Internal Linking within a website is important for a good user experience. It is also important to SEO because it is a factor that Google uses to determine page rank on the search engine results pages.
What Is It?
- Internal linking is any link from one page on your website to another, usually according to a hierarchy, allowing both users and search engines to find other relevant content on your site.
- Internal links are different from external links as internal links are within your website, while external links are from your website to another website, or from another website to your website.
- A navigation bar (navbar) is a common example of internal linking. The Imaginuity site has a navbar that links to pages other than the homepage.
Why Is It Important?
- Internal linking is not only important to a good user experience, but it’s also important to SEO because it is a factor that Google uses to determine search rank.
- Google partly determines how your content will appear in a Google Search based on the number of links on your website.
- Links are like votes. Some votes are more important than others, but these votes determine the importance and relevance of your website’s content. Both external and internal links are considered in Google’s ranking algorithm.
- Internal linking defines the relative importance of a website’s content while signaling the importance of other pages in the site. Internal links tell Google which pages are considered important by the website owner. For example, a search for “pet adoption” shows that some websites display links to other pages in their site, which are often pages with the highest number of internal links. These pages are often considered the most important pages on a website.
- There is no limit to how many internal links should be on a webpage, but Google suggests going with the flow of the content. Having 100 links on a page with only one paragraph does not go with the flow and looks spammy!
- The right internal linking is also important for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), specifically with respect to anchor text. Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a link.
- Avoid link anchor text like “Click Here,” “More,” and “Read More.” These kinds of links can be confusing when a screen reader reads them out of context.
How Does It Work?
- Instead, you should prioritize pages by content and relevance. The best way to prioritize your content is by giving your internal links a structure.
- There are a variety of ways for internal links to be structured.
- Contextual linking: Links within the context of your content that lead to related and interesting content on your site.
- Link silo: A link silo structure categorizes your website’s pages by content and then creates internal links to and from pages in each silo. Different topics will have their own silos, with links trickling down each page.
- A link silo helps determine the structure and hierarchy of content on a website. Internal linking should be structured by content priority and content relevance. You want the pages that have similar content to be linked together.
- Internal linking properly is important for both your site’s human visitors as well as search engines like Google. Internal linking grows more important as a site grows in pages and resources.
- Internal links help with the relative importance of pages on your site as well as simple good navigation.
- There are reasonably defined “best practices” for internal linking and these should be followed for both potential customers visiting your site AND search engines.