What is internal link building?
Internal link building is the work of building links between pages on your website. Links between pages are called internal links. These can be menu links, image links, button links and text links in breadcrumbs. The latter are also called contextual links, because they are part of a substantive context, and it is only on them that we focus in this section.
The most common example of internal links is the main menu, which links to the most important part of your website. But you probably have many more pages than the main menu - pages that you therefore need to make users and search engines aware of in other ways. And internal text links can be the solution. Examples of text links are 'See also our tailor-made seo courses.' and 'Click here to register for our free executive webinar on Google marketing....‘.
The purpose of text links is to guide users to other relevant pages and to help search engines understand the structure and main pages of the website. At the same time, links transfer SEO value between pages and help Google find all your pages on the website. In short, a good internal link structure can:
- make your website more user-friendly
- spread link juice around the site so that subpages can rank better
- help Google understand what each subpage is about
- make it easier for Google's robots to crawl your entire website.
One example of someone who has mastered the discipline is Wikipedia. Every article on Wikipedia is filled with internal links to important years, events, personalities, geographical locations and more.
Good advice for internal links
Insert links in your body text in cases where the reader may benefit from being directed to another page, or because you want to draw attention to related products that may be of interest to the user. Link in a natural way and avoid overcrowding your text with links - 1-3 links are usually appropriate.
For example, you might have a category page for gift wrap, where you describe in the body the different types of gift wrap you sell. You could then include a link to your gift card page in the body of the text, as this will make the user aware that you sell gift cards - and users who buy gift wrap are likely to be interested in buying gift cards too.
How to improve your internal links:
- Make sure you use natural and relevant anchor texts (see below).
- Add to cart breadcrumbs on your pages, so it's clear where you are in the hierarchy.
- Use related pages/articles if your CMS and website structure allow it.
- Use the front page to link to the most important pages on your website, as this typically has the highest SEO value.
- Avoid having pages that are more than three clicks away from the front page.
The internal link structure is an important part of on-page SEO, and if you haven't already thought of it as part of your SEO strategyyou should do it. If you need help structuring and optimising your website to appeal to both users and search engines, we'd be happy to share our expertise.
The text that makes up the link itself is called anchor texts. There are basically three different types of anchor texts:
- Keywords related to the page being linked to. For example 'garden tables'.
- Longer phrases that include the keyword. For example, 'see our cheap garden tables here'.
- Generic texts. For example, 'click here' and 'on this page'.
Vary your use of the three types of anchor texts. If you just make sure your internal link building is natural, the variation will most likely pay for itself.
Read more about outbound links.