Internal linking has been called the most powerful SEO tactic that you’re not using, and it’s simple and easy. If you want more readers (and you do, right?), apply this tactic forthwith and boost your search engine rankings quickly. If you don’t believe me (and I hope you do!), listen to SEO expert Matthew Woodward.
Matt says that this one, simple tactic powered one website to “jump from position #29 to #4 in a matter of weeks.” Matt cites another case where another site “went from position #33 to #5.” You can do this today for your website and watch your position climb over just weeks.
Internet marketing guru Neil Patel says he discovered the power of internal links after five years of blogging. Hopefully, you found this post much earlier in your business life.
What is internal linking? It is when you put links on your website that send clicks to other pages on your website. I’ve found the most helpful information on internal links at Woodward’s website. Here’s a short synopsis of his work.
4 Reasons Why Internal Links Are Important
Why are internal links important?
- Internal links help Google find your new content. By the way, if you want to see what pages from your website that Google has already indexed, go to Google and type in this: your url:search in Google. I have two automatic internal links created every time I publish a new blog post and they’re both in the right sidebar. They’re both put there by widgets. One is the “Recent Posts” widget. Those are all internal links. Second, is the “Categories” widget. For every new post that I create, I assign it to one or more categories, and that creates internal links.
- Internal links help Google rank your web pages. This is what Google says about this: “the number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page.”
- Woodward doesn’t mention this, but internal links can help you get more external links. External links are when another website provides links to your website.
- Internal links help you make more money. Your internal links help visitors to your website find the content on your website. You can use internal links to send guests to sales pages and squeeze pages. You can use internal links to point them to content related to your new post and thereby build your credibility with new visitors.Matthew Woodward suggests three money-making ways that you can use internal links:
1. Funnel people to high-converting pages.
2. Funnel people to pages with affiliate links.
3. Funnel people to pages that feature relevant products and services.
Suggestions for Internal Links
What can we add to the money-making ways that Woodward suggests? Search Engine Land recommends the following on your website:
- Link to how-tos, guides, and other educational or informational content
- Link to pages with high-engagement content like infographics
- Link to tools like calculators or tables
- Link to breaking news, or other timely information
Besides using the two widgets that I mentioned above, how can you create internal links?
3 Ways for Creating Internal Links
Woodward suggests what he calls his “down and dirty internal linking process.”
- Create a list of URLs and primary target keywords.
- Find the LSI keywords for each of those primary keywords. LSI means words or phrases that are semantically linked to each other. Here’s a free tool that you can use to find LSI keywords: https://lsigraph.com/
- Woodward recommends installing the SEO Auto Linker plug-in for WordPress sites. I have installed this, but it’s too early to say what effect it has had on my website’s SEO. Once you’ve installed it to your website, find it on your installed plug-ins page and look at the FAQs page under the Details tab to see how to use it.
The Manual Approach
A second way to do this is to do it by yourself. Yes, it takes more time, but the advantage to this is that you have complete control. This is what Woodward recommends:
- Create a list of URLs and target keywords.
- Use Google to find relevant pages/posts on which to add internal links.
- Rinse and repeat whenever you publish new content.
The Power Process
There are times when you want a particular page to rank, but it’s being ignored by the search engines. In that case, Woodward recommends this:
- Find the most powerful pages on your website using Ahrefs (free 14-day free trial available here).
- Add internal links from these pages to your target web page.
Internal Linking Best Practices
Corey Morris of Voltage suggests these best practices:
- Put user experience first. If users click to your site from a search engine and then click right back to the search engine, they’ve told the search engine that your content wasn’t what they were looking for. This results in a downgrading of your content by the search engine. When your content grabs readers and holds them, that will improve your search ranking.
- Create link value. The same logic concerning user experience happens inside your website. When someone comes to your website from a search engine and they not only stay on your website, but click on an internal link, that builds the value of that link. While Google doesn’t show us page rank scores anymore, we can connect some dots with SEO tools and concentrate our efforts on the pages that score the best. An important takeaway on this is not to inundate your pages with scads of internal links. That will dilute your link value.
- Use widgets like “Recent Posts” and “Categories” to help visitors find your content. Use internal links to help them go deeper into particular categories or topics.
- Create Unique Content. Duplicating other people’s content will devalue your content with search engines. You may have noticed that in this post, I have used several sources to give you the very best in internal linking information. To just repeat what one other person has said would not be as helpful to you and would be penalized by search engines.
What would you add to this? I invite your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.