SEO Best Practices for Internal Linking

When adding internal links to your website, it’s important to make sure that they provide value not just to users, but also that they are easy for search engines to navigate as well.

It is critical that search engines are able to use internal links to get from one page to another on your site. This not only makes sure that all of the pages are crawled, but it is also how crawlers determine the architecture of the website, and how link equity is spread in between pages.

Without internal links, crawlers won’t be able find all the pages, and you also won’t be able to distribute link equity throughout the website. This means that high-authority, linked-to pages might hog all of the equity from links to them, rather than spreading it to other important pages on the site.

So, with that reasoning, what are the SEO best practices when dealing with internal links?

Keep navigation simple

By keeping the navigation on your website simple, and the number of layers as low as possible, you can make sure that crawlers don’t have to take too many steps to get to any one page. At SpotDev, we aim to have all of our page no more than three clicks from the homepage to ensure crawlers, as well as users, don’t have to make too many steps.

In addition, making sure that there are clear internal links that can take crawlers back to the homepage, as well as other important pages, will ensure they don’t get stuck on a dead-end page.

Ensure that links use the correct syntax

Internal links, like all links, need to use the proper syntax (code) that both crawlers and users can follow. If the proper syntax isn’t use, then it won’t work, and therefore won’t be able to provide any of the benefits it offers. An example of a link is shown below, showing firstly the link itself, and the anchor text it would use.

<a href=””>Digital Marketing Agency SpotDev</a>

This link points to the homepage of SpotDev, using the anchor text ‘ Digital Marketing Agency SpotDev’. These are all contained within the <a> tags that signify a link.

Utilise anchor text

Anchor text is used to give links more value to users, helping to provide some relevance as to what the user will find when they click on them. Anchor text is also read by search engines, which use it to help determine the types of search query that the page might be relevant for.

To best optimise the anchor text, consider including the keywords of the page you are linking to in the anchor text, as this will help the search engines understand the types of keywords you intend to rank for.

However, make sure you always consider the user, that these internal links provide value to them, and that the anchor text gives a proper impression of what they will find on the page.

Search engines may penalise an overly similar set of anchor text that links to a page, so when writing anchor text consider a range of anchor text that includes the keyword, rather than simply repeating the same keyword, but make sure that it is relevant to the page it links to.

Keep the user in mind

As mentioned, make sure to keep users in mind when creating internal links around your website. First and foremost, these links are for them, not for the search engines’ crawlers. Making sure that they flow naturally, and provide users who click through with additional information related to what they were previously reading will enhance their time spent on the site.

Don’t point every link to the homepage

The homepage is often the most linked to page on a website, and benefits less from having internal links directed towards it than other, perhaps more deserving pages with content that users would find more useful. By linking to these pages instead, you help to boost their ranking for relevant queries, while also helping users to find the information they need.

Make sure your links are followed

Making sure that internal links are followed links ensures that link equity will be passed to them. If links are set as rel=nofollow, they won’t be followed by crawlers, and won’t pass any equity to those pages.

A nofollow link looks like this:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>SpotDev</a>

To change this link to a followed link, remove the rel attribute (assuming all links on your website are followed by default, which they should be) or change the value to “follow”.

Check for broken links

As a site grows and changes, old internal links can often become broken, particularly if content is removed or the URLs of pages change. Make sure to review your internal linking regularly so that broken links can be spotted and updated, or changed to link to more relevant content.

It’s important to make sure that your internal linking is done properly, as it is a critical part of ensuring that all of your pages get the love they deserve, both from users as well as search engines.

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