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A guide to internal links – all you need to know

Growing your business online is all about attracting traffic. For that, you’ll need great SEO. There are a few ways to boost your search engine ranking, but one of the most important is link building.

There are two principal types of links: external and internal. In this article, we’ll focus on internal links. Whether you use a link building service or your own team, these are far easier to build up than external links.

Let’s examine how to use internal links and why they’re important.

What are internal links?

SEO can get complex, but internal links are one of the easier concepts to wrap your head around. An internal link is a link to another page on the same website.

If we include a link here to our blogger outreach agency, that’s an internal link right there.

There are lots of valid reasons to include internal links in your writing. They don’t just improve your SEO, they direct readers to other relevant and valuable content on your website and establish an information hierarchy on your site.

However, to get the most out of internal links, you need to use them properly.

How to use internal links

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the anchor text – that’s the text you attach the hyperlink to. Ideally, it should contain relevant keywords.

Then, you can think about setting your page or post out in the right way.

Getting your site architecture right

Search engines use ‘spiders’ to crawl through your websites and make sense of it; the data helps them to decide how you’ll rank.

To aid this process, your page site must have a logical structure.

What does this optimal structure look like? A pyramid. Your homepage should be the foundation of your site, which leads to categories; these categories should lead to subcategories, and so on. To ensure each page has great ranking potential, limit links between the homepage and other pages.

You should also choose the right keywords to put in your anchor text, or the text containing the link. The word or phrase you use should be concise, relevant to the destination page, and not too spammy.

This helps search engines to understand what your website is about and include it in their index.

Common problems with internal links

Now you have a basic idea of what internal links are and how they work, let’s look at some common mistakes new websites make. Avoid these to make sure search engines index your site.

Links in forms

Forms are a common feature on websites. You can ask prospects to fill them in to gather further information or arrange a meeting. There’s just one problem – if users have to submit the form, search engine crawlers can’t find them.

This means any links to or content that can only be accessed by the form will be invisible. If the content is important, make sure you put links to it elsewhere, too.

Links in internal search boxes

Something else you need to look out for is content that can only be found by searching for it. This is a surefire way to render all your content inaccessible!

If you have lots of posts, display them on a blog or contents page – as well as including lots of internal links, of course!

Links in un-parseable Javascript

You might wonder what on earth on-parseable Javascript is. We could give you a technical definition, but the underlying problem is that using Javascript to build links can lead to problems.

Crawlers may not detect the links, or they could devalue your site for implementing the Javascript links wrong. A safer option is to use HTML for your links instead.

Links in plug-Ins

It’s not just Javascript you need to watch out for. A few plug-ins can cause problems, especially Java and Flash.

If you embed links inside them, they’ll most likely be inaccessible.

Besides, browsers will no longer support Flash after December 2020, so it is best to steer clear of these altogether.

Links to blocked pages

It’s obvious that crawlers won’t be able to reach blocked pages. But why would your pages end up blocked in the first place?

Two culprits are the Meta Robots tag and the robots.txt file. If a site owner activates them, spiders won’t be able to see anything, so check that your web development team hasn’t activated them.

Links on pages with too many links

We’ve all visited pages that have a ridiculous number of links, to the point where every other word on the page has a link. Don’t think search engines are stupid – they view this behaviour as spammy and will punish your page.

After crawling around 150 links on the page, it’s possible the spider will give up, although this varies depending on the length of the content. Choose quality over quantity and don’t try to cram all your links on one page.

Links in frames or I-frames

Placing links in frames and I-frames isn’t always problematic, but it can be. Although crawlers can access them, they struggle to understand the organisation and structure. Unless you know what you’re doing well enough to implement them in the proper way for search engines, it’s wisest to avoid.

Check your site’s performance

If the number of pitfalls outlined above has worried you about your site’s performance, it might be a great idea to check your site indexation works correctly.

Luckily, there are a few tools you can use to check. MozPro and Screaming Frog are two of the most popular options, although they’ll come at a slight cost to get the full range of features.

Bottom line

Internal links are an essential part of an inbound marketing strategy. To increase your site’s general authority and ranking on search engines, you must make sure you have the right structure in place.

It’s a simple concept, but don’t overlook the complexity.

Once you have your internal links sorted out, it’s time to think about external links, too. A guest posting service can help with this.