SEO entails a lot of strategies that are aimed at satisfying the user as well as search engines. Of most important element of SEO are the on-site content structure (development) and link building Strategy. Link building includes the Internal linking strategy and external (inbound) linking strategy.
Why on-site content development?
On-site content with the strategy of optimizing page keywords boost your site ranking on search engines as well as giving your site relevance to your target audience.
On the other hand, link building is like votes that carry authority and trustworthy to your website. Quality links create an authority to your site thus signalling search crawlers that your web page is trustworthy and deserve a higher ranking on SERPs.
It’s true that inbound links carry much authority when it comes to search engine rankings but excellent internal link building strategy is part of the most important aspect of SEO strategy that goes hand in hand with your site contents and user experience (engagement).
You get the pint. Internal link building is something that comes naturally when you’re connecting a blog post with a keyword that relates to another post within your domain.
So, how is internal link building strategy important to the ultimate success of your SEO campaign?
Internal link building strategy: how does it work?
It’s simple. As said earlier, internal link building is a strategy that works with a principle of your site pages interconnecting to each other for the purpose of engaging user experience to achieve their initial intent of visiting your site. Nonetheless, with this principle, your main goal is to also optimize these Internal Links with the right strategies (like appropriate keywords) in order to rank higher in SERPs.
Remember that these internal links have no power to pass new authority to your pages unlike inbound links from external sources which have the impact to either build or destroy your site authority (reputation) from search engine crawlers. However, internal link building greatly impacts how your website is indexed and how it ranks on search engines.
Thus its part of the SEO strategy that webmasters need to take a lot of consideration when performing internal link building strategies.
Is internal link building simple?
Yes, with the goal of Search engine optimization in mind, internal link building strategy has three component summarized as using the right number of links on each page (avoid link stuffing), pointing to the right destinations and most importantly with the right keywords.
Elements of an Internal Link building
From the above Wikipedia image example; you can see that it basically contain three components as detailed above – the link, keyword (anchor text) and destination.
Anchor text: this is the beginning of building your link strategy. You grasp the destination link, wrap it in HTML format structure and naturally give a visible text anchor (clickable) which for the best SEO practices include a focus keyword for that page.
Here is an example of an HTML URL structure:
Location of the Link: Probably internal links can exist from all your page sections. Gone are the glorious days where webmasters put internal links that need to be ranked higher in search engines at the footer of every site page or the navigation. That link structure manipulation technique doesn’t work anymore. Doing this now days will find your site with a penalty surprise since Google has redesigned their search algorithms that penalizes sites with this kind of link practice.
Such technique of anchor text stuffing will definitely lower your site ranking in search engines. Be sure to put your internal links where appropriate and avoid bad SEO link building strategies like link stuffing.
The destination (link page): where do your links lead to? Is the content of that page relates to the current page? Does it make sense to engage a user with the link page you’re sending to?
Well, the linked page very important part of internal link building strategy. Make sure the content you send the user to has a sensible relationship with the current page. Google uses their algorithms to gauge if the content you linked to has some special relevance or usefulness to the reader.
Page A talks about mobile phones. You have another page that you’ve linked to mobile phones accessories; this is great for SEO and Search engines considers it relevant and useful to the user. Another scenario is the same site about mobile phones and you linked to a page about office supplies…what will happen?
Repeated links: this is the use of the same anchor text in more than one link within the same content. For example, if the link is anchored with text “Internal link building” and you use the same anchor in the next link pointing to the same destination; Google crawlers will only consider the first link and disregard the subsequent anchor texts that share the same link.
When performing internal link building, consider to strategically add anchor text where necessary with the appropriate keyword in order to avoid link stuffing. Every link should use different anchor text.
Internal link building and SEO Benefits
- Anchor text and context: links in most cases helps in site architecture and serve as easing user experience (building page relationship). It strategically categorizes your site pages which help Google understand the relevance of those pages when featured with appropriate keywords. Specific link phrase like “mobile phone accessories” on a page help search engines understand what that page is all about and how relevant it is considering the links pointing to it.
- Strategic authority re-distribution: this is an important link building strategy purposefully used to help improve SEO ranking. Though internal links by itself can’t increase the overall authority of your domain, they help share some of their own authority to the new page.
For example, blog post Y has high authority gained from many inbound links that point to that post, and at the same time you’ve another blog post, lets called it Z, which has low or no authority, you can help boost post Z authority by linking to it from blog post Y. in this case, post Y’s authority will drop by similar amount post Z gains some authority.
- Visitor retention: engaging your visitors with compelling content while linking to another article with the same relationship keeps your visitor sticking to your site for a longer time. This improves your site’s dwell time and reduces bounce rate which search engines use to filter your site with the user experience. This strategy gives you more opportunity to engage your visitors by selling more products and services which improve your site brand exposure.
- Build internal links to your conversion pages: which pages do you want to rank high in search engines? Definitely those pages which target sales or call to action. To do this, create relevant links from those authority pages in your site and link to those sites you want to convert.
- Link placement: do this carefully. This is the best strategy to place your links at the beginning of a page and on the body of an article. These places count more and more valuable than links placed in the footer.
- Automate internal links with keywords: while avoiding extensive keyword stuffing, automating internal links is an effective SEO strategy that optimizes your site pages with relevance. This is mostly done with CMS plugin like Automatic Internal Links which automatically perform this task by hyperlinking certain keywords to certain URL’s on your site.
Effective user experience means that your internal links (link structure) should be less than 3 clicks away from one another especially from the homepage. This gives your users short pathways for easy link engagement while searching for your site products or services.
Does Rel=”nofollow” attributes on internal links hurt your SEO strategy?
No, it doesn’t hurt. But generally, don’t do it. Minimize the use of rel=”no follow” to untrusted external links or user-generated content. Its best practice to allow Googlebot crawl and explore your site freely. Before Google’s algorithm update, Rel=”no follow” was primarily used by webmasters to conduct PageRank sculpting.
In all your SEO campaign, remember that each and every element of search engine optimization matters a lot no matter how small it is. Take keen to put relevant effort into small components of your site SEO strategies.
This post first appeared on Online SEO,SEM,SMO Learning,Knowledge Repository |learn SEO Online, please read the originial post: here