How readers get from one page to another—like air traffic control but for your website.
WHAT ARE INTERNAL LINKS?
Internal links direct traffic from one page on your website to another. We could stop writing right there and call it a day, but there's more than meets the eye with this important foundational tool—like how they help you achieve higher search engine rankings.
How internal links improve SEO
When you link to internal pages—and you do it right—you'll increase user-friendliness, cement yourself as an authority, and tell search engines that you have heaps of quality content their users will adore. Here's what you need to know:
Internal links guide your visitors—and search engines—to where you want them to go
Search engines follow links within your website to determine how well it's organized, whether the content backs up key search phrases, and whether your content is easily consumable by visitors. Dazzling internal linking strategies create pathways through a website that help Google and warm-blooded visitors alike find the right information right when they need it.
Your internal links should lead to content that respects user intent by sending users to information appropriate to their stage in the buyer's journey and triggering conversions at the right time. Otherwise, you’re kind of just talking to yourself.
Interlinked pillared content reinforces your claim to keywords
What's pillared content? You can follow that link and find out, or we'll sum it up for you right here: A pillar page is a long-form content piece that gives a broad but informative overview of several related topics. Pillared content links to in-depth articles, videos, infographics, and other content that expounds on subjects introduced in the latter; these supporting pieces link back to the pillar content and relevant pieces within the cluster.
So how does this help SEO? In addition to providing the organization search engines (and readers) crave, pillared content is an excellent opportunity to back up your claim to valuable keywords through organic, relevant mentions within quality content, clever anchor text (we'll get to that in a minute), and layers of information intended for users to encounter at specific points in their purchasing cycle.
Internal linking increases dwell time on your website
Internal links will keep your visitors engaged as they learn all that is awesome about your brand. Think of each piece of hyperlinked text as an opportunity to say, "hold my beer, watch this!" as you wow your readers (and viewers—can't forget about video content) with the knowledge that keeps them informed and empowered to make decisions about your products and services.
Dwell time lets search engines know your site is a goldmine of information that’s worthy of ranking high on SERPs.
Strategies for internal linking
Now that you've got a pretty good idea of what internal links can do, how do you go about using them to your best advantage? Here are three of the easiest ways to make those interior links work for you:
1. Use effective anchor text
The word or phrase you select to hyperlink is called anchor text, and it's important that the page it leads to is true to the bait. For example, when we say our site is filled with great info on our services, that's what you'll find when you follow the anchor text. Not this page on pie filling, although our writers have been known to swap a recipe or two on the Verblio creators' community forum.
The best anchor text is a short phrase that accurately informs the writer of their destination while providing an opportunity to slip in some choice keywords.
2. Take advantage of interior linking analysis tools
You're probably familiar with backlink checkers. How about apps that keep you informed about interior link health? Choose a product that will do the following:
- Tell you when, where, how, and how many times a page has been linked within your site
- Checks for broken links
- Checks for "nofollow" links
- Lets you know how often that link is clicked
3. Refresh old content with new internal links
Now and again, you should update your older content assets to ensure it remains relevant and relatable. Part of this process includes adding links to more recent content, and vice-versa.
Sprucing up existing content with fresh links gives an SEO boost to both pieces, especially if the latter has a solid click-through-rate on SERPs.
Are you making the most of internal links?
If you're like some of our writers (including the one who created this awe-inspiring The Definer entry) you'll soon find yourself obsessed with finding the perfect anchor text to a fave blog post, and it's a great way to entertain yourself while you're sprucing up your archives. Just don't overdo it. Your goal is to help your visitors make the right navigational choices, not paint your website hyperlink blue!
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