Forgot About Internal Linking?

On the SEO battleground we observe an ongoing obsession for external links to improve site rankings, but an often overlooked SEO tool that can help both your site’s usability and organic ranking is internal link building.

The ‘content is king’ rule applies here like nowhere else. Cruising through your site and closely observing the different topics will surely get you some ideas about where to insert links to another page of your site. The anchor text of the contextual internal link should reflect the term you want to rank this particular page for.  Use some variation in your anchor text to avoid a monotone impression for users and the Google crawler.

Most probably some of the pages of your site are more popular than others, in this case internal links are a great way to let visitors get in touch with other content you offer elsewhere on the site. Create some links from the stronger pages towards the weaker pages to even out your link strength. Google analytics offers detailed information about the popularity of your pages, so based on that you can try to find some logical relation between a weaker and stronger page.

The internal linking should also help to drag interested readers deeper into your site. Various studies have shown  higher click-throughs for links in a plain text than links in a side bar. Leading visitors through your site  by offering relevant links is therefor an easy strategy that will surely positively influence site usability.

However don’t get too excited. Internal contextual links will not weigh the same in the search engine algorithm equations and thus not improve your rankings as much as external links, but all small efforts help and successes using internal linking have been reported across the internet. Another issue is the theory that Google would only count  the first internal link and not consider the other ones from the second one on to rank your page. Looking into evidence for this would lead us to far though, but keep in mind that what doesn’t help doesn’t hurt either.