Creating an internal link structure is essential for any marketing strategy. That’s because links are one of the most powerful tools marketers have in their SEO toolbox. The more quality links you have leading back to and throughout your website, the better chance you have of being ranked near the top of search engine results pages.
But it’s not only external links that make your website more SEO friendly. Internal linking can also help search engines and users find the information they are looking for.
What’s the Purpose of Creating Internal Links?
Search engines use what are commonly known as crawlers to search websites. They scan websites for certain keywords first and foremost, but they also have the ability to follow pathways (links) to other internal pages. In the simplest of words, they follow links throughout your entire website in order to search for content that is relevant to what the user is searching for.
Creating a Hierarchy of Website Content
When you link to certain pages on your website, you are not only telling search crawlers that relevant information is on these pages, you are also creating a structure for your website. The more you link to certain pages, the more important you make them. This is known as an internal link hierarchy.
Creating Pathways for Users
Internal links also make your website more user friendly. If website visitors land on a page that is not linked to any others, they are more likely to exit the site altogether. If you provide them with pathways to other website pages (besides the menu that rests at the top of your site), you encourage them to click through to other pages and continue to learn about your company.
What are the most important pages on your website? These are the pages that you should be linking to the most. Important note: while, your homepage and contact us page are generally very important to you, they usually do not contain the most important information on your website. As a general rule of thumb, link back to pages that are useful to website visitors.
Here are few internal linking tips:
- Only link to pages that contain useful content
- Do not change URLs without updating internal links (this creates broken links that reduce SEO standing)
- Do not link for the sake of linking: always make sure your links lead to pages that are useful
If you follow these simple tips, you can create a web of links that make your website much more search engine and user friendly.