Internal linking

Internal linking is a small part of what your SEO plan should contain. Unlike backlinks, internal links are links that point from one page of your website to another. It is a way to link content together so that the search engine and your audience can make sense of it. By grouping content together, you tell the search engine that you have various content on the same keyword and they are linked. This way, the search engine will get the impression that you are an expert in that category.

Navigation

Internal links are great for navigation because they give your audience directions to move about your website. Much like the navigation bar on the website, when you have internal links, they guide your audience flow on your website. Let’s say you run a Photobooth company and your audience lands on an article on your website after searching for Photobooth ideas on Google. They are likely to be interested in other articles regarding Photobooth set up. If you have put in some links to other content regarding Photobooth, they are highly likely to click on them. This is valuable to the audience and improves SEO as well.

Clustering

Topic clustering is a fantastic way to implement internal linking. Most websites, struggle to find related content to link together. However, with a good topic clustering plan, this takes care of itself. A cluster plan starts with a cornerstone article and has different articles written around that article. Keep your cluster plan in mind when writing your content so you can leave space for internal links.

Spread link juice

Your web pages are not all likely to have the same page authority score. Typically, content and pages that have the highest traffic would have the highest page authority score. When your content links from a page from a higher authority, it passes some link juice over to it. The concept is the same as backlinks. When a site with higher domain authority links to your site, it passes link juice to your site. Similarly, when a page on your website links to another page with lower authority, it passes link juice. Note that internal linking does not affect your domain authority, only page authority.

Best practices

One way to find out which pages have higher authority is to use the Moz Open Site Explorer tool. Look at the top pages report to see which of your pages have higher authority. Place internal links on these pages to pages that have lower authority. Another way to find high performing pages is to look at your Google Analytics account. Go to behaviour > Site content > All pages and set it to a long date range of about 2 months or more. You will be able to see which pages are generating higher traffic. Go to these pages and link some of the lower performing pages to them. This will ensure that you are passing link juice the right way.

However, in doing so, you want to make sure that the content in the pages is relevant. Any SEO efforts should always be done for the audience rather than for the search engine for better performance. If you link unrelated pages together just because they have higher traffic or higher authority, it will work. However, when your audiences move through your website and realise that you are linking pages that aren’t related together, it will lower your credibility and severely reduce the likeliness of a revisit. Audience credibility is the number one goal in all your SEO efforts.

When done right, Internal linking will improve your SEO and user experience on your website. Internal linking is generally painless except for the first time. The first round of internal linking will typically take a long while especially if you have a website with many pages. However, once done, internal linking is painless, especially with a good SEO plan in place.

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