Internal Links are hyperlinks those targets the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website or other relevant sites.
Internal linking is one of the SEO’s most valuable weapons and which being ignored by SEOs.
Advanced technique in SEO is internal linking which helps in increase the website rank by improving organic search engine ranking, more user engagement and less bounce rate.
Taking a little time to add internal linking to your site increases the value of each piece of content to the reader, because they can easily find additional resources that you’ve created elsewhere on your site.
It may not drive conversions directly, but it helps in carrying people to a target destination. And, as an added bonus, you can help readers want to stay on your site longer and increase their trust in you by using internal linking.
For large websites, HTML sitemaps are very important part of interlinking strategy–they not only help users to find right pages but also help distribute the link juice efficiently within the site.
Your internal links should use anchor text, “an anchor text is the word or words that are linked to another page and clickable, they typically appear as blue text to the reader”.
I recommend linking where you are using phrases that describe what the target link is about. It’s a bad practice to stuff keywords but it is valuable having keywords in anchor text.
<ahref=”http://www.digitalmarketinggrid.com/”>Online Digital Marketing Training </a>
In the above illustration, the “a” tag indicates the start of a link. Link tags can contain images, text, or other objects, all of which provide a “clickable” area on the page that users can engage to move to another page. This is the original concept of the Internet, “hyperlinks.”
The link referral location tells the browser—and the search engines—where the link points.
In this example, the URL “http://www.digitalmarketinggrid.com” is referenced. Next, the visible portion of the link for visitors, called “anchor text” in the SEO world, describes the page link is pointing at.
In this example, the page pointed to is about online digital marketing training offered by Digital Marketing Grid, so the link uses the anchor text “digitalmarketinggrid.com.” The </a> tag closes the link, so that elements later on in the page will not have the link attribute applied to them.
PRO TIP: Use descriptive keywords in anchor text that give a sense of the topic or keywords the source page is trying to target.
Internal linking improves the indexation of your website. Google’s crawler follows link paths throughout the internet to find and index websites.
If your website has strong internal linking, the Google crawler has an easier time finding new content that you publish and link to. Google regularly crawls the web for fresh content. If your content is woven together with multiple internal links, crawling will happen a lot faster.
SEO Best Practice in Internal Linking
Internal links are most useful for establishing site architecture and spreading link equity which helps in making SEO friendly site. The optimal structure for a website would look similar to a pyramid (where the big dot on the top is homepage):
This structure has the minimum amount of links possible between the homepage and any given page. This is helpful because it allows link equity (ranking power) to flow throughout the entire site, thus increasing the ranking potential for each page. This structure is common on many high-performing websites (like Amazon.com) in the form of category and subcategory systems.
This is the most basic format of a link—and it is eminently understandable to the search engines. The search engine spiders know that they should add this link to the engine’s link graph of the web, use it to calculate query-independent variables (like MozRank), and follow it to index the contents of the referenced page.
Link from content-heavy pages toother content heavy pages – The best internal links are those that connect one article to another. This creates a strong internal linking structure, deep within the site. If your website navigation is decent, you’ll have enough linking structure to the site’s main pages, such as the homepage, the about page, the contact page, etc.
Internal links are useful mainly for these reasons:
To navigate a website for the users which provides more reading options
To provide information hierarchy for the given website with certain keywords.
They help spread link equity around web site.
Google bots to crawl the site, so indexes pages efficiently
Helps you to promote events and other paid services
Here’s what not to do with your internal linking:
Do not try to create an exact match between the anchor text and the link target. This technique, known as “exact match anchor text” has been associated in the past with SEO penalties via the Penguin update. The search engines are sensitive to regular use of exact match anchor text, because it wouldn’t happen frequently in regular content. It appears unnatural, because it is.
Do not use phrases like “click here” too many times because this adds no or vary low value. Anchor text needs to relate, in some way, to the destination article.
Do not link more than one sentence. An entire hyperlinked paragraph is clunky and unsightly. It makes for a poor user experience. Just stick to a few words or a phrase when using anchor text to point to an internal link.
Below are some common reasons why pages might not be reachable, and thus, may not be indexed.
Links in Submission-Required Forms
Forms can include elements as basic as a drop–down menu or elements as complex as a full–blown survey. In either case, search spiders will not attempt to “submit” forms and thus, any content or links that would be accessible via a form are invisible to the engines.
Links Only Accessible Through Internal Search Boxes
Spiders will not attempt to perform searches to find content, and thus, it’s estimated that millions of pages are hidden behind completely inaccessible internal search box walls.
Links in Flash, Java, or Other Plug-Ins
Any links embedded inside Flash, Java applets, and other plug-ins are usually inaccessible to search engines.
Links Pointing to Pages Blocked by the Meta Robots Tag or Robots.txt
The Meta Robots tag and the robots.txt file both allow a site owner to restrict spider access to a page.
Links on pages with Hundreds or Thousands of Links
The search engines all have a rough crawl limit of 150 links per page before they may stop spidering additional pages linked to from the original page. This limit is somewhat flexible, and particularly important pages may have upwards of 200 or even 250 links followed, but in general practice, it’s wise to limit the number of links on any given page to 150 or risk losing the ability to have additional pages crawled.
Links in Frames or I-Frames
Technically, links in both frames and I-Frames are crawlable, but both present structural issues for the engines in terms of organization and following. Only advanced users with a good technical understanding of how search engines index and follow links in frames should use these elements in combination with internal linking.
In conclusion adding internal links, using related anchor text with the relevant keywords, will improve your search engine rankings.
PRO TIP: Add links in places where it’s logical and value-added.
Instead, look for areas in the content where the subject matter overlaps. These are logical points of connection to create an internal link. Internal links that provide value to readers are the goal. Hiring an experienced SEO agency will always keep internal linking as an important SEO ranking factor.