May 26, 2022

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Internal Linking for SEO

by
Isabella Abbott

SEO, a term all bloggers should know, is essential in making sure that websites are more visible, leading to increased traffic that will help bring the most significant number of people to your site. While many practices help bring SEO to life in your writing, using it with internal linking is one of the best ways to get the most out of it. By using both SEO and internal linking, site visitors can find interesting things to explore in different website categories when used correctly. 

Sites that use both SEO and internal linking practices also have the best chances at search rankings, allowing lots of people to view their content. This blog will teach bloggers and website owners why internal linking is vital for SEO and their websites in general. 

What Is SEO? 

The Interaction Design Foundation said it best: “Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a search engine results page so as to make a company’s website more discoverable, thereby driving traffic and sales.” 

Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, can also be described as practices used to improve the appearance of web pages in search results. When used, search engines will understand your content better, leading to more searches in databases for your website, which makes your blog more valuable and useful to readers. 

Writing allows brands to connect with their audiences and writers to draw more attention to their published work. With more traffic generated to your site, the higher the internet searches as well. Any type of company, brand, or writer should always try and use it, so their website stands out from the rest of the crowd! 

How SEO Works 

  1. First, search engines like Google use web crawlers to figure out what pages are about. 
  2. Then, when a user searches for something, an algorithm is used to sort through the information while determining what pages are most relevant to the user. 
  3. Finally, the algorithms rank which sites would be most useful to the user, which then pop up in their browser. 

When algorithms rank the sites, they look for the quality and structure of the web page's content— as well as the quality of sites linking to your page and the number of links. This also means that internal links would be beneficial since they hyperlink to a quality website. 

Two women working with a computer
SEO helps sites stand out more from their opposition. 

What is Internal Linking? 

This type of linking allows readers to stay on your site, which helps them find more information about your company while not having to site jump. When used, your content is pointed out to search engines as well for increased traffic. 

With your website, you can decide what is most important too so that search engines will guide readers to that content. Your site's internal linking will also shine more focus on the topics you find most relevant. 

After your content is pointed out to search engines, they then rank that information and figure out which pages of your website are most important. It can be described as a hyperlink or breadcrumb navigation. 

Diagram of how internal linking works 
Internal linking allows for viewers to go from one page to another on your site. Image courtesy of Mangools.  

Breadcrumb Navigation 

Brothers Grimm had the right idea when writing about Hansel and Gretel finding their way back with breadcrumbs. For websites, the same idea is shown just without the actual food and involves finding a way back to a website instead of a home. 

Breadcrumb navigation is used so a visitor can go back and forth through the website they’re on. They tend to go through the website like this: 

  • First at the home page 
  • Then a category page 
  • Finally an article 

This type of navigation through a webpage allows site visitors to make their way back to their starting point without much trouble. It’s a great way of navigation, especially for websites with lots of information in different segments. With the use of internal linking, a user can also get from different articles if they’re interested in certain keywords or a different subtopic of a blog. 

To not get lost in a website, these breadcrumbs also reduce the number of actions needed to get from one section to another. So, there’s no reason to be worried about getting lost in information if the crumbs can help lead you back to the beginning! 

How Internal Linking Differs from External Linking 

While both types of linking are important for any article written with SEO practices, they have different ways they help websites. For example, an internal link, as we can see from the definitions given above, is a link that brings readers from one page to another on the same domain. 

An external link links from one website to another, not in the same domain. This means that the information is linked to a different site which can also help SEO since it allows visitors to see similar information but in a different context. 

Diagram of what external linking is 
External linking helps to enhance the reader’s experience. Image courtesy of Infidigit.  

Reasons Why Internal Linking is Important for SEO

Although we already know what internal linking does, here are some reasons why it’s so important for SEO content: 

  • It allows important information to be seen and not forgotten in an article. Sometimes an article goes from general to specific information, and viewers may not get to the juicy parts before leaving your page. Internal linking allows for those essential parts to be easily found and viewed. 
  • It generates more readers to your site, which boosts page views. Internal links allow for higher ranking in searches meaning more people will be brought to your website. 
  • It helps search engines to understand pages on your site better. The context and content of internal links will tell search engines what they need to know about your website and which pages are the most crucial for viewers to read. 
  • It increases the user’s experience. Internal linking allows your website to be helpful by providing key information when it’s most convenient for readers. If these readers have a great experience with the site's information, they’ll be more willing to rely on you for more in the future.  
  • It increases the authority of your website. By linking to your own website and having readers click on those links, you can easily improve the ranking of your page. When a page links to another, the authority also goes to that other page which can increase the rankings of both as well. 
Diagram of what internal linking helps to do for websites 
Internal linking helps website rankings, guides visitors to different pages, and brings more traffic to a company’s website in general. Image courtesy of Orbit Media

What You Should use Internal Links for 

To make sure it doesn’t take readers too many mouse clicks to get from article to article, here are some definite things you’ll want to use internal links for: 

  • Relevant pages. You’ll always want to link to relevant pages so that viewers can see your most important content. 
  • Important words and phrases. If some words and phrases would be better identified in different articles on your page, make sure to link the page to those keywords found in your article. 

How to Make the Most out of Internal Links

  1. Add them wherever it helps readers to understand the content better. If anything can use some more explanation that’s in another article on your site, be sure to add a link to that specific site to help the reader’s experience. 
  2. Don’t add too many of them. Although it may seem like a good idea to add many internal links for SEO, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with different sites. If too many are used, the reader will be drawn away from the article they were planning on reading. Linking two other pages to your page is good in between, not too little and not too many! 

Although underutilized, internal linking is essential for SEO since it helps search engines understand your content and allows them to rank it better based on those links. They can also help to increase the rankings of different pages on your site, which is why everyone should utilize them! 

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