Every website owner is fighting to get back links from other websites to increase the PR & ranking on Google search results. But they are not concerned about the internal linking of the site which is also a very important factor in search engine ranking.
Let’s first understand the difference between internal & external linking……
Internal linking is the links on web pages or the website that point to other pages within the same website. External linking is when we put link on one website to another website.
Why Internal linking is important?
Internal linking is very important for any website as:
- It increases the accessibility of the website for users & search engines. Search Engines like Google rewards you for doing things that make the website user’s experience easier and better
- It helps search engines & user to navigate the site easily
- It is a perfect strategy for giving an extra boost to specific pages for specific keywords
- It helps search engines to crawl deep web pages which are away from main menu, navigation bar or home page of the website
- Anchor links helps search engines to co-relate the pages with the overall theme of the website
Internal Linking to get the top ranking on Google or Other Search Engines
As said above Internal linking is very important but I have seen many websites where every 5th-6th word is linked with other page of the website which actually looks very irritating. We should not mistreat this opportunity as spamming.
I have consolidated some best practices of Internal Linking which is good from Search Engines & Users point of view.
1- Utilize every opportunity of effective internal linking like add links in your navigation, header or footer as text links to all your important pages and main sections of the website.
3- Every page of the website should be maximum 2 clicks away from the home page of the website. E-commerce sites are usually very big in size so in that case search engine might face problem in crawling & indexing all deep level pages without appropriate internal linking.
4- In some times it is not possible to link every page of the website with the main menu or header or footer of the website; in that case internal contextual linking thru web content is a good idea to enhance the accessibility of the site.
5- Try to use relevant keywords as anchor text instead of using “Click here” etc.
6- Always use the same URL when you are linking a specific page. For example, if you want to link your service page (www.example.com/service.html) from other pages of the site then you should always use the same URL. Some people use different URL to link the same page like sometime example.com/service.html & some time www.example.com/service.html, this can create canonicalization issue.
7- Use breadcrumb navigation on sites that will link to other pages often
8- All internal links should work properly. Broken links are not good from both users & search engines perspective.
9- Use site map with all important pages links. It will help search engines & users to search all level web pages. Sitemap is not only effective for SEO, but also has usability benefits.
10- Some web pages may be more popular in the search rankings and receive more links than the rest of your website. You can strengthen these weaker pages by including some contextual links to them from the stronger pages.
11- Check your server logs for 404 errors. fix any broken links and redirect old linked to pages to their new locations
12- Try to use absolute URLs for internal linking as it can help you when you’re reusing content across multiple protocols (such as http and https). Absolute URLs provide you with indirect benefits in unforeseen situations, such as when someone steals your copy and forgets to change the internal links. Absolute URLs also show you exactly where your links lead, whereas links using “…/somewhere.html” structures are ambiguous and, especially in deep-content sites, often cause links to break when pages are moved around. Absolute URLs provides the better control over optimization.
13- Linking page & text should have connection which is actually beneficial for the users. Linking should not be from SE’s point of view.
14- Pages which are not very important from users & search engines point of view should have nofollow attribute while linking with navigational part of the site, because thru linking with those less important pages we are passing our link PRs to pages that aren’t as important. For example: private policy pages, legal terms, thank you pages, shopping carts, sitemap etc. are not very important so we can put a nofollow tag on these pages.
You can understand in this way, like you should put nofollow tags on those pages which are not important for (search engine result pages) SERPs as people might not come to your site thru those pages. Basically, every link that you put it, ask yourself “does that page/section need more link weight?”, and if the answer is no, nofollow it. Don’t go overboard though, or else you won’t have any internal links as far as the engines are concerned.
15- Find out a list of pages which are most important for you- from SE’s & Users’ perspective. Try to optimize the internal linking of these pages with appropriate anchor text. If you have several pages for the same product range like in case of e-commerce sites then link the main page to all other pages but you can put nofollow tags on less important pages. Always put a link back from deeper pages to the main page of that specific category.
A well structured internal linking pattern will help SE’s to navigate your site in a better way & in longer way it will help you to get sitelinks in Google.
I am sure these internal linking techniques will be very helpful in your site optimization in a better manner.