Internal linking for SEO is one of the most underrated SEO strategies. It’s an extremely important ranking factor for Google and other search engines and is totally free. In fact, internal linking is crucial to SEO, as it makes it easier for site users to navigate all the high-value content across your site, as well as reinforces to site crawlers that your domain is a reputable source in your industry.
If your website was a library of information, how would you categorise this material? In the real world, there would be plaques above aisles to categorise genres. However, online, you create category pages and then add internal links to drill down further into the micro details. Here are some other ways internal links are important for SEO.
1. SEO internal links develop relationships with content
Google crawls websites by following links, internal and external, using a bot called Googlebot. Every time the bot arrives on any page on your website, it begins to render the very first link on the page and follows this link. Through the following of links, Googlebot then understands the relationships between your content and how important certain pages on your website are compared to others.
Then, Googlebot connects similar pages together and begins to understand how deep your website goes with information on a particular subject. Of course, the greater the depth and quality, the greater the outcome for your traffic levels.
2. Internal links deliver great user experiences.
Ensuring your website is both intuitive in its layout and genuinely enjoyable to navigate (with an abundance of internal links igniting curiosity), will naturally mean that visitors will stay on your site a little longer than they would on your competitors’. This yields two major benefits. First, when site visitors are spending longer than average navigating your site and are actually on pages for long enough to absorb their content thoroughly, your organisation will leave a lasting impression.
The positive association between your organisation and the subject matter, will naturally convert visitors into clients or paying customers, as they’ll innately see you as an authority in your industry.
The second benefit of internal links encouraging site visitors to stay a little longer, can be observed through your website analytics. The volume of visitors frequenting several pages at once and within consistently longer browsing times (checked by recording timestamps between link clicks), will communicate to Google and other search engines, that your SEO content is of a higher quality than most, and that your site holds the most reputable answers to related search queries.
3. Internal links control link value.
Further to content relationships, internal links also help you control the amount of value you want to assign to pages. Your homepage is often the most authoritative page on your website because it yields the most backlinks. Therefore, any links from your homepage to other pages on your website are deemed more important to Googlebot as the link juice that is passed is stronger.
Through this, you can control how much link value you want to assign to certain pages. For example, your newest blog articles might want a mention on your homepage for some time to ensure they get indexed and ranked quicker.