How to link internally for maximum SEO benefits
On page SEO doesn’t get enough attention at SEO forums, blogs, and social media groups. It really doesn’t. It seems that most of the digital real estate devoted to SEO tends to focus on backlink building or off-page SEO. While I am not downplaying the outsized importance of getting the right links to your website, you can’t neglect on-page SEO. At best, you’ll be settling for a fraction of the search engine traffic you could be getting, at worst, your neglect of on-page factors might land you on the second page results of Google.
How bad is a second page ranking on Google? Let’s put it this way, that’s probably the best place to hide a murder victim’s body. Hardly anyone checks second and later page results. You might as well not rank. You need to get in the top ten results for maximum search engine traffic. Unfortunately, you can’t do that if you don’t get your on-page SEO house in order. Follow the steps below so you can link internally for maximum SEO benefits.
First, the basics: each of your pages have to be targeted towards a specific keyword. To optimize each content page or blog post to your SEO target keywords, do the following:
1. Put your keyword in the title of your page
2. Mention related keywords in the text body to provide context
3. Put your keywords in H1 and bold tag
4. Mention your keyword in the meta description tag for your page
5. Mention related keywords in subheadings
Alternatively, if you are using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), make sure you change your permalink settings. Set your permalinks to use your blog posts’ titles.
You should also consider installing the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. This plugin automatically handles most of the on-page SEO steps outlined above.
How to link internally
Once you have taken care of all the steps above, you need to link internally properly, otherwise you might not get maximum benefits from all the on-page optimization steps you did above.
There are 2 major internal linking methods: navigation links and in-content links
These work very differently since Google has different weights for them. Navigation links are category wide and are accessed by sitewide links. You can access these links from many places on your site. In contrast, in-content links are found only on certain pieces of content
How to set up keywords as Navigation Links
For you main keywords, use them for category links
For subcategories, use long tail keywords that are not too specific
Make sure the actual content included in the subcategories are directly relevant to the subcategory and include the target keyword for the subcategory or sub-subcategory
Why should you optimize your navigational links with keywords?
Reason #1: Navigation links provide context
Google pays attention to the context of content. By setting up the proper context, you can get an extra SEO boost.
Reason #2: Navigation links provide a theme
When judging the relevance of links to content and content to internal links, Google is always trying to determine the theme of a particular page. When you put your keywords in navigational links, this goes a long way in setting the theme for that particular section of your site.
Reason #3: Navigation links provide a setting for page / theme relationships
If you generate backlinks that fit your theme (the links come from a site that is in the same niche as you and covers the same theme), your backlinks have more weight than non-targeted or irrelevant links.
Keep these reasons in mind when picking out which keywords you will turn into links. You have to be very careful which keywords you go with. Many ‘generic’ keywords won’t benefit you much if you use them for navigation links.
When deciding how to structure your navigation links and which keywords to use for them, keep the following progression in mind:
General > category > specific
General or generic keywords cover the most topics so they are at the top of the chain. Break them down into more specific sub-categories. Break these down further into very specific subkeywords.
How to format in-content links
Just like with most other things in life, there are always two ways to do in-content links: the right way and the wrong way. Here is the right way you should format in-content links. These are links that are located within the actual body of your website’s content or blog posts.
Link out to Authority pages in your niche
Find highly credible authoritative pages with high Page Rank that has content that is tightly related to what your page is talking about. Link to those pages
Follow this rule of thumb: link to authority pages 2 to 4 times per 1000 words
Link out to real authority sites
Why do this? The Hilltop Google Update released in 2003looks for information hubs. You get a competitive boost if Google thinks your page is an information hub. By linking to authority pages, your pages become hubs. Eventually, if you keep at it, Google will think your whole site is an info hub. This can lead to better rankings.
Boost non-ranking pages
Using Google Analytics or any statistics counter, figure out which of your pages are already ranking. Use these ranking pages to lift the rankings of pages that don’t rank. How? Simply link to those non-ranking pages from pages that are already ranking.