Internal links in SEO can be a powerful strategy to improve your website’s ranking. In this article, I explain how to use internal linking to boost your SEO and maximise your marketing ROI.
But before I go into that, it’s worth explaining why you should focus on improving your SEO. Search engine optimisation in 2021 remains one of the most important strategies for business growth. Research shows that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (BrightEdge). Whilst organic traffic takes longer to build, it encompasses a wider net of your target customers. On top of that, people are more knowledgeable and aware of the differences between a paid ad and an organic result and the majority of people attribute an organic search result as more trustworthy. Which means that when you show up on their organic search results, they’ll be more likely to do business with.
Anyhow, let’s dive into how to use internal linking to improve your SEO.
Links in general, are the most basic premise of how search engines work. The search engine crawlers aka robots are how search engines discover and track new content on the web. Without links, content discovery would be much harder and almost impossible with the size and magnitude of the web today. But links are more than that. It’s how engines identify and group content and assign the weight and importance of pages. For example, if a page is being linked to many other internal and external site pages, the engine takes that as an indicator that the page carries a lot of weight and importance.
What’s an internal link?
Internal links are a type of link through which your site points to another page on the same domain, in and within itself. Search engines (Google) and your website visitors use these links to navigate your site and discover more content.
Internal links types
Internal links vary is use and types.
Some links are ‘navigation links’ like your menu or navigation items or even buttons on your website. Some links are ‘contextual links’ like hyperlinking words in blog posts or website pages to other pages on the site. A contextual link is a link of a page that’s related to the term or words that are hyperlinked (often called the anchor text). The anchor text is what tells the search engine and users, what to expect the linked page to be about.
The impact of internal links on your site
So, why bother with building internal links on your site?
The answer is it can significantly boost your SEO. Here is how.
- Can increase your site users’ visit time
- Can increase the number of pages visited on the site
- Helps improve the crawling and indexation of your website pages.
- Improve the general usability of the site
And these are all contributing factors to improving the ranking of your pages and the site.
Topic clusters is when link and point various pages and posts to cornerstone content – content that’s core to your website. It’s your best and most important pages that highlight the key components of your site, products, and or services. Topic clustering in SEO means organising your content pages in clusters based on the topics. For example, let’s say you have a cupcake business, and you offer different types of cupcakes like birthday cupcakes, healthy cupcakes, no gluten cupcakes. These are 3 different topic areas that need a cluster of pages and posts pointing to one page that is the parent page describing your product or service with call-to-actions and the whole spiel.
Tips to create the right topic clustering strategy
- Research and brainstorm how your business and search queries can be grouped and clustered.
- Begin by creating the main topics content or as commonly known, the cornerstone content.
- Create a range of sub-topics that are related and go into more depth and detail.
- Use descriptive anchor text in your links to tell users and the search engine what that page is about.
- Don’t overuse internal links. The more links you use, the less impactful and weight this link will have.
- Make your links stand out. This could be in the form of buttons or a highlight effect.
To summarise, internal links are a great and fast way to give a boost to your SEO by allowing both, users and search engines to discover your site, and get more value from it. This in turn impacts your rankings both in the short-term and long term. One of the best ways to improve your internal linking is through the topic clustering method.