How does internal linking help SEO?
To help you see how internal links improve your SEO, we asked digital marketing professionals and business leaders this question for their best ideas. From boosting time spent on your website to avoiding orphan pages, there are several ways you can see how internal linking impacts your SEO.
Here are six ways internal linking helps SEO:
- Boosts Time Spent on Your Website
- Builds Your Site’s Domain Authority
- Directs Clicks To the Most Noteworthy Pages
- Elevates Your Webpage from the Junk
- Nets You Vital Long-Tail Keywords
- Avoids “Orphan Pages”
Boosts Time Spent on Your Website
Internal linking, directly and indirectly, improves your SEO. Internal linking assists readers in navigating your website and finding more relevant content, making the interface more user-friendly. When users click through more links to visit more pages on your website, it increases views and time spent on your site, increasing your site conversion rate.
That increased time spent on your site indicates that visitors found your site useful and relevant. Search engine algorithms take this data into account when organizing page rank. When people spend more time browsing your web pages, and the bounce rate is low, you rank higher in search engine results.
Internal linking also improves SEO crawling and indexing. Search engines “crawl” by following links and “index” by adding web pages into search engine results. Internal links boost your site’s visibility to crawling and indexing processes, increasing your SEO results.
Bryan Philips, In Motion Marketing
Builds Your Site’s Domain Authority
Internal links can be just as important as external backlinks when building your website’s domain authority. When you link to separate pages, particularly from your navigation page, you inform Google those other pages are worth seeing, and Google adjusts its SEO ranking accordingly.
That said, too many internal links can dilute their efficacy, both for Google’s algorithm and for users. A good rule of thumb is to have about 20 internal links on your website that point users to valuable, informative pages.
Michael Williamson, Hoist
Directs Clicks To the Most Noteworthy Pages
One of our goals is to provide our audience with useful pieces of content. Obviously, the best way to get that to them is via direct marketing, but an organic strategy focused on getting content onto prominent SERPs is important too. If we can get onto page one then we increase discoverability.
We’ve found that internal linking is an important part of this strategy because it allows us to designate which pieces of content (typically the high-intent ones) are likely to be our most authoritative for particular keywords.
By creating an internal link architecture that points overwhelmingly towards those pages, we are able to show the search engines that these pages are the most noteworthy. It’s worked on several occasions for us and we’ve moved up into higher rankings because of it. The one caveat is that internal links have to be considered from the top down. It’s no good just linking to everything and diluting your keywords.
Scott Hitchins, Interact Software
Elevates Your Webpage from the Junk
This is a little trick I learned from our SEO guy. Basically, Google often disregards individual pages unless pages with backlinks and organic traffic pass them some “link juice.” It also ranks pages higher when it can understand what they’re about. So, by internal linking, you’re doing two things: 1) passing link juice/link strength to pages that otherwise don’t have any, and 2) telling Google which topics and pages on your website are interconnected. So basically, internal linking is 100% important and helpful.
Richard Clews, Pants and Socks
Nets You Vital Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer, specific keyword phrases that people search for. They account for about two-thirds of all Google searches. If you have a strategy for mapping out your internal links, you can increase the number of long-tail keywords your linked pages rank for. For example, if you have an eCommerce site that has a blog post about game consoles, you can include links to similar posts on your site such as “must-have roleplaying games of 2022.”
You’ll want to appear in as many variations of “game consoles” or “gaming” as possible and internal linking can help you do that. For internal linking, choosing the right anchor text for your targeted long-tail keywords is important. When people search for those keywords, you want your site to be on the first page and internal linking with long-tail keywords can make that possible. Choosing 3-5 long-tail keywords to create a content and external linking strategy around can greatly improve SEO.
John Cammidge, JTC Consultants
Avoids “Orphan Pages”
Tighter internal organization helps Google crawlers understand and rate your business site’s purpose and value. Audit your website’s individual page traffic, for example, to link your highest traffic pages to your lowest ones. One thing to avoid is leaving some web pages without any internal links to or from. These “orphan pages” ultimately take away from your business’s potential SEO value and decrease your website’s overall authority.
As you build link siloes and tighten up your internal link organization, you will optimize what SEO value your website already potentially has before implementing any additional outreach strategies.
Jason Panzer, Hexclad
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.