When using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to promote your domain or website, there are many methods available. One of the most common, as well as most efficient, is using internal links. An internal link is a link that directs the user from one page within a domain to another page within the same domain. They can be used as navigation on the main page of your site, or as a helpful diversion to a related topic. Internal links are sometimes referred to as hyperlinks, however the term hyperlink can pertain to external links as well. External links direct users away from your domain and are less productive as far as SEO is concerned.
Why Use Internal Links?
Internal links can be very beneficial to you in a variety of ways. They not only give your domain more ranking power, but they also make it easier for web crawlers, or spiders, to browse the pathways of your domain. Internal links help establish an order among information and make site navigation easier for your visitors. You want to give your guests plenty of content without being overwhelming. Creating a simple link structure streamlines navigation and gives you the opportunity to add related content.
Understanding Internal Links
Internal links have a structure of their own. Once you know how to create links, you have nearly limitless opportunity to enhance your domain. By understanding this structure, you can provide an efficient link to your visitors. Internal links are composed of four sections:
·Tag- The tag creates a clickable area. Tags can consist of text, images, or any object that when clicked, navigate to another area. You want to be sure to use something simple that fits with the theme and topic of the page.
·Link Referral Location- The link referral location tells both the vistors’ browser and the search engines where the link points or is located. This will be the URL to the page you would like the link to direct to.
·Anchor Text- Anchor text is the only part of the link visible to guests. It should describe clearly where it will direct, but also in a short sentence fragment. For example, “Gardening Techniques” would be an appropriate anchor text if you were linking to an internal page containing different techniques for gardening.
·Closing Tag- Closing the tag is imperative to creating a functional link. Failing to close the tag will result in jumbled text an unprofessional look and feel to your domain.
Structuring Links to Enhance SEO
Web crawlers “crawl” pages looking for data to report back to the search engine. It is important to create a structure that is easily accessed by these crawlers so that the maximum amount of information about your domain is reported. There are a few different ways you can get the most out of structuring. By planning and implementing these methods you can maximize your chances of success.
You want to have a site that is content heavy. Various topics and subtopics give the domain depth and increase guests. More content allows more information to be collected by crawlers and reported back to search engines. For example, a site containing tutorials for planting flowers would have more success if it contained pages regarding multiple types of flowers, different techniques, and different locations instead of only covering one single topic. More content keeps visitors around longer and gives more information to crawlers, thusly promoting your domain with search engines.
When creating links, you should always be descriptive regarding the page you are linking to. This makes navigation smoother and packs in even more data for the crawlers to report. Vague links can result in confusion and the wrong data being collected. Using “Seasonal Flowers and Bulbs” is descriptive and clear, whereas “Seeds” is vague and doesn’t clearly apply to a specific topic.
Keep Anchor Text Natural
Choosing an anchor text should be simple. Try using a sentence fragment that flows naturally and doesn’t take much extra effort to think of. A page dedicated to greenhouses that are useful in all types of weather needs an anchor text that explains the topic in a short manner, such as “All Weather Greenhouses.”
Make Links Run Deeply
Your main page usually contains a general summary of the topics your domain will cover. From there, you should link to categories, and from the categories link to subcategories. This creates a tree that can be easily navigated by guests, easily assessed by crawlers, and also adds the opportunity for additional content.
Links should always be placed where they are relevant to the topic at hand. You want to streamline the process of navigating the page. It should flow easily from page to page, rather than jump around from topic to topic. In the event that the current page covers something like tropical plants, you would prefer to link a relevant page like “How to Grow Tropical Plants Indoors” or “Best Food for Tropical Plants”. You would not want to link to an irrelevant topic like “How to Plant Cabbage”. Direct and crawlable links are imperative to making sure your link structure is optimal for both visitors and content crawlers.
Keep It Simple
While content is important, it is also important to keep your structure simple. Crawlers usually have a link limit for each domain, ranging anywhere from 150 to 250 or 300 links per domain. Once the limit is reached, they will stop reporting data back to search engines. That being said, you should choose the content of your links wisely. You want to provide quality content for crawlers to report without overwhelming them and shutting them down. Links should be relevant to the overall topic of your domain. There is a delicate balance between cramming content and maintaining a streamlined internal link structure.
Now that you have the general idea of how an internal link structure works, the most important thing is to customize your structure to meet your needs. What works for you may not work for everyone else. With these basic guidelines you can create your own structure filled with relevant, informative content.