Adding internal links to your website is a critical part of SEO as well as improving usability on your website. This post will provide you with the best practices for adding internal links to your website. But before we start, it’s important that you already:
- have written content – pages or blog posts – on your site.
- are continuously creating new content. Getting into a regular publishing schedule is important in order for this technique to work effectively.
Link from content-heavy pages to other content-heavy pages
The best internal links are those that connect one article to another. This creates a strong internal linking structure deep within the site. If your website navigation is decent, you’ll have enough linking structure to the site’s main pages such as the homepage, the about page, the contact page, etc. You don’t need to link to these pages!
Create text links using anchor text
The best links use descriptive anchor text. What do I mean by descriptive anchor text? Anchor text is the word or words that are linked to another page.
Your internal links should use anchor text. But not – click here. Click here is not descriptive. It doesn’t tell the user what the click will do or where it will go. I recommend linking using phrases that describe what the target link is about. Here are some examples:
If I want to link to an article about raising sheep, I would do it this way:
- Farmer Jones recently won an award raising sheep.
If I wanted to link to an article about Google Hummingbird, I would do it this way:
- Google’s algorithm has been improved with new machine learning capabilities.
In each of these examples, I’m associating the subject of the link target with relevant phrases.
Do not do these things when creating internal links
- Do not try to create an exact match between the anchor text and the link target. This technique, known as “exact match anchor text” has been associated in the past with SEO penalties through the Penguin update.
- Do not use phrases like “click here.” This adds no value.
- Do not link more than one sentence. An entire hyperlinked paragraph is clunky and unsightly. It makes for a poor user experience. Just stick to a few words or a phrase.
Every time you write an article or blog post, link to four or more old posts.
When you write a new piece of content, you should link to old articles. If you can, try to add five links.
Why? Google likes sites with new content and uses that as part of its ranking algorithm. Links from new pages add new page value to older pages.
Update old blog posts with new internal links
You’ll get the largest boost from your internal links if you combine it with another easy SEO technique – updating old content. When you update old content, Google will scan it again, re-index it, and likely boost its ranking slightly. Here’s a good process to follow when updating old articles:
- Add a new paragraph of content at the beginning, explaining the updates.
- Add several new paragraphs throughout, adding additional or updated information.
- And most importantly, add several new internal links to the content you’ve recently created.
Adding links in places where it’s logical and value-added
Look for areas in the content where the subject matter overlaps. These are logical points of connection to create an internal link.
Make sure you don’t have broken backlinks. These can hurt the final outcome!