Maximizing Your Linkbuilding Strategy with Internal Links

SEO is an effective strategy for generating organic traffic and converting visitors. As searchers look for answers to questions or for more information on a topic, they come across high-ranking pages on the search engine results page. Hopefully, one of those pages is yours.

One of the best parts of SEO is that it’s virtually free – all it takes is some time and effort, but far less of your advertising and marketing spend than any other strategy.

Most businesses use SEO strategy as part of their marketing mix and implement keywords into content and page titles. Many businesses also use linkbuilding, which is a process of gaining backlinks to your content from authoritative sites.

With the competitive environment of the internet, link building isn’t enough. You need to include internal links to boost your SEO and maximize your linkbuilding efforts.

The Limitations of Backlinks

Search engine algorithms are an enigma, but most businesses understand the basics. Search engine crawlers browse websites in an attempt to formulate a structure and understand how the content and pages connect to each other. This information helps the search engine determine whether the site is valuable, authoritative, and relevant to visitors, which influences its ranking.

Search engines are looking to provide the best possible experience for users, which means delivering the most valuable content to them through search engine rankings. The search engine is trying to understand what the visitor is seeking and provides the most relevant pages as the results, which is why it’s vital that you show the crawler exactly what you’re about.

Where does backlinking fit in? Links that direct to your site from authoritative sites can boost its authority by association. Sites that have a lot of external links from reputable and high-ranking sites show the search engine that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

Backlinking isn’t without its limitations, however. Linkbuilding strategy is a long and laborious process that involves networking with the ideal authoritative sites to “earn” links. Typically, these sites will recognize content as something that provides value to their visitors and link to it.

In most cases, these links go to the homepage. In a competitive environment, most sites aren’t looking to promote other sites, so they stick with links that go to a general homepage.

The Value of Internal Links

Opposite of external links, internal links are links on your own website that connect to your other pages. You’ve likely seen internal links on a blog post that direct you to a product page that’s relevant to the topic or solves the problem, such as acrylic paints on a beginner’s guide to painting or a home improvement store on a post about DIY home repairs.

In some cases, an internal link directs visitors to a blog post from another blog post, such as a post on a specific topic from a post on a broader one. This provides context for the search engine to understand how the site is structured and how relevant each page is to the others.

Strategic internal linking can establish this site structure and form a sort of hierarchy for your site. The more links you have directing to a certain page, the more valuable that page is presumed to be – and the higher it should rank.

For instance, while working on SolidRun’s I.MX 6 page, we noticed that the website lacked internal links. Our team immediately compiled a list of all the pages that mention any IMX6 product and then linked it directly to that page I.MX 6 page. Within a few days we started to notice that rankings began steadily increasing.

So what can we take out of this example? If backlinks direct to a homepage, they establish that page as the most important or most valuable. If the homepage then directs visitors to a lot of other pages using internal links, such as the about page or a product page, those pages are also regarded as important.

While this is excellent, you won’t always want your visitors to have to spend time on the homepage to find your product page and make a purchase. External sites are going to provide plenty of links to your homepage, which could mean that your product pages or other valuable pages won’t earn as much organic traffic.

Internal Linking in Your Linkbuilding Strategy

No linkbuilding happens quickly, whether internal or external. The upfront time and effort is well worth the returns, however.

You’re likely already using content as part of your SEO strategy, which builds backlinks with authoritative sites. From there, you can include internal links to the blog on your own site, pulling in visitors that read the guest post.

Keep in mind that you can post the content to your own website, which gives you a chance to put internal links that direct visitors to your product pages or other high-value pages. Then, as visitors find your linked content, they can browse your site and see what you have to offer.

The more content with external and internal links you can create, the more visitors you can convert into paying customers.

Internal Linkbuilding Best Practices

Avoid Link Spamming

Internal links are excellent for SEO, but you need to be strategic about how you use them. Don’t jump at every opportunity to add an internal link, which can get spammy quickly. Even the most relevant of links can become spammy if they’re used too often.

Keep your internal linking to only the most relevant links with relevant keywords that connect to relevant content. Consider the visitors throughout the process – where would you want to go after reading your blog post?

Code Your Dofollow Links

Dofollow links are links that pass authority on to the linked page, while nofollow links are links that do not. Essentially, these links tell the search engine to ignore the link.

Most external sites are going to link with nofollow links to exclude them from the search engine considerations. Sometimes, these are spam links that arise from comments or sponsored links.

Remember, you want the crawlers to follow your internal links and learn about your site structure, so it’s vital to code them properly. Code your relevant links as dofollow and other links and nofollow to prioritize your pages.

Use Relevant Anchor Text

Anchor text is the highlighted display text (usually blue) that indicates a link. These words are incorporated into the text naturally, but indicate what the link is about for visitors. In addition, anchor text tells the crawler what the topic of the linked page is.

Make sure your anchor text is always relevant to your linked page. Ideally, use high-value keywords or keyword variations as anchor text, but don’t sacrifice relevance for an opportunity to plug a keyword.

Link Only Relevant Pages

Expanding on the anchor text, make sure your internal links always direct to relevant pages. Links all over the place are confusing, frustrating, and useless, especially if they prevent a visitor from finding what they need on your site. If possible, consider linking opportunities while you’re developing your content to connect similar topics or use a blog post to direct a visitor to a product page in a natural way.

Incorporate Internal Links into Your Linkbuilding Strategy

Like external links, internal links aren’t a fast-track to a high ranking. They take some upfront work, but they pay off in SEO. As you build reputable backlinks that direct visitors to your site, your internal links can lead them through your most valuable pages, keep them on the site longer, and turn them into a paying customer.

Author Bio Below

Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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