When it comes to on-page SEO, I’m sure you’ve heard much about content optimisation and meta tags. If you are contemplating what else you can do to your site, then perhaps it’s time to strategically review your internal linking structure.
Internal linking improves indexation of pages and spreads the value of one page to other pages within the site. It also keeps visitors staying longer on the site, prompts them to take action and potentially brings them to your product/contact page to convert.
To do better on your internal linking is to focus on adding value to the readers. Internal linking requires a user-focused approach and to do it optimally requires a focus on adding valuable and relevant information to the readers. Here are some tips to improve your internal linking for SEO.
Keep important and top-level pages on the navigation menu. As a general rule, don’t have more than seven navigation items on your menu, and ensure each of the items has links to deeper pages on the site.
Add call-to-action buttons. Apart from the navigation, CTA buttons are a great way to create an attractive and enticing link for visitors to navigate through the site. These should link to important pages on the site such us your contact page, product pages and gated content.
Link deep. When you create links to other pages, avoid linking to pages which the navigation menu already has links to.
Link from blog posts. Google indexes fresh pages every now and then. Link to product pages that are not on the navigation menu from your blog posts.
Natural linking. Use links that are natural to the readers and contextual within the content with anchor text that flows well within the content.
For example, If I wanted to link to my outdoor wedding venue page, I would write:
✓ You might think that having an outdoor wedding venue in Iceland is impossible, but actually there are a lot of creative options available.
x You might think that having an outdoor wedding venue in Iceland is impossible, but actually there are a lot of creative options available. (exact match keywords)
x You might think that having an outdoor wedding venue in Iceland is impossible, but actually there are a lot of creative options available. (hyperlinking the whole sentence)
x You might think that having an outdoor wedding venue Iceland is impossible, but actually there are a lot of creative options available. (forcing to insert grammatically incorrect phrase that does not flow well within the content)
Use relevant links. If you have a page about wedding venues then it might be worth linking to a wedding venue package and catering menu. Because these topics are essentials for someone planning for their wedding, then these pages are relevant for the readers.
Use anchor text that flows well within the content. Avoid using exact match words or over-optimised anchor texts as this has been associated as a link scheme against Google’s quality guidelines. Use descriptive words or phrases and avoid hyperlinking the whole sentence as described in point #5.
Keep things free and fluid and use follow links. Basically, using nofollow links does not add any value to the page and is definitely not a strategy you would want to use in your internal linking.
Use a reasonable number of links. There is no hard figure as to how many, it all depends on how useful are the links for the readers. However don’t create a mass of spammy footer links as this been associated with SEO penalties in the Google Penguin 2.1 update. Furthermore, minimise having duplicate links or linking to the same pages twice within a page. A common way this can occur is when you have the CTA button to contact us and then another ‘contact us’ link within the content.
Refresh old content. When you update old content, Google sees it and crawls it again. Publish new blog posts and link to old pages, it refreshes the value of the old content.
Check for broken links to non-canonical pages. Linking to non-existent pages can hurt user experience and stops the link juice from being passed to another page.
Sitemaps enhance crawlability and serve as a directory for visitors. Using dynamic sitemaps saves you time updating every time a new important page is added. Lastly, you may also an include XML sitemap in your robots.txt as a best practice.
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