One of the elements of website development and Search Engine Optimization that often gets overlooked is internal linking. When done correctly, internal linking improves both search rankings and consumer usability.
Internal linking refers to links that direct website visitors to another page of a website. Internal linking is a great way to tell search engines what a webpage is about and to help increase that page’s search ranking for specific keywords.
When one website links to another website, search engines pass value for the keyword phrase used in the link anchor text. Anchor text is the highlighted text in the link. While internal links don’t carry as much weight as links from other sites, they still make an impact on a website’s positioning. Internal links are an effective strategy in helping to improve a website’s rankings for important key phrases.
The link architecture of a website is a crucial step to ensure that a site gets indexed by search engines. The major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing give significant importance to internal links. Most notably, Google heavily values the internal links within a website.
Internal linking plays a critical role in Google’s ability to find a website’s pages to index them in its database, and ensures that visitors can navigate a website easily. Internal linking also serves to pass “link juice” from one page to another. Link juice refers abstractly to the amount of external links coming into a site and the “power” of these links. Links from pages with higher page ranks are considered to have more link juice or power. A website’s content should be filled with opportunities to potentially pass link juice to internal pages and to help users find information more quickly and with ease.
During the building of a website, The Web Guys develop an internal linking strategy by analyzing each page to determine where it makes sense, from a consumer’s point of view, to include a link to another page. We use the keywords that are important to our customers in the link or anchor text, which is the text that is highlighted and where the link is inserted. We vary the manually created internal links throughout the site, using the different keyword phrases in anchor text, to ensure the links do not look artificial to either search engines or users.
A good internal link structure is important not only to boost a website’s ranking, but to ensure that all web pages get the attention they deserve. There isn’t much use in having a 40-page website if only a portion of the pages get indexed by the search engines.
Contextual internal links can help improve the usability of a site and search engine positioning when done correctly. Internal linking helps website visitors easily navigate through a website and find relevant information as they learn more about a company’s products or services. A well designed internal linking structure flows naturally, so that relevant pages are linked to other relevant pages. Recent studies on the usability of websites have shown that users are more likely to click on a link in the text of a page, instead of those on a navigation bar, because it feels more natural.
A well designed internal linking structure will almost always improve search rankings for landing pages. Adding contextual links is a perfect strategy for giving an extra boost to specific pages for specific keywords. The battle for search engine rankings is competitive, so every bit helps! Call The Web Guys Phone Number now at 317-805-4933, to get the competitive edge in SEO and to answer any questions you have about the importance of internal linking in your website design and search marketing strategy.