Internal links SEO: what they are, why use them and how to insert them

You’ve written an excellent article and want to improve its visibility and ranking on SERPs? There’s probably a small but crucial ingredient missing to make it complete: internal links SEO. In this resource, you’ll discover what they are, why to use them, and how to include them in your web pages. It’s not uncommon for these to be underestimated or even ignored during writing. Certainly, text quality and creativity are essential for generating valuable content, but to optimize it for SEO, you need to develop an effective Internal Linking strategy:

  • Identify relevant pages to link to your article’s content
  • Create internal links using keyword-rich anchor text
  • Optimize internal linkages for SEO.

Internal links SEO, just like external ones, are both essential elements to use and plan within a Search Engine Optimization strategy: Link Building aims to attribute authority and completeness to our website or blog. If you want to acquire and develop these skills, I recommend Digital Coach®’s SEO SEM Specialist Course.

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Internal Links SEO: What Are They?

It’s time to get started! Starting from the basics to discover first of all what internal links SEO are: these are hypertext links, created in HTML, that allow navigation from one page to another within the website. This operation is crucial not only to strengthen your site’s presence on the web but also to plan the user’s path inside it, providing access to specific, connected, and complementary content on the same topic. You’ll notice, while browsing the web, how internal links SEO are widely used on almost every page to reinforce the credibility and relevance of the site in the eyes of Google.

The structure of internal links in HTML is straightforward. Below you’ll notice that the href attribute links to the destination page URL, and the anchor text defines the linked word.

EXAMPLE: <a href=”/destination-page”>linked word</a>

Their purpose is to provide users with new information relevant to the content they are linked to, allowing them to complete or delve into the subject matter coherently. The selection of internal links is a delicate task that requires careful evaluation of the destinations you’ll send the user to. You can easily compare the definition of internal links SEO to a bridge that helps the user move effortlessly between the shores of a river, enabling them to enjoy broader and different views of the same landscape. Undoubtedly, they are a valuable tool!

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You probably have a clearer understanding of what internal links SEO are, but having explored their nature, it’s impossible not to mention outbound links. Unlike internal links that guide the user through pages of the same website, outbound links transport them to external sites. Now that you know the characteristics of internal links SEO, you can easily imagine how delicate this second operation is! Just like internal links SEO must be reliable and authoritative, outbound links should be recognizable and lead to valuable content.

By recommending updated and relevant pages to your content, users will undoubtedly appreciate the reading experience, possibly choosing to return to your site and thus positively influencing its indexing. Having touched on this last point, don’t forget that when used effectively, internal links SEO build trust toward your site’s resources and serve as a guiding hand in the planned User Experience.

Why use internal links?

At this point, you might still be wondering why include internal links SEO? You’ve already read in the previous paragraphs about some benefits of using them. The common denominator is improving the user experience and increasing visitor engagement on the website, thereby enhancing the bounce rate: a user who finds numerous relevant and high-quality content suggestions will stay longer on your site and explore multiple pages. Additionally, internal links SEO help categorize content more clearly, maximizing its attractiveness and ease of access.

Internal links SEO to increase website engagement

Another important technique is using internal links SEO to encourage website engagement from the user’s side. If the time spent on a page is high, the user has likely found interesting content. This metric alone is already significant because it indicates that we’ve achieved our goal! Furthermore, remember that the longer a visitor stays on the site, the more likely they are to visit other pages, subscribe to a newsletter, or, in the case of an E-commerce site, make a purchase.

With online tools like Google Analytics, you’ll be able to monitor and analyze an essential metric: the bounce rate of your site, particularly crucial for those doing business on the web. So, how do you manage internal links SEO to retain the user on the site?

  1. Ensure they are relevant to the content and provide added value.
  2. Distribute them proportionally within the text, without overdoing it!
  3. Pay attention to their visibility, making sure users can clearly identify them through appropriate color and keyword selection.

Developing Consistency and Authority of the Website

If you have carefully organized your linking strategy, you are in a great position! In fact, by meeting the requirements we discussed earlier, you will have gathered high-quality content that will enhance your site with greater credibility.

Google’s crawler will not miss the coherence and authority of your internal links, rewarding you with equal value.

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Internal Links SEO: How to Insert and Optimize Them

Having covered the more theoretical aspect, you might now be wondering how to insert and optimize internal links. You’ll find that it’s a simple process in practice, but it can have a significant impact on your performance. There are various CMS platforms that allow content creation, so you’ll find WordPress internal links, as well as those for Microsoft Word. Regardless of the interface, the process is rarely complex. While link quality is essential, don’t underestimate the visual aspect of how users will identify them within the text. Font, color, or irrelevant keywords could affect their visibility and usability.

Keyword Selection: quality vs. quantity

The era of countless and ineffective internal links to boost page rankings in search results is over! As mentioned earlier, Google’s crawler now rewards quality rather than quantity, as an excessive number of internal links could fragment the reading experience. The algorithm has been updated to thoroughly analyze the qualitative profile of each link, and accordingly, index your page. Sow valuable content, and Google will reward you with a bountiful harvest!

Keyword anchor text for creating internal links SEO

If you usually use WordPress for writing, you’ll find inserting internal links very intuitive. For any other CMS, you can easily find simple tutorials on generating HTML internal links.

1. Identify the keyword you want to anchor the internal link to. It should be an impactful term or a Long Tail Keyword relevant to the linked page. This content will be the anchor text that allows users to navigate from one page to another.

2. Highlight the keyword by dragging the cursor over it, where you will insert the anchor.

  1. internal links seo example

3. Select the “Insert/Edit Link” button with the chain icon on the toolbar.

types of internal links seo

4. Paste the URL of the web resource you want to anchor to the keyword.

internal links seo strategy

5. Enter the “Title”, which will be previewed by the user when hovering over the link. In the same window, you can set the attributes “Rel,” selecting “Nofollow” only if you want search engines not to follow the link, and “Target,” where I recommend selecting “New Window” to open the link in a separate page from the source, thus improving user navigation.

do internal links affect seo

6. The internal link will be automatically generated and will usually appear to the user in blue color.

internal links seo best practices

Optimizing Internal Links SEO

The architecture of a website is not just about codes and interfaces; you can consider these links as the bricks that make it up. Thanks to these links, users can quickly navigate from one piece of information to another within the website. Often, these links are neglected, mistakenly considered less relevant than external ones. However, as you have seen before, they are very useful for indexing your site for two reasons:

  • You can “teach” Google’s crawler which logical path to follow among your pages, enhancing their connections.
  • You offer users in-depth, consultative, or commercial pages to generate performance.

Below are some points to help you optimize internal links SEO:

  1. Ensure that the topic you are linking to is relevant to your content, selecting pertinent topics naturally or by category.
  2. Carefully read the pages you have chosen, verifying the completeness of the information and their positioning through the Search Console. Reviews or comments from visitors can be very helpful!
  3. Analyze the number of visits to your site and the number of user bounces to periodically update the content.
  4. Remove links that lead to no longer existing pages.
  5. Do not overdo it by inserting a large number of links, as it could penalize the usability of your content! In fact, by including a limited and relevant number of internal links, you will have high-quality link juice, with the competition between links on the same page as low as possible.

Conclusions

At this point, you should have a complete overview of the usefulness and SEO value of internal links. Developing a conscious and sensitive strategy for this activity can generate significant performance in the long term, of course, without forgetting the indispensable quality with which your page content should stand out!

Internal Linking is a technique that, once mastered, you can adapt to convert users toward your goals: blogging, e-commerce, journalism, and personal branding. The web is an infinite source of information in which one can get lost, but the correct use of internal links SEO will allow you to show the user a comfortable and clear path, in which you decide what they can view and how.

Internal links SEO are, in fact, part of a much larger planning in which various factors compete to influence the positioning of web pages. Simply promoting a product, service, or information, even with significant creativity, is not always sufficient to emerge and stand out compared to online competitors.

Enhance your content, starting first and foremost with yourself and your expertise, in order to “connect” to the best job opportunities as a specialized professional!

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