Internal linking is a powerful SEO strategy and one that is the core to Google’s Penguin Algorithm. To put it simply, internal links are found on page of a website that are used to help users navigate through the site to gain more information about a particular brand, product, or service. For search engines, internal links help bots/spiders crawl through multiple pages on a website in order to index the content.
Without internal links, it may be difficult for these bots to crawl additional pages on a website and your SEO could suffer. Think of a chain of islands (pages) in the middle of an ocean (website). All of these islands may be beautiful and worth exploring (just as a page should be worth reading if it has good content), but they can’t be without a means to get to those islands. So the solution is to build a bridge — or add internal links in this case. Now bots can hop from one page to another exploring new content.
But it isn’t all just about search engine bots; you have to make sure that your on-page content is all about user experience. In order to link with users in mind, there are a couple things you’ll need to do.
- Link Naturally. It’s all about all natural these days, including in the SEO world. Just as you should always write for the reader in mind, so too should you link with the reader in mind. Adding internal links with relevant anchor text is to help users learn more about a specific topic that’s being mentioned in that particular sentence or paragraph. Be sure that the link matches with the content of the text in order to avoid user confusion. You can even link to external links (links that go to a site other than your own) as long as you stick to the same rule of thumb. It’s always a good idea to link to relevant, reputable external sources.
- Link Relatively. Adding internal linking should be the bane of your existence; it shouldn’t consume all of your time, nor should you give too much thought to it. However, that being said, you should be at least somewhat conscious of what you’re doing — don’t just add a link for the sake of it. Make sure that the topic you are writing about on one page has some connection to the topic of a page you want to link to. For example, if you’re writing about backpacking gear and you mention a backpacking stove, you may want to link your page about backpacking meals in that page.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you try to refrain from linking back to either the Home page or the Contact page, as these are top level pages. You should also make sure to not over-link, as search engine bots can only crawl 150 links per page (give or take). Don’t forget the main purpose though, which is to write quality content!