We’ve already talked about the importance of internal linking in my post on 5 SEO trends to look out for in 2017. It’s all good & dandy to know that this has got such an incredible impact on the running of the world but unless we talk about it in a little more detail it’ll probably mean less than a kitten turd to you. Let’s have a look at the internal blog links up close then!
🖇 WHAT ARE INTERNAL LINKS
Internal links are those linking from one page of your blog to another. That means that the root domain stays the same just the URL suffix is different based on the post you’re linking from/to. As a blogger & website owner you have full control over them as opposed to external links (those pointing from the outside to your blog).
🖇 WHY ARE INTERNAL LINKS IMPORTANT
📎 They help the reader navigate through your blog
It’s very similar to referencing academic work – you need to tell the reader which chapter & page you’re referencing from otherwise they’ll have to read the whole book to find it (and even then they’ll most likely skim right past it).
📎 They revive old blog content
Linking to an old blog post you have written a few years, months or even days ago means it will get new traffic. And why wouldn’t you want that old post to get some more reads?! You’ve put so much work into it!
📎 They tell Google that you have a plethora of quality content on your blog
Your ultimate aim in the Google game is basically to convince Google that you have a bloody brilliant blog everyone should see. When a spider comes to your blog post and sees a good content it’ll boost your post up. If it can jump onto a link within the text leading it to another damn good article it will get the idea that the whole blog is worth it. And that’s exactly what we want.
📎 They give your blog a structure
One of the key things I’ve mentioned in my 2017 SEO predictions post is how crucial it is to have a good blog structure (a website architecture if you like). Pointing internally from the homepage to a category page and then to individual links gives you a reliable blog structure. Then linking within those individual posts makes a cobweb of linky dreams!
📎 They make the ‘juice’ flow around
A little trick to improve your domain & page authority is to link from higher ranking pages to lower ranking pages. Put your blog’s URL here and select Top Pages report. It will show you which blog posts have the highest Google ranking – links from them to the lower ranked once to give your root domain a boost!
📎 They make your reader stay & read more
A common sense point but a point nonetheless – if you make your reader click through to another blog post they will spend time reading it. Which means increased time on your blog and a lower bounce rate. Exactly the things Google loves the most. Boom! My bounce rate has literally halved since I’ve introduced better internal linkages within my post. So here’s your real life proof that it works!
🖇 HOW TO LINK WITHIN YOUR BLOG EFFECTIVELY
Internal links are completely within your control which is the best news! You can do whatever you want with them – and that’s both scary & exciting!
📝 Each page will ideally be linked to from another page on your blog – so no page (or blog post) is completely left out. The way blogs are built – with category pages – you don’t have to worry about this too much. Just make sure that your category pages contain all your posts!
📝 The best way to link internally is to use rich keyword anchor text (a descriptive link text if you like). If you look back up how I’ve linked to my post of SEO 2017 trends you will understand what I mean. This is a completely no-no when it comes to external links (it could even get you a Google penalty!) however with internal links it’s acceptable – desirable even. The rule to go by is matching the anchor text to the blog title of your linked post.
📝 Use do-follow links for internal linking – otherwise Google will ignore them (which would defy the whole point of having them, ehm).
📝 Don’t try too hard to stuff your post with 34432425 links to old blog posts. Your writing should naturally refer to some previous thoughts (you remember when I visited Prague last December?, products you’ve used in the past (when I told you how I combat spots with Effaclar) or just useful posts you’ve written previously (you might also want to grab a new 2017 blog planner for free). Blogger does this automatically at the end of your post by suggesting related or popular posts but you can be more savvy by adding the really relevant ones yourself.
🖇 WHAT TO BE MINDFUL OF
⚠️ Too many links
Avoid having too many links on one page. Google thinks 200+ is too many but try to make this proportionate to the size of your blog. I believe that about 5 links within a 500 words post is about the maximum unless it’s a linky post (then perhaps limit yourself to 30-50). When the Google spider comes over and starts crawling your blog it gets distracted by all these juicy links and can easily forget about you. All men are the same.
⚠️ Links to other blogs that you run
More and more bloggers are setting up multiple blogs these days – about they weight loss journey, a book journal, ones just for cooking or their cat. That’s all great, the more the merrier. You should avoid over-linking from one blog to another though as Google sees this as something called link schemes. A link scheme is a way of manipulating Google ranking (which is what you are doing – if one of your websites gets a boost the other one does too due to the high amount of links – kinda like if BBC linked to 25 of your blog posts then you’ll see a massive boost!). This is a violation of Google policies and you will be penalised for it. You can check how many links you’ve established between your blogs by putting your blog’s URL in here.
⚠️ Don’t link to your homepage
Linking to your homepage is pointless. It’s the page your readers see as the first. It’s the page Google sees as the first. And it’s already linked to on all of your pages via the home button. One less worry!
⚠️ Broken links checker
Links can easily break or die (just like toys and relationships). Make sure that you stay on top of the game by checking regularly for broken links & fixing them.
Finally, keep in mind that internal links behave very very differently from those pointing externally. This post only tells you how to deal with the ones navigating within your blog so please do not apply these points to external links. I will do a post on external links very soon and once it’s up & ready I’ll drop the link here too!