popularity and relevance are the two most important factors when it comes to linking to an external source.
Internal links are crucial for SEO as they:
- Help to speed up the crawling process for search engine bots
- Ensure that users have a seamless navigation
External links are pivotal, because they:
- Extend link credibility from other sites
- Help improve domain authority