We all dream of securing that coveted, anchor text-rich backlink from high-tier, authoritative domains. The reality? Chasing inbound links is becoming difficult to justify. Links are the secret ingredient in Google's ranking recipe. While it's possible to organically garner links from top-tier domains, think of it this way: If your links are worth more than gold, would you give them away?
Rather than hoping for inbound link miracles, let's shift our focus to an often-overlooked SEO strategy - the internal link. Visualize your website as a narrative with your internal links as signposts, guiding visitors and Google's crawler to what's essential. Drawing from my experience as a Senior SEO at IBM, I can vouch for the invaluable ROI of well-strategized internal linking. Discover more about how to build effective internal links to improve your SEO with the links below.
Put simply, internal links are hyperlinks directed to another page within the same website. These links serve a dual purpose, benefiting both users and search engines. From navigational tabs to breadcrumbs, footers, and in-text hyperlinks, they establish a structured information framework. The pages with higher internal link density? Those are perceived as more significant. As my colleague Martin aptly puts it, internal links act as your website's “nonverbal cues.”
While I might not phrase it that way, it's undeniable that search engine algorithms leverage your internal links to find and contextualize new content. Consider this: a link labeled “Contact Us” directing to a form-filled page signals to Google that it's probably a contact point. Take IBM, for instance. Different sections might cater to varied audiences, yet our key contact pages always dominate the initial search results. Why? Strategic internal linking.
Consider Moon Audio, a high-end audio equipment website. Using chiefs Site Explorer's "internal backlinks" feature, Moon Audio's meticulous anchor text strategy stands out.
Opting for anchor texts like “Ambeo Soundbar Mini” over generic terms like “more” or “click here” offers clarity to both search bots and humans. And remember, in a mobile-centric world where mouse usage is dwindling, the phrase “click here” is redundant. Let's also retire “tap here” while we're at it.
Ever integrated fresh content into your website hierarchy? If not, you're not alone. Start making it a practice to embed links to new content, especially from high-value pages. There's a plethora of tools, both free and premium, to assist you. Let's explore a basic approach using both.
First, determine the main keyword for your new page. Using IBM's QRadar as an example, if our aim was to address “What is SIEM?” to lure potential customers early in their buying journey, we'd first examine keyword volume on platforms like ahrefs or Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
To identify existing content related to your term, utilize advanced search commands. For instance, “site:ibm.com” restricts the search to IBM's domain, while “intext:siem” zooms in on pages containing the word “siem”. Tools like ahrefs even offer built-in search functionalities, paired with metrics, to pinpoint valuable link sources.
Having identified your primary linking page, you start building internal links. In our ongoing example, although we’ve linked from the first SIEM mention, we have 73 other prospective pages to consider. Remember, this isn't a race; consider building internal links more like routine upkeep because your content evolves and changes over time. Be sure to keep your internal links consistent, accurate, and informative. You want visitors to travel across your internal links and stick, read, and engage.
By fully harnessing the potential of internal links, you're not just guiding visitors but also strategically positioning your website for optimal SEO performance.
Looking for more SEO wizardry? Read Phil's other WTE contributions: