In the world of on page optimization, internal links for SEO are all but ignored completely. And that’s a big problem, considering the amount of “link juice” they can push if you use them correctly.
Luckily, learning how to build internal links for SEO is a whole lot easier than most people realize. It’s simply a matter of generating relevant and high-value content, dialing in your anchor text, linking deeper into your page than just the top “money pages”, and a handful of other strategies we share below.
In this detailed guide, we lay out the basics of internal linking so that you can build a rock solid foundation for search engine optimization.
Get this right and a lot of the heavy lifting of on and off page SEO will have already been done for you.
The Value of Internal Links from an SEO Standpoint
A big part of the reason behind internal links being seen as less than important for search engine optimization is because they are treated so haphazardly by most website owners.
We are told that external links (especially backlinks) are the real secret sauce to successfully climbing the search engine rankings in Google, so that’s what we focus our attention on.
If, instead, we were told that internal links handled quite a bit of heavy lifting on their own – heavy lifting like:
Helping search engine spiders better understand your site structure
Passing link authority throughout your page
Assisting visitors more easily navigate your site, keeping them on page
… We might not treat them so cavalierly!
Sure, you’re going to want to focus on other aspects to really dial in your search engine optimization. Internal linking alone isn’t going to get you the top spot of really competitive keywords.
But if you get your internal links squared away right and continue to build upon this foundation, you’ll be able to dominate top spots for some of the more competitive keywords out there without a lot of the headache, hassle (and expense) you would have had to layout otherwise.
On top of that, properly organized internal linking structures helped to insulate and protect the top rank spots you grab, too.
Not bad, right?
How to Build Internal Links for SEO
There’s a lot of things you can do to get your internal links squared away for SEO purposes, but here’s where you’re going to want to start.
Generate Tons of Content First
You are going to need a lot of internal links to have any real impact on SEO, and that means you need to have a lot of internal pages on your site that you can link to.
Content creation is king in the world of online marketing today – regards whether or not you’re going with paid search advertising organic search engine optimization.
Without quality content you’re not going to have a chance to succeed.
Generating useful, relevant, and engaging content – content that captures the attention of your market, pushes them deeper and deeper into your website, and keeps them “on page” longer – gives you a huge competitive advantage.
On top of that, having tons of that content spread throughout your site lets you generate a lot more internal links than you would have been able to otherwise.
That’s a big piece of the success puzzle from a pure SEO standpoint.
The next thing you need to get right is the anchor text you’re going to include on all of your internal linking.
Some people like to use images to anchor their internal links, and while that can work halfway decent you’re going to see much better results when you use anchor text to get your links where you want them to go.
You don’t want overly optimized anchors, though – contrary to popular belief.
This is seen as a huge red flag by search engine spiders (not just from Google, but all of the major search engines). It’ll have you shuffled to the back of the Google sandbox faster than you thought possible.
Keep things simple. Just use normal, natural, 100% unoptimized sentence fragments to act as the anchor text for your internal links.
You’ll get much better results!
Go for Deeper Links
You also need to be sure that you are linking deeper and deeper into your website than you might have otherwise.
Having a bunch of internal links that are pushed directly to your homepage, your contact page, or your “money page” is also going to be seen as a ploy by search engine spiders to game the system.
Sure, you want to make sure that at least some of your internal links had back to those core pages.
But you want to make sure that your internal links are moving throughout your page naturally, generating extra link juice for every page that’s internally linked together, and bumping up the relevancy (and authority) of those linked pages along the way.
Make Sure Links Add to the Human Visitor Experience
Above all else, it’s important that all of the internal links you create add first and foremost to the human visitor experience.
The temptation to build internal linking structures that are going to be dialed in and optimized for search engine spiders is sometimes overwhelming.
Avoid and ignore that temptation at all costs.
Today’s modern algorithms can read that kind of over optimization, but more than that today’s algorithms are also looking at things like visitor engagement, visitor behavior after they hit internal links, and so much more.
If you want to rank highly through your internal links you want to make sure that humans are making the most of them above all else.
Don’t Go Crazy!
Finally, you don’t need to go crazy with internal links – especially not the point where almost every single sentence of content you’ve created is stuffed to the brim with links going this way, that way, and everywhere else all at the same time!
Use “Follow Links” when you are building your internal link structure for sure, but spread this stuff around like salt and pepper.
Keep things relevant. Keep things useful to human visitors. Keep things organized and well thought out. But, maybe more than anything else, keep your internal link plan a little understated rather than overwhelming!
Internal links – when done correctly – are going to give your on page search engine optimization a real boost.
Best of all, getting your internal links squared away really isn’t all that challenging. It’s not something that’s going to overwhelm you, and it’s not something that is overly complex or overly technical.
Keep the tips and tricks we highlighted above in mind and you’ll be rocking and rolling in no time!
The battle to conquer search engine algorithms and keep your content and website visible and easy to find is one that never seems to end. SEO rankings and how to boost them change regularly, but one thing remains an all-important factor: keyword optimization.