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Internal link: Guide to internal linking of the site

08 December 2021, Wednesday By Victoria Frolova

One of the most important elements of website SEO promotion is linking. Internal linking is an effective way to improve the indexing of a site and bring it to the top for key queries.

In today's article, we'll go over the basics of linking in detail and look at how an SEO specialist can work with it.

On this page

What is internal linking and why is it needed

What indicators are affected by linking

Basic linking mistakes

How to work with internal linking correctly

Internal Linking

What is internal linking and why is it needed

An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a web page to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. They're simply text hyperlinks from one page to another page on your website. Of course, your website navigation is an example of internal linking, but here we're talking about links on the page, in the content.

Hyperlinks are considered either "external" or "internal" depending on their target or destination. Generally, a link to a page outside the same domain or website is considered external, whereas one that points at another section of the same web page or to another page of the same website or domain is considered internal. These definitions become clouded, however, when the same organization operates multiple domains functioning as a single web experience, e.g. when a secure commerce website is used for purchasing things displayed on a non-secure website. In these cases, links that are "external" by the above definition can conceivably be classified as "internal" for some purposes. Ultimately, an internal link points to a web page or resource in the same root directory.

Internal linking allows users to find useful information on the site faster, as well as improve behavioral factors (depth of viewing and duration of visits). Such parameters also improve SEO, due to which search engines begin to relate more positively to the site and display its top results.

Internal linking

On top of that, internal linking makes it easier for search robots to index content better as they start visiting links within the site.

Relinking is divided into two types:

  • Contextual - links are located in the text and direct to other pages of the site. This method is most useful for SEO promotion and user experience. Such links bring an effect comparable to sales: if you place the links correctly and set a good tone, then the site visitor will move from page to page, studying the content of interest. Thus, it is possible to retain the user and improve the behavioral factors affecting search engines.
  • End-to-end - links to the same pages are located on all pages of the promoted site. The essence of such links is to increase the weight of the promoted pages. There will be little benefit to users in this case.

Internal linking also includes items such as menu items, breadcrumbs, related articles, and more. This approach will allow your customers to navigate the site more conveniently, and you will get good visitor retention rates and better search engine results.

What indicators are affected by linking

With a properly organized linking, you can achieve such results as:

  • Increased engagement. A large number of viewed pages will have a positive effect both on business and on the site's position in the search engine.
  • Improving usability. If your site has a huge number of pages, then you cannot do without internal linking. With it, you can easily orient the user and direct him to the right place. In addition, you should strive for simplified navigation: it's good if the most remote pages can be reached in less than 3 clicks.
  • Reducing bounce rate. If you are using Google Analytics, you should be aware of such an indicator as “failure”. This is a visit during which the user did not perform a single action: they just went to the page and left it in less than 15 seconds. Thus, if there are a lot of active page views, then the bounce rate will decrease, and along with this, the relationship with Analytics will improve.
  • Improved indexing. Good linking is a convenience for a search robot. The crawling and indexing speed directly depends on the building of the site's link structure. With correct linking, the search robot will crawl the site faster, looking even in the most distant places. If the site is difficult to navigate and contains pages with 404 errors, then problems may arise.
  • The relevance of search phrases and their promotion. Thanks to anchor links, you can significantly increase the relevance of key phrases on the promoted acceptor page. Anchor is the text with the link, and the acceptor is the page to which the link is placed.
  • Link weight distribution. There is a new direction in business and you need to promote the page? Proper use of internal linking will help a lot with this.

To distribute link weight, it is customary to use the PR formula, which was developed in 1997 by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. They took the scientific citation index as a basis and, with its help, determined the significance of scientific works. The more articles reference a work, the more authoritative it becomes. A similar scheme works with site pages.

The PR formula is as follows:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR (T1)/C (T1) +… + PR (Tn)/C (Tn)), where

PR(A) - the weight of the calculated page;

d - damping coefficient, most often 0.85;

PR(T1) - the weight of the page that links to page A;

C(T1) - the number of links from this page;

PR(Tn)/C(Tn) - Calculations for each page pointing to A.

In 2014, Google announced that the PR metric would no longer be updated, and therefore removed the counter with the metric that SEO specialists referred to. However, this does not mean that it no longer works: link weight still affects website promotion.

Basic linking mistakes

When implementing linking, an inexperienced user can face many different problems. Below we will look at the frequently encountered ones.

Error 404

One of the common problems that occurs when linking. An incorrectly placed link will lead to a non-existent page. Usually, such a problem is encountered when changing the page address or deleting it, moving the site, and so on.

Pages without links

If you add new pages to the site, be sure to add the path to them. These pages are often referred to as "orphans" because they cannot be accessed using the navigation structure. They can't rank well because they don't get any link weight at all. As a result, the page seems to exist, but only you know about it.

Complex site structure, inaccessibility of pages

This error will be significant not only for SEO metrics, but also for users. Few people will find it interesting and comfortable to be on a site where you cannot get to the right place.

Setting nofollow attributes for internal and external links

The essence of PR is that all the link power goes to all links on the page equally. If the rel=nofollow attribute is added to the link , the weight will still go from the donor page, but will not be transferred to the document we are linking to.

Related: The "rel =" attribute: what it is and what it is for

Many people set nofollow to less important, in their opinion, links in order to save weight on the donor page. The weight will not go to the page following a link with such an attribute, but the donor page will still give it back, but only the weight will go nowhere. This logic works for both internal and external links.

When it comes to internal links, this attribute performs well for prioritizing page indexing and controlling crawling budget. Using nofollow will tell the crawler from Google not to go to the specified page. However, since 2020, this attribute is only advisory in nature, so I advise you to study its important changes in an article from Google.

Linking anchors

Anchor, as I mentioned above, is the text part that the link is enclosed in. The formula is very simple: <a href=32Link> Anchor </a>. This is an important element for SEO website promotion and should be filled in correctly.

The following types of anchors are distinguished:

  • As a keyword. For example "Samsung TV price" or simply "Samsung TVs".
  • As keywords with diluted refinements. In this case, it will be clearer for the user what he will see when switching to the page.
  • Urls. The easiest way is when the address of the page to which the transition will be made is specified. It is used extremely rarely, as it will be difficult for the user to understand where he is going.
  • Image. A great way to show what a site visitor will see when they navigate to another page.
  • Simple phrases without using keywords. For example, it might look like “Here”, “In this article,” and so on.

How to work with internal linking correctly

The following recommendations will help you to make the linking correctly:

  • Work well on the menus and navigation. To correctly distribute the link weight from the main page into categories, you should carefully work out the site menu. A logically correct structure will allow the user to easily navigate to the desired section.
  • Get rid of unnecessary links. Check the header and footer of the site - there should be no unnecessary links, it is important to leave only those that will be useful to users.
  • Get rid of broken links. As I already said, such links not only do not give any result, but also worsen the reputation of the site itself. You can check the presence of such links using special services.
  • Use Google Search Console. Using this service, you can check the distribution of weight - you can do this in the "Links" -> "Internal" section.

Re-linking your site is one of the most effective ways to improve your site's SEO performance as well as attract more visitors. Subsequently, this will affect both the reputation of the resource and the business as a whole.

Above, we examined the main points that will help you in drawing up a competent internal linking. Use them, and then the result will not be long in coming.

That's all for me, thanks for your attention!

Read also: How to optimize your site for voice search
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