Internal linking

David Kusserow

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An internal link leads from one page to a second one within the same domain, for example from a main page to a subpage. A purposefully built internal link profile is an important part of the search engine optimization of a website.

Definition

An internal link refers from one page to a second page within the same domain. For example, an internal link from the homepage leads to a subpage with further information. Because a purposefully built internal link profile enables search engines to optimally index websites, it is an indispensable part of OnPage Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Internal linking



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Such an internal linking transports the link juice of the homepage further to the subpage and the subpage receives the page rank of the homepage. In order for the subpages to benefit as much as possible from the overall Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the main page and the various subpages, the individual pages of the domain should be linked with many meaningful links.

What is the purpose of internal linking?

Especially for pages that you have optimized for long-tail keywords, internal linking is important. The crawlers of the search engines recognizethe page architecture of your domain on the basis of theinternal links and orient themselves to it. The better the crawlers can analyze your site, the better the search engine algorithm will rank your site, leading to better Domain Authority.

If you were to compare the layout of your site to a road map, in a sense, the internal links serve as the connecting roads from one place to another – and additional internal links like this one to our blog page – serve as shortcuts for the search engine bot.

This example already shows that there are two different variants of internal links. On the one hand, there are the links that provide a structured and hierarchical navigation across your site. On the other hand, there are horizontal links that link the different subpages of your domain, opening up the different information that your website offers.There is no golden rule as to how many internal links should be on a page. As a rough guide, more than 100 internal links leading away from a page would be too many. The relation of the number and quality of the external backlinks leading to the page with the outgoing internal links is important.

What are the pitfalls of internal linking?

Too many internal links on a page make it confusing for users and search engines. In addition, there are other sources of error that you should exclude for a well-functioning website.

The anchor texts of your internal links should be as meaningful as those of your backlinks. The text that replaces the URL on the page’s user interface should reflect the title or content of the linked page. Instead of anchor texts like “click here” or “read more”, the anchor text should contain the title of the post, blog or the keyword of the linked page.

Your anchor texts should also not be identical or very similar. If two identical or similar anchor texts lead to different pages, the crawlers of Google, Bing & Co can’t know which page should rank for which keyword – thus you harm the KPI of your page itself. This is where a clear conception of your link architecture during the planning phase of your website is helpful. At this point, you can add meaningful and diversified anchor text to your planned pages.

If you use images on your website, you should attach appropriate ALT tags to each graphic. Search engines evaluate these ALT tags as a link for the image and can recognize the content of the image from the ALT text.

Also, you should set up breadcrumb navigation throughout your site. This navigation, like the breadcrumbs from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, shows visitors to your site their visit history and allows them to navigate the site with ease.

What is the importance of internal links for search engine optimization?

Internal linking helps you control the ranking of your subpages using the keywords on the pages themselves and the anchor texts. In order for Link Juice to provide optimal ranking results and thus more organic traffic, you should always link to a specific subpage with the same keyword.

Therefore, it pays to use a keyword or keyphrase for a subpage. For low-ranking keywords, you can also achieve good ranking results with one subpage for several main keywords.

To guide the crawlers during the indexing of your page you can provide pages with meta information like nofollow or noindex to prevent crawlers from following a certain link.

A page that has no inbound links cannot be found by crawlers or users. It is called an orphaned page.

Conclusion

Internal linking forms the basis for convenient navigation across a website for visitors. Targeted internal link building is also important for search engine optimization, so that the subpages of a domain can be ranked by search engines for various keywords or phrases.

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